Isabella Bukovich
Isabella BukovichBiology

Faculty mentor: Dr. Rocky Parker

Isabella Bukovich's research focuses on the reproductive strategy of female mimicry in red-sided garter snakes. In the face of male-male competition, some males attempt to confuse rivals by producing female pheremones. These female mimics may have larger renal sexual segments (RSS) than males, possibly enabling larger sperm plug production and thus greater mate guarding abilities. To test this, Isabella will travel to the site of a large red-sided garter snake population in Manitoba, Canada in May 2019 and May 2020, as the snakes emerge from hibernation and engage in mating. She will collect male and mimic kidneys to analyze androgen receptor expression and compare sperm count between male and female mimics. She hopes to confirm the notion that mimicry confers a greater reproductive advantage over normal males. Her project mentor, Dr. Rocky Parker, says that Isabella's project "is unique and has serious potential for the generation of high-impact data that could be paradigm-shifting." 

Makeda Fikremariam
International Affairs and Philosophy

Faculty mentor: Dr. Melinda AdamsMakeda Fikremariam

Makeda Fikremariam studies politics, development, and society in East Africa. Her Hillcrest project will take her to Kampala, Uganda to study at Makerere University and engage in intership work in the local community. She will take courses in conflict, recovery, and development as well as international relations from an African perspective. She plans to build connections in the academic and development communities in Uganda. As a second-generation Ethiopian-American, she already has cultural and linguistic expertise in one country in the region. Her Hillcrest experience will provide her a set of competencies in a different East African country--including proficiency in Swahili, which is an important language in much of the region. In the long term, Makeda plans to broaden her studies and experiences in East Africa, with the goal of becoming a regional expert. Says Dr. Melinda Adams, her project mentor: "With her strong academic performance, clear sense of purpose, ties to East Africa, and willingness to seek out experiential learning opportunities such as this, Makeda is poised to have a successful career in international development." 

Alyssa HillenbergAlyssa Hillenberg
Business Management

Faculty mentor: Dr. Melinda Adams

Alyssa Hillenberg is a first year Business Management major with a focus on pre-law. Her Hillcrest project will take her to Richmond, VA to intern at a major law firm. This work will give her a deeper understadning of the law--particularly contract law, her area of interest--experience in a professional legal setting, and the opportunity to build important connections in the Virginia legal community. Her Honors capstone project will investigate the relevance and impact of contract law on college students. After law school, she intends her practice to focus on helping people navigate the complicated world of contract and business law. As a southwest Virginia native, she hopes to give back to her community in the future through her legal and nonprofit work. According to her project mentor, Dr. Melinda Adams, "Alyssa has a clear sense of purpose and seems ready to make the most of the opportunities provided by a three-month legal internship in Richmond."

Kira LambertKira Lambert
Communication Studies

Faculty mentor: Prof. Jennifer PeeksMease

A Communication Studies major, Kira Lambert's research focuses on performance theory: the idea that routine human behavior consists of performative actions that communicate and support our social identities. In order to further her understanding of performance theory, Kira will use her Hillcrest to travel to Carville, LA to serve as a research assistant to Dr. David Terry, Assistant Professor of Communication at Louisiana State University and a prominent scholar in the field. 

Emily ThompsonEmily Thompson

Faculty mentors: Dr. Rocky Parker & Dr. Morgan Steffen

Information coming soon!


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