Cleveland Internships

Love Ayinde ’23 and Sonia Levin ’23. (Photos by Angelo Merendino)

Seniors Love Ayinde (left) and Sonia Levin (right) joined five other OWU students interning at private and public organizations in and around Cleveland last summer through the Summer on the Cuyahoa program. Love, a computer science and quantitative economics major, taught computer science and mathematics to seventh graders at University School in Hunting Valley. Sonia worked as a job coach with Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential in Cleveland, a nonprofit working to advance participation and equality in society for people with disabilities in Northeast Ohio. OWU is one of only eight colleges and universities nationwide whose students are eligible for Summer on the Cuyahoga internships. The program recruits talented college students to help them explore the professional, civic, and social opportunities of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

Princeton to Princeton

Princeton Vaughn ’22. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

May 2022 graduate Princeton Vaughn was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support his work for the next five years in Princeton University’s doctoral program in ecology and evolutionary biology. With the award, the Bowie, Maryland, resident joins a group of award recipients that includes 42 Nobel laureates and more than 450 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Faculty Capture Science and Education Grants

Ohio Wesleyan faculty and staff have been awarded more than $1.4 million to support research on invasive species, ecological education, and K-12 learning.

Professor Laurie Anderson (in purple jacket), recipient of the Ecological Society of America’s Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education, leads her Plant Communities and Ecosystems class, which traveled to Utah to observe how plant communities change and adapt along the elevation gradient. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Ecology Education

Just a few weeks after winning the 2022 Ecological Society of America’s Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education, biological sciences professor Laurie Anderson received a 5-year, $499,750 grant from the National Science Foundation to help her further expand ecological education.

The grant will support creation of the Macrosystems Ecology for All (MEFA) Research Coordination Network. Macrosystems ecology explores connections among geophysical, biological, and social-cultural processes at different scales (such as how land use by humans in the context of a changing climate affects pollinating insects) and often makes use of large environmental data sets.

The consortium, to be led by Anderson, will provide training and support for faculty developing large-scale, coordinated ecological research Photo by Paul Vernon projects that involve multiple colleges.

Invasive Species

A three-year, $476,000 NSF grant will support the ongoing research of Eric Gangloff, assistant professor of biological sciences, to better understand how some organisms are responding successfully to rapid changes in climate and ecosystems.

His research focuses on the common wall lizard, a small, active lizard species native to mainland Europe but now established in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

“My research seeks to identify how this lizard has flourished in urban environments on a new continent after just 10 of the reptiles were released in Cincinnati in the 1950s,” Gangloff says.

As part of the project, Gangloff and Ohio Wesleyan students will work in the field and laboratory to document the lizard’s behavioral and physical changes in response to environmental shifts. Their research also will identify genes related to specific traits to help determine how these traits have helped the lizard to survive and thrive.

“This information can then be used to help prevent the spread of potentially harmful invasive species or to understand how organisms we want to protect may respond to changes in their environment,” Gangloff says.

Math and Literacy

A $499,170 grant from the Ohio departments of education and higher education will help OWU provide intensive mathematics and literacy tutoring to pupils attending local schools.

The two-year grant supports “high-dosage” tutoring intended to help youths get back on track academically following the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio Wesleyan will use funds to “expand and re-energize” the Bishop Scholars program following a coronavirus-related pause, said Sally Leber, director of OWU’s Service Learning Center. The program, which dates back to the 1980s, will train 50 OWU student-tutors this fall to assist up to 720 youths in grades kindergarten through eight at six area schools.

OWU’s program is also being overseen by Michele Nobel, assistant professor of education.

Camp Oh-Wooo Energizes New Students

New first-year Bishops hold tight to their chains of connection at Challenge Camp. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Ohio Wesleyan welcomed 485 new students this fall with the annual outdoor orientation experience, Camp Oh-Wooo. After settling into their residence halls, students participated in Challenge Camp in Mount Gilead, Service Camp with projects in surrounding areas, or Wilderness Camp in West Virginia.

“I think no other college would have students outside in the wilderness doing ecological projects like this. Most orientations are like ‘here’s your campus, here’s your dorm, goodbye,’” says new first-year student Mari Sidibe.

New students Hailey MacGregor (left) and Tasfia Rahman help spread mulch at the Hard Road Park playground in Columbus during Service Camp. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

During the three-day camps, Bishops build friendships with other new students, connect with student leaders, and get to know faculty and staff.

“The heart of the Camp Oh-Wooo experience is the small groups they are in,” says Dwayne Todd, vice president for student engagement and success. “That’s where they engage in focused conversation about important transition topics, spend time together to develop meaningful relationships, and have a chance to learn from returning student facilitators about how to make the most of their OWU experience.”

Claire Heumasse scales the rock walls at Wilderness Camp at Coopers Rock State Forest in West Virginia. (Photo courtesy of William Hayes)

While each camp offers a different experience, all focus on a smooth transition to college and equipping new students with the skills and relationships necessary to thrive at OWU.

“At the conclusion of camp, you can tangibly see that students have a sense that they belong in the OWU community,” says Brad Pulcini, dean of student services. “Participants speak about how camp made them feel like they matter and that a lot of their peers were coming to college with some of the same worries and anxieties.”

Written by Allie Sanzenbacher