BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Phi Kappa Phi has named recent Illinois Wesleyan University graduate
Maisy Bowden ’18 (Des Peres, Missouri) as the recipient of a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi
Fellowship award to support her graduate-level studies at Georgia State University
focused on the evolutionary precursors of language in nonhuman primates.
Phi Kappa Phi is one of the nation’s oldest collegiate honor societies which recognizes achievements
in in all academic disciplines. Each Phi Kappa Phi chapter may select one candidate
entering the first year of graduate school or professional study, and from that competitive
pool, only 51 are selected to receive a $5,000 fellowship.
“Without Illinois Wesleyan, I’m not sure I’d be going to grad school right now,” said
Bowden, who plans to pursue a doctorate in psychology. “IWU gave me every opportunity
to develop as a student, a researcher, and a well-rounded human being. My experiences
studying abroad and as a student-athlete and a sorority member shaped me into a confident
and ambitious woman, and ultimately, motivated me to pursue my passion for animal
A psychology and French & francophone studies double major, Bowden spent the summer of her junior year as an animal behavior research
intern at the St. Louis Zoo, where she researched aggression, mother-infant bonds
and other behavior patterns in various animals. Bowden’s internship experience served
as an impetus for her honors research project “Evolution and Social Facilitation in
Non-Human Animals,” in which she studied orangutans, gorillas, grizzly bears, meerkats,
tigers, snow leopards, river otters, seals and sea lions from the Louisville Zoo and
the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington.
“After graduate school, I’d like to go into comparative cognition research that aids
conservation and welfare efforts toward primates and other endangered animals,” Bowden
In addition to her research, Bowden was an active member of the campus community.
She was a four-year letterwinner on the volleyball team, for which she earned College
Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honors. Bowden
also served as the vice president of scholarship for Alpha Gamma Delta and was the
women’s lacrosse team manager for two seasons.
Bowden additionally demonstrated a willingness to share knowledge with others by volunteering
monthly at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal. On IWU’s campus, she took on
roles as a French tutor and an assistant to the chair of the French department. In
the spring of her junior year, she studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France and worked
as a teaching assistant in a French middle school.
As Bowden prepares to begin the next step of her education, she attributes much of
her success so far to the connections she made at Illinois Wesleyan.
“The support and help from the faculty at IWU made all the difference for me,” Bowden
said. “They were there every step of the way: advising me, challenging me, and always
keeping an ear to the ground for new opportunities for me to pursue. I feel very privileged
to have gone to this school.”