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Field Notes

Professor of Biology Dave Gapp exhibits a ball python — and then gives third-grader Jacob Burgdson a chance to take a closer look, and feel — during Science Exploration Days in March at the Science Center. Gapp has organized the guided lessons in biology, chemistry, physics and geosciences for about 20 years; this year classes of third-graders from Seneca Street School in Oneida and Hughes Elementary School in New Hartford visited campus to take part.

Students honored with top national fellowships, grants

Hamilton students were the recipients of prestigious academic prizes in the sciences, global education and urban service this spring:

  • Taylor Adams ’11 and Deborah Barany ’11 were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Adams, a chemistry major, and Barany who is majoring in neuroscience, each will receive a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees. In addition, four recent Hamilton alumni were awarded similar NSF fellowships through their graduate institutions. They are Allison Demas ’07 (Harvard), Greg Hartt ’08 (UC, Irvine), Sarah Bertino ’09 (Yale) and Anthony Sali ’10 (Johns Hopkins). The program recognizes outstanding graduate-level students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
     
  • Mary Phillips ’11, Nathan Schneck ’11 and Julia Wilber ’11 were honored with Thomas J. Watson Fellowships for 2011-12. Phillips’ project is titled “Safe Spaces: All-Girl Environments and Their Role in Community Development”; Schneck will pursue the project “Voluntary Poverty: A Means for Individual and Community Transformation”; and Wilber received the fellowship for her project “A Single Thread: Producers and Consumers of Fair Trade Clothing.” The three were among only 40 national winners of the fellowships. Each fellow receives $25,000 for a year of travel and exploration outside the United States.
     
  • Connor Brown ’12 and Julia Litzky ’12 were named Barry M. Goldwater Scholars for the 2011-12 academic year. They are among 275 scholars to receive the Goldwater, the premier national undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Brown is a chemistry major, Litzky a neuroscience major. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
     
  • Tiffany Sanders ’11 was awarded a Davis Peace Project Fellowship grant of $10,000. A Posse Foundation scholar from Boston, she plans to use her project award to create open enrollment, free karate classes at the Orchard Gardens Community Center in Dorchester, Mass.  Sanders proposes to combat youth violence by offering students an alternative enrichment program.
     

National awards go to new book by Chad Williams

Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era by Associate Professor of History Chad L. Williams has been selected by the Organization of American Historians for the 2011 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award, given annually for the best book on any aspect of the struggle for civil rights in the United States from the nation’s founding to the present. Williams’ book was also selected by the Society for Military History to receive its 2011 Distinguished Book Award for United States History.

Published by the University of North Carolina Press, Torchbearers of Democracy “draws overdue attention to a pivotal moment in the struggle for civil rights through an epic history of black veterans and the double consciousness that framed their call to duty,” the OAH said. “Williams deftly layers policy history and discourse analysis over gut-wrenching stories of terror and valor from the frontlines in both wartime France and Jim Crow America.”


Skipper awarded $907K NIH grant

Assistant Professor of Psychology Jeremy Skipper has been awarded a $907,350 grant from the National Institutes of Health for his research project “Neuro­biology of Speech Perception in Real-World Contexts.” The long-term objective of this research “is to understand the neural mechanisms of language comprehension in real-world settings, in which the brain can use context to aid in communication.”

Cupola