Press Release, Global, Make The Connection

Ohio Wesleyan Awards Six Theory-to-Practice Grants

January 25, 2018 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan junior Josh Martineau (left) used a university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to support his work in Costa Rica with an organization that helps women refugees seeking to start businesses. (Photo courtesy of Josh Martineau)

Newest University-Funded Grants to Support OWU Connection Experiences in Five Countries

DELAWARE, OHIO – From megavirus research in Iceland to music composition in Italy, Ohio Wesleyan University’s latest round of competitive Theory-to-Practice Grants will support educational experiences in five countries. 

The university today announced it is awarding six grants totaling $50,000 to enable 12 students and three faculty members to complete OWU Connection experiences. Since fall 2009, more than 800 Ohio Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff have earned the university-funded grants to conduct research or complete special projects in more than 60 countries.

Ohio Wesleyan junior Josh Martineau used a university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to support his working in Costa Rica for a month with the non-governmental organization (NGO), Fundación Mujer. The organization helps women refugees seeking to start businesses.

“[T]his experience gave me a preview as to how a non-governmental organization runs and is structured in other countries,” said Martineau, who is pursuing majors in international business and Spanish and a minor in politics and government

“After reflecting on my experience,” he said, “I am considering pursuing a career with a company that helps their community through microcredit and similar services.”

 Ohio Wesleyan awards four rounds of Theory-to-Practice Grants funding each academic year. Here are the second round of fall 2017 grant recipients and their projects:

“Investigating the Prevalence of Megaviruses in Iceland,” submitted by junior Delanie Baker of Santa Paula, California. Baker will travel to Iceland for a month in June and July to work to fill in current gaps in knowledge about the Megavirales order of giant viruses. Following specialized training at the University of Akureyri, she will collect samples from volcanic soil, fresh water, salt water, and sand to isolate and identify as part of a botany-microbiology independent study course.

“Studying Spindly Leg Syndrome in Endangered Panamanian Frogs,” submitted by junior Eva Blockstein of Takoma Park, Maryland. Blockstein will volunteer for eight weeks in June, July, and August at the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center. She will collaborate with Brian Gratwicke, Ph.D., on his research into the musculoskeletal abnormality and conduct independent research into Panama’s biodiversity.

“A Summer of Both Theories & Practices of Performance,” submitted by junior Ares Harper of Columbus, Ohio. Harper will travel to New York City in June to spend a month studying with one of the pioneering American practitioners of avant-garde theater in the 21st century. The advanced workshop will focus on the depth and breadth of the power of theater as a process and product.

“From Notes to Sound: Contemporary Composition in Alba, Italy,” submitted by Jennifer Jolley, D.M.A., assistant professor of music, with music composition students Noah Green, a freshman from Granville, Ohio, and sophomores Jess Martich of Grafton, Ohio, and Mi So Yoo of Seoul, South Korea. The group will travel to Italy in May and June, attend the Alba Music Festival Composition Program, where they will participate in masterclasses and workshops on topics ranging from elements of compositional craft to career issues. They also will work with the SOLI Chamber Ensemble, the ensemble-in-residence at the program.

“A Collective Study of French Imperialism: The Cultural Tools and Consequences of Colonialism as Seen in Paris and Southern France,” submitted by Mary Anne Lewis Cusato, Ph.D., assistant professor of modern foreign languages, with David Counselman, Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish, and students Allie Eynon, a junior from Dublin, Ohio; Raissa Kanku, a sophomore from the Democratic Republic of Congo; Paris Norman, a sophomore from Cleveland, Ohio; Farida Rezk, a sophomore from Columbus, Ohio; and Caroline Shaffer, a junior from Murphysboro, Illinois. The group will travel to France for a week in May and June to explore the genesis, uses, and critiques of “francophonie” (the French-speaking world). 

“A Voice for the Hispanic Community of Seattle,” submitted by junior Mikayla Robinson of Marengo, Ohio. Robinson will travel to Seattle for three months in the summer to volunteer with El Centro de la Raza, an organization that advocates for the Latinx community. 

When the students return to campus after completing their OWU Connection experiences, they will prepare reports and presentations based on their objectives and experiences.

The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan’s unique approach to experiential student learning, links academic theory with real-world practice; crosses disciplinary boundaries to support deeper, interconnected learning; and prepares students for global citizenship and leadership. It includes Theory-to-Practice Grants, Travel-Learning Courses, internships, and more. Learn more about The OWU Connection at www.owu.edu/owuconnection.


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 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” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.