Thirteen rising juniors at Elon have been named recipients of the 2010 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, “Numen Lumen,” which are Latin words meaning “spiritual light” and “intellectual light.” The words, which are found on the Elon University seal, signify the highest purposes of an Elon education.
The 2010 winners include the following:
Chemistry & Spanish
Project title: Binding Analysis Study of Estrogenic Compounds and Humic Substances Using STDD-NMR with a Water Suppression Method
Mentor: Lisa Ponton
Project title: Telling stories together: Co-construction of narratives in European American and African American Families
Mentor: Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler
Project title: Estrogenic activity of wastewater effluent in the Piedmont Triad Area using a four-hour yeast bioassay
Mentor: Lisa Ponton
Human Service Studies & Communications
Project title: The Picture of Beauty: Understanding relationships between skin tone and self-esteem using documentary photography to promote global women’s empowerment
Mentor: Kristen Sullivan
Project title: Colonists and Refugees: Examining the Conflicting Pasts of White Zimbabwean Farmers in Zambia
Mentor: Brooke Barnett
Project title: The Effects of Body Image on Interpersonal Relationships Among College Males and Females
Mentor: Maurice Levesque
Anthropology & History
Project title: Ancient Maya Ritual Performance as Reflected in the Monumental Architecture of Dos Hombres, Belize
Mentor: Rissa Trachman
History & Sociology
Morehead City, N.C.
Project title: A Turbulent Evolution: The History of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Groups on U.S. College Campuses
Mentor: Mary Jo Festle
Los Angeles, Calif.
Project title: Memory improvement in older adults through cognitive training
Mentor: Amy Overman
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Project title: The effects of antidepressants on zebrafish motor development and behavior: ramifications of pharmaceutical drugs in the environment
Mentor: Linda Niedziela
Project title: Exploring species boundaries: A genetic study of interactions between North American cricket frogs, Acris crepitans and A. gryllus
Mentor: Greg Haenel
Project title: Joyce, Pound, and Beckett: High Modernism and the Intersection at Dante
Mentor: Kevin Boyle
Project title: The effects of manipulating cytoskeletal proteins, talin 1 and talin 2, on the phosporylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in mammalian cells
Mentor: Yuko Miyamoto
Scholarship recipients were chosen through a two-step process. Candidates submitted applications with background statements and research proposals, a letter of nomination from a faculty mentor, and an additional letter of recommendation. The second stage consisted of an interview.
The selection committee considered several criteria for choosing the winners: clarity and scope of intellectual inquiry, intellectual curiosity and critical reflection, distinctiveness, and feasibility.
“This year’s group includes students engaged in projects from highly controlled laboratory investigations, through historical and literary analyses, and to the production of documentary video,” said Paul Fromson, a professor of psychology who chaired the selection committee. “Shared by all of them, however, is an abiding passion for the topic they’ve chosen to pursue.
“They have a clear idea of the questions they wanted to ask, and they came across to the committee as having the focus and determination to keep at it even when ‘the answers’ might seem most elusive. These are significant pieces of work they have chosen to undertake – work that will contribute to their disciplines, their professions and their communities.”
A dinner in honor of this year’s Lumen Prize recipients will be held May 5 at the Alamance Country Club. In addition to the 2010 prize recipients and their mentors, the dinner will be attended by the 2009 Lumen Scholars, members of the selection committee, academic deans, Provost Steven House, and President Leo M. Lambert and his wife, Laurie.
Jonathan Mahlandt, a 2008 Lumen Scholar and recent Phi Beta Kappa inductee, will be guest speaker for the occasion.
Selection committee members include the following faculty: