Yes, and Know

Ohio Wesleyan OKs $107,300 in Grants to Support OWU Connection Experiences

By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan junior Abbi Turner earned an OWU Theory-to-Practice Grant to support volunteering at a wildlife organization in Zimbabwe. She also has completed OWU Connection experiences in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Tanzania. (Image courtesy of Abbi Turner)

DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University today announced the awarding of more than $107,300 in spring semester Theory-to-Practice Grants to support 17 OWU Connection experiences around the world.

The OWU Connection uses Theory-to-Practice Grants, Travel-Learning Courses, internships and externships, semester abroad opportunities, and more 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).

Abbi Turner, a junior from Indianapolis, Indiana, recently completed a Theory-to-Practice Grant-supported experience at the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Zimbabwe.

“Experiences like this one are important because you get the chance to learn a lot and make a difference by being very hands-on,” said Turner, a Zoology major and Black World Studies minor. “Because of OWU, I have traveled to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands with a marine biology Travel-Learning Course, spent a semester in Tanzania with the OWU in Tanzania program, and now have been to Zimbabwe volunteering with Wildlife.”

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

  • “Walking through Time: History, Literature, Geology and Environment along Offa’s Dyke Path in Wales and England,” submitted by Ellen Arnold, associate professor of history, and Will Kopp, chief communications officer, with sophomore Gracie Clevenger of Canal Winchester, Ohio; junior Peyton Hardesty of Columbus, Ohio; junior Kyle Hogan of Centerburg, Ohio; and junior John Keller of Clarkston, Michigan. The group will visit England and Wales from June 15 to July 1 to walk the 177-mile Offa’s Dyke Path, a national walkway, while they explore the historical, scientific, and cultural factors that have affected the site since the Stone Age.
  • “Mayo Clinic Internship,” submitted by junior Landry Cowles of Louisville, Ohio. Cowles will intern at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, from May 27 to Aug. 16 under the direction of Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. Cowles will help with Nelson’s current research using induced pluripotent stem cell technology as a therapeutic measure for hypoplastic left heart syndrome in children.
  • “First-Gen Students and the Promise of Mobility,” submitted by Paul Dean, associate professor of sociology-anthropology, and Brad Pulcini, associate dean for student engagement, with sophomore Scott Hughes of Bidwell, Ohio; junior Claudia Kelly of Ukiah, California; and sophomore Mallorie Watts of Delaware, Ohio. The group will visit Denmark, the country with the greatest social mobility in the world, from May 12 to May 21 to understand the factors that facilitate and impede mobility, as well as the experiences of first-generation college students who climb the class hierarchy.
  • “Summer Internship at Wolf Park, Indiana,” submitted by junior Jess Dong of Lewis Center, Ohio. Dong will intern at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana, for three months this summer, where she will observe the role of each wolf pack member and their multiple communication methods, including parent-offspring interactions. She will work to connect the theory of developmental behavior to the importance of having intact wolf packs.
  • “OWU Summer Music Camp,” submitted by Richard Edwards, associate professor of music, with sophomore Luis Gonzales of Rancho Cucamonga, California; sophomore Noah Green of Granville, Ohio; junior Kathryn Lawson of Cincinnati, Ohio; freshman Maddie Marusek of Gahanna, Ohio; junior Alex McPherson of Akron, Ohio; and five students yet to be selected. Edwards is working to create a new summer music camp open to all middle school students in band, choir, and orchestra. The new camp will be held this year from July 8 to July 12, with the students helping to teach and serve as camp counselors.
  • “Summer in the Land of the Firebird,” submitted by junior Amanda Hays of Winthrop, Maine. Hays will intern at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, from June 10 to July 17. Founded in 1764, the Hermitage is the second-largest art museum in the world.
