Graduate School News
New five-year Royster fellows have diverse research interests, backgrounds
August 26, 2013
A few months ago, Alex McVey was the assistant director of debate for George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Emily Toutkoushian was teaching in Jackson, N.C. Marie Camerota was completing her bachelor's degree at Cornell University. Dillan Bono was working for the Charities Aid Foundation in London.
Where are they now? Pursuing their doctoral studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as five-year fellows within The Graduate School's Royster Society of Fellows. McVey, Toutkoushian, Camerota, Bono and 23 other exceptional graduate students hold the distinction of “Royster fellow” within a select interdisciplinary program providing full financial support, innovative approaches to learning and unique professional development opportunities.
A committee of UNC-Chapel Hill faculty decides which applicants will be offered the fellowships based upon their academic performance, research, work, service and life experiences, and their potential for leadership in the future.
“Royster fellows are selected for their strong potential to make significant contributions in research and teaching within UNC-Chapel Hill,” said Sandra Hoeflich, associate dean for interdisciplinary education, fellowships and communication at The Graduate School. “Their scholarly work will also have impact in North Carolina and beyond.”
Among their first activities as Royster fellows, the students visited the N.C. Museum of Art and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. “This field trip was a great opportunity to introduce the new fellows to some of the outstanding natural and artistic aspects of life in North Carolina,” said David Pfennig, Royster distinguished professor for graduate education. “Orienting them to North Carolina helps them make connections with the needs and perspectives of our citizens and communities.”
Following are the members of the 2013-14 entering class of five-year Royster fellows and some additional interesting facts about them:
- Dillan Bono, Public Policy: Bono's research interest is comparative social policy, with particular emphasis on the United States. She received her bachelor's degree in economics and German from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her master's degree in development studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Clancy Brown, Marine Sciences: Brown's research interests are the interactions between estuarine habitats and coastal marine fisheries. She graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a bachelor's degree in biology and minors in environmental studies and Spanish. After college, she was a science teacher in the Peace Corps in Mozambique, and then worked at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maine.
- Marie Camerota, Developmental Psychology: Camerota's research focus is the impact of poverty on child development. Specifically, she is interested in the relationship among parenting processes, self-regulation and executive function in underserved populations. She received her bachelor's degree in human development from Cornell University.
- Elena Casey, Romance Languages: A doctoral student in Hispanic literature, Casey is interested in the perceptions of madness and the situations of the marginalized in early modern Spain and England and the development of those constructs across spatial and temporal borders. She received her bachelor's degree in Spanish and English literature from Messiah College and her master's degree in Hispanic studies from Middlebury College in Madrid, Spain.
- Catherine Crone, Musicology: Crone's research interests are adaptation and genre, especially regarding musical theater and folk music of the United States and Great Britain. She received her bachelor's degree in both music and mathematics from Hamilton College.
- Luke Drake, Religious Studies: Drake's research interests are early Christian history, ancient and contemporary reception and interpretation of Christian scripture, and the development of Christian doctrine. He received his bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University and his master of theological studies degree from Harvard Divinity School.
- Rachel Gelfand, American Studies: Gelfand's research interests are radio documentary, popular music, oral history, women's history and queer history. She has produced radio pieces, deejayed radio shows, and worked on projects of public memory and oral history. Gelfand received her bachelor's degree in American studies from Smith College.
- Sarah George, English and Comparative Literature: George's research interests involve questions of aesthetic excess and literature and the law in modernist and contemporary texts, particularly concerning the spaces of criminality and justice, confession, and the legal constructions of civil life and death. She received her bachelor's degree in English, history and political science from Vanderbilt University and her master's degree in American and English literature from Southern Illinois University.
- Cen Guo, Pharmaceutical Sciences: Guo's research interests are drug metabolism and disposition and drug-induced liver injury. Originally from China, she received her bachelor's degree in pharmacy and her master's degree in pharmacokinetics from China Pharmaceutical University.
- Elijah Heyward, American Studies: Heyward's research interests are the Gullah culture and the Penn School in Beaufort, S.C. A native of Beaufort, Heyward formerly lived in Washington, D.C., where he directed the Youth Scholar Academy, a nationwide college access program that he created as a Yale President's Public Service Fellow. Heyward received his bachelor's degree in history with a minor in leadership studies from Hampton University and his master's degree in religion from Yale Divinity School.
- Todd Jensen, Social Work: Jensen's research focus is stepfamily life and formation, particularly from the viewpoint of children. “By doing so,” he said, “I hope to further inform and shape intervention strategies aimed at helping stepfamilies attain satisfying relationships.” He received his bachelor's degree in family life and his master of social work degree from Brigham Young University.
