Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 13, 1996

On Students:
Fellowships and
Grants Fuel
Students' Research

Award: A junior has
won a new national
scholarship supporting
African American
science students.

Leslie Rice
News and Information

Nail-biting time is over.

For the past two months, Hopkins graduates and undergraduates have been learning whether they are among the winners of the nation's top academic prizes--like the Rhodes, Churchill and Fulbright scholarships--which annually provide recipients with the funding and opportunity to pursue their research interests.

Thanks to a Fulbright Fellowship, this year a graduate student will roam through old Spanish palaces examining how social, political and religious motivations overlapped in a 16th-century royal chapel.

A senior will pursue a master's degree in genetics at Cambridge University next year through a Churchill Award.

And another senior will be the Rotary Scholar in near-by University of London.

Of the national scholarships awarded to Hopkins students this year, one is completely new. The United Negro College Fund-Merck Undergraduate Research Grant was awarded for the first time to 15 African American undergraduates from around the country. One of those 15 was Hopkins junior Adrianne Williams, a natural sciences major.

The award, which was created to increase the pool of highly trained, well-qualified African American scientists and researchers, is generous: $15,000 for tuition and paid internships at Merck Research Labs for the next two summers, as well as a $10,000 grant toward the Hopkins Biology Department.

The additional $10,000 came as a complete, but very welcome, surprise to the Biology Department, said department chairman Richard McCarty.

"We were floored," he said. "We plan to do something with it that's in the spirit of the award, perhaps designating the money toward equipment needed by talented African American students or a scholarship award."

Two summers spent in one of the nation's biggest research laboratories is not daunting in the least to Williams. After all, she literally grew up in a lab. She is the only child of two scientists; her father is the chairman of the Biology Department at Howard University, and her mother is a scientist in the department, studying molecular genetics.

Many of Williams' earliest memories are of the laboratory.

"As odd as it may sound, the lab was literally my playground," she said.

Determined to blaze her own trail, Williams initially decided to pursue biomedical engineering at Hopkins rather than follow in the family footsteps in biology. Soon after entering Hopkins, though, she realized her heart wasn't in it, and she returned her focus to the natural sciences.

"I had always loved science, but I suppose I needed to know that it was my decision, something I wanted to do, and not just do it because of my parents," she explained.

She also wanted to follow another passion: writing poetry.

In fact, it was a poem that made her application to Hopkins stand out, so much so that she was awarded a Project Excellence Award, a $15,000 scholarship for all four years at Hopkins.

"I don't believe that just because you're good in science you can't be good at creative writing, or vice versa," she said. "I love writing poetry. And the courses I've taken in the Writing Seminars have been really wonderful. Lately I've been leaning more and more to medical school when I graduate, but one day I would also like to write a novel."

Other Hopkins National Award Winners

Biomedical engineering majors Paul DiCamillo and Irfan Qureshi and chemistry major Mayur Patel--all juniors--won Barry M. Goldwater Awards, which cover tuition and living expenses up to $7,000.

Senior political science major and former Truman Scholar Maya Kulycky has been named a Rotary Scholar at the University of London next year.

Senior chemistry major Yonaton Grad has been named a Churchill winner, which will enable him to pursue a master's degree at Cambridge University in England.

Christine Johnson, a graduate student in the History Department, has been named a DAAD winner, which will allow her to study in Germany for a year.

Four Hopkins graduate students have been confirmed as winners of Fulbright Fellowships, which support research in any one of 70 foreign countries. Juliet Glass, of the History Department, will travel to Spain to study the use of the royal chapel by the Habsburg monarchy in the 16th century.

Dag McCleod, a graduate student in the Sociology Department, will travel to Mexico to study the effects of the privatization of the telecommunications industry in the workplace, with emphasis on the role of the labor unions.

School of Hygiene and Public Health student Garrett Mehl will travel to Sri Lanka to examine the social and cultural factors that influence cigarette smoking there. He wants to study why Sri Lankans are beginning to experience the social impact of diseases of the West, like cigarette addiction.

Margaret Warner, also a Public Health student, will travel to New Zealand to study at the Injury Prevention Research Unit at the University of Otago in Dunedin. She will compare injury statistics in New Zealand and the United States, focusing on either occupational injuries or drownings.

New Zealand has a national healthcare system and a no-fault tort litigation system, so Warner will be able to gather more information about injuries in New Zealand than she could in the United States.

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