Honors Summer Research fellows announced

| May 15, 2013

Eleven Sweet Briar students have been awarded Honors Summer Research Fellowships for 2013.

Among the selected students are rising juniors Ashley Baker and Fumin Li, who just completed Pannell Scholarships, as well as Dolores Gallagher, Moriah Donaldson and Amy Kvien; rising seniors Kaitlyn Cartwright, Rebecca Dalley, Anna Donko, Katlyn Fleming and Lilian Tauber; and soon-to-be graduate Jennifer Gray.

“This is a bigger group of students than we have had in a while,” said Julie Hemstreet, who organizes the program. “We also had a bigger and much more competitive pool of applicants than we have had in many years.”

Under the supervision of a faculty member, each student will conduct independent research on a topic of her choice. The eight-week, on-campus program offers participants a exceptional academic experience by providing the opportunity for intensely focused research, a one-on-one working relationship with a faculty mentor, and weekly meetings and presentations by both professors and students highlighting their ongoing research.

For more information about the program, email [email protected].


Ashley Baker ’15
Faculty sponsor: Rob Granger (Chemistry)
With an understanding of photosynthesis, Baker will replicate it using organometallic catalysts (molecules that contain both carbon and metal atoms).

Kaitlyn Cartwright ’14
Faculty sponsor: Abraham Yousef (Chemistry)

An important aspect of anticancer research is the development of compounds that possess selectivity to cancer cells and the ability to avoid resistance from cancer cells. Cartwright will synthesize a novel organic compound containing a phenanthroline scaffold that will allow for binding to platinum and a 3(2H)-furanone core. The compound will later be tested against various cancer cells, both with and without platinum. The project will serve as the beginning of her Honors thesis work.

Katlyn Fleming ’14
Faculty sponsor: Abraham Yousef (Chemistry)
Fleming’s research project involves a novel organic compound containing a phenanthroline scaffold designed to bind to platinum. While platinum-containing compounds are known to be effective against cancer cells, not all compounds are equally effective, and some cancer cells can develop resistance to currently known drugs. The target compound will be synthesized this summer and later tested against various cancer cells, both with and without platinum. Fleming will continue her research in her senior Honors thesis.

Rebecca Dalley ’14
Faculty sponsor: Janet Steven (Biology)
Using clonal growth in plants, Dalley will investigate the age of interrupted ferns (Osmunda claytoniana L.). Interrupted fern rhizomes grow at a slow rate of about a quarter inch per year. With the use of DNA markers and measurements taken during sampling, Dalley will determine the approximate age and illuminate the history of the current forest undergrowth.

Moriah Donaldson ’15
Faculty sponsor: Scott Pierce (Engineering)
Donaldson’s project aims to help develop a new treatment for phantom limb pain, a syndrome affecting 80 percent of amputees. She’ll create a realistic, computer-based simulation of hands as they perform grasping and pointing motions. Her two main goals are constructing a complete kinematic model of a hand in motion, and using a solid modeling library to create dimensionally correct models.

Anna Donko ’14
Faculty sponsor: Pamela DeWeese (Modern languages and literatures)
Through her research, Donko aims to demonstrate how Ramón del Valle-Inclán’s theatrical concept of “Esperpento” molded his creation of the fictitious, dictatorial world in his masterpiece, “Tirano Banderas,” a novel depicting the fall of a cruel South American dictator.

Fumin Li ’15
Faculty sponsor: Bethany Brinkman (Engineering)
Using AutoCAD, Li will create a virtual model of Sweet Briar House that people can visit online.

Dolores Gallagher ’15
Faculty sponsor: Bryce Walker (Classics, philosophy and religion)
During her project, Gallagher will study medicine in ancient Greece, particularly its relationship to Greek culture. She will also look at the Hippocratic oath and its influence on doctors at the time and today.

Jennifer Gray ’13
Faculty sponsors: Lynn Laufenberg (History) and Eric Casey (Classics)
Through a comparative historical study, Gray hopes to understand how the perception of women with political power evolved between the 5th century B.C. and the 6th century A.D.

Amy Kvien ’15
Faculty sponsor: Sherry Forbes (Economics)
Kvien’s research project seeks to understand the effect of the recent financial regulations in response to the Great Recession on the structure of the financial services industry.

Lilian Tauber ’14
Faculty sponsor: Lynn Laufenberg (History)
In her research, Tauber will investigate the Arab Spring and its impact on the emergence or expansion of political and human rights in the countries involved. Among other things, she will explore whether U.S. interests in the region have had an impact on this process. Tauber hopes to shed light on it through a comparative, historical investigation into discernible U.S. influence in two case studies (Egypt and Morocco), focusing on the integration of political rights into government institutions in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Category: Academics, Honors