Cutler Hall Panoramic Spring

Distinguished Professor Scholarship Recipients

In addition to receiving the lifetime designation of Distinguished Professor, awardees also have the honor of naming one student annually to receive the Distinguished Professor Scholarship, a scholarship that covers a full year's tuition. Meet the Distinguished Professor Scholarship recipients:

2012-13

Eli Rexford Chambers, Music Composition, Percussion Performance (award renewal)

Megan Ensinger, Cellular and Molecular Biology and Psychology
A native of Hannibal, Ohio, Megan is pursuing a double major in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Psychology. She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Biology Robert Hikida.

Of the award, she says, "I cannot express my gratitude to my mentors, Drs. Robert Hikida and Soichi Tanda for their enduring support of me and my academic goals even as I continue to stumble through the challenges of biological research. They have constantly combated my self-doubt, showing me that failure is inevitable, and laughed with me when I occasionally proved that to them. I am extremely blessed."

Megan has been a peer mentor for the Learning Community Introductory Biological Sciences course, an undergraduate teaching assistant in Introductory Genetics, an undergraduate laboratory researcher in Molecular Genetics, a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society for Psychology, a Student Leader with Cru at OU, and a volunteer with the Athens Pregnancy Resource Center.

After graduating, Megan plans to pursue a Master's degree in Genetic Counseling.

Diane Estes, Geological Sciences
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Diane is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Geological Sciences. She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Geology, Damian Nance.

Of the award, she says, "I am very grateful to Dr. Nance and Ohio University for being selected for this award. The Distinguished Professor Scholarship offers a relief of financial burden for my family as well as a constant reminder to me to maintain academic excellence."

She adds, "Ohio University has been a wonderful home and family to me. I will miss Athens when I graduate."

After graduation, Diane plans to continue her education in geology as a graduate student, having already worked as a graduate student assistant.

M. Madeleine Ray, Environmental and Plant Biology
Born and raised in Chardon, Ohio, Madeleine is pursuing a degree in Environmental Plant Biology. Madeleine is currently focused on research in paleobotany. She is interested in the plants and animals of the Cretaceous Period.  She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Environmental and Plant Biology Gar Rothwell.

Of the award, she says, "I am honored to accept this scholarship and grateful for the opportunity to expand the horizons of my knowledge with its help."

She also adds, "Ohio University has been a wonderful experience and inspired me to embody a strong work ethic. The department of Environmental and Plant Biology has been supportive and welcoming, encouraging me to pursue my dreams and become a life-long learner."

After graduating, Madeleine plans to begin a career creating and expanding programs that promote youth involvement in research and science.

Matthew Rudolph Van Slyke, Acting and Stage Management, School of Theater
Matthew Rudolph Van Slyke is a native of Columbus, Ohio. He is pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Acting and Stage Management through the School of Theater. His research is focused in all aspects of the theater including Meisner, Chekov, Linklater, and Fitzmaurice acting techniques as well as Management and Shakespeare studies. He received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Playwriting Charles Smith.

Of the award, Matt says, "I couldn't be more grateful for this award. I would like to thanks Charles Smith, and the whole School of Theater faculty for their undying support as I trudge through my two majors.

Their guidance has helped me through some of the harder moments of my academic career to which I could not be more indebted. I will use this award as a symbol of perseverance as I strive to continue to push myself in everything I do."

He adds, "Athens, Ohio is a magical place filled with the best people around. If not for this town, I could not have realized my potential and what my goals could actually be."

In addition to this honor, he also received the Rob Henning School of Theater Scholarship and the Fine Arts Talent Award.

Upon graduation Matt hopes to move to New York City or Chicago to pursue a career in the Theater as a Stage Manager, Actor, or whatever else falls upon his path.

Rebecca Wyss, English, Honors Tutorial College
Rebecca (Bekki) Wyss is a native of Canton, Ohio, and is pursuing an English major in the Honors Tutorial College with a minor in history and a creative writing certificate. She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of English Mark Halliday.

Of the award, she says, "I am eternally grateful to have been honored in this way, and grateful, too, to the patient, encouraging, and brilliant staff of the Ohio University English Department."

She adds, "Because of their tremendous support, I have faith that dreams are not always dictated by wealth, and that writing can still alter the course of history."

Bekki believes in magic and justice, and the power of literature to achieve both. She hopes to become a civil rights attorney and, to this end, she is studying Middle Eastern literature and the history of Zionism at Tel Aviv University through OU's Cultural and Political Intersections study abroad program, spending the summer learning about social justice amid the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

2011-12

Brian Atkinson, Environmental and Plant Biology
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Brian is pursuing a degree in Environmental Plant Biology. Brian is interested in paleobotanical research. More specifically he is interested in the evolution of gymnosperms and early angiosperms, and plant morphology. He received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology Gar Rothwell.

Of the award, he says, "I am truly thankful for this award, I feel that now some of my hard work is finally paying off."

He also adds, "I've had a great experience at Ohio University. The department of Environmental and Plant biology here has provided me with great opportunities that eventually led me to what I want to study and do for my career."

Once he graduates, Brian will be attending Oregon State University to obtain his PhD in paleobotany and plant systematics.

Eli Rexford Chambers, Music Composition, Percussion Performance (award renewal)

Anne Sand, English, Honors Tutorial College
A native of Athens, Ohio, Anne is pursuing an English major in the Honors Tutorial College with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Islamic Studies. She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of English Robert DeMott.

Of the award, she says, "I was originally interested in fiction writing, but my poetry professors and travels to the Middle East and Europe broadened my scope into poetry, travel writing and other creative non-fiction. With this scholarship, I hope to complete a multi-genre work about my travels for my senior thesis."

After graduation she hopes to continue writing and traveling either in a Masters of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing or as an English teacher abroad, especially in the Middle East or Latin America, where
she could use the foreign languages she has learned.

Kaitlyn Shrake, Biological Sciences
Kaitlyn Shrake is a native of Liberty Township, Ohio, and is pursuing a major in Biological Sciences. She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Biology Robert Hikida.

Of the award, she says, "Receiving this scholarship was such an honor. It allowed me to explore classes that I wouldn't have otherwise taken and gave me the confidence to keep going in such a challenging, rigorous field. My love of Biology is steadfast, and it was so nice for my hard work to be recognized in this way." 

Kaitlyn has been a peer mentor for the Learning Community and a peer instructor for Introductory Biological Sciences courses, which she also helps to prepare. She is, in addition a member of the Choral Group and has both acted and directed as a member of the acting group Your Lost Flamingo Company.

After graduating, Kaitlyn plans to enter into the pharmaceutical sales industry and possibly obtain a Masters Degree in Biology. Hopefully, traveling abroad is also in her future!

Darcy Vandervort, Geological Sciences and Spanish
A native of Alexandria, Ohio, Darcy is pursuing a double major in Geological Sciences and Spanish, and is engaged in a research investigation into the possible chemical and physical causes of chronic kidney disease in El Salvador. Darcy is also Vice President of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Geology, Damian Nance.

Of the award, she says, "I am very grateful to have been selected for this award, without which I would not have been able to travel to El Salvador to complete my senior thesis."
 
She adds, "I really appreciate how much the award helped me financially and how much it influenced where I want to go and what I want to do."

After graduate, Darcy plans to further her interest in environmental science as a graduate student, where she hopes to continue her work on public health contamination.

2010-11

Eli Rexford Chambers, Music Composition, Percussion Performance
A native of Hurricane, W. Va., Eli is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Music Composition and Percussion Performance. He received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Music Mark Phillips.

Of the award, he says, "This scholarship is truly the only opportunity I would have had to be able to attend Ohio University, and to be the recipient of such an award is incredibly gratifying. Not only is it the financial boost I needed, but it is an assurance that this program is interested in me as a student and as an artist."

In addition to receiving this honor, he has received numerous accolades for his talents prior to and while attending Ohio University. In 2008, he was an attendee at the West Virginia Governor's School for the Arts for instrumental Music, percussion. In 2009 and 2010, he received a "superior" rating in the West Virginia Solo & Ensemble Festival. Other recognitions include compositions commissioned for use in Ohio University undergraduate senior thesis project; First Chair All-State Orchestra; and arranged a percussion feature for 2010 Capital High School Marching Band competition season.
               
Upon graduation from Ohio University, Eli plans to compose or arrange for musical theatre, amateur/professional ensembles, and school ensembles.

Tianjiao Chen, Engineering Physics, Mechanical Engineering
A native of Beijing, China, Tianjiao came to Ohio University to pursue bachelor's degrees in engineering physics and mechanical engineering. Her research interests include condensed matter and surface science. She was honored with the Distinguished Professor Scholarship Award by Distinguished Professor of Physics David Drabold.

Of the award, she says, "It is a great relief for me financially so that I can fully focus on my academic study and research. In addition, it has been a great encouragement for me to achieve higher goals."

In addition to this honor, which she also received in 2008 and 2009, Tianjiao was recognized as the top senior in the Depart of Mechanical Engineering. Upon her graduation, she plans to apply for a graduate program in engineering physics and/or design engineering field.

Kent Eugene Clements, Journalism
A native of Mount Blanchard, Ohio, Kent is majoring in journalism with a specialization in history and Russian. His research interests include American fly-fishing literature and Hocking River conservation. He received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of English Robert DeMott.

Of the award, he says, "This award means the world to me two times over, both because of its financial implications and, more importantly, because it came from a professor whom I deeply respect."

Upon graduation from Ohio University, he plans to attend graduate school in pursuit of teaching at the college level. And, an avid fly-fisherman, he hopes to one day name trout fishing as his profession.

Erin Coyle, Biological Sciences/Pre-Medicine
A native of Fairfield, Ohio, Erin is pursuing her bachelor's degree in biological sciences/pre-medicine. Her research is focused neuromuscular physiology. A second time recipient of the award, she received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Anatomy Robert Hikida.

Of the award, she says, "I am incredibly honored to be chosen for this prestigious award and am very thankful to Dr. Hikida for plucking me out of the sea of other worthy applicants. It inspires me to maintain academic excellence throughout the rest of my collegiate career."

She adds, "My time at Ohio University is easily developing into one of the best experiences of my life."

In addition to this honor, she received the Gateway Scholarship. In high school, she was awarded the John Prazynski Memorial Scholarship, The Joe Nuxhall Athletic Scholar Scholarship, The OHSAA Scholarship, and the United States Army Reserve Student Athlete Award.

Erin plans to attend medical school after she graduates from Ohio University and pursue her professional interests in medicine including surgery, pathology, and anesthesiology.

Andrew Ghiloni, Plant Biology
A native of Newark, Ohio, Andrew is pursuing a degree in plant biology. His research areas of interest include sustainable agriculture and alternative medicine. He received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology Gar Rothwell.

Of the award, he says, "This award is a true honor which furthers my faith that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing at this point in my life."

He also adds, "Ohio University has been a really great place for me to learn and discover new things. I will miss it here when I graduate this June. Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way."

In addition to this award, Andrew received the Thomas and Edna Wolfe Junior Scholarship and the C. Paul and Beth K. Stocker Scholarship.

Once he graduates, Andrew plans to travel and continue to learning new things, including how to better heal people through love and understanding.

Davis Kramer, Interactive Multimedia
A native of Athens, Ohio, Davis came to Ohio University to pursue a bachelor's degree in Interactive Multimedia with a minor in Management Information Systems and specialization in Digital Media Motion Graphics. Her research interests include interaction design and database design. She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Psychology Kenneth Holroyd.

Of the awards, she says, "The Distinguished Professor Scholarship Award has given me the opportunity to research and implement Interaction Design in the Psychology field."

She also adds, "There is a wide range of opportunities available to all students at Ohio University. Students who take advantage of those opportunities benefit themselves academically and socially."

After graduation, she plans to purse professional opportunities as a User Experience Designer in New York City, Chicago, and Columbus.

Christopher Matgourains, Economics and Political Science
A native of Avon Lake, Ohio, Christopher is pursing bachelor's degrees in economics and political science. His areas of research include healthcare economics and cost affordability issues within higher education. He received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Economics Richard Vedder.

Of the award, he says, "It is an honor to receive this award. It let me know that hard work can pay off."

In addition to this award, Christopher has received numerous accolades and recognitions including the Dean's list, Dean's Scholarship, Gateway Scholarship, and serving as research assistant for the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

Christopher will be attending law school this fall.

Anna Opitz, Engineering Physics
A Native of Westerville, Ohio, Anna came to Ohio University to pursue a bachelor's degree in engineering physics. Her research interest includes Optical Tweezer Manipulation of Molecular Motors and Trackways. She received the Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Physics Steven Grimes.

Of the award, she says, "It is an extreme honor. I feel an immense sense of pride in my studies and research conducted at Ohio University."

In addition to receiving the Distinguished Professor Scholarship, she has received numerous recognitions for her achievements including serving as Rotary Cultural Ambassador, 2006-10 Dean's List, and the John Edwards Scholarship.

Anna plans to live abroad and obtain her master's degree upon graduation from Ohio University.

Cheyenne Romick, Biochemistry
A native of New Matamoras, Ohio, Cheyenne is pursuing her bachelor's degree in biochemistry. Her research interests include molecular nitric oxide and its operations in the body. She received her Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry Tadeusz Malinski.

Of the award, she says, "I was astonished and grateful to receive the award, and I will honor the gift by furthering my education responsibly."

In addition to this honor, she has been recognized by the National Honors Society and Talented and Gifted Students. She also received the Gateway Scholarship and was named her high school's valedictorian.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Cheyenne plans to pursue her doctorate degree in biochemistry and become a professor.

Mary Wise, History
A native of Bellbrook, Ohio, Mary is pursuing a bachelor's degree in history. Her research is focused on Native American resistance movements in early colonial America. A first time recipient of the award, she received her Distinguished Professor Scholarship from Distinguished Professor of History Alonzo Hamby.

Of the award, she says, "This award is so generous. I could not be more grateful. More than the tuition waiver, I am truly grateful to get to know Dr. Hamby and to benefit from his experience and his advice."

She adds, "Ohio University has become like a second home to me. I could not be more grateful to the faculty in the History Department. Everyone in the department is approachable and friendly."

In addition to this award, she has received the Fr. Jansen Memorial Scholarship, Middletown Community Service Scholarship, Honors History Scholarship, Dean's Scholarship, and William C. Harris Scholarship.

After she receives her degree from Ohio University, Mary plans to study the impact of Native American resistance movements in early America and pursue her master's and doctoral degrees in American history, focusing on Native American studies.