BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – How do exercise and skilled reaching therapy impact recovery of
stroke victims? What impact do school nurse-administered educational programs have
on the health outcomes of their students? How has religiosity affected the rise of
populist radical right parties in Europe?
The program was established by the late President Emeritus Robert S. Eckley, his wife
Nell and the Eckley Family Foundation. The Eckley Summer Scholars and Artists Endowment
— one of a growing number of summer research opportunities for students — supports
summer research and creative activity, enabling four or five students to stay on campus
over the summer to work under the direction of faculty mentors.
“Fellowships like those provided by the Eckleys allow students to really immerse themselves
in their projects and grow intellectually in their work,” said Rebecca Roesner, chair
and associate professor of chemistry and mentor to Eckley Scholar Xuewen (Maggie)
Following are the Eckley Scholars, their projects and faculty mentors:
Timothy Mueller ’14, Oconomowoc, Wis.
Psychology major Timothy Mueller will spend part of his summer in the lab gaining
insights into spontaneous and trained stroke rehabilitation, by analyzing video of
the behaviors of mice. His faculty mentor is Assistant Professor of Psychology Abigail
Kerr. Because of their motor map homologies and shared dexterous digit use with humans,
mice have become an important animal in which to better understand the basic mechanisms
involved in both spontaneous and trained stroke rehabilitation, said Mueller. To explore
cellular mechanisms that support stroke rehabilitation, Mueller will conduct a three-day
staining procedure that labels both vascular and neuronal remodeling following stroke
rehabilitation. Mueller said his Eckley research should demonstrate key mechanisms
in stroke recovery that could inform the way therapy is administered following stroke.
He will use his summer research as a foundation for his senior thesis in psychology,
and said the Eckley Scholar program is a significant component in his plan to complete
a major research project prior to entering medical school.
Maggie Zhou ’14, Wuhan, China
In the chemical industry, catalysts are used to increase the rates and lower the temperatures
of reactions, thereby saving both energy and money. Catalysts are not consumed in
the reactions, prompting chemists to find ways to recycle catalysts for repeated use.
Chemistry major Maggie Zhou ’14 is working in Rebecca Roesner’s lab this summer to
design and synthesize molecular receptors to capture polyoxometalates — catalysts
with large, spherical, cage-like structures — that are widely used in industrial chemistry
as environmentally benign agents. Using the principles of host-guest chemistry, Zhou
said she is building a receptor that fits on a polyoxometalate like earmuffs on a
person’s head. The “muff” parts are large, ring-shaped molecules (macrocycles) containing
carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen atoms connected by a “headband” of carbon and hydrogen
atoms. Zhou may utilize the results of her summer’s work in the future, as she is
considering a career in chemical engineering.
Sarah Menke ’15, Evergreen Park, Ill.
Menke ’15 is serving multiple roles to help stage Chicago’s TangleKnot Theatre’s production of Joan Holden’s play Nickel and Dimed. Menke is assisting Nickel’s director, Dani Snyder-Young, assistant professor of theatre arts and head of the
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts program at Illinois Wesleyan, in the pre-production
process by researching the current working conditions of the characters described
in the play, compiling research materials for the actors, and preparing lobby display
materials. Menke will also assist in audience research development and will serve
as assistant stage manager during performances. A theatre arts major, Menke hopes
eventually to work in applied theatre — the use of drama for a greater purpose such
as education, conflict resolution, community building or making social change. Menke
said the Eckley fellowship will allow her the opportunity to reach out to existing
groups and organizations and develop events centered around the Nickel performances in July and August.
Molly Guenette ’14, Chicago
After job shadowing a school nurse as part of her pediatric nursing clinical experience,
nursing major Molly Guenette ’14 became intrigued with the impact school nurses have
on their students. Under the direction of Lisabeth Searing, assistant professor of
nursing, Guenette is reviewing best practices set by the National Association of School
Nurses and developing a survey to help discover how nurse-run educational programs
within the schools and job satisfaction affect students’ use of and attitudes toward
alcohol, drug and tobacco use, as well as nutritional behaviors and mental health.
Although the literature review is not complete, Guenette said her preliminary research
indicates nurse-to-student ratio is an important factor. “The sheer number of hours
a nurse has to devote to the students is making a difference in those students’ health
choices,” she said. Guenette will continue her work over the next academic year for
her senior honors research.
Ryan Winter ’14, Wheaton, Ill.
In the last few decades, populist radical right (PRR) parties have found increasing
success in countries across Europe, from the anti-immigrant French National Front
to the anti-Roma Jobbik Party in Hungary. Given the strong Christian message of these
parties, Ryan Winter ’14 was surprised to discover that their voters are actually
relatively nonreligious, and that few scholars have explored the impact of religion
on the PRR’s success. Working under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Political
Science Kathleen Montgomery, Winter’s research covers 14 countries across Europe.
He hopes to explore whether radical right voters are less religious than other voters
and if this gap in religiosity persists when controlled for factors such as gender,
age and education levels. With majors in political science and history, Winter’s ultimate
goal is to build research experience and to gain a better understanding of the purpose
religious language fulfills for radical right-wing populist parties.
Illinois Wesleyan students have multiple ways to conduct original research at the undergraduate level through opportunities such as the Eckley Summer Scholars
program, the John and Erma Stutzman Peace Fellows program, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Humanities Scholars and the Elizabeth Weir Action Research Fellowships. Many students
also showcase their scholarship and creative activity in undergraduate research journals
and at the annual John Wesley Powell Research Conference.