Ohio Wesleyan awards Baran Fellowships to help students fund research, travel-learning, and other opportunities in support of their graduate school goals. (Photo by James DeCamp)

Baran Fellowships

Four Ohio Wesleyan Students Earn University Funds to Support Their Graduate School Goals

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Four Ohio Wesleyan University students have earned competitive Baran Fellowships to fund projects intended to make them stronger candidates for graduate school admission and post-graduate fellowships.

The newest recipients of the university-awarded Baran Fellowships are juniors Grace Frye of Newark, Ohio; Dana Kolesar of North Olmsted, Ohio; and Marvella Kurniawan of West Jakarta, Indonesia; and senior Alexie Otworth of Centerburg, Ohio. Their Baran-supported projects are as follows:

  • Frye is studying abroad this spring at the School for International Training (SIT) in Nepal in South Asia. Frye's studies include "focusing on how non-government agencies influence caste-based hierarchy, analyzing how power relations influence and allow for social change, and examining how social hierarchy intersects and influences community and national level development outcomes," Frye said. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan with a major in Social Justice and minors in Dance and Sociology and Anthropology, Frye intends to pursue a master's degree in social work. "My passion for public service sits within the specialization of emergency housing services, such as shelters."
  • Kolesar will use the funding to travel to London as part of an Ohio Wesleyan Travel-Learning Course that explores how William Shakespeare's writings developed throughout his life. The class concludes with a weeklong trip to England. "It's an absolutely incredible opportunity," said Kolesar, a History and English (Literature Concentration) double major and Medieval Studies minor. "Through this experience, I hope to gain a deeper, more hands-on understanding of history and learn how to interact with communities other than my own. … Ultimately, it is my goal to find a career in archival work at a library."
  • Kurniawan will use the funding to travel to London as part of a Travel-Learning Course that explores food politics and policy, especially differences in how the United States and United Kingdom approach food allergies. "It has been my greatest ambition that upon graduating from OWU, I would pursue a master's degree in public health nutrition," said Kurniawan, a double major in Nutrition and Psychology. "Food politics and policy serve as powerful tools in shaping the structure and function of food systems. The decisions made in this realm have far-reaching implications, influencing the availability, affordability, and quality, as well as the broader socio-economic and sustainability of our global food systems."
  • Otworth is using the funding to participate in a spring Travel-Learning Course that explores East Asian politics and includes a trip to South Korea in May. The course seeks to help students understand how the historical and cultural contexts of South Korea have led to rapid political and economic change and allow them to observe the country's political and economic spheres first-hand. "During my time at Ohio Wesleyan University, I have developed a passion for East Asian culture," said Otworth, an English major and History minor. "I plan to pursue this passion after graduation by applying for the Princeton in Asia fellowship, a competitive postgraduate fellowship that places students in one- or two-year work placements throughout Asia, with the eventual goal of pursuing a master's degree in International Affairs."

Ohio Wesleyan's Baran Fellowships were created in 2013 with a gift from graduate Jan W. Baran, Class of 1970, and his wife, Kathryn K. Baran, in recognition of the strong mentorship he received as an OWU student.

To be eligible for the fellowships, students must be in the university Honors Program or have an excellent academic record (usually a grade-point average of 3.7 or higher) with a high probability of success in a post-graduate fellowship competition. Recipients are able to use the funding to support travel-learning opportunities or individualized research or study connecting theory to practice.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan's Baran Fellowships at owu.edu/Baran and more about the university's Leland F. and Helen Schubert Honors Program at owu.edu/honors.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature experience, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to understand issues from multiple academic perspectives, volunteer in service to others, build a diverse and global perspective, and translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives" and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review "Best Colleges" lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.