2015 Highlander-in-Action Awards announced by Scholar-Citizen Initiative


Four Radford University undergraduates will embark upon original research projects this summer thanks to grants from the Scholar-Citizen Initiative.

"In their own unique ways, all of these projects enhance student learning through real-world problem solving and exemplify Radford University’s culture of engaged learning, scholarship and service," said Erin Webster Garrett, director of RU's Scholar-Citizen Initiative.

The 2015 Scholar-Citizen in Action awardees are:

  • Junior biology and psychology major Skylar Carrell, of Roanoke, who is working to understand and educate about the importance of biodiversity and conservation of the Amazon in Peru. Carrell will study social spiders and use the findings to create outreach programs to teach about Amazonian biodiversity and conservation. The project is mentored by Jason Davis, assistant professor of biology.
  • Senior information and sciences systems major Dylan Davis, of Fredericksburg, who is developing an information system to help students get more value out of their textbooks. Davis hopes to facilitate students’ access to affordable textbooks from different sources and exchanges. Through this platform, he hopes to provide supplementary textbooks and other educational materials to students who might not otherwise be able to afford them.  The project is being mentored by Hui Wang, associate professor of information technology, and Jeff Pittges, associate professor of information technology.
  • Junior dietetics major Bert Herald, of Tempe, Arizona, is working to promote healthy eating in low-income individuals by providing guidance on nutrition and weight loss tips. The five-course series taught over the summer in Pulaski County will also include cooking demonstrations of cost-effective nutritious meals. The project is being mentored by Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics Jyotsna Sharman, Instructor Christa Kuhn and Virginia Tech Extension Agent Sarah Burkett.
  • Junior mathematics major Hanna Mitchell, of Vienna, is creating a categorical distribution program of fungi that will use molecular phylogenetic and morphology to analyze unknown fungal species obtained from the Peruvian Amazon for comparison to known fungal species. Mitchell will create a program that is easily accessible and allows people to quickly categorize fungal species. Intructor of Mathematics John McGee and Davis are mentoring Mitchell's project.

Scholar-Citizens in Action is a competitive program designed to encourage student participation in the Scholar-Citizen program by providing non-cash awards of up to $2,000 to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors for pursuit of meaningful and transformative learning experiences during the summer months. This year's SCIA competition prioritized projects with a clear focus on issues affecting our local communities, said Webster Garrett.

Each of the awardees will develop an e-Portfolio about the impact of the experience on his or her academic, professional and personal growth; make oral presentations at the Fall 2015 Scholar-Citizen’s Forum; and participate in the Scholar-Citizen Speakers Bureau by talking with student groups about ways to translate their academic and professional experiences into social action for the community.

Apr 7, 2015