Alumni money funds senior scholarships

by Alfonso Montero | 6/9/96 5:00am

Sometimes students think alumni generosity has little direct impact on their lives other than to help pay their professors' salaries.

But a reception at the Hanover Inn May 29 showed an example of alumni helping students directly.

Members of the Class of 1939 honored 15 seniors who benefited from the class's generosity as part of the Senior Scholars program, which gives money to seniors living in residence halls who are writing honors theses.

The program, which is cosponsored by the Office of Residential Life, has been funded by the Class of 1939 since it began in 1980, Dean of Residential Life Mary Turco said.

Bob Kaiser '39, who spoke at the reception, said he is "proud to sponsor these students, who are doing amazing things."

The program was given the American College Personnell Association's Model Program Award for 1989-90, Kaiser said.

The students who benefit from the grants are chosen by a committee which includes Turco, history professor Mary Kelly, physics professor Delo Mook and German professor Ulrike Rainer, Turco said.

The Class of 1989 will be taking over the program next year, Kaiser said.

At the reception, some students spoke about the projects the Class of 1939 helped fund.

John Bennett '96 said at the reception that his grant made it possible for him to visit archives in New England and New York to research his thesis on Federalist foreign policy during the War of 1812.

Another history student who spoke was Elizabeth Rybicki '96. Rybicki said her thesis was on the "Evolution of Amending Procedures in the House of Representatives" from 1880-1918. Ribicki will present her findings at the 1996 American Political Science Conference.

Patricia Herrera '96 used money to travel to New York City to conduct interviews for a play she wrote, called "Searching for Miss Angeles."

Veronica Garcia '96 used her grant to travel and to "make lots of photocopies," she said.

Kihara Rufus Kiarie '96 focused on zoning policies in urban housing. Using his grant money, Kiarie flew to Houston, Texas to conduct interviews.

Michael Taylor '96 and Y. Joy Ko '96s worked together on a project in which they tried to improve the compression of images and video. They used grant money to travel to a conference on the topic.

Many of this year's senior scholars were involved in science projects, which created problems for the selection committee.

It was difficult "just to figure out what the student was trying to do," Turco said.

For instance, Laura Lee '96 did her research on "Synthesis of Zwitterionic Inhibitors."

Jason Fanuele '96 researched "Tetraflourocyclobutadiene.'

Seniors David Grelotti, Sarasa Kimata, Rosee Lee, Katherine Shortridge and Rosaida Yeng were also awarded grants by the program.

Many of these year's Senior Scholars were involved in science projects. According to Mary Turco, this posed a problem for the Selection Committee, since it took a great deal of effort "just to figure out what the student was trying to do," she said.

Particularly difficult to understand were Laura Lee '96's thesis on "Synthesis if Zwitterionic Inhibitors," or Jason Fanuele '96's research on "Tetrafluorocyclobutadiene." These students were nevertheless successful in presenting the significance of their projects.

Sarasa Kimata '96 worked on mapping Iron in plants and other living organisms. She devoted the funding to "buying lots of chemicals for the experiments."

David Grelotti '96 deliberately presented a thesis which remained absolutely incomprehensible until, after a pause, he translated it to "Why Nutrition Matters."

Other students distinguished were Katherine Shortridge '96, a studio art major, who explored the "meanings of abstraction" in her paintings; Rose Lee '96, who did research in human emotions and facial expressions; and Rosaida Yeng '96, who investigated the causes of underdevelopment in the Philippines.

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