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Ohio Wesleyan Students Named to 2009 All-USA College Academic Teams
USA Today Honor Recognizes Outstanding Achievement, Leadership

April 29, 2009

Britta Buchenroth ’09
Photo courtesy of Britta Buchenroth
DELAWARE, OH – Two Ohio Wesleyan University seniors have been selected as members of USA Today’s 2009 All-USA College Academic teams in recognition of their “outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership.” Selection criteria for the national honor include “grades, leadership, activities, and, most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.”

Britta L. Buchenroth earned selection to USA Today’s third team. She is one of 20 college students nationwide chosen for the honor. Buchenroth of Huntsville, Ohio, is a pre-medicine and zoology double major with a minor in chemistry. After graduation in May, she will attend the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Max R. Schroeder earned selection to USA Today’s honorable mention team. He is one of 19 students nationwide chosen for the honor. Schroeder, of Cleveland, Ohio, is a microbiology major and chemistry minor who plans to pursue a doctorate in either environmental or medical microbiology.

As part of the All-USA College Academic Team application process, the students were asked to describe their “most outstanding intellectual endeavor and how it may benefit society.” Buchenroth wrote about helping to found Ohio Wesleyan’s Pre-Health Club and about taking a medical mission trip to Nicaragua.

Max Schroeder ’09
Photo courtesy of Max Schroeder
“The journey to Nicaragua was supposed to be about me giving back to the larger global community and learning about the medical needs of this third world country,” Buchenroth said, noting that the journey became so much more.

“This trip also provided me with my ‘ah-ha’ moment,” she said. “A little boy was being carried in his mother’s arms into the clinic. His mother had tears running down her face, and the little boy was curled up in his mother’s chest. He had stepped on some smoldering coals, and all of the skin on his left foot was severely burned. The only doctor in the clinic and one of the two nurses came to their aid. As they were bandaging his foot, I realized that this is the reason to become a doctor – to use the skills and knowledge to serve those in need. I shall never forget the people of Limon, Nicaragua, and I hope to one day return with more skills so that I may start to pay back all that they have given me.”

For his essay, Schroeder wrote about the opportunity to work with Ohio Wesleyan faculty mentors to conduct original research. As an undergraduate, Schroeder has conducted extensive research into how bird feathers break down, or degrade, with an eye toward avian evolution and health. He has had one research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal and has two more in process. As part of his research, he also discovered a new use for an existing protein assay kit to allow faster processing of test-tube samples.

“Research into bacterial feather degradation has enabled us to greatly expand our understanding of the evolution of bird feathers,” Schroeder said. “Additionally, basic research into feathers and their degradation may soon contribute to a ‘greener’ method of poultry waste disposal. … Composting feathers in tandem with feather-degrading bacteria is potentially more energy efficient and less pollutive than current processes.”

USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team awards program is open to full-time undergraduates of at least junior standing at four-year institutions in the United States or its territories. Criteria were developed in consultation with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the American Council on Education, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Ohio Wesleyan University President Rock Jones, Ph.D., praised the seniors for their scholarship and their humanity. “Britta and Max are shining examples of what happens when students find their passions and pursue them vigorously,” Jones said. “At Ohio Wesleyan, we want all students to experience their own ‘ah-ha’ moments—those experiences that will change and shape their lives forever.”

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.