Bulletin Updates

2018-19 Crawford County Community Health Needs Assessment

The 2018-19 Crawford County Community Health Needs Assessment was developed and
administered by a team of undergraduate research students at Allegheny College under the
supervision of Dr. Becky Smullin Dawson, PhD MPH:

Kierstin Faw
Valerie Hurst
Benjamin Marks
Ian McKeown
McClaren Rodriguez
Margaret Zeller

Additionally, the following Allegheny College students were responsible for administering the survey
and digitizing the results:
Catherine Achbach
Hope Albert
Lauren Bodi
Madison Caufield
Alyson Codner
Jevon Cooper
Taylor Davis
Hayley Diemer
Anne DiGregory
Emma Donley
Miranda Farley
Naomy Garcia
Mary Kerner
Emily Kovalesky
Ian McKeown
Jonah Raether
Perry Rusen-Morohovich
Darby Smith
Alexa Vargas
Bryn Wallnau
Sara Waya
Danielle Zehnder

Biology Faculty Prize Winners


HEIDI was a biology major and psychology minor pursing the pre-med track, graduating summa cum laude and being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. On campus, she worked for the Athletic Training Department and was a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. During her time at Allegheny, she was also involved with the Orchesis Dance Company, volunteered at Meadville Medical Center, and was a chemistry teaching assistant. In the fall, Heidi will be attending Medical School at the University of Buffalo.

ALAN is a first generation, minority student born in California, raised in Mexico and residing in Florida. He specifically chose Allegheny College because of its strong pre-health program and liberal arts education. Allegheny helped him gauge his interest and provided him with the resources to pursue internships and shadowing opportunities that helped make the decision to practice medicine as a physician. Activities Alan was involved with include Delta Tau Delta fraternity and the first vice president of the Minority Association of Pre medical Students (MAPS) established this past year. His future plans include enrolling in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine this fall as an MD candidate.


The Robert E. Bugbee Prize Winners

This year’s winners of the The Robert E. Bugbee Prize are KAYLEE CROSSEN ’19, MEGAN HAZLETT ’19, and KATHARINE HUBERT ’19.

This prize honors the gentleman who served as the chairman of the Biology Department for twenty-seven years and is given to honor students in Biology who have demonstrated the most profound level of scientific achievement as demonstrated by the senior project.

KAYLEE was a biology major and global health minor from Ashland, OH. She served on the honor committee for 3 years and was the chair her senior year. She was also a health coach for the Community Care Network. Last summer, Kaylee was a genetic counseling assistant at Akron Children’s Hospital and plans to attend the University of Cincinnati to pursue a master’s degree in genetic counseling.

MEGAN was a biology and environmental science double major who spent four years studying the fish in small first- and second-order streams in the French Creek watershed. She completed my comp entitled “Identify Potential Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) Populations Based on Summer Temperature and Watershed Characteristics” under the supervision of Dr. Scott Wissinger and Chris Shaffer. On campus, she was the Gator Guide supervising intern in the Admissions Office as well as the Historian for Tri-Beta, the biology department honor society. Future plans: Megan will be attending SUNY ESF (State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry) in Syracuse, NY in the fall of 2019 to pursue a master’s degree in the fish and wildlife biology and management program.

KATHARINE was a biology/music double major and psychology minor. In her biology comp, she looked at the multisystemic effects of collagen mutations fruit flies. In her music comp, she created a translational system to convert English to my newly created language, American Music Language. Throughout her time at Allegheny, she was involved in several music ensembles including civic symphony, wind symphony, and percussion ensemble. She also volunteered weekly and worked with cats at the Because You Care animal shelter. In August, Katharine will be moving to Wisconsin to pursue her PhD in genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Congratulations ladies!

Service and Philanthropy Become a Habit, Allegheny Graduates Say

It’s been less than five years since Trevor and Michelle Colvin proudly wore their caps and gowns at Commencement on Bentley Lawn, but they’ve already been making an impact on the students that followed them at Allegheny College, thanks to a commitment to service and philanthropy they have woven into their lives.

Trevor and Michelle Colvin are 2014 graduates.

Trevor and Michelle have remained engaged with Allegheny alumni, staff, students and prospective students in a variety of volunteer roles, including keeping in touch with former classmates, appearing on career panels and participating in the Gator Greetings program.

“Allegheny was our home for four years where we made our best friends and memories,” says Michelle. “We chose to keep our relationship strong with Allegheny post-graduation by serving as class agents and by helping to organize our Class of 2014 fifth-year reunion.”

Despite being busy in their educational pursuits and careers, the Colvins have put serious thought into their philanthropic priorities. “We make decisions based on life experiences,” says Trevor. “We give to organizations that we feel have helped us become who we are as well as organizations that are doing good in our community.”

The former Michelle Holcomb is in her fifth year of graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. She is pursuing a doctorate in cognitive psychology, studying how aspects of a reading context influence language comprehension. Trevor is a senior analyst at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His work focuses on the integrations of newly acquired hospitals and physician groups, as well as the executive reporting of key revenue cycle analytics.

They met in their first year at Allegheny, married in 2016, and currently live in Pittsburgh with their “fur children,” Dolly (a calico cat) and Nala (a German Shepherd dog). While at Allegheny, Trevor played football and was a managerial economics major and a religious studies minor. Michelle played soccer and was a psychology and biology double major.

“We were both four-year athletes at Allegheny so a lot of our focus is dedicated to athletics,” Michelle says. “We also got involved with alumni during our senior year as part of the senior class gift committee. From there, we saw the opportunity to continue serving Allegheny.

“We hope to get others excited about supporting the College soon after they graduate,” she says. “There is often a misconception that valued donors are only those who give the highest amounts. But we’ve learned that serving is a process, and it starts by getting involved as soon as possible.”

The Colvins say their current philanthropic priorities are Allegheny College, their church and the United Way of Pittsburgh. “Start small. Any form of help serves a cause,” Trevor says. “It’s not just monetary help; time is a big donation. Identify causes that align with your beliefs and make positive impacts on society. The habit becomes a fulfilling lifestyle.”

Now that they are cultivating success in their community, the Colvins say they are believers in a liberal arts education. “Our classes and degrees from Allegheny didn’t teach us everything,” says Michelle, “but they helped prepare us to learn anything.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Welcomes New Faculty

From a former resident of nearby Townville to a fantasy football player to a dedicated amateur chef, Allegheny’s new faculty members bring many unique backgrounds and qualities to the teaching table in the fall of 2018. Let’s meet each of them briefly:

Catherine Allgeier
Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics

Catherine AllgeierAs a visiting assistant professor of economics, Catherine Allgeier comes to Allegheny with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

After graduation, she taught at a business college and then worked in the corporate world as a chief financial officer and a human resources director. “I realized that I missed the interaction with students and started teaching part-time in addition to my CFO role. I now have been teaching full-time for eight years (most recently at her alma mater) and use my corporate background to provide real-world accounting examples and experiences to my students,” says Allgeier.

“I am interested in information systems and communication, as they relate to costs and effectiveness in health-care diagnoses, such as using Watson as a diagnostic tool and the implications in not only a more timely diagnosis but also more cost effective,” she says.

She also has a green thumb. “My ‘other’ career would be in landscape and interior design,” says Allgeier. “I quit counting at 40 houseplants.”

Timothy Bianco
Assistant Professor of Economics

Tim BiancoTimothy Bianco joins Allegheny as assistant professor of economics, having taught previously at Bowling Green State University, where he also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He also obtained a master’s degree and his doctorate from the University of Kentucky. He also has worked as an analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland for five years.

“I enjoy teaching economics and researching cutting-edge financial and monetary economics, focusing on corporate credit,” says Bianco.

Bianco and his wife, Victoria, grew up in northeast Ohio “so moving to northwest Pennsylvania has been a smooth transition. I am a Cleveland sports fanatic and I enjoy traveling to Cleveland to catch a game from time to time.

“An unusual combination is that I have been known to apply cutting-edge econometric techniques to playing fantasy football,” he says.

Paula Burleigh
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History

Paula BurleighPaula Burleigh joins the Allegheny community as visiting assistant professor of art history and director of the Penelec, Bowman, Meghan Art Gallery. She earned her Ph.D. in art history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

She earlier earned a master’s degree at Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor’s degree at Emory University.

“I’ve taught undergraduate courses at City University of New York Baruch College, Bard High School Early College, and at Bard College, and I’ve taught adult education courses at the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where I was a teaching fellow for several years before coming to Allegheny,” says Burleigh.

Burleigh specializes in art history and visual culture of Europe and the United States, from 1945 to the present. Her research interests include visionary architecture, feminism and gender as they relate to art, and utopian/dystopian themes in art and popular visual culture.

“I love to cook, and I didn’t let a decade of tiny New York City kitchen life stop me from elaborate culinary experiments — some failed, many succeeded, all were eaten at least an hour later than I intended,” she says.

Kimberly Caldwell
Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology

Kimberly CaldwellKimberly Caldwell joins the college as a visiting assistant professor of psychology. She earned her Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience at the University at Buffalo, “so my background is a blend of psychology and neuroscience.”

She has taught introductory psychology and biopsychology, “and I am excited to be teaching a new course this semester that I developed called ‘Ingestive Behavior,’ which will explore the neuroscience behind eating and drinking. My research interests are broadly focused on how the brain controls eating and drinking, thus the inspiration for my new class. I am particularly interested in a peptide system called ghrelin that is capable of influencing both behaviors.

“Along with behavioral neuroscience, I have always enjoyed the arts and took several art classes through high school and even a couple here at Allegheny as a member of the Gifted Program — I don’t know if they still call it that, it’s been a while since I was in high school — at Maplewood,” she says.

“This brings me to my fun fact, I grew up locally in nearby Townville and took classes at Allegheny in art and dance while in high school.”

Michael Michaelides
Assistant Professor of Economics

Michael MichaelidesMichael Michaelides joins the Economics Department as an assistant professor. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the University of Essex, a master’s degree in accounting and finance from the London School of Economics, a master’s degree in economics from Virginia Tech, and a doctorate in economics from Virginia Tech.

Prior to attending Allegheny, Michaelides spent one year as a visiting assistant professor at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. His research interests include: Financial econometrics, empirical asset pricing, time series econometrics, applied econometrics, behavioral finance, volatility modeling, and financial risk forecasting.

“My research has focused on exploring the behavioral biases of investing through the quantitative application of statistical and mathematical models. Yet, my research has been so strongly influenced by the philosophy of science literature,” says Michaelides.

When not in the classroom or on a research mission, Michaelides is a Liverpool Football Club supporter.

Matthew Mitchell
Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies

Matthew MitchellRight out of college, Matthew Mitchell traveled to Japan and taught English as a foreign language for six years. He had earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies, with a minor in chemistry, from Illinois Wesleyan University. As an undergraduate, he also found time to sing in the university choir and teach rock climbing.

Mitchell later completed an M.A. in Asian religions from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Ph.D. from Duke University’s Graduate Program in Religion. “I spent a lot more time in my office writing than on the beach,” he said of his two years in Hawaii.

Mitchell’s teaching experience includes posts at the University of Hawaii, Duke University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University. And he worked at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, helping to bring Chinese students and scholars to the institution for short-term and degree programs.

Mitchell’s research interests include Asian religions — especially Japanese Buddhism, social history, and women and gender in religion. This year in the Religious Studies Department, he will be teaching a number of courses across traditions from Asian religions to Islam. He is currently studying the social, financial and legal activities of a group of Buddhist nuns in Japan’s 17th–20th centuries. “One of the biggest surprises people have is the diversity of the nuns’ activities,” he says. “Most people tend to think of nuns as cloistered, not active, and certainly not involved in gambling or lawsuits.”

Along with Japan’s importance to Mitchell’s research, the nation holds other special meaning for him: it’s where he met his wife and it’s the birthplace of his oldest daughter.

Pamela Runestad
Assistant Professor of Global Health Studies

Pamela RunestadPamela Runestad likes to know how things work.

“I found I could fold all of my interests — infectious disease, nutrition, culture, Japan, writing and narrative, and film — together through becoming a medical anthropologist,” she says. “These combinations will be at the heart of my courses in global health studies here at Allegheny.”

Runestad holds a B.A. in biology and English — with a minor in psychology — from Augustana College (now University) in South Dakota and an M.A. in Japanese language and society from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. She also earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in medical anthropology with a focus on Japan at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu.

Her doctoral research focused on socio-cultural responses to HIV/AIDS in Japan and how those have an impact on health. Her current research project explores institutional food for pregnant and postpartum mothers in Japan.

Runestad’s life and work experiences outside of the continental U.S. give her unique perspective. “I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and I lived in Nagano, Japan, for 10 years,” she says. “So at this point, I’ve only lived about one-quarter of my life in the ‘lower 48’ — Alaska-speak — or the ‘mainland’ — Hawaii-speak. That time was spent in South Dakota, Nebraska and North Carolina.”

Yee Mon Thu
Assistant Professor of Biology

Yee Mon ThuYee Mon Thu describes herself as “a scientist who likes to learn how the natural world works — and an amateur artist who likes to use imagination.”

Before arriving at Allegheny, Thu taught biology at her undergraduate alma mater, Grinnell College. She earned a B.A. in biology with a concentration in global development studies there before completing a Ph.D. in cancer biology at Vanderbilt University.

“I am interested in how cells maintain genome stability in the face of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can cause DNA damage,” Thu says of her research. “I am also fascinated by the involvement of these pathways in cancer.”

When away from the classroom and laboratory, Thu enjoys visiting national parks.

Birgit Weyhe
Max Kade Writer in Residence

Birgit WehyeAs a graphic novelist, Birgit Weyhe uses both her writing and drawing to explore historical and political incidents. She’s primarily interested in migration and the definition of home and identity. In addition to authoring several books, Weyhe has a monthly page in a Berlin newspaper where she draws the “lifeline” of a person who has changed places of residence often.

Weyhe was raised in Uganda and Kenya and came back to Germany at the age of 19. “I consider all three countries as my home,” she says. After returning to Germany, she earned a master’s degree in German literature and history from the University of Hamburg and a Diplom in illustration from the University of Applied Sciences, also in Hamburg.

Since 2012, Weyhe has taught at the Universities of Hamburg, Kiel and Düsseldorf in Germany and at the National Art School in Maputo, Mozambique. She also has led workshops at the German Cultural Center (Goethe Institut) in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Finland, France and Canada.

Wehye said that she is a passionate reader. On a three-month trip to Patagonia last year, she and her husband read 15 novels to each other. “We praised the invention of eBooks,” she says. “Otherwise our backpacks would have been very heavy.”

Tarah Williams
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science

tarah williamsTarah Williams uses survey and experimental methods to understand how social identities —partisan identities, racial identities and many more — shape individual political behavior, for better or worse. Her current research explores whether and when individuals will confront prejudice and discrimination in their daily lives.

“As a shy person, I often struggled to speak up as a student,” she says. “My job now requires me to help students find ways to participate in class, and because I needed to work to find my voice, I have become committed to helping others find theirs. Similarly, my research is concerned with how we can encourage people to speak up to confront prejudice.”

Williams earned her B.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois. Before pursuing graduate school, she worked in state government as a researcher for the Illinois Legislature. She has taught courses in politics and policy at Washington University in St. Louis, Miami University in Ohio and the University of Illinois.

Along with her teaching and research, Williams enjoys walking, cooking, musical theatre and — since arriving at Allegheny — exploring Meadville.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

The Opioid Epidemic: Developing a GeoStory for Crawford County

Like many areas in the nation, Crawford County is reckoning with the ongoing opioid crisis, which is silencing the voices of young people, wreaking havoc on families, and eating away at the social fabric of many communities at an alarming rate.

Rebecca Dawson, assistant professor of biology and global health studies at Allegheny College, and student researchers are attempting to shed some light on the crisis locally and offer government officials statistical data and insights on where the problem exists specifically and how they might address it.

Through this community-based project, Dawson and the students are combining maps of data with narratives to create an interactive platform that shows where government officials might focus their efforts in defusing the crisis.

The research team’s primary tool is Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology.

“In its most basic use, GIS answers the question, ‘Where?’ Questions such as ‘Where are people living?’ and ‘Where are pockets of overdose calls?’” says Dawson, who graduated from Allegheny in 2000. “One analysis technique is referred to as ‘finding hot spots,’ and it visualizes data in aggregate form by using warm colors to show areas with high rates of incidents.

“We have pulled data from 911 calls, the coroner’s office, the courthouse, and from hospitals, among other sources,” Dawson says. “We are trying to find the hot spots for overdoses and create a map of Crawford County that shows officials the specific areas of concern. How should they target their services? What areas of care need to be addressed? How should they align with schools and service programs? Where exactly is the problem? What is the opioid story here?”

The project, which is being done in conjunction with Crawford County Human Services, started two years ago and has just finished the second summer of gathering data, Dawson says. Seven students have worked on the project thus far, she adds. Dawson and students Emily Forner ’19, Mary Kerner ’19, Valerie Hurst ’18, and Jenny Tompkins ’18 will present their methodologies and findings at the American Statistical Association’s Women in Data Science Conference in Cincinnati in October 2018.

“What struck me the most was just how many ways the data could be used to help better understand what’s going on in the county,” Forner says. “From looking more broadly at trends for the county as a whole, to comparing smaller areas like Titusville and Meadville, analyzing these issues from a spatial standpoint can really help to identify areas where resources should be targeted.”

“As a researcher the most beneficial part of the project was the connections I made with community stakeholders as well as learning new information about a topic I had never studied before,” says Kerner. “As someone who was attempting to tell the narrative side of the story, I was faced with researching why communities are being affected in the way that they are as well as the different strategies being implemented to hopefully alleviate the burden on affected community members.

“This led me to delve much deeper into the histories of each community, what is happening now that may be contributing to the problem, and what programs are community activists trying that may be successful in the future. This gave me a much broader perspective than I had originally had and will give me the tools to conduct further research in topics I am not immediately familiar with.”

Here is what the research team is finding so far.

Located in a relatively rural setting, Crawford County is at high risk for overdose deaths — 45 per 100,000 people as compared to the national average of 20 per 100,000. The project is mapping where overdose deaths have occurred, where overdose calls originated, where drug-possession calls came from, what areas of the county don’t have ambulance service, and where hospitals and licensed health clinics are located. The data they collect results in a GIS map sprinkled with multi-colored dots representing all of those data points collected from 2015 to 2018.

That map should show where clusters of overdoses are occurring, so social services can be targeted in those areas. “Ultimately, our goal is to improve community wellness and prevent trauma and to assist policy- and decision-makers with the allocation of resources and services,” says Dawson.

Still to be finalized are a summary of statistics based on demographics and a presentation of the findings to the community stakeholders. “We are trying to be careful not to stigmatize neighborhoods. These are difficult conversations,” she says.

Photo Credit: Derek Li
Photo Caption: Rebecca Dawson, assistant professor of biology and global health studies, left, and students Emily Forner, center, and Mary Kerner are mapping areas of drug overdoses in order to help Crawford County officials understand and address the problem.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Biology Professor to Provide Expert Commentary on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week

Dr. Lisa Whitenack
Dr. Lisa Whitenack

Lisa Whitenack, Allegheny College associate professor of biology, will provide expert commentary on the Discovery Channel Shark Week show “Megalodon: Fact vs. Fiction” on Friday, July 27, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Whitenack and other experts will explore what would happen if the largest shark that ever existed were still alive today.

Whitenack researches the biomechanics, evolution and paleobiology of sharks, snails, crabs and more. Last September, she was one of 10 female shark scientists — and the only one from a liberal arts institution — who participated in “Shark Tales: Women Making Waves,” a symposium at the New England Aquarium in Boston for high school and college-age women organized by the Gills Club.

Whitenack has served on the Allegheny faculty since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @whitenacklab.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Student Grace O’Malley Awarded Prestigious NOAA Hollings Scholarship

Allegheny College sophomore Grace O’Malley has been awarded an Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). O’Malley is the third Allegheny student to win a Hollings Scholarship in the last two years.

The competitive scholarship includes two years of tuition support and a paid 10-week summer internship to conduct research, resource management or education projects while working with a NOAA mentor.

Through the Hollings Scholarship program, O’Malley plans to pursue an internship in marine ecosystem research. “I’ve become really interested in ocean conservation and hope to be able to see this work being done firsthand,” O’Malley, a biology major and Spanish minor, said.

O’Malley credits three people with cultivating her initial interest in science. First is her grandfather, who was a biology professor at St. Lawrence University and suggested she consider Allegheny. In addition, as a high school student, O’Malley conducted aquatic ecology research with Susquehanna University professors Jack Holt and Mike Bilger in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

“Without these three mentors in my life, I don’t know if I would have the confidence and drive to pursue my dreams so forcefully,” she said.

At Allegheny, O’Malley has continued to explore her passion for science. She works as a project assistant with the Creek Connections environmental outreach program and as a chemistry teaching assistant.

O’Malley also has collaborated with Scott Wissinger, professor of biology and environmental science, to study caddisflies, a mothlike insect that lives near lakes or rivers. She will continue that research with him this summer in Colorado, working on a project in the Rocky Mountains.

Wissinger and Creek Connections Project Director Wendy Kedzierski encouraged O’Malley to apply for the Hollings Scholarship, she said. O’Malley also received assistance with her application from Patrick Jackson, director of fellowship advising in the Allegheny Gateway.

Jackson said that the Hollings Scholarship is designed to help NOAA ensure that young scientists in the educational system are prepared to advance the agency’s mission. NOAA is charged with keeping citizens informed of the changing environment around them — from daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce.

NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product, according to the agency’s website.

“The fact that Allegheny has now sent three students into the Hollings Scholarship program in the last two years is a testament to the work being done on our campus,” Jackson said. “Allegheny students are ready to get out into the world and do serious research, which is the only kind that NOAA engages in. They don’t have the time or resources to get students up to speed; they need them ready on their first day. And Allegheny students typically are.”

Jackson encourages Allegheny students who are interested in applying for the Hollings Scholarship to contact him at pjackson@allegheny.edu or (814) 332-2779.

According to NOAA, the Hollings Scholarship program is designed to:

  • increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities;
  • increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy;
  • recruit and prepare students for public service careers with NOAA and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government; and
  • recruit and prepare students for careers as teachers and educators in oceanic and atmospheric science and to improve scientific and environmental education in the United States.

At the end of their summer internships, Hollings scholars present their results to scientists and peers during the annual Science & Education Symposium. Scholars also can apply for funding to present their research at up to two scientific conferences.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Wissinger, Balik Present at Entomological Society of America Meetings

Professor of Environmental Science and Biology Scott Wissinger and Jared Balik ’16 presented an invited paper in the symposium Impacts of Climate Change on “Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Invertebrates: Research from Earth’s Coldest and Most Rapidly Changing Environments” at the Entomological Society of America meetings in November 2017. The paper was titled “Elevational range shifts in alpine aquatic insects and consequences for ecosystem function” and included findings from Balik’s senior research at Allegheny funded by the Beckman Foundation and NSF.

Click to expand photo of students by the lake

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Two Allegheny College Students Awarded NOAA Hollings Scholarships

Hollings Scholarship Recipients

Allegheny College juniors Megan Hazlett and Allyson Wood have been awarded Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarships by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The competitive scholarships include two years of tuition support and paid 10-week summer internships to conduct research, resource management or education projects while working with a NOAA mentor. Hazlett and Wood are among 110 students nationwide receiving the scholarship in 2017.

Hazlett is an environmental science and biology double major from West Middlesex, Pennsylvania. Through the Hollings Scholarship, she will intern at the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Homer, Alaska, studying the growth of juvenile salmon.

“When I first heard about the Hollings Scholarship, I thought it sounded like such an amazing opportunity,” Hazlett said. “I never knew exactly what I wanted to study; I just knew that I loved studying wildlife and being outside. Since then, I’ve really come to love marine ecosystems, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity. Now, I am beyond grateful for receiving this coveted award.”

In summer 2016, Hazlett worked as a conservation education intern at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and as an intern at Goddard State Park for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Last summer, she participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University. While there, Hazlett completed a project exploring the effects of ocean acidification on the behavior of a North Pacific flatfish.

Wood, of Buffalo, New York, is an environmental science major and environmental writing minor. In summer 2018, she will travel to North Carolina to intern at the Beaufort Southeast Fisheries Science Center as an Atlantic shark video technician, analyzing footage of sharks from previous years.

“I was inspired to apply for the Hollings Scholarship after discovering that I love working with aquatic organisms and being in the field,” Wood said. “My decision to apply was further cemented by my Environmental Science 201 class, where Dr. (Benjamin) Haywood taught us about aquaculture and the overfishing that is threatening fish populations. I applied for this scholarship because I want to have a role in revitalizing our fish populations and oceans.”

Wood learned about the Hollings Scholarship from Casey Bradshaw-Wilson, Allegheny visiting assistant professor of environmental science. In summer 2016, Wood assisted Bradshaw-Wilson with research on the round goby, an invasive fish in French Creek. Wood also earned a place on a prestigious 2017 Fulbright Summer Institute in the United Kingdom, where she took a field biology course at the University of Sussex.

According to NOAA, the Hollings Scholarship program is designed to:

  • increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities;
  • increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy;
  • recruit and prepare students for public service careers with NOAA and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government; and
  • recruit and prepare students for careers as teachers and educators in oceanic and atmospheric science and to improve scientific and environmental education in the United States.

At the end of their summer internships, Hollings scholars present their results to scientists and peers during the annual Science & Education Symposium. Scholars also can apply for funding to present their research at up to two scientific conferences.

Pictured above, from left: Allyson Wood and Megan Hazlett

Source: Academics, Publications & Research