Jacqueline Herrick
Hospitality Management

"Immersing in Hospitality, Emerging as a Leader"

Fredric I. McGhee Scholarship for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Faculty Mentor: Michael O'Fallon

The proposed project is an intensive hospitality internship in the summer of 2016 that jointly builds upon my experience and diversifies my skill set in preparation for a career as a leader in the Hospitality Management field. I present two opportunities that explore the multifaceted hotel industry. The first is an international internship with Hilton Worldwide in Latin America. The second option is a domestic internship with LodgeWorks in Midtown Manhattan, New York. With the immense knowledge and direct experience of hotels, I would develop necessary skills for entrepreneurship in future endeavors. 

Anna Nordseth
Biology, Spanish, and Geographic Science

"Tropical Ecology and Conservation Studies in Costa Rica"

Hinshaw-Daniel Award

Faculty Mentor: Heather Griscom

As environmental degradation becomes a growing problem globally, it is increasingly important for the next generation of scientists to be trained to solve problems related to conservation. I intend to devote my life to studying ecology and doing research that will help inform conservation decisions and aid in environmental restoration. I am proposing to participate in the Tropical Ecology and Conservation study abroad program in Monteverde, Costa Rica. The program offers ten credit hours of coursework, which includes completion of an independent research project. Participation in this program would allow me to study relevant environmental issues while being immersed in a new culture and environment. In addition, it would serve as a foundation for my honors thesis, where I intend to study a threatened Costa Rican tree species. Having the opportunity to go to Costa Rica will give me unique research opportunities—both at home and abroad—and bring me one step closer to realizing my dream of being a tropical field ecologist.  

Anna received a 2016 Udall Scholarship. Read more here.

Kayla Barker
Sociology

“Coming Out in Pune and Beyond: A Cross-Cultural Examination through Service”

Faculty Mentor: Aaron PeeksMease

Pune, India is the perfect place to serve and research. Within the religiously and ethnically diverse country of India, the city of Pune and surrounding countryside is a microcosm of many global critical issues. The Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s (ACM) “India: Summer Service Learning and Cultural Immersion” program is particularly intriguing because it involves a homestay with a local Indian family along with service with a local NGO at a reasonable cost. I will work with ACM to be placed in an NGO that fits with my personal, professional, and academic goals and helps to expand my culturally-shaped perceptions. While in India, I will also be conducting research that will eventually be used toward my Senior Honors Thesis. Through my research, I will conduct interviews with Christians, Hindus, and Muslims in order to understand the role of “coming out” cross-culturally, specifically in the United States and India. 

Grant Rybnicky
Biotechnology

“BRED: A Technique for Probing Mycobacteriophage Genomes for Useful Molecular Tools”

Faculty Mentor: Steve Cresawn

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of Tuberculosis, affecting 9 million people worldwide each year. Little is known about M. tuberculosis genetics as it is slow growing and dangerous to work with. Mycobacteriophages, viruses that infect mycobacteria, coevolve with mycobacterial hosts and are more user-friendly windows into mycobacterial genetics; filled with undiscovered molecular tools optimized for mycobacterial systems. Phage genetics are studied through both comparative genomics and empirical testing. Comparative genomics allows for the identification of genes based on known homologues in other systems and identifies research targets. To test hypotheses posed by comparative genomics, mycobacteriophage DNA needs to be manipulated. By researching in Dr. Hatfull’s laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh, I will learn Bacteriophage Recombineering of Electroporated DNA (BRED), a technique for modifying mycobacteriophage DNA. Not only will BRED further my research at JMU, but it will also allow me to be a resource to the Viral Discovery and Genomics courses. 

Lizzie Zulauf
Biotechnology

"Providing Healthcare Aid to Guatemala and Peru"

Faculty Mentor: Louise Temple

Hands-on experience allows learning to occur in a much more efficient and lasting way. In the classroom, we master the raw facts that govern the world around us. However, when removed from a classroom setting we often find that situations are affected by outside factors. Aspects such as environment, nutrition, genetics, and culture come together in various ways and affect people differently. Through the Institute for Field Research Expeditions (IFRE), I will participate in a 4-week volunteer experience in Guatemala followed by another 4-week volunteer trip to Peru. In both Guatemala and Peru, I will be working closely with surgeons and physicians, assisting patients and educating families. My service through this program will have a direct impact on improving the quality and effectiveness of healthcare in Guatemala and Peru.

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