Case, Melville scholarships recognize academic and extracurricular talents
By Brian Fitzgerald
In high school, Megan Murai suffered a sports injury that temporarily derailed her athletic and music activities, but at the same time put her on her career track. Her avocation: athletic training. Her sport: wrestling.
Yes, wrestling. Murai (SAR’05) is from Hawaii, where girls high school wrestling is extremely popular. It’s also extremely rough, and she was hurt during a match as a freshman grappler for the Moanulua High School girls varsity team. “The day after a tournament, I was sitting in class when I started having trouble breathing, and I felt sharp pains behind my ribs,” she recalls. “I was taken to my primary care physician, where an X-ray revealed a bruised lung.”
The pain hindered both her wrestling and her ability to play the bassoon and contrabassoon for her high school symphony orchestra. Although the injury meant the end of Murai’s wrestling season, it marked the beginning of her interest in sports medicine. She says that she owes her recovery — and her career calling — to her athletic trainer’s care and guidance. “I’ve been interested in medicine my entire life,” she says. “This experience just focused my interests.”
Murai was among 12 students recently honored with one of BU’s two highest awards recognizing undergraduate achievement — the Dean Elsbeth Melville Scholarship. The other is the Harold C. Case Scholarship. A ceremony was held for the recipients of both awards on April 22 at the Metcalf Trustee Center in the School of Management building.
Murai, also a Trustee Scholar, is vice president of the Sargent College Honor Society, a volunteer research assistant in a sports medicine research lab, and a member of the University, state, and national Athletic Trainers Associations. But her extracurricular endeavors aren’t limited to just Sargent College and her future field. She is involved in other activities on campus, including BU on Tap (the University’s tap dancing team) and the Community Service Center’s Children’s Theater.
Her wrestling days may be over, but competition for the Melville Scholarship is always rigorous, and the scholarship committee believes she had a headlock on the award from the start. “Megan has a strong intellectual curiosity that has enabled her to envision the applications of research and medicine to aid in her abilities as a rehabilitation clinician,” says one of her professors, who recommended her for the scholarship. “I truly believe that Megan is a special person who will make a remarkable impact on the health-care field in the very near future.”
The Melville Scholarships were established in 1978 in honor of the late Elsbeth Melville (CAS’25), longtime BU dean of women. Each year the award is presented to two junior women who exemplify qualities stressed by Melville: excellence of scholarship, high moral character and personal integrity, contribution to the life of BU, and potential usefulness in their chosen fields.
Besides Murai, this year’s other Melville Scholar is Rebecca Mylecraine (CAS’05), whose GPA is 3.99. “A history and sociology major, Rebecca has developed her academic program to accommodate her intellectual passion for history and her chosen vocation of social work,” says Provost Dennis Berkey. “In addition to her course work, which has garnered Phi Beta Kappa honors, her record of service to the University and surrounding communities is equally impressive.”
Mylecraine is a member of the BU Community Service Center, and serves as a volunteer for several projects in the Boston area that provide assistance to low-income residents and the homeless, such as the Allston-Brighton Food Pantry.
In 1967 the Harold C. Case Scholarships were instituted to honor the achievements of BU’s fifth president. Case (GRS’27) is credited with unifying BU into not only a cohesive academic community, but also a social one. Each year the scholarships are awarded to at least 10 juniors who exhibit great scholarly accomplishment and potential, as well as participate in extracurricular activities that contribute to University life.
Nathaniel Stricker (CAS’05, COM’05) is majoring in psychology and film, areas he’s fascinated with, in both an independent and an integrated sense. “I can see my-self striving to break into the film industry,” he says. “But on the other hand, I can also see myself pursuing graduate work in psychology and becoming either an experimenter and professor in an academic setting or a clinician. Together, the two majors make for an interesting synthesis. My interest in people and the dynamics of behavior could find an outlet in documentary or educational films. Or I could do market research on the impact of films and what techniques are most effective in conveying a message.”
Stricker has already broken into television, however, working as an intern at the cable channel Fox Kids when he studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, last fall. Some of his short program “featurettes” were aired, including three-minute pieces on a young chef and on the Sydney Sandpipers, a national netball team. “It was great to be in charge of the whole process,” he says, “and I was proud of the final product.”
His foray into film begins this summer with a video he is making with Project: Think Different. It will be aired at the Democratic National Convention in July. The nonprofit media organization uses arts and pop culture to reach society’s disengaged youth.
Stricker also worked on Bay State, the student-run soap opera produced at COM’s BUTV studios, played saxophone in the Pep Band, was a freshman resource advisor, and is a CAS dean’s host. Next year he will be a resident assistant and the treasurer of Psi Chi, the National Psychology Honor Society.
The other Case Scholars are biology major Carolina Bibbo (CAS’05); music education major Brian Cincotta (CFA’05); Jessica Elliott (CAS’05), who is majoring in religion; psychology major Laura Brooks Faden (CAS’05); Hsuan-Ting (Emily) Huang (CAS’05), whose majors are biochemistry, molecular biology, and Hispanic language and literature; biomedical engineering major Priya Janardhana (ENG’05); Shideh Majidi (CAS’05), who is majoring in biology and psychology; economics and philosophy major Stephen Miran (CAS’05); and Katherine Van Akin (CAS’05), whose majors are international relations and economics.
13 May 2004