Elon names 2008 Lumen Scholars

Fifteen rising juniors at Elon have been named recipients of the inaugural Lumen Prize, the university’s premier award that comes with a $15,000 scholarship to support and celebrate their academic achievements and research proposals.

Lumen Scholars will work closely with their mentors over the next two years to pursue and complete their projects.  Efforts will include course work, study abroad, research both on campus and abroad as well as during the regular academic year and summers, internships locally and abroad, program development, and creative productions and performances.

The name for the Lumen Prize comes from Elon’s historic motto, “NumenLumen,” which are Latin words meaning “spiritual light” and”intellectual light.” The words, which are found on the Elon Universityseal, signify the highest purposes of an Elon education.

The 2008 winners, in alphabetical order by last name:

Ryan Bleam
Danboro, Pa.
Mentor: Anne Bolin
Bleam will conduct a cross-cultural study of health care systems and alternative healing, emphasizing indigenous and alternative medicines.

Amanda Brown
Gahanna, Ohio
Mentor: Todd Lee
Brown will work on mathematical modeling of malaria epidemics in various regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

Margeaux Corby
Communications & Biology
Pasadena, Md.
Mentor: George Padgett
Corby will study the role of public journalism in awareness of and advocacy for health needs of under served populations in the United States (Hmong, Montagnard) and abroad (Peru).

Andrea Dorrow
Economics & Business
Camp Hill, Pa.
Mentor: Steve DeLoach
Dorrow will conduct economic research on the dynamic role that minimal health care plays in determining the economic health of a nation, with emphasis on developing nations.

Cynthia Goodson
Maryville, Tenn.
Mentor: Todd Lee
Goodson will research the teaching of statistical literacy in middle schools through community-based service learning projects, emphasizing analysis of locally meaningful databases.

Amelia Helms
Pfafftown, N.C.
Mentor: Jeffrey Coker
Helms will conduct research to document tissue regeneration in species of earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris), identify its Homeotic genes (also known as Hox genes), and characterize their patterns of gene expression.

Jonathan Mahlandt
Middletown, Md.
Mentor: Tom Green
Mahlandt will conduct Research in cognitive psychology, with emphasis on role of instructional set on pattern recognition and retention in probabilistic tasks.

Katherine Meyer
Political Science/Communications
Carmel, Ind.
Mentor: Prudence Layne
Meyer will be focusing on children’s human rights, expanding existing focus of the Invisible Children chapter she started from Northern Uganda to Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Amanda Morrissey
Political Science
Hingham, Mass.
Mentor: Eric Hairston
Morrissey will examine human rights violations and litigation pertaining to liberation and independence movements internationally.

Nichole Rawlings
Art History
Cumming, Ga.
Mentor: Kirstin Ringelberg
Rawlings will study narrative expression in two-dimensional artworks, focusing on The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry, and create her own illustrated children’s book.

Kristine Silvestri
Public Administration & Political Science
Flemington, N.J.
Mentor: Heidi Frontani
Silvestri will conduct an exploration of “the Other” in both an international context (Liberian refugees in Ghana) and a national/local context (American race relations).

Christopher Staskel
Music Theatre
Charlotte, N.C.
Mentor: Lynne Formato
Staskel will work toward the Creation (writing of the book and composition/arrangement of the music) and actual staging/presentation of an original musical theatre piece.

Katharine Strickland
Collierville, Tenn.
Mentor: Tom Arcaro
Strickland will conduct research on how cultural heterogeneity within a nation influences development aid, focused specifically on Ghana.

Lauren Taylor
Independent Major
Webster, N.Y.
Mentor: Cindy Fair
Taylor will conduct research on international women’s health issues, with special focus on role of traditional child delivery practices in South Africa on HIV/AIDS education and control.

Hannah Williams
Communications & Business
Apple Valley, Minn.
Mentor: Brooke Barnett
Williams will explore the “rhetoric of terrorism” as conveyed in the media of the United States, United Kingdom and Denmark.

“I feel hopeful and confident that the Lumen Scholars who were selected will make noteworthy contributions over the next two years not only to Elon, but also to the wider world they will engage with on their intellectual journey over the next few years,” said psychology professor Paul Fromson, who led the Lumen Prize selection committee.

Scholarship recipients were chosen through a two-step process. Candidates submitted applications with background statements and research proposals, a letter of nomination from their mentor, and an additional letter of recommendation.

The second stage consisted of an interview.

The selection committee considered several criteria for choosing the winners: intellectual inquiry and integration, intellectual curiosity and reflection, originality and feasibility. Sixty-two students submitted applications for the award.

“We had students from all areas of the university submit proposals, speaking to passionate interest in their fields and profound engagement with the world around them, Fromson said. “While this was certainly a time-consuming and complex process, the only truly ‘hard’ thing about it is not being able to support all the proposals we might have wished to.”

Janet Myers, coordinator of national and international fellowships, will also work with Lumen Scholars and assist them in identifying and applying for appropriate fellowships and graduate scholarships.

A dinner held in honor of the inaugural group of Lumen Scholars will be held April 24 at the Maynard House.  In addition to the prize recipients and their mentors, the dinner will be attended by members of the selection committee, academic deans, Provost Gerald Francis, and President and Mrs. Leo M. Lambert.

Anthony Weston, a professor of philosophy, will be guest speaker for the occasion.

Selection committee members include the following faculty:

Janna Anderson
Ann Cahill
Tony Crider
Ken Hassell
Helen Walton
Mary Jo Festle
Steve DeLoach
Norris Gunby
Janet Myers
Tom Arcaro
Connie Book
Nancy Harris
Paul Fromson