Cara Harris earned an Ohio Wesleyan Theory-to-Practice Grant to support spending a month observing physicians in Uruguay. Harris, OWU Class of 2018, plans to attend medical school to become a surgeon. (Photo courtesy of Cara Harris)

Research Around the World

Ohio Wesleyan Awards 17 New Grants to Support OWU Connection Experiences in Eight Countries

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, OHIO – From exploring the effects of nuclear testing in French Polynesia to studying Shakespeare’s life in London, Ohio Wesleyan University students will visit eight countries as they complete their latest university grant-funded OWU Connection experiences.

The university today announced the awarding of 17 spring semester Theory-to-Practice grants totaling more than $122,000 to enable 80 students and seven faculty members to complete OWU Connection experiences. Since 2009, more than 900 Ohio Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff have earned these university-funded grants to conduct research or complete special projects in more than 61 countries.

Cara Harris, Class of 2018, used a Theory-to-Practice Grant (TPG) awarded last year to spend a month in Montevideo, Uruguay, shadowing physicians working in neurosurgery, internal medicine, anesthesiology, and general surgery.

“Professionally, this TPG experience made me realize that I want to be a surgeon,” said Harris, a double-major in neuroscience and psychology from Chicago, Illinois. “Overall, this project was a success. It was the real-world exposure I needed to show me that my future in the medical field is a real one.”

Ohio Wesleyan awarded four rounds of Theory-to-Practice Grant funding this academic year – two rounds each semester. Here are the latest grant recipients and their projects:

  • “Paradise Gone Nuclear: A Study on the Long-Term Effects of Nuclear Testing in French Polynesia,” submitted by Kayla Adolph of Toledo, Ohio. Adolph will travel to French Polynesia for a week in May to conduct research at the Service du Patrimoine Archivistique et Audiovisuel and interview experts. She will study the sociopolitical and environmental groups that are advocating for support for people with health issues related to nuclear testing in the region. She intends her research to become an integral part of her senior honors project in geography.
  • “Playwriting Workshop,” submitted by Daniel Brothers of Roanoke, Indiana. Brothers will attend a weeklong professional workshop in Cincinnati as he works to develop a long-form script. “I will have access to a group of professional actors who will read my drafts, which will help me to craft better a cohesive piece.  This is an uncommon opportunity that I will find invaluable.”
  • “Female Empowerment in Spanish Classical Theater,” submitted by Adrian Burr of Atlanta, Georgia, with Sarah Gielink of Twinsburg, Ohio, and Glenda Nieto-Cuebas, associate professor of modern foreign languages. The group will travel to Spain for two weeks in July to complete their project, which will include attending workshops and plays and interviewing those involved with the Almagro National Theatre Festival.
  • “Traveling to Bucerias, Mexico,” submitted by Avianna Carmoega of Lincoln, Massachusetts. Carmoega will seven weeks in Mexico in June and July completing an internship with Human Connections, a nonprofit social enterprise.
  • “Human Rights: Volunteer Work for the New York American Civil Liberties Union,” submitted by Victoria Chavez of Culver City, California. Chavez will spend 10 weeks this summer working with the ACLU to better understand its work in the areas of human rights, liberty, and education for all.
  • “Calabash: Exploring Jamaica’s Literary and Cultural Landscape,” submitted by Nancy Comorau, associate professor of English. Comorau, with students, Daniela Black of Westerville, Ohio, and Aliyah Owens of Columbus, Ohio. The group will travel to the Caribbean island nation for a week in May and June to attend the Calabash Literary Festival and explore the intersection of literary production, reception, and distribution on its economic structure. Among those they will meet is Simon Brown, OWU Class of 2008, a writer and entrepreneur from Jamaica who is performing at Calabash.
  • “Cultural Exploration in Latin America through Global Engagement,” submitted by Julien Essolakina of Washington, D.C. Essolakina and a group of 10 other OWU students will spend more than two weeks in Mexico in December to research issues of migration, microfinance, and indigenous rights with local artisans, micro-entrepreneurs, and local organizations.
  • “Art and Science Museums in the Age of Enlightenment and Industry,” submitted by Erin Fletcher, director of the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, with students Charlotte Gross of Columbus, Ohio; Hannah Jackson of Norwalk, Ohio; Josh Pletcher of Wellington, Ohio; and Thalia Sallas-Brookwell of Los Angeles, California; and faculty member Ashley Biser, associate professor of politics and government. The group will travel to the United Kingdom for two weeks in June to complete their research.
  • “Contemporary Francophone Jewelry Exhibit,” submitted by Erin Fletcher, who teaches a gallery management course in her role as director of the on-campus art museum. Fletcher will oversee collaborative research by 40 students to support an art exhibit to be held at the museum in fall 2019. This project, including travel to Quebec, Canada, will be tied to multiple classes in the fine arts and modern foreign languages departments.
  • “Promoting Peace: An Internship with Nonviolence International,” submitted by Alana Guzman of El Paso, Texas. Guzman will complete a three-month summer internship in Washington, D.C., with Nonviolence International, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to reduce the use of violence worldwide.
  • “Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: A Look into the Treatment of Disordered Intestinal Microbiome Diseases,” submitted by Jack Hibbard of Valparaiso, Indiana. Hibbard will spend nine weeks in June, July, and August conducting research with Herbert DuPont, M.D., at McGovern Medical School and School of Public Health in Houston, Texas. DuPont also is a 1961 Ohio Wesleyan graduate.
  • “Performance and Theater Workshop on Spanish Classical Theater,” submitted by Glenda Nieto-Cuebas, associate professor of modern foreign languages. During fall semester, 10 students enrolled in Spanish 365: Cervantes and the Quixote will study on campus with a professional theater company from Mexico, EFE TRES, culminating with a live performance of “El merolico,” based on three plays by Miguel de Cervantes.
  • “Much Ado About Shakespeare in London,” submitted by Rose Jonesco of Manhattan Beach, California. Jonesco will travel to England for four weeks in July and August to attend a practitioner workshop in Shakespearean drama at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. 
  • “Understanding Community Service through Spatial Justice in the Rural Life of Vulnerable Children in South Africa,” submitted by Raissa Kanku of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kanku will travel to South Africa for three weeks in July and August to conduct her research.
  • “Textile Study in Ireland,” submitted by Kayla Rondinelli of Centennial, Colorado; Moira Meehan of Bay Village, Ohio; and Sumner Wick of Norfolk, Massachusetts; and Cynthia Cetlin, professor of fine arts. The group will travel to Ireland for two weeks in May and June to conduct their research.
  • “A Spark Found(ry) in Seattle, Washington,” submitted by Allisa Schuller of Mansfield, Ohio. Schuller will travel to Seattle for an 11-week summer internship with Spark Foundry, part of a global media agency that works with clients including Starbucks and Recreational Equipment, Inc.
  • “Summer of Comedic Immersion,” submitted by Hannah Wargo of Medina, Ohio. Wargo will spend the summer in New York City taking comedy courses at two highly regarded comedy/improv studios: The Upright Citizens Brigade and the People’s Improv Theatre.

After the students complete their OWU Connection experiences, they will prepare reports and presentations based on their objectives and experiences.

The OWU Connection, the university’s signature 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). It includes Theory-to-Practice Grants, Travel-Learning Courses, internships, and more. Learn more about The OWU Connection 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 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