Ohio Wesleyan Awards $89,000 in Theory-to-Practice Grants

Students, faculty to travel the globe for hands-on learning opportunities

Ohio Wesleyan’s unique Theory-to-Practice Grant program allows students to seek university funding to support areas of special interest. Here, students traveled to Bolivia, one of the poorest nations in the world, to examine the challenges facing Bolivia’s fragile ecosystem and its residents. (Photo by Kat Zimmerly ’11.)

Ohio Wesleyan University students and employees were awarded $89,000 in Theory-to-Practice grants for proposals submitted during the fall cycle. Awards range from supporting a service-learning project involving teams of OWU and Japanese students building homes for Habitat for Humanity to faculty and students conducting research on Islamic religious traditions in the secular society of France.

Begun in 2009, OWU’s Theory-to-Practice grants enable students, faculty, and staff to seek University funding to support academic and community service issues of special interest. Here are the latest grant recipients:

  • “Music Study Intensive at the Salzburg Music Festival,” submitted by assistant professor of music Jason Heister. Students will attend Austria’s Salzburg Music Festival in July and August, where they will experience operas, chamber ensemble concerts, solo lieder recitals, and master classes from faculty at the Mozarteum University of Salzburg.
  • “Comparative Healthcare Study,” submitted by senior Christina Trusty of Dublin, Ohio. She will travel to London in March to analyze and compare national public health programs in Great Britain and the United States.
  • “Cultural Immersion in McLeod Ganj: A Study in Cultural and Political Change,” submitted by senior Lisa Taylor of Cincinnati. She and junior Kamila Goldin of Fairfax, Va., traveled to India over winter break to explore the cultural and socio-political status of a refugee community in McLeod Ganj.
  • “Phylogenic Elucidation of Sect. Stenoxylopia within Xylopia (Annonaceae) through Molecular Systematics,” submitted by sophomore Jenna Reeger of Shelocta, Pa. She traveled to Florida earlier this month to conduct research in the Soltis Lab at the University of Florida. Reeger studied the molecular systematic protocol for DNA sequencing of plant samples of the clade Stenoxylopia of the genus Xylopia.
  • “The Spaces of Santeria,” submitted by senior Nyssa Berman of Evanston, Ill. She will travel to Cuba in March with junior Margaret Argiro of Hilliard, Ohio, and sophomore Yarima Valenzuela of El Paso, Texas, to examine the creative, spiritual, and medical spaces Santeria occupies in Havana.
  • “Preventing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Pharmacological Approach,” submitted by senior Kellie Gross of Pemberville, Ohio. She will work with assistant professor of psychology Jennifer Yates for more than two months this semester to evaluate the efficacy of a specific pharmacological intervention, neuropeptide Y, in preventing the onset of PTSD-like symptoms in an animal model. The results will have implications for theories of PTSD etiology and for its possible prevention.
  • “OWU/Aoyama Gakuin Joint Habitat Build,” submitted by economics professor Barbara MacLeod. Ohio Wesleyan will host 15 to 20 students from its sister university Aoyama Gakuin in Tokyo, Japan, in March to complete a joint service-learning project on poverty and build homes in Delaware for Habitat for Humanity.
  • “OWU and the Juneau Icefield Research Program,” submitted by assistant professor of mathematics and computer science Craig Jackson. Jackson and junior Zeke Brechtel of Arvada, Colo., will travel to Alaska from May to August to participate in the Juneau Icefield Research Program. This one-of-a-kind summer research experience involves eight weeks of work on one of North America’s largest icefields.
  • “The Rehabilitation and Release of Chacma Baboon Troops in South Africa,” submitted by junior Tessa Cannon of Trumansburg, N.Y. She and junior Ariel Hively of Galloway, Ohio, will travel to South Africa in May and June to volunteer for the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (CARE)—a rehabilitation center for Chacma baboons and other African wildlife. While there, the OWU students also will research pre-existing sensory bias in the Chacma baboon.
  • “Islam in France,” submitted by assistant professor of religion Susan Gunasti. She will travel to France in March with juniors Ashley Madera of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Stephanie VanVliet of Dublin, Ohio, to study the practice of Islam in France to better understand how the Islamic religious tradition has maintained and evolved in France.
  • “Can 26+6=1? How the 6 Counties of Northern Ireland are Educating the Next Generation,” submitted by senior Katherine Buckingham of Bloomdale, Ohio. She will travel to Ireland in March to study differing education systems in Northern Ireland and their potential power to desegregate the area. Her research seeks to determine whether integration has eased social tensions or added to issues faced by the still-separated communities.
  • “The Effect of Age on Type of Search from Semantic Memory,” submitted by senior Emily Kiourtsis of Pickerington, Ohio. She will work with psychology faculty Harry Bahrick, Lynda Hall, and Mindy Baker from January through April to research ways to stabilize access to information people have learned previously by testing older and younger adults on the names of famous people.
  • “A Comparative Study of Public Health Systems and Policies in Sweden and Spain,” submitted by junior Kassel Galaty of Portland, Ore. She traveled to Sweden and Spain with sophomore Katharine Johnson of Ashville, N.Y., in December and January to research public health systems in both countries along with the perceptions that individuals, medical professionals, scholars, and public health officials have of the systems and policies.
  • “Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay: a global investigation,” submitted by junior Bradley Turnwald of Fort Jennings, Ohio. He will travel to Heidelberg, Germany, from May to August to complete a research experience at European Molecular Biology Laboratories, where he will examine nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in the laboratory of world leaders in the field.
  • “A Greener Tree House,” submitted by junior Melissa Guziak of Essex Junction, Vt. She will work through April to transition OWU’s Tree House small-living unit into a sustainability showcase, including open houses to show the results to the Ohio Wesleyan and Delaware communities.
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