  • “Education and Empowerment in Rural Malawi,” submitted by junior Carrie Kubicki of Amherst, Ohio. Kubicki will intern at the nonprofit organization Determined to Develop in Malawi, Africa, from June 3 to June 23. Her work will focus on women’s empowerment programming.
  • “Comparative Study of Societal Opioid Exposition in Delaware, Ohio, and Reykjavik, Iceland,” submitted by senior Mona Lynch of Columbus, Ohio. Lynch visited Iceland from March 8 to March 17 to create a case study of the growing international opioid crisis and responses to control it.
  • “A Summer Internship Experience in the World of Business Strategy Consulting,” submitted by sophomore Emily McKinley of Mount Vernon, Ohio. McKinley will intern over the summer with Artemis Connection in Mukilteo, Washington, and visit there from June 16 to July 4 to assist the strategy consulting firm with the Ascend Leadership Summit it is hosting this summer.
  • “Functional Characterization of Human Neuronal-like Cells Ex Vivo from a Glioblastoma Cell Line,” submitted by junior Maddie Meyer of West Bloomfield, Michigan. Meyer will work at Ohio Wesleyan through May 15 to explore techniques for quantifying RNA and protein expression. She began her research in February and also is using fluorescent microscopy to study the function of neuron-like cells.
  • “Gut Microbiome and Infectious Disease Research,” submitted by Sam Miller of Oakwood, Ohio. Miller will complete independent research at McGovern Medical School and School of Public Health in Houston, Texas, from May 18 to July 28 with Herbert DuPont, M.D., a 1961 Ohio Wesleyan graduate who explores the epidemiology, immunology, genetic resistance, clinical features, control, prevention and therapy of enteric infectious diseases.
  • “The Complexities of Freedom in Colonial New Orleans,” submitted by junior Paris Norman of Cleveland, Ohio. Norman will visit New Orleans from May 7 to May 16 to conduct research on colonial-era Black women. Norman’s purpose is to explore the meaning of freedom as it pertained to these women by investigating Les Codes Noirs, the Tignon Laws, and the fancy girls trade.
  • “Investigation of the Neuroimmune Genes and Their Actions in Alzheimer’s Disease,” submitted by junior Ismail Ozgenc of Nicosia, North Cyprus. Ozgenc will intern at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard/Harvard Department of Neurology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from May 20 to Aug. 16 under the direction of Beth Stevens, Ph.D. Ozgenc will explore the actions of neuroimmune genes in brain. His research targets Alzheimer’s Disease for new gene discovery, mechanism of action, and possible therapeutic resolutions.
  • “Archaeology at Halmyris,” submitted by junior Bridget Roddy of Mount Vernon, Ohio. Roddy will visit Romania from July 6 to Aug. 3 and serve as part of the 2019 volunteer excavation team at the Roman fort of Halmyris with the program Archaeology at Halmyris.
  • “An Analysis of Neurofibromatosis Type 1 in Children with ASD and ADHD, Australia, 1 0.,” submitted by junior Katy Tuggle of Amherst, Ohio. Tuggle will intern at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, from May 31 to July 15 under the direction of Jonathan Payne, D.Psych. Tuggle will study “neurofibromatosis type 1, a multisystem genetic disorder, and its relationship to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder through phenotyping and neuroimaging studies.” The results may have the potential to enhance personalized pediatric treatments.
  • “International Outreach – A Citizen Science Collaboration,” submitted by junior Janelle Valdinger of Delaware, Ohio. Valdinger will visit the village of Hopkins, Belize, from May 25 to June 6 to participate in a citizen science project to develop GIS data to help effectively manage and develop public utilities in the global south. The effort also involves the University of Central Florida.
  • “¿Comprenden su salud?: Examining the Health Literacy of Costa Rica and the United States,” submitted by junior Gretchen Weaver of Hudson, Ohio. Weaver will travel to Costa Rica from May 12 to May 25 to compare the health literacy of native Spanish-speaking patients in Costa Rica and Spanish-speaking patients in the United States. She will explore whether native cultures increase health literacy.

After the students complete their OWU Connection experiences, they will prepare reports and presentations based on their objectives and experiences to share with the campus community. 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 25 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