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Cardinal Science Scholar Program

The Cardinal Science Scholar Program is committed to not only providing scholarships to students majoring in select science and math fields but also creating a strong community of scholars who are supported in their coursework, partake in cutting edge research, and broadly educated about careers in science and math. With funding from the National Science Foundation, we have provided scholarships to more than 35 students who have engaged in some remarkable experiences while at Otterbein University.

Profiles of Scholars

Melissa Lucius, Chemistry major, Class of 2014
Melissa Lucius“The CSS program has been very beneficial to the beginning of my career as a scientist. Through this program, I have learned about the career options I have after graduation, toured local chemical industries, had networking opportunities with academic and industrial scientists, and have taken advantage of the countless opportunities that are offered to undergraduates in the scientific community, like doing research and presenting at national conferences.” Mel, who is originally from Attica, OH, has been highly involved in both undergraduate research and in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Chapter while at Otterbein. She is currently serving as President of the student chapter and has been conducting on-campus research since her sophomore year in the laboratory of Dr. Carrigan Hayes, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Mel also recently spent Summer 2013 at Northern Illinois University conducting research on electrochromic devices through their National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) Program. Mel has attended two national meetings of the American Chemical Society – one in San Diego, CA and the other in New Orleans, LA – where she presented a poster about the ACS Student Chapter and a poster about her research with Dr. Hayes entitled, “Calculations of bond dissociation enthalpies in monocyclic oxygenates with implications for lignocellulosic biofuels." She has been the recipient of several Chemistry Department awards while at Otterbein, including the Kekule Outstanding Sophomore Award, the Outstanding Junior Award, and the Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry. Mel plans to obtain her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry pursuing research in the area of biofuels and clean energy.

Robert (Bobby) Geiger, Biochemistry and Chemistry Double Major, Class of 2014
“The Cardinal Science Scholar (CSS) program has been essential to my success in research at Otterbein. Through the CSS program, I have met some of my best friends and gotten to know my professors on a more personal level.”

Bobby, who is originally from Galena, Ohio, has been recognized both locally and nationally for his undergraduate research conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Jennifer Bennett, Assistant Professor of Biology. Bobby began conducting on-campus research during the summer after his first year, having received funding through Otterbein’s Merck Institute for Science Education Award that supports interdisciplinary research at the interface of Chemistry and Biology. During his sophomore year, he received the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship, which is awarded to only a few undergraduates across the country. Bobby has also been recognized on campus for his achievements, receiving the Horn Award and Student Research Fund Award that support research-related activities. He has traveled to two national meetings of the American Society of Microbiology – one in Denver, CO and the other in San Francisco, CA to present his work with Dr. Bennett entitled “Phosphodiesterase expression in Streptomyces coelicolor and differential expression of antibiotics” and “Streptomyces Phosphodiesterase Regulate Colony Development and Biofilm Formation.” Bobby also has had the unique opportunity as an undergraduate students of having his work published in the Journal of Bacteriology. Bobby plans on pursuing graduate studies in Biochemistry.

Full citation: Cyclic Di-GMP Phosphodiesterases RmdA and RmdB Are Involved in Regulating Colony Morphology and Development in Streptomyces coelicolor Travis D. Hull, Min-Hyung Ryu, Matthew J. Sullivan, Ryan C. Johnson, Nikolai T. Klena, Robert M. Geiger, Mark Gomelsky, and Jennifer A. Bennett J. Bacteriol. 2012 194:46

Mikah Barrueta, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Major and French Minor, Class of 2016
Mikah Burruetta“The Cardinal Science Scholar Program is an excellent opportunity to spend time with people who share my passion and interest in science, as well as an amazing resource for any doubts or concerns I might have about my future.”

Although only a sophomore, Mikah, who is originally from Mexico, has already had some amazing experiences while at Otterbein. She began conducting research during her first year in the laboratory of Dr. Jennifer Bennett, Assistant Professor of Biology, and has received several local awards, including the E. Jeanne Willis Life Science Endowed Award, the Horn Award, and a Student Research Fund Award. She is working with Dr. Bennett on a project entitled, “The characterization of a putative HD-GYP domain phosphodiesterases in Streptomyces coelicolor.” In addition to her science studies, Mikah is also pursuing a minor in French, an interest she gained while living in France for a year during her childhood, which will also add to her fluencies in English and Spanish.

Cardinal Science Scholars must meet the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled full time and committed to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, 3-2 Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics
  • Be citizens of the United States, nationals of the United States, aliens admitted as refugees, or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence
  • Demonstrate academic ability and potential
    • High school students must have a GPA greater than or equal to 3.0 and an ACT composite score greater than or equal to 23.
    • Transfer students must have a college GPA equal to or greater than 3.0.
  • Demonstrate financial need, defined for undergraduate students by the US Department of Education rules for need-based Federal financial aid Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Preference will be given to students interested in pursuing employment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields or graduate studies in STEM.

As part of the program, Cardinal Science Scholars receive:

  • A scholarship ranging from $4000 to $10,000 based on financial need
    • The scholarship is renewable for up to four years contingent on commitment to a major in one of the sponsored fields, academic performance (maintaining a GPA above 3.0), and continued financial need as defined by US Department of Education.
  • A research stipend ranging from $1000 to $3500 to conduct research during the summer of their sophomore or junior year
  • Opportunities to develop relationships with like-minded peers, upperclassmen, and professionals

If you are a prospective student interested in the Cardinal Science Scholar Program, please contact Dr. Joan Esson, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Director of the CSS Program, at jesson@otterbein.edu.

/Project Director

Drs. Esson, Nenciu and Robertson
p/ 614.823.1716
e/ jesson@otterbein.edu