Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Awards 17 New Theory-to-Practice Grants

January 6, 2016 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan student Erica Shah '16 visits Brussels to study the European Union. Her travel-learning experience was supported by a competitive, university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant. (Photo courtesy of Erica Shah '16)

University-Funded Program Supports Learning Experiences Across Country, Around World

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University is awarding $104,600 to its students and faculty in competitive Theory-to-Practice Grants to support research and special projects on topics ranging from conflict resolution in Northern Ireland to nanotechnology in India.

Since launching the Theory-to-Practice Grant program in fall 2009, Ohio Wesleyan has awarded nearly $1.5 million in university funds to the campus community, enabling nearly 750 OWU students, faculty, and staff to conduct research or complete special projects in 60 countries, including the United States.

Senior Erica Shah of Mumbai, India, an economics and pre-law double major, previously earned a Theory-to-Practice Grant to travel to Belgium to study how the European Union operates and advances its goals in a climate of such cultural, economic, and political diversity.

“Words can’t describe how positive this experience has been for me,” Shah said of her international experience. “I have become more curious, and am really seeking experiences and opportunities where I can learn, grow, and become a good global citizen and try to learn from everyone and every situation.”

Ohio Wesleyan awards two rounds of Theory-to-Practice Grants funding each academic year. Here are the fall 2015 grant recipients and their projects:

“Ethnic Integration and Material Culture in Roman Gaul,” submitted by Ellen Arnold, associate professor of history, with juniors Amanda Sisler of Wadsworth, Ohio, and Summer Tompkins of East Falmouth, Massachusetts. In June, they will travel to Germany and France to visit key sites in the history and archaeology of Roman Gaul, including museums and historical reconstructions.

“The New Irish Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (Irish GAAP) and the Irish Tax System – Opportunities and Challenges Abound,” submitted by Justin Breidenbach, assistant professor of accounting, with junior Lydia Hall of Sherwood, Ohio, and juniors Jaclyn Knoble of Canton, Ohio, and Haley Walls of Delaware, Ohio. In May, they will visit Ireland to conduct interviews and research at the headquarters of the country’s Financial Reporting Council as well as other government offices, public accounting firms, and professional organizations.

“Personal Narratives in Conflict Resolution: Northern Ireland,” submitted by Amy Butcher, assistant professor of English, with Lisa Ho, associate chaplain; first-year students Anna Davies of Saint Clairsville, Ohio, and Jase Jacobson of Portland, Oregon; sophomore Emily Burns of Findlay, Ohio, and juniors Courtney Dunne of Cincinnati, Dominic Mejia of Bryan, Ohio, and Chase Smith of Bexley, Ohio. The group will spend two weeks in Northern Ireland in May studying the role of personal narratives in conflict resolution involving Catholic-Protestant issues.

“A Devil of a Disease: Conservation of the Endangered Tasmanian Devil through Disease and Population Management in Tasmania, Australia,” submitted by senior Larynn Cutshaw of Marietta, Ohio. During the summer, Cutshaw will complete an eight-week volunteer residency with the nonprofit Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, where she will learn population management techniques related to her interest in conservation management.

“Ohio Wesleyan Community Apiary,” submitted by junior Megan Deeter of Park Ridge, Illinois. Deeter will explore the development of a pesticide-free urban apiary at Ohio Wesleyan as part of international efforts to combat diminishing honey bee populations caused by pesticide usage, habitat loss, and disease.

“The Impact of Technology Advancements on Electronic Music Composition and Production,” submitted by first-year student Phil Foisie of Westport, Connecticut. Between May and August, Foisie will participate in a Recording Workshop experience in Chillicothe, Ohio, gaining practical experience in music composition and recording.

“Courtship Behavior and Paternity in the Sailfin Molly fish,” submitted by Shala Hankison, associate professor of zoology, with senior Madison Snider of Somerset, Ohio. This project seeks to understand how differences in male courtship behaviors impact the paternity of the resulting young.

“A Look into the Application and Sustainability of Nanotechnology in Mumbai, India,” submitted by senior Khoa Lam of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with seniors Justin Seffernick of Rocky River, Ohio; S.M. Bargeen Turzo of Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Kamali Jones of Ambler, Pennsylvania. In summer 2016, the four students will study the application and sustainability of nanotechnology in Mumbai by touring facilities, meeting with professors, and attending a related conference.

“Effects of Marginalization and Xenophobia in Europe: Cultural and Volunteer Experience in ‘El Gallinero’ and ‘La Monachina,’” submitted by junior Michael Mora-Brenes of Radnor, Ohio, with junior Rosa Escobar of Los Angeles. In May, they will perform volunteer work in Spain and Italy for two nonprofit organizations that help to educate children. The OWU students will study the social, cultural, political, and economic factors that have placed the young people in harsh environments.

“500 Years Later: Christianity in Post-Christian Wittenberg,” submitted by junior Kiersten Payne of Hicksville, Ohio. In May and June, Payne will travel to Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany, where Martin Luther released his “95 Theses” in 1517. Payne will to study how Christian faith is lived in a “Post-Christian” society.

“Bringing Education Full Circle through Attendance at an International Conference,” submitted by senior Alison Phillips of Columbus, Ohio, with senior Whitney Weadock of Hilliard, Ohio. In March and April, the early childhood education majors will attend the Association of Childhood Education International Global Summit on Childhood in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“Research Trips to Museums,” submitted by Karen Poremski, associate professor of English. She will travel to Portland, St. Paul, and Washington, D.C., to meet with native artists working in museums. Her research will contribute to a book-length project exploring the relationships between native people and museums, between native people and museum objects, and the role of literature in expressing these relationships.

6-Chloro-tryptophan and QUIN Accumulation, submitted by senior Yasmin Radzi of Spring, Texas. From January to May, Radzi will study the effects of 6-Chloro-tryptophan on the neurotoxin quinolinic acid (QUIN), which can cause secondary pathology with injuries.

“Hospital Medicine in Argentina,” submitted by junior Maria Salazar-Rodriguez of Valencia, Venezuela. In May and June, she will join a program created by the NGO Child Family Health International to compare differences between the Argentinean and the U.S. health care systems, as well as explore the geographically endemic diseases of that region and the most common diseases in Córdoba.

“The Berimbau and Capoeira Angola: Examining the Globalization of Angolan Cultural Heritage in Salvador, Brazil,” submitted by junior Quenton Stokes-Brown of Columbia, South Carolina. For six weeks in June and July, Stokes-Brown will travel to Brazil to study the musical complexities of the Berimbau (an Afro-Brazilian percussion instrument) and examine its centrality to the performance of Capoeira Angola (an Afro-Brazilian martial art).

“United We Stand: An Internship with the United Nations Human Rights Council,” submitted by junior Kaillie Winston of Millington, New Jersey. Issues handled by this U.N. Council include violence against women, human trafficking, children’s rights, and racial discrimination. During the summer, Winston will travel to Switzerland to work with the council.

“Speaking Up and Standing Out: Publicizing the Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation,” submitted by Kaillie Winston. BBC Woman’s Hour Radio has invited Winston to England this month to speak about work she completed in summer and fall, and her involvement with the international Clitoris Restoration Fund. The fund was created to help victims of female genital mutilation recover physically and mentally.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Theory-to-Practice Grant program, part of The OWU Connection experience.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,675 students represent 43 U.S. states and territories and 33 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.