From completing community mapping work in Costa Rica to comparing life expectancies in Italy and the United States, Ohio Wesleyan University students are receiving nearly $49,000 in new university-funded grants to support academic, research, and internship experiences. Ohio Wesleyan today announced it is awarding seven new Theory-to-Practice grants to enable 12 students and four faculty and staff mentors to complete OWU Connection experiences on campus; in Columbus; and abroad in Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, and Northern Ireland.

A local woman has keen awareness of the benefits of such experience.

Previous grant recipient Allisa Schuller of Bellville earned Theory-to-Practice Grants to support summer internships at Goodman Media International, a global public relations firm in New York City, and at Spark Foundry, an international media agency in Seattle. Schuller, who graduates this month, has been hired full time by Spark Foundry.

“(At Spark) I got to work with Starbucks, REI, AAA, and many other prominent companies,” said Schuller, who majored in business administration and minored in both accounting and religion. “I gained the best experience of my life and gained forever friends. At the end of my time at Spark, I received a full time job offer, which I accepted, on the REI strategy team.

“OWU has supported me, funded me, and cheered me on when I really needed them most,” said Schuller. “I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without those Theory-to-Practice Grants and the support I have received from this school.”

Schuller is a graduate of Clear Fork High School.

Ohio Wesleyan will award three rounds of Theory-to-Practice Grant funding this academic year – one round during fall semester and two in the spring. Here are the latest grant recipients and their projects:

“Understanding the Presence of Megaviruses in Iceland, Expanded,” submitted by senior Delanie Baker of Santa Paula, California. This project is an extension of independent research Baker conducted in summer 2018, now incorporating new DNA sequencing techniques into her study of the Megavirales order of giant viruses. “We now have a unique opportunity to analyze all of the DNA in four of our samples, allowing for the discovery of new species of bacteria,” said Baker, a microbiology major. She will work on her expanded project on campus throughout spring semester.
“Using Remote Sensing to engage in Community Mapping and Citizen Science,” submitted by Nathan Amador Rowley, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology and geography, with senior student Lucas Farmer of Warrenton, Virginia, and sophomore Austin Riegel of Marion. The group will travel to Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica, for a week in March to help the community address environmental concerns. They will collect data via remote-sensing techniques through a Phantom4 drone. Examples of how such data are used include city planning (installing utility lines) and resource management (mapping local deforestation).

Allisa Schuller earned Ohio Wesleyan Theory-to-Practice Grants to support internships at an international public relations firm in New York and a global media agency in Seattle. Schuller, who graduates this month, has been hired full time by the Seattle firm, Spark Foundry. (Photo courtesy of Allisa Schuller)

“ ‘Free People’: Identity Formation Among the Imazighen in Morocco,” submitted by senior Milany Duarte of Bridgeport, Connecticut, with senior Alana Guzman of El Paso, Texas. The students will travel to Rabad and Marrakesh for nearly two weeks in January. “Our project objective,” Duarte says, “is to study cultural and ethnic identity formation among the urban indigenous people of Morocco. We will specifically focus on the Amazigh community because they are a perfect example of a marginalized group of people with a dying language. … To do so, we will conduct interviews and discussions on the ways in which the Amazigh community experiences cultural, political, and linguistic marginalization.”

“An Exploration of Selected Blue Zones Concepts in Community Food and Physical Activity Settings in Umbria, Italy, and Central Ohio,” submitted by Christopher Fink, Ph.D., associate professor of health and human kinetics, with junior Abby Bowman of Delaware and sophomore Emily Sheridan of North Smithfield, Rhode Island. The group will travel to Italy for nearly two weeks in May. There, they will “utilize qualitative research methods, as well as health promotion and community theory to explore selected Blue Zones concepts, and how they appear in the lived experiences of individual actors in food and physical activity settings.” Blue Zones are regions of the world where it is claimed that people live much longer than average.

“Performance and Storytelling in Spanish Classical Theatre,” submitted by junior Sarah Gielink of Twinsburg, with junior Monty Almoro of Radnor and Glenda Nieto-Cuebas, Ph.D., associate professor of modern foreign languages. The funds will allow the group to bring Spanish theatre company, Teatro Inverso, to Ohio Wesleyan to lead students in workshops that will help them develop their own adaptation of a classical text. The theatre company also will give a performance open to OWU and to the community.

“History, Security, and Peace: A Comparison of Sectarian Conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Middle East,” submitted by junior Ahmed Hamed of Hilliard with junior Noah Spicer of North Reading, Massachusetts, and Lisa Ho, assistant director of International and Off-Campus Programs. The group will travel to Northern Ireland for a week in January to research sectarian conflict and ontological security from angles unique to the background of each participant. “Through interviews and interactions with individuals impacted by the conflict and those pursuing peace,” Hamed said, “this project will compare and contrast these sectarian issue in Northern Ireland with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

“Jazz Arts Group Internship,” submitted by Jasmine Spitzer of Minot, North Dakota. The grant will enable Spitzer to complete a summer-long internship with the Columbus-based Jazz Arts Group (JAG). The group’s mission is to “advance and celebrate the art of jazz through performance and education.” “Ultimately,” Spitzer said, “this opportunity will prime me to be successful in my musical career and life after OWU.”

After the students complete their OWU Connection experiences, they will prepare reports and presentations based on their objectives and experiences.

The OWU Connection, the university’s signature program, is designed to help students think big (understand issues from multiple academic disciplines), go global (gain international perspective), and get real (translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience). The OWU Connection includes Theory-to-Practice Grants, Travel-Learning Courses, internships, and more. Learn more about The OWU Connection at

Source, Photo: Ohio Wesleyan University

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