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Luther Rice Fellowship Application Deadlines Announced

Luther Rice

Application deadlines (Nov. 23 and Mar. 1) have been set for our Luther Rice Undergraduate Research Fellowships. This fellowship program invites students from all disciplines to submit faculty-mentored research proposals for the 2015-16 academic year. Students who are selected will receive $5,000, and the faculty mentor will be given an additional $1,000. The Luther Rice Fellows have earned a reputation as being among the brightest and most engaging CCAS students. This year 25 students were selected from a pool of 43 applicants, but additional funding may be sought if there is a greater number of excellent proposals.

Many pre-health students over the years have been able to do exciting research in a variety of areas. Here is a window into the value of this kind of experience, from Alexis Chen, a CCAS senior with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry:

        My name is Alexis Chen and I am a senior in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. I am a Biology major with a minor in Chemistry, and am currently a Luther Rice Scholar. I am both honored and humbled by this award and encourage all others to apply for this opportunity. I began doing research in the Hernandez lab in the summer before my junior year and applied for the Luther Rice Fellowship in the Spring of 2014.
        My research topic is one that I am passionate about and eager to share with both the GW community and the scientific world. I am working with a specific group of freshwater fish known as Cypriniformes. This group includes the greatest number of freshwater species known and they are characterized by a number of odd feeding novelties. For example, they are the only group of fishes ever investigated that have a muscular pad located on the roof of their mouth, similar to a mammalian tongue, known as the palatal organ. Our lab has studied the structure and function of this novelty. Research into the physiology of the muscle fibers that make up this structure has enabled us to make conclusions about the importance of the palatal organ to their feeding ecology. There is currently no published literature on the structure of the palatal organ, which makes this research extremely exciting.
        The Luther Rice Fellowship has allowed me to not only further investigate this fascinating structure, but also to share my conclusions with the rest of the scientific world. It has been wonderful to feel as though I can contribute something to the GW community.




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