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Two Graduating Seniors Receive Prestigious Science Fellowships

June 6, 2001

DELAWARE, OHIO -- Two Ohio Wesleyan University graduates from the Class of 2001 received prestigious science fellowships for their outstanding work as undergraduates.

Priscilla McDowell was awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship in Biological Sciences, including tuition and stipend for five years; Adam Van Wynsberghe received the National Science Foundation Fellowship including tuition and stipend for three years. Both McDowell and Van Wynsberghe will be attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin/Madison.

McDowell, who will work in the university's microbiology department, mentored in OWU's honors tutorial program for two years, conducted research in a hematology laboratory at Duke University after her sophomore year, and in a microbiology laboratory at Harvard University last year. She also has done field work and research on the keratinase gene involving the ongoing OWU research on involving the enzyme responsible for the degradation of bird feathers. McDowell received department honors this year for her work on gene expression in mosquito ovaries. She was one of 90 finalists selected for the fellowship out of 1,068 applicants.

Van Wynesberghe's research interest in the kinetics of a ribozyme stems from work he did last summer with a graduate student at Stanford University. He was encouraged to apply for the fellowship and was one of only two finalists selected in the biophysics category.

"The physical sciences are very applicable to understanding biology now. I want to use those tools to learn how life works at a molecular level," said Van Wynesberghe. "I've enjoyed my four years at OWU and the challenge of the work here. It's been nice to learn and to think about science with my professors and friends."