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General News

Congrats to Rice and Gamow Winners!

Congratulations to the UHP winners of the Luther Rice Fellowship and Gamow awards!  Thanks to these bright students, about one-quarter of all Rice and Gamow awards at GW this year went to UHP students.  If you’re not familiar with these awards, they’re both prestigious and difficult to attain.  Students use the award to do some exciting research — and a few have written in to let us know exactly what they’ll be up to.  Keep reading to catch up on all the awesomeness:

Luther Rice winners

Jenna Curtis

Over the next summer, I will be researching the social behavior of Kori Bustards (Ardeotis kori struthiunculus) at the National Zoo. This year there will only be one adult female per breeding male, versus the normal 2-3 females per breeding male. The first part of my study will analyze how these changes to flock structure affect the study individuals’ social behavior and reproductive success. The zoo has also started a subadult flock of one male and two females. The second part of my study will determine if raising the subadults in a close community promotes familiarity and affects their behavior as adults.

Jonathan Robinson

I’m working with Professor Forrest Maltzman on a project about legislative durability. He has done trailblazing work on measuring what variables affect if a law gets amended, changed, or slowly is left unchanged to the point of ineffectiveness! I am doing a case study within this political science literature on federal minimum wage laws, which must be updated and amended. Looking at a swath of political and economic variables, I hope to develop a theory of what causes this specific subset of laws to be changed and why.

Adam Bethke

This upcoming year I have the opportunity to do undergraduate research as a Luther Rice Fellow.  For this fellowship, I will be working on a project entitled “Why, How and What: Conservative Rethinking of Criminal Justice Policy” with faculty mentor Professor Buntman of the Sociology Department.  During the course of the project, I will be studying changing conservative positions on criminal policy, a topic I first became interested in after discussion with Professor Buntman.  The topic particularly intrigues me because the landscape surrounding the issue is rapidly changing on a day-to-day basis.  The project is a fusion of all of my interests, bringing together issues of corrections policy, criminal justice, and political science; during the course of the study I will be conducting a review of literature on the subject as it is portrayed in conservative media and conducting interviews with conservative advocates of criminal justice reform, leaders of conservative and liberal advocacy groups and members of Congress to ascertain their perceptions and support for criminal justice reform.  This study is particularly interesting in light of traditional conservative “tough on crime” positions.

Gamow Winners

Mailin Li

The research I won the Gamow grant for investigates the role of copper in the regulation and prevention of amyloid aggregation in Type II Diabetes. Amylin, the monomer form of amyloid plaques, is a protein co-secreted by islet cells in the pancreas along with glucose-regulating insulin. When someone is diabetic, they either cannot produce or absorb the requisite amount of insulin. To compensate, the body’s homeostatic drive kicks in and tries to release more insulin, ultimately leading to overproduction of amylin, which then coagulate into cytotoxic plaques. Because 72% of diabetic patients exhibit these plaques, we think the amylin protein merits further investigation in diabetic research. Amyloid plaques damage the organ by causing oxidative stress to the surrounding area. Clinical studies have also shown elevated serum concentrations of copper metal in diabetic patients. The goal of my research is to discover the link between amyloid aggregation and copper-induced oxidative stress, establish a sequence of events for their causal relationship, and develop a methodology that will hopefully prevent their and the disease’s occurrence.

Rebecca Remis

I will be spending the summer in China working on an organic farm researching their burgeoning organic movement. I will be conducting a case study on the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) sector and why Chinese consumers buy into the organice movement. I was able to work in conjunction with Honors Professor Robert Shepherd whose insight has been valuable in my proposal and execution. I look forward to beginning my project and will let you know how it turns out!

Madeleine Wright also received a Gamow.