Ohio Wesleyan’s Merrick Hall is known as the home of The OWU Connection, with students able to get advice on how to incorporate Theory-to-Practice Grants, Travel-Learning Courses, and other components of The OWU Connection into their university experience. (Photo by Larry Hamill)

Opportunity Granted

Ohio Wesleyan Announces New Theory-to-Practice Awards to Support Student Experiences

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University students will complete projects in structural biology, data analytics, golden age Spanish theater, video game psychology, and more using $15,500 in newly awarded, university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grants.

The grants are part of Ohio Wesleyan’s signature program, The OWU Connection. The unique program is designed to help students think big (understand issues from multiple academic disciplines), go global (gain international perspective), and get real (translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience).

Those earning fall 2020 Ohio Wesleyan Theory-to-Practice Grants and their projects are:

  • “Structural Biology: A Tool for Studying Modern Medicinal Practices,” submitted by Kaden Hubly, a junior from Kankakee, Illinois. During the summer, Hubly will study X-ray diffraction techniques using the Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SRL). “Recent studies using the SRL have helped aid in cancer chemotherapy drug design, enzyme kinetics, and biocompatibility of medical devices,” says Hubly, a pre-medicine and pre-professional zoology double major.
  • “Certified Yoga Instructor,” submitted by Max Johnston, a senior from Perrysburg, Ohio. From January through April, Johnston plans to complete a 200-hour training course to earn yoga teacher certification through the Yoga Alliance. “I have been given permission from my lacrosse coach to hold a team yoga class with my lacrosse team,” says Johnston, a philosophy and psychology double major. “This will allow me to put my new instructing skills to practice.”
  • “Our New Gold: Golden Age Spanish Monologues Reinterpreted,” submitted by Jasmine Lew, a junior from Fremont, California, in collaboration with students Marcos Crespo, a sophomore from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and Fiona Hansen, a senior from Groveport, Ohio, and faculty member Glenda Nieto-Cuebas, Ph.D., associate professor of modern foreign languages. The digital media project will combine the fields of Spanish and theatre, with students translating Spanish theatrical texts and adapting them to heighten their focus on social issues. The spring semester project will enable students to “work with professional artists and scholars, take workshops, improve their Spanish language skills, acquire new theatrical experience, and develop managerial skills,” says Lew, a theatre education major and Spanish minor.
  • “Advancement in Data Analytics,” submitted by Alex Riess, a junior from Dayton, Ohio. Riess will use his OWU Connection grant to attend the Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), part of the University of Michigan. Held in July and August, the program will allow Riess, a data analytics major, to “expand my analytical skills and complete my research to share with others.”
  • “Video Game Genres and Emotional Intelligence,” submitted by Omar Santiagonunez Ahumada, a senior from Metepec, Mexico, with Harika Vandrasi, a sophomore from Dublin, Ohio. Their research will explore how video game consumers evaluate their own emotional intelligence (EQ) and how their media consumption relates to this aspect of their personality. The research will involve high school and college-age students. “We hypothesize that individuals with strong perceived emotional intelligence will evaluate correctly their emotions and will seek out tailored gratification from video game play,” says Santiagonunez Ahumada, a neuroscience and biochemistry double major and biology minor.
  • “Techniques for Performing Shakespeare Outdoors,” submitted by faculty member Bradford Sadler, M.F.A., a theatre and dance instructor. Sadler, a 2005 OWU graduate, will work with 15 current students to introduce them to tools designed to develop their skills when performing Shakespeare outdoors. They will use their newfound skills during a spring semester theatre production, an updated version of “Twelfth Night,” reimagined by Sadler for modern times.

After the students complete The OWU Connection experiences, they will prepare reports and presentations based on their objectives and experiences, with many presenting at the annual Student Symposium in the spring.

In addition to Theory-to-Practice Grants, The OWU Connection includes Travel-Learning Courses, mentored research, internships, and more. Learn more at owu.edu/connection.


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 undergraduate majors than many universities its size and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. 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. Learn more at owu.edu.