Anna Altman stands in a chemistry lab, wearing a lab coat and safety goggles, positioned in front of laboratory equipment.

Anna Altmann

Anna Altmann ’23

Majors: Chemistry, Computer Science

Hometown: Burlington, N.C.

A Lumen Scholar, Honors Fellow and recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, Anna is planning a career in environmental engineering and remediation. Anna is only the second Elon student to be named a Goldwater Scholar in their sophomore year. Anna’s research with mentor Associate Professor of Chemistry Justin Clar explored how the 4.95 trillion cigarette butts littered each year affect the environment. By collecting and testing thousands of cigarette butts — which involved devising a creative method to “smoke” cigarettes in the lab by drawing air through tubes and flasks — she found that discarded butts leach potentially harmful trace metals into soil and water. Further examination showed they also take in other metals such as lead. Anna was accepted to Duke University’s doctoral environmental engineering program and begins classes this fall.

Ons Yasmeen Mrad Bouali stands in front of a campus fountain at Elon University, dressed in a maroon graduation gown and holding a photo of her mother.

Ons Yasmeen Mrad Bouali

Ons Yasmeen Mrad Bouali ’23

Major: Biochemistry

Hometown: Herndon, Va.

At 15, when her mother was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cholangitis — a rare autoimmune liver disease — Ons made it her mission to advance treatment for the condition. Her Lumen Prize research with Associate Professor of Biology Tonya Train studied why certain medications prescribed off-label to PBC patients are effective. They found that those medications boost cells’ resistances to acid and reduce breakdown in the liver. Ons interned with the National Institutes of Health each summer since her first year and received the NIH Cancer Research Training Award each time. She also was a recipient of GlaxoSmithKline’s Women in Science Award each year from 2020 to 2023. Her work reviving Elon’s Pre-Health Society earned her the Janice J. Ratliff Student Org Member of the Year Award in 2023. Ons’ mother passed unexpectedly her senior year, but she completed her studies and research to graduate. Her commitment undiminished, she plans to complete a post-baccalaureate fellowship at the NIH and apply to medical schools beginning in 2024.

Megan Curling smiles in a navy dress as she stands in front of the historic bell, located in the rotunda of Alamance Building on Elon University's campus.

Megan Curling

Megan Curling ’23

Majors: Public Health Studies, Journalism

Hometown: Walnut Cove, N.C.

A high school service trip to Thailand ignited Megan’s drive to return to Thailand to tell the stories of communities affected by toxic gold-mining operations and the Radical Grandma Collective’s efforts toward environmental justice. Majoring in Public Health Studies and Journalism, the Communications Fellow applied for and received the Lumen Prize to fund efforts to travel to northeast Thailand, live with and interview residents from three villages and bring wider attention to their plight through international publications. While at Elon, Megan was the Student Government Association’s vice president of finance, the president of Lutherans, Episcopalians and Friends (LEAF), and a student representative on the 1923 Engagement Committee where she worked to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1923 campus fire. Megan received Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society’s William Moseley Brown Leadership Award and the Outstanding Senior Award in Journalism spring of her senior year. In May, the Elon University Board of Trustees elected Megan to a two-year term as a youth trustee. Beginning this summer, Megan is working with Cone Health and Alamance Regional Medical Center as an Elon Year of Service Fellow.

Amaya Gaines stands before pink flowers and the brick wall of Phi Beta Kappa Commons in Elon University's Academic Village.

Amaya Gaines

Amaya Gaines ’23

Major: Policy Studies

Hometown: Greensboro, N.C.

Amaya left her mark at Elon, receiving the Lumen Prize for research into policy analysis of government assistance programs and envisioning a new student-led think tank in the Department of Political Science and Policy Studies as a Leadership Fellow. Her Lumen research project with Assistant Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies Dillan Bono-Lunn examined how six states implement Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs and how those programs are experienced by people with intersectional identities like race, gender and class. That research showed the need for more inclusivity in the policy-making process for more effective solutions. Working again with Bono-Lunn, Amaya co-founded the Phoenix Policy Institute, a student-led policy think tank to amplify undergraduate policy research on campus. The for-credit course engages student writers and editors to publish policy analyses each semester. Amaya was accepted to Cornell University and will pursue a Ph.D. in public policy beginning this fall.

Madison George, wearing a silver blouse, smiles for the camera in front of a dark background.

Madison George

Madison George ’23

Major: Engineering, biomedical concentration

Hometown: Scottsdale, Ariz.

An Honors Fellow, Lumen Prize and Goldwater Scholarship recipient, Madison’s approach to researching and designing the first 3D-printed pole-vault spikes for women garnered attention from companies like Nike and Adidas and set her on a path toward a career in bioengineering. Madison began her research in her first year at Elon through the Maker Hub’s Kickbox program and connecting with Associate Professor of Engineering Scott Wolter and Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Education Shefali Christopher, who mentored her through her senior year. In spring 2023, Madison became the first Elon student chosen for the highly selective NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, a collaboration between the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.K. universities Oxford and Cambridge. The Colonial Athletic Association named her the 2022-23 CAA Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. This fall, she will attend Stanford University to pursue a doctorate in bioengineering.

Kiara Hunter, wearing a white and orange sweater, smiles for the camera in front of a dark background.

