Intellectual Pursuits … for Fun!

| August 2, 2013

Ashley Baker used her writing skills to create a blog about everyday phenomena in chemistry.

The Anne Gary Pannell Merit Scholarship is an open-ended invitation to pursue intellectual curiosity. The competitive program was created to reward exceptional first-year students with the opportunity to fully explore an area of interest during their sophomore year — for the pure joy of it. The award is applied to students’ tuition and project funding. It can be used for research, creative endeavors, or travel for academic purposes or service. Nine sophomores earned Pannell Scholarships for 2012-2013.

Ashley Baker, a chemistry major who minors in English and creative writing, created a blog that makes science fun and accessible — even for those of us who still have vivid nightmares about that high school class. “Chemistry for Everyone” explores questions we all may have posed at one time or another, including “Why do pancakes have bubbles?” or “What makes apple cider go ‘bad’?”

Kelsey Barta, an engineering major, developed and hosted “Engineering for Girls,” a series of after-school workshops for local middle school girls aimed at piquing their interest in the field of engineering.

Rachel Byrd’s research on sustainable agriculture for her project, “Going Beyond Organic,” took her to a number of working farms and markets for first-hand experience and observations. Byrd’s research went well beyond her majors, which are Spanish and international affairs.

Kaitlin Schaal

Khirsten Cook (English and creative writing major with minors in art history and medieval and Renaissance studies) and Gabriela Herrera(double-major in liberal studies and Spanish) undertook “Diminishing the Gap” to develop teaching aids that help student teachers better engage with English language learners.

Lydia Ethridge, who majors in history, French and Spanish, traveled to France in pursuit of her longstanding interest in the development of the Versailles palace as a political device of the French monarchy to control the nobility beginning in the late 17th century. Her project, “Château de Versailles: A Gilded Cage,” is just the beginning of her academic research.

Fumin Li, an engineering major and math minor, examined traffic patterns and driver behavior on campus for her project, “Traffic Data Collecting and MATLAB Modeling of Part of Sweet Briar Road.”

Kaitlin Schaal, a biology major with minors in chemistry and English and creative writing, conducted a self-directed study of sword-and-shield fighting and two-handed sword fighting for her project, “Rediscovering Western European Historical Swordsmanship.”

Kasey Stewart’s “Doctors Without Borders: Phase One” was intended to explore her plan to work as a physician with Doctors Without Borders. The Spanish and art history major and Latin American studies minor continues to take pre-med classes, but is adjusting some of her career plans as a result of her travel experiences in Costa Rica.

See also these related stories:
Scholarship not all work and no swordplay
Science too cool not to share
Barta hopes program flips a switch
Sophomore scholarship leads to Costa Rica

Category: Class Acts, Summer 2013