2016-17 Steinbrecher Fellows at Clark University

Students to head to Bermuda, Berlin and beyond as part of Steinbrecher research

April 28, 2016

Eight Clark University undergraduate students were recently awarded Steinbrecher Fellowships to support their pursuit of original ideas, creative research and community service projects this summer and during the 2016-2017 academic year.

The students (five are pictured above) and their projects include:

  • Sophie Debler ’17, a biology major, who will conduct research on the possible effects of variation in feeding sources on threespine stickleback fish. She will collect samples this summer from Lynne Lake, Alaska, and compare them to samples from another lake.    
  • Fileona Dkhar ’17, a comparative literature major, who will use a photography project to explore cultural spaces in the rural landscape and youth identities in urban areas of Northeast India, home to a large, indigenous minority group.
  • Themal Ellawala ’17, a psychology major, who will conduct research on how culture, gender norms and stigma affect non-heterosexuals in Sri Lanka. He plans to create a research paradigm for studies of sexual minorities.
  • Maya Hodgson-Dottin ’17, a biology major, who will conduct research this summer on the effects of climate events on the growth of Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito) in Bermuda.
  • Abby Moon ’17, a double major in art history and cultural studies and communication, who expects to complete a curatorial and art education internship at a museum this summer and plans to create a portfolio of her artwork, inspired by works in the museum’s collection.
  • Meghan Paradis ’17, a history major, who, at Humboldt University and the Jewish Museum in Berlin this summer, will conduct archival research on Jewish women’s involvement in the German women’s movement and the lesbian subculture in the early years of the 20th century.
  • Fatima Ruiz ’17, a psychology major, who will conduct research at public and private schools in San Francisco and the Bay Area on adolescents’ views of romantic relationships, awareness of unhealthy relationships and attitudes about and reactions to teen dating violence. She then will work on developing dating violence prevention and intervention programs.
  • Justin Woods ’18, a sociology major, who will conduct research on the expectations, experiences and transitions of first-generation students at Clark. Woods will draw on his own experiences as a first-generation college student.

“The Steinbrecher Fellowships these wonderful students have been awarded will make it possible for each of them to do an original research, community service, or creative arts project they would not otherwise have an opportunity to do,” said Professor Sharon Krefetz, director of the Steinbrecher Fellowship Program. “In addition to what they will learn from doing their individual projects, they will also learn from each other at informal meetings throughout the year, at which they will share highlights of their projects as they pursue them. The Steinbrecher Fellowship Program has this terrific value-added feature of creating a very special ‘community of scholars.’”

The endowed fund created by Stephen Steinbrecher '55, and his late wife, Phyllis, supports the fellowships in memory of their late son, David Steinbrecher '81.

Last year at a panel discussion featuring fellowship alumni, Stephen Steinbrecher talked about how important the program is to his family, which includes many Clark graduates. The students who are awarded the fellowships, he noted, have opportunities rarely available to undergraduate students. "My goal is to continue to plant Clark at the forefront of independent study and learning," he said.

(Pictured above, from left: Justin Woods, Fileona Dkhar, Themal Ellawala, Stephen Steinbrecher, Fatima Ruiz and Maya Hodgson-Dottin.)