W&L Announces Winners of 2014 Johnson Opportunity Grants

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L to R: Joy Putney, Bailey Ewing, Thomas Bednar, Daphine Mugayo, Adele Irwin and Tierney Wolgemuth

Washington and Lee University has announced the first round of students selected to receive 2014 Johnson Opportunity Grants, and the second round of selections is underway.

The grants are part of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity, which awards approximately 30 Johnson grants each spring/summer to support students' research activities around the world. They are designed to help the students in their chosen fields of study as well as in their future careers. Students will receive between $1,000 and $4,500 to cover their living, travel and other costs associated with their activities.

This year's students will participate in a variety of activities, including conducting research into corporate responsibility in Denmark; researching endangered coral reefs in Belize; interning at the Bureau of European and Asian Affairs in Washington, D.C.; volunteering at a health clinic in Argentina; researching gastrointestinal electrical activity at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and researching Tibetan Buddhist shrines in Nepal and Tibet.

  • Thomas Bednar, a junior from Chapmansboro, Tenn., will intern at the Bureau of European and Asian Affairs in the Office of Political and Regional Affairs in Washington, D.C. He is an economics and politics double major, with an emphasis in global affairs. The internship will give Bednar firsthand experience of the pressing matters that the United States faces in international affairs and expose him to the workings of the State Department, where he intends to pursue a career in international affairs as a Foreign Service officer. He is a Johnson Scholar, a member of the W&L chapter of College Democrats and a member of Sigma Nu fraternity.
  • Betsy Cribb, a junior from Charleston, S.C., will accompany Melissa Kerin, assistant professor of art history at W&L, to Nepal and Tibet as her research assistant on the materiality of Tibetan Buddhist shrines. Cribb will collect information about devotees' engagement with the shrines through observations and interviews, analyze the materials used on the shrines and document activities at the shrines. Cribb is an art history and journalism and mass communications double major and a Johnson Scholar. She is a member of Kappa Delta sorority, a peer counselor and member of the Student Recruitment Committee. She also works in W&L's Communications Office as part of a student team that promotes W&L through social media platforms.
  • Bailey Ewing, a junior from Dallas, Texas, will spend the summer in Denmark working for Deloitte's Denmark Corporate Social Responsibility team. She is a business administration and accounting major and will research how not-for-profit organizations that receive time and products from corporations can translate those donations into accurate market values on their financial statements. This will enable them to elicit larger sums of state support which is allocated to non-profit organizations that can demonstrate public support.  Ewing is standards president and academic excellence chair of Kappa Delta sorority. She is also president of L.I.F.E, promoting a healthy lifestyle among the student body, and a member of the Ministry Leadership Team on campus.
  • Adele Irwin, a junior from Essex Fells, N.J., is a biology major with a creative writing minor. She will join Lisa Greer, associate professor of geology at W&L, who will lead a consortium of faculty and geology students to collect live samples of endangered corals in Belize for analysis and carbon dating to determine the exact age of the reef. The aim is to determine why endangered corals are thriving at the research site while they are declining at most other reefs in the Caribbean.  Irwin is a member of W&L's women's varsity lacrosse team, the Washington and Lee Outing Club and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
  • Daphine Mugayo, a junior from Kampala, Uganda, is a pre-med student majoring in biochemistry and economics with a minor in poverty and human capability studies. She will spend the summer conducting research in molecular genetics under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph Goldstein '62, Nobel Prize-winner in medicine and chairman of the department of molecular genetics at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Mugayo is a member of the Student Recruitment Committee.
  • Joy Putney, a sophomore from Fairfax, Va., will conduct research at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute in New Zealand into effective signal processing and modeling of gastrointestinal (GI) electrical activity. Putney is a double major in physics/engineering and biology. Her specific project will involve understanding the physiological basis behind the propagation of spike waves—a type of GI activity that occurs in the small intestine. She is a member of the General's Christian Fellowship, Engineers Without Borders, Model United Nations and Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society.
  • Tierney Wolgemuth, a sophomore from Mount Joy, Pa., will volunteer at a health clinic in Cordoba, Argentina. She is a biochemistry major with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and will assist doctors in giving personal care and vaccines. She will also organize and lead educational workshops that promote personal hygiene, nutrition, disease prevention and healthy lifestyles. She is a Johnson Scholar, a member of Chi Omega fraternity, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society and the W&L Outdoors Club. Her other activities include tutoring other students in chemistry, volunteering at Rockbridge Regional Health Center and tutoring Hispanic girls as a member of English Speakers of Other Languages.
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