Global, Press Release

December 1, 2016 | By Ohio Wesleyan University

Karson Stevenson ’16 traveled to Europe with an Ohio Wesleyan-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to study the behavior of sports fans. The grant program has enabled students to travel to more than 60 countries since it was launched. (Photo courtesy of Karson Stevenson)

Ohio Wesleyan Awards Nine Theory-To-Practice Grants

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

DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University is awarding nearly $55,000 to students and faculty in competitive Theory-to-Practice Grants to support research and special projects on topics ranging from Germany’s energy transition to France’s refugee issues to Australia’s adoption of global accounting protocols.

Since launching the Theory-to-Practice Grant program in fall 2009, Ohio Wesleyan has awarded nearly $1.67 million in university funds to the campus community, enabling more than 800 OWU students, faculty, and staff to conduct research or complete special projects in more than 60 countries, including the United States.

At the end of her senior year, Karson Stevenson, Class of 2016, used a Theory-to-Practice Grant to travel to the Netherlands, France, and England, where she explored alcohol-induced aggression and sports-related violence. Stevenson, a psychology and Spanish double-major and exercise science minor, learned that social class disparities and racial prejudices played a larger role than expected, and she plans to continue her research as a graduate student.

“This experience has been one of the most incredible, life-changing events in my life,” Stevenson said. “I have grown tremendously, both as an individual and as a scholar. … [T]he relationships I’ve created while on this trip are already exposing me to areas of study and career opportunities that I never even imagined. … I am excited to see where my research takes me in the future.”

Ohio Wesleyan awards two rounds of Theory-to-Practice Grants funding each academic year. Here are the fall 2016 grant recipients and their projects:

  • “Exploring the Prevalence and Perceptions of Dementia in a Rural Community in Tanzania,” submitted by senior Amanda Barry of Seville, Ohio, with Ali Skandor, part-time associate professor of black world studies. They will conduct research over two weeks in early January.
  • “Island Queerness: A Study on the Experiences of Taiwanese Queer People,” submitted by junior Ryan Bishop of Sofia, Bulgaria, and sophomore Spencer Zhang of Leshan, China. They will travel to Taiwan for two weeks in May.
  • “Australia’s Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) – Advantages and Drawbacks Over the Years,” submitted by Justin Breidenbach, assistant professor of accounting, with juniors Erin Cannon of Avon, Ohio, and Caitlin Maggio of Rochester, New York. They will travel to Australia for 10 days in May.
  • “Energiewende – Germany’s Energy Transition and What We Can Learn from It,” submitted by senior Billy George of Royal Oak, Michigan. George will travel to Germany for one week in March.
  • “A Look Into the Effects of Substance Abuse During Prenatal and Neonatal Development,” submitted by sophomores Cindy Huynh of West Chester, Ohio, and Mollie Marshall of Memphis, Tennessee. They will spend more than two months in New Zealand from late May to early August.
  • “Writing New Worlds: Exploring Agriculture, Ecology, and History in Western Guatemala,” submitted by senior Dalia Lorenzo of Redlands, California, and junior Evelynn Wyatt of Louisville, Kentucky. They will conduct their research over two weeks in early January.
  • “Documenting Human Rights through International Solidarity,” submitted by senior Matthew Mehaffy of Burlington, Iowa. He will travel to Portugal for nine days in March.
  • “Chinese Assimilation in the United States,” submitted by senior Marlene Polio of Los Angeles, with senior Grace Mitchener of Convoy, Ohio, and junior Bree Riggle of Hilliard, Ohio. They will conduct research in San Francisco and Los Angeles for nine days in March.
  • “Intersectionalities of the Refugee Crisis in France,” submitted by senior Maria Salazar Rodriguez of Valencia, Venezuela, with seniors Michael Mora-Brenes of Radnor, Ohio; Harang Jung of Kathmandu, Nepal; and Cemaliye Semmedi of Nicosia, Cypress. They will travel to France for nearly three weeks in December and January.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Theory-to-Practice Grant program, part of The OWU Connection experience. The OWU Connection helps students learn about issues from multiple academic perspectives and link classroom theory to real-world experience on a global scale. Learn more at

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. 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