comes to prestigious academic scholarships for American undergraduates,
the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) grant, the
Fulbright fellowship, and the Goldwater scholarship are tops. Thousands
of young scholars vie for these awards, and Mount Holyoke students have
a history of faring extremely well against stiff national competition.
This year was no exception.
Over the past
twenty years, Fulbright awards have enabled Mount Holyoke students to
study everything from literature in Pakistan to women's tobacco clubs
in Malawi. A Fulbright will take Kiyoko C. Takahashi '01 to Japan for
the next academic year. There, she will focus on cancer prevention research.
The biological sciences major graduated magna cum laude in May, completing
an honors thesis on cell adhesion molecules in microscopic organisms known
as Dictyostelium discoideum. In Japan, Takahashi will research the development
of chemotherapeutic agents derived from traditional medicines and natural
resources. Raised in New York, she has visited relatives in Japan, and
speaks “a little bit of Japanese," but views the coming year as a significant
cultural and professional immersion. The Fulbright program was created
by the United States Congress in 1946 to foster understanding among nations
through educational and cultural exchanges.
their stellar achievements in mathematics and science, three students
struck gold this year, Goldwater, that is. The Goldwater scholarship
is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics,
the natural sciences, and engineering and is the premier undergraduate
award of its type in these fields.
H. Burrows '02
and mathematical abilities run in the family of Elizabeth H. Burrows
'02—her father has a Ph.D. in biophysics and physiology and works for
NASA. Burrows intends to follow suit by earning a Ph.D. that combines
mathematics and environmental studies. Since the summer after her sophomore
year, Burrows has been getting her feet wet in environmental research
by working with Jill Bubier, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of
Environmental Studies, at a New Hampshire wetland. By comparing different
methods for measuring carbon dioxide exchange between the wetland ecosystem
and the atmosphere, the research will contribute to a long-term study
of environmental controls on greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands
in collaboration with scientists at the University of New Hampshire.
Burrows, a double major in mathematics and environmental studies, is
back at the New Hampshire site this summer, conducting research and
serving as a mentor for a younger Mount Holyoke student as part of the
College's Student Summer Research Cascade Mentoring Program.
at Mount Holyoke, Callan Ordoyne '03 immediately took some giant steps
toward reaching her goal of pursuing ecological research and a doctorate
in ecology. She and Clarisse Hart '03 were the only students in a first-year
tutorial on latitudinal gradients in species diversity of wetland plants
and animals taught by Aaron
Ellison, Fisher Professor of Environmental Studies. “This year, Calley
and Clarisse extended the work begun in our tutorial in their independent
research on the diversity of spiders in bogs," says Ellison. “In order
to do this work, they learned the intricacies of spider identification
and taxonomy, a rare skill. They are now two of three experts on spider
identification in the region." This summer Hart and Ordoyne, a biological
sciences major, are conducting a study of a possible competitive interaction
between web-building spiders and carnivorous pitcher plants in a bog near
the College. This project, supported by the National Science Foundation,
will be one of the few studies ever undertaken of competition for resources
between a plant and an animal.
K. Trias '03
Trias's father and brother both considered careers in physics and ended
up becoming lawyers. Trias, a physics major, seems determined not to
let any of the forces in the universe propel her in that direction—she
is firmly resolved to pursue a Ph.D. in physics. Her early influences
include science-related dinnertime conversation with her father and
the cosmologically based bedtime stories he told her. More recently,
she has been inspired by working with lasers under the guidance of Janice
Hudgings, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Physics. Trias plunged
into laser-related research the summer after her first year, participating
in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute summer program at the College.
For the last year, she has been working on an independent research project
in Hudgings's lab, examining the beam profile of a new type of semiconductor
laser. Says Hudgings, “I fully expect that Maggie's work will be published
in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. She impressed me from the start
with her determination and independence."
Generations of DAAD Grant Winners
Christiansen '01 and her father, Mount Holyoke professor of
economics Jens Christiansen.
Jette Christiansen '01, it's a case of like dad, like daughter—at
least where the DAAD grant is concerned. The Latin American studies
major and politics minor was awarded a DAAD grant for the next
academic year, the same grant her father, Mount Holyoke professor
of economics Jens Christiansen, received thirty-one years ago
as a graduate student at Germany's Hamburg University. The grant
enabled the elder Christiansen to study economics at Stanford
University. Now the DAAD will allow his daughter, who graduated
summa cum laude from the College in May, to spend ten months in
Hamburg researching transnational migration and citizenship in
Germany. Expanding on her honors thesis, which focused on the
immigration of Mexicans to the United States, Christiansen will
investigate how African migrants in Hamburg renegotiate their
identity, membership, and rights in the context of changing German
immigration policy and attitudes of German citizens. DAAD (the
German Academic Exchange Service) is a private, self-governing
organization of the universities in Germany. It promotes international
relations between institutions of higher education, especially
in the fields of academic and scientific exchange. Its fellowship
program provides a year of study at a German university to graduates
of United States colleges and universities.