Kiara Hunter

Kiara Hunter ’23

Majors: Public Health Studies, Statistics

Hometown: Greensboro, N.C.

An Odyssey Scholar, Kiara completed all five Elon Experiences: studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa; performing service in Puerto Rico for hurricane relief; serving as treasurer of Elon’s Student Government Association, interning with the Helping Each Adolescent Reach Their Spark (H.E.A.R.T.S.) initiative; and receiving Elon’s highest undergraduate research award, the Lumen Prize. With her mentor, Associate Professor of Public Health Studies Stephanie Baker, she explored the experiences and needs of Black teen fathers and created a community advisory board that includes professors, researchers, nonprofit leaders and adolescent fathers. She was deeply involved with Elon’s Health, Equity and Racism (H.E.R.) Lab to advance access and equity in healthcare. Her senior year, Kiara was awarded the Rotary Global Grant Scholarship and will pursue a Master of Science in Population Health at University College London this fall.

Jack Morrill sitting on the edge of a stage with his chin resting in his palm, in front of a wall covered in balloons and posters.

Jack Morrill

Jack Morrill ’23

Majors: Acting, Arts Administration

Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

Jack enrolled at Elon because of opportunities around undergraduate research like the Lumen Prize. His own experience as a queer actor looking for compelling, nuanced portrayals of people from diverse backgrounds led him to examine ways to amplify a broader range of voices in theatre. His Lumen Prize research under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Theatre Susanne Shawyer found him exploring the history of modern theatre, backstage culture and ways performing arts could become more inclusive. In spring 2022, he organized three virtual panel discussions with queer artists and theatre professionals for the campus community. In 2023, he helped organize Luminosity: A Queer Arts Festival, the first of its kind at Elon. While at Elon, Jack also was a house manager for the Department of Performing Arts, a teaching and learning assistant for Associate Professor Kim Shively’s Acting 3 class, and assistant to the chair of the Department of Performing Arts. Morrill plans to relocate to London or New York City and found a theatre company that produces work for and by marginalized voices.

Eva Pierce, wearing a pink blazer over a black top, smiles for the camera in front of a brick building on Elon's campus.

Eva Pierce

Eva Pierce ’23

Major: Music Performance

Hometown: Roanoke, Va.

A first-generation college student, Eva achieved academic excellence, involved herself in campus life and broadened her lived experiences while at Elon. Pierce took the top award at N.C.’s chapter of the National Teachers of Singing Classical Competition and competed in the Mid-Atlantic regional competition in 2022. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy, as a Gilman Scholar — a national award assisting first-generation and underrepresented students in global study — where she performed the role of “Annina” alongside professional opera singers in Verdi’s “La Traviata.” A recipient of numerous scholarships and awards through the Department of Music, she most notably was recognized with department’s Presser Award in spring 2022 for her academic and musical accomplishments and leadership within the program. A German Studies minor, she served as president of Elon’s German Club. Pierce is a member of numerous honors societies, including Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Delta Phi Alpha, is vice president of Elon’s chapter of Phi Eta Sigma and is president of Elon’s chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity. This fall, Pierce continues her musical studies pursuing a Master of Music Performance at James Madison University.

Mallory Poff, wearing a cream blazer over a blue blouse, smiles for the camera in front of a glass wall.

Mallory Poff

Mallory Poff ’23

Major: Engineering

Hometown: Naples, Fla.

A growing engineering program and opportunities to perform with music ensemble programs first attracted Mallory to Elon. By her senior year, she’d made her mark in each of those areas and many others. Her Lumen Prize and Honors Fellows research with mentor Professor of Engineering Sirena Hargrove-Leak involved designing and building a solar-powered cooling unit to transport Loy Farm harvests to Elon Dining facilities and community agencies. Mallory served as a drum major with the Fire of the Carolinas Marching Band each year since her sophomore year and participated in several ensembles. She was president of Elon Engineers, the Honors Fellows’ social activities director, active in leading her sorority and its service projects and involved in aspects of religious life on campus. Mallory was accepted to Duke University’s Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Doctoral Program and enrolls this fall.

Maddy Starr poses under the oaks on Elon University's campus, dressed in a maroon graduation cap and gown.

Maddy Starr

Maddy Starr ’23

Majors: International and Global Studies, Religious Studies

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

A Multifaith Scholar, Starr arrived at Elon eager to study global connections and conflicts in pursuit of a career as a foreign service agent with the U.S. State Department. She studied abroad three times while an Elon student: in Jordan, India and in Israel, where she conducted ethnographic fieldwork around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with her mentor, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Allocco. Starr was particularly interested in the experiences of women and mothers in the region. The American Academy of Religion Southeast Region recognized Starr’s resulting research paper as Best Undergraduate Research Paper at its March 2023 conference. Starr also co-coordinated Elon’s annual Intersect: Diversity and Leadership Conference while interning with the Center for Leadership; served Greensboro’s refugee communities as an Alternative Break student coordinator for Elon Volunteers!; and was an outreach editor for the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics, housed in Elon’s Department of Political Science and Policy Studies. Following graduation, she plans to work for a non-governmental organization or think tank before pursuing a master’s degree in international studies.