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Hillcrest Scholarships Proposal Abstracts
: Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi is the main cause of typhoid fever; Salmonella species cannot survive below pH 4. My proposal involves working at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to engineer a vaccine vector as a wafer format to survive a low pH, within the oral cavity and gastro-intestinal tract, allowing a reduction in the doses required for long-lasting, high efficacy immunity. This will be done by cloning genes involved in the acid resistance pathway of the bacterium Shigella into Salmonella. Acid resistance in these strains will be assessed compared to the parent strain at pH 1.5 to 5 over 3 hours and these acid resistance genes will be inserted into the Salmonella chromosome.Tate Burkholder
: Understanding the dynamics between a microbial pathogen and its host is essential for developing treatments or vaccines to protect against disease. A model for understanding the mechanisms, bacterial targets, and host response to Salmonella enterica infection is being developed at Cambridge University. The effectiveness of several recombinant IgG antibodies at increasing macrophage phagocytosis of Salmonella and the resultant cytokine response will be determined during my stay there.
: Embark on a journey to the Netherlands to carry out a research opportunity in the medical microbiology laboratory of Maastricht University. Investigate and develop an efficient, straightforward identification scheme for S. pneumoniae as well as determine its quantitative susceptibility for a panel of relevant antibiotics.
: The goal of my project is to enable and empower North Korean refugees in South Korea to enter higher paying positions in the South Korean economy through qualified, focused English tutoring. To achieve this, I will complete a Certificate of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) program offered by the University of Cambridge. I will then go to Seoul, South Korea to tutor North Korean students through a non-governmental organization, using CELTA to be a more effective tutor.
: My project proposal is intended to help me engage in a service-leadership global health immersion program called Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care. This project is to take place in La Paz, Bolivia working through Child Family Health International, an NGO. My first step will be to receive training as a Certified Nursing Assistant through the BonSecours Nurse Aide Training Program at DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Following this training, I will deepen my commitment to service by engaging in a clinical rotation program through Child Family Health International, serving impoverished and at-risk children and adolescents of La Paz, Bolivia.Victoria Awadalla
: The proposed work is a combined undergraduate research and community outreach project that will take place in Summer 2013 in Beira, Mozambique. I plan to work with a non-profit organization, BeLove Inc., to travel to Beira and work in an orphanage for two months with 40 children and members of the local community. My goals will be to establish personal connections, educate the children on basic hygiene practices, and develop a training manual for mothers who are connected with the orphanage. Additionally, my idea for a research project is to collect evolved particulate matter (soot) from community cooking practices in Beira and bring them back to James Madison University for chemical analysis in the Fall semester of my senior year. Since fuel is scarce in Beira, families typically cook by burning whatever they can find, including plastics. I hypothesize that this practice evolves dangerous amounts of toxic particulate matter that will be an environmental co-factor for respiratory illnesses. I will test this hypothesis by collecting particulate matter from different stoves, foods, and fuel sources. I will communicate my research results to BeLove Inc. who, on subsequent visits to Beira, will educate the community on the methods for cooking foods that are least likely to cause respiratory problems.Brendan English
: My Hillcrest proposal
involves spending 8 weeks in Dublin, Ireland, two of which will be spent studying international business issues at the University College Dublin, and six of which will be spent interning at a leading financial institution or within the Irish Department of Finance. While working as an intern I would also complete and present a research paper examining how institutional factors and private incentives influenced the decisions of business and government leaders in Ireland during the nation's sovereign debt crisis. COMMENTS ABOUT THE APPLICANTS from Dr. Chris Bachman, a member of the selection team and Associate Professor in JMU's College of Integrated Science and Technology
: The diversity of applications for the first annual Hillcrest scholarship was truly amazing - from helping North Korean refugees build a better lives to studying Russian culture in St. Petersburg to conducting medical research in the Netherlands to aiding an orphanage in Mosambique - and showed me just how involved and engaged our students really are with the world around them. Most impressive was the level with which these students, sophomores 19 and 20 years of age, prepared their applications - with a maturity and attention to detail that is well beyond their years. They developed connections with outside agencies, provided evidence of background training, and mapped out their path to success (in some cases) from ambitions that began several years ago and will likely continue with them for years into the future (well after graduation). I think other students at JMU would be amazed to know what their peers are doing. The Hillcrest Scholarship will enable these bright and talented students to reach new heights during their tenure at JMU, elevating their achievements while here on campus, and positioning them to make an even greater positive impact on the world around us in their pursuit of successful and meaningful lives. I was truly impressed with the quality of the proposals that were put forward for this first round of Hillcrest Scholarships - and am hopeful that we'll be able to support more and more of these outstanding endeavors in years to come.