- Connor Lawrence, Geological Sciences: Lawrence's research interests are geochemistry and economic geology, specifically to determine the sequence of mineralization in deposits in western North America. He received his bachelor's degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was stationed in Amberg, Germany, with the U.S. Army from 2009 to 2013.
- Michael Lawson, Biostatistics: Lawson's research interests are in sports concussions, environmental statistics and clinical trials. He received his bachelor's degree in biostatistics, with a minor in creative writing, from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he also was a Morehead-Cain Scholar.
- Lindsay Maurer, City and Regional Planning: Maurer's research interests are the connections between the built environment, travel behavior and public health outcomes related to physical activity and food access. A native of Florence, Ky., she received her bachelor's degree in urban development studies from Centre College and her master's degree in city and regional planning from UNC-Chapel Hill.
- Alex McVey, Communication Studies: McVey studies rhetoric and cultural studies, and his research interests are within the intersection between race/racism, biopolitics and sovereignty. His other areas of research include debate and argumentation, rhetorical theory, hip hop studies, and presidential rhetoric. He received his bachelor's degree in Spanish language and international studies and his master's degree in speech communication from Baylor University.
- Becky Naumann, Epidemiology: Naumann's research interests are the risk factors and trends of unintentional injuries and evaluation of injury prevention interventions. Specifically, she is interested in the prevention of road traffic injuries, prescription drug overdoses and traumatic brain injuries. She received her bachelor's degree in environmental health from the University of Georgia and her master's degree in public health from Emory University. From 2006-2013, she was an epidemiologist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Julia Olszewski, Biology: Formerly living in Oakland, Calif., Olszewski is interested in invertebrate muscle and biomechanics. She received her bachelor's degree in marine biology from Brown University.
- Nelson Pace, Epidemiology: Originally from Flower Mound, Texas, Pace is interested in fetal exposures and their influence on pregnancy outcomes; fetal exposures of interest include air pollution from paper mills, vaccine use during pregnancy, nutrition and maternal drug use/abuse. “I aim in my research to increase what is known about how these factors affect pregnancy outcomes,” he said. He received his bachelor's degree in statistics from Brigham Young University and his master's degree in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Elyse Powell, Nutrition: Powell's research interest is analyzing new patterns in diet and diet-related health outcomes, as well as their environmental and socio-demographic determinants. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology, with a minor in neuroscience, from Princeton University and worked within obesity policy in New York before coming to Chapel Hill.
- Kashika Sahay, Maternal and Child Health: Sahay's research interest is the integration of health services, including primary health, OB services and mental health, and violence prevention services throughout a woman and mother's life course. “I am interested in analyzing meaningful data to improve health processes and services in communities,” she said. Sahay received her master's degree in epidemiology from Emory University.
- Sam Sellers, Environment and Ecology: Formerly of Bainbridge Island, Wash., Sellers is interested in integrated conservation and development programs, particularly development interventions that combine wildlife management with family planning and maternal health services. He received his bachelor's degree in political science from Swarthmore College.
- Ben Slagowski, Classics: Slagowski's research interest is in Roman comedy, particularly the plays of Plautus and the unique sociohistorical information that can be gleaned from his works. He received his bachelor's degree in classics from the University of Wisconsin and his master's degree in classics from the University of Kansas.
- Leslie Thomson, Information and Library Science: Thomson's research interest is in the information practices of home office users, and she plans to “pursue this area further, using information behavior, personal information management and technological subfields to deepen my research” in this area. She completed both her honors BA with an English specialization and her master of information studies with focuses in library and information science as well as archives and records management from the University of Toronto.
- Nikhil Tomar, Occupational Science: Originally from India, Tomar is interested in participatory action research methodologies “as it helps to empower the potentially vulnerable or less-fortunate members of the society,” he said. He is also interested in the field of community reintegration for incarcerated individuals. Tomar received his undergraduate degree in India and his master's degree in occupational therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
- Emily Toutkoushian, Education: Formerly of Jackson, N.C., Toutkoushian is interested in rural education, policy and quantitative methods and evaluation. She received her bachelor's degree in sports leadership and sports humanities, with a minor in statistics, from The Ohio State University.
- Kristina Vaughan, Economics: Formerly from Kingston, Jamaica, Vaughan is interested in the area of development economics. She received her undergraduate degree in economics from Queen Mary University of London and her master's degree in economics from the London School of Economics, after which she worked for the government of Jamaica for two years.
- Aaron Winn, Heath Policy and Management: Winn's research interests are pharmaceutical policy, cancer and multiple chronic conditions. He received his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago.