Innovation Grows Out of Junior Seminars

Two Junior Seminar classes taught by Liz Olson, assistant professor of global health & development and environmental studies, each presented their community-focused projects to the campus community on April 26 in Carr Hall.

First, the Environmental Science/Studies Junior Seminar presented their project, designed to inform community members in northwestern Pennsylvania about hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. They presented their informational booklet, which has been distributed to local township and county offices.

Students in the Junior Seminar on Medical Anthropology and Global Health, also led by Professor Olson, gave a dynamic presentation about growing medicinal herbs in local gardens. This project involved the creation of “The Conceptual Apothecary,” and the introduction of holistic medicinal practices to the local community.

The first three phases of the project included:

(1) Examining the use of medicinal plants and herbs in the Meadville area;


(2) Selecting plants and herbs for the Allegheny campus farm (Carr-den);


and (3) Community outreach.


Although it is not yet determined how the plants and herbs will be used,  class-based assignments led by Dr. Olson will continue the incorporation of these plants throughout the year. Projects will range from assistance in maintaining the plants, to harvesting and using the herbs and plants to potentially create products (e.g., infusions, essential oils, foods, or other botanical remedies).

The Medical Anthropology class will also be presenting their project about growing and integrating medicinal herbs at the Woodcock Creek Nature Center on May 6 at 4:30 p.m. and again at the Meadville Second Saturday Community Market on May 11 at 9 a.m. at the Meadville Market House.