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Elon sophomore receives 2013 Ward Family Learning in Action Award

Amber Schmiesing will use the award to take part in the "Elon in LA" program and a new "Dance for the Camera" course.

From left: Vice President and Dean of Students Smith Jackson; sophomore Amber Schmiesing; and Chase Ward '14.

The Ward Family Learning in Action Award was established in 2007 through a gift from the Ward family-Dorothy Mears Ward GP’05, ‘08, and ’14, Tom and Beth Ward P’05,‘08, and ‘14, A.T. Ward ’05, Christopher Ward ’08 and Chase Ward ’14.

This award annually recognizes one rising sophomore, junior or senior and their experiential learning project. The projects may include, but are not limited to, international study, undergraduate research, internships, and service and leadership experiences. Nineteen applications were submitted for the Ward Family Learning in Action Award this year.

Below is a brief synopsis of the winning project plus the top four additional projects.

The Ward Family Learning in Action Award for 2013 was presented April 25 by Chase Ward and Smith Jackson to the winner at the ODK Ceremony.

Amber Schmiesing '15
Project:  Elon in LA Program with a focus in dance

“Ever since I was a child, I loved to be creative," Schmiesing wrote in her award application. "I began to learn about my own creative voice during high school when I combined my passions for filmmaking and dance choreography. Now that I am at Elon, I have developed more as an artist and have a unique opportunity to take part in a new Dance for the Camera course at the Elon in L.A. program. I would also have a chance to complete a professional internship at a dance and film organization. I believe the Ward Family Learning in Action Award to be a necessity in order to take part in this wonderful opportunity and a way that will help me achieve great knowledge and gain professional experience over the summer.”

The additional top four applications are summarized below:

Mathew Goldberg, along with Sam Italiano, Brittany Graham, and Paige Ransbury
Project: Handmade Co-Op: community art cooperative

“The Handmade Co-Op is a community art cooperative with the mission of revitalizing downtown Burlington by creating an outlet for artists to display and sell their work, while offering a space for people to appreciate the creation of art," Goldberg wrote in the award application. "The Handmade Co-Op has evolved from the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows sophomore class “Community Empowerment”, an upper-level political science class that taught the history and strategies of community development and organizing.” The Co-Op has 15 owners and a strong support system. The Co-Op has already planned four successful showcases, which has increased the confidence and personal growth of each artist.

Carling Andrews
Project: Health & Happiness center

Andrews is developing an independent research project involving social innovation, cultural entrepreneurship, community organizing and social entrepreneurship to create a plan to foster social change in our society. She plans to also develop a “venture of my own that I could carry out after graduation and answer the question of ‘how to best structure a social entrepreneurship center fostering health and happiness.’ I believe that my project will provide a way for individuals to find the happiness and personal peace we all strive for.”

Rebecca Schneider
Project: ADHD research

Schneider shares in her application about her younger “crazy boy” brother that was “quite a fireball of energy.” She wrote, “living with my bother has allowed me to observe firsthand the frustrations and difficulties experienced by those with ADHD. I have developed a tremendous amount of compassion for ADHD children and have made it one of my main purposes in life to help individuals who have ADHD. I have a currently growing list of questions about ADHD I hope to answer one day through biochemical research.”

Kate Rasmussen
Project: Influence of cholesterol on neurothropic receptor

“The human brain has fascinated me for as long as I can remember," Rsmussen wrote in her application. "After only the first day of my course in Behavioral Neuroscience with Dr. (Mat) Gendle, I knew I wanted to study the brain. Through an extensive literature review, I found that the p75 neurotrophic receptor is a potentially critical contributor to brain cell death. I also found that cholesterol affects the function of p75 neurotrophic receptor through a process which can either keep neurons alive or induce cell death. I set out, therefore, to investigate these interactions in model membranes.”  Rasmussen continues with her research, along with plans to attend professional conferences, seminars and research presentations.

Alexander Papp
Project: Mobile Photovoltaic Generator

“This would consist of a small trailer that contains a rechargeable battery pack, powered by a solar panel system," Papp wrote in his application. "The engineering aspect involves configuring the PV panels, charge controllers, lead-acid batteries, and inverters to all work together in an efficient and effective manner, while the environmental aspect involves minimizing fossil fuel consumption and reducing cost by utilizing renewable energy source. The primary aim is to provide an alternative energy source to power off-campus/off-grid activities such as the construction projects on the Loy farm, as well as music and electronics during college coffee. It would also help power Elon’s electric vehicle fleet.” 

- Information submitted by Susan Lindley, executive assistant to the vice president for Student Life

Eric Townsend,
5/6/2013 1:10 PM