Steinbrecher Fellowships support 11 Clark students pursuing innovative research and service

WORCESTER, Mass. — Eleven Clark University undergraduates are using Steinbrecher Fellowships to support creative research and community service projects this summer and throughout the 2009-2010 academic year.

“The competition for this year’s fellowships was more intense than ever," said Sharon Krefetz, chair of Clark’s Department of Government and International Relations and director of the fellowship program. "Nearly every applicant proposed an interesting, well-conceived project that, if selected for funding, they would have pursued with tremendous enthusiasm. The projects that received awards were truly exceptional in their originality and showed great potential for making a significant contribution to existing research or to the quality of life of the individuals involved."

This year’s Steinbrecher Fellows are:

Mikal Brotnov, a sophomore from Kooskia, Idaho. Brotnov, a history major, will conduct research on the Duwanish Indians at the National Archives and Record Administration in Seattle, Wash. He will also travel to a powwow in Kamiah, Idaho, to photographically record a Nimiipuu ritual that he hopes will help preserve their cultural traditions.

"The projects that received awards were truly exceptional in their originality and showed great potential for making a significant contribution to existing research or to the quality of life of the individuals involved." -- Professor Sharon Krefetz

Maeve Hogan, a sophomore from Clifton Springs, N.Y. Hogan is working on an archeological research project at Antiocheia ad Cragum, an ancient Roman city on the south coast of Turkey. She is working on a team led by Clark Art History Professor Rhys Townsend that is reconstructing a temple from remnants found on the site. Hogan majors in art history and studio art.

Trista Myers, a junior from South Berwick, Maine. Myers is in Bath, England, helping to develop ways for Web companies to interact with their customers “with creativity and integrity.” She uses new web technologies and platforms to organize meet-ups, tweet-ups, blogging and media partnerships. Myers majors in sociology.

Colin Peacock, a sophomore from Tucson, Ariz., who majors in environmental science. Peacock is investigating climate change and its effects on the food sources of grizzly bears in the highest, coldest and most remote place in the continental U.S.—the Wind Rivers Mountain Range in central western Wyoming. He is creating GIS maps of pine needle deforestation, hiking trails and taking photographs to capture where the infestation is occurring, as it is a threat to the survival of grizzly bears. His findings and his maps will be used by the National Resource Defense Council and the U.S. Forest Service pine beetle team. He is also researching the effects of climate change on colonies of rodents called pika and is doing conservation work with Native Americans who live on the Wind Rivers Reservation.

Anna Zonderman, a junior from Orange, Conn. Zonderman, an international development and social change major, is working with other researchers in New Haven, Conn., to examine the social effects of asthma on inner-city teens. Zonderman interviewed teens and taught them how to use a PhotoVoice camera to create stories they can share with others about how the disease affects their lives.

Juniors Tara Devaraj, Jennifer Timmreck and Pauline Wu, who major in biochemistry and molecular biology. The three traveled to Namibia to work on an education project for youth aimed at promoting health awareness about diseases and the prevention of diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS. The students have been working with children at two secondary schools in the Oshikoto region of Namibia. Devaraj is from Bangalore, India; Timmreck is from Brunswick, Maine, and Wu is from Honolulu.

Sophomores Shohini Banerjee from Koljata, India, Kimberly Burrowes from St. Andrew, Jamaica, and Rebecca Zilberstein, from Miami. The team worked in Malawi with two nonprofit organizations, the Daisy Eye Cancer Fund and Raising Malawi, to set up educational and recreational activities that help children cope with their serious illnesses and prepare for medical procedures. Banerjee majors in international development, Burrowes majors in geography, and Zilberstein majors in sociology.

“The Steinbrecher Fellowship Program enables our students to pursue their passions and to engage in innovative research or much-appreciated community service," Krefetz said. "I am enormously grateful to the Steinbrecher family for making this possible."

Steinbrecher fellowships encourage and support Clark undergraduates in their pursuit of original ideas, creative research, and community service projects. The fellowship program, established in 2006 in memory of David C. Steinbrecher, class of ’81, by his parents, Phyllis and Stephen Steinbrecher, class of ’55, is funded by generous gifts from them and from other family members and friends of David.

-- By Angela Bazydlo