2015 Scholarship Award Winners

Florence Engel Randall Graduate Fiction Award 

Jillian Jackson is a current MFA candidate in Fiction at Boston University. She has a degree in literature from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and she’s interned for many Boston area publishers, including David R. Godine, Shambhala Publications, and Candlewick Press. She co-coordinates the Writers at the Black Box Reading Series. She’ll be traveling in the fall as a Leslie Epstein Global Fellow.

Florence Engel Randall Undergraduate Fiction Award 

Florence Engel Randall Undergraduate Fiction Award

Ashlyn Aiello was born and raised in Boston and is a current freshman in the BU Biomedical Engineering program. Ashlyn became inspired by creative writing after taking an elective at Phillips Academy, Andover. She is interested in creating robots and human bionics to help in medicine but considers writing the cornerstone that balances her science-based focus.

Florence Engel Randall Undergraduate Fiction Honorable Mentions

Jessica Rizk studies Mass Communication and Economics at BU. She is involved in the Society of Profession Journalism and will assume the position of Vice President of the BU chapter next fall. Jessica’s creative nonfiction has been published on CNN.com.

Anna West is a recently graduated senior of Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences. While Anna’s academic philosophy has centered on the analytics of environmental conservation, Anna’s literary philosophy has focused on preservation as well. Through both fiction and non-fiction, Anna hopes to preserve memories. She will be traveling to Prague this summer to continue writing stories about the women that fed her during her childhood summers spent in the Czech Republic. Through the lens of food, Anna hopes her memoir will shed light on the different Czechoslovak experiences during the forty-one year communist regime.

Florence Engel Randall was the author of six novels and more than one hundred short stories published in literary and popular periodicals. She took great interest in the career of young writers. These awards were endowed by the late Ruth Levine, a member of the faculty of the school of Medicine and a Guild member; 

Katherine Connor McLaughlin Scholarship

Joon Ying Boon is investigating the underlying cause of the neurodegenerative disease, Parkinson’s, to develop better therapies and to provide better care for patients. She would like to continue teaching and being a mentor, to encourage girls to explore STEM and help them to become leaders, so they can pass it forward. She would also like to continue her passion in volunteering work to bring education to under privileged communities, breaking any stereotype and prejudice in age, gender and race for education.

Obi Onochie is a fourth year PhD Candidate in Biochemistry at BU School of Medicine, working in the lab of Dr. Vickery Trinkaus‐Randall. The lab studies corneal epithelial wound healing mechanisms and how changes in the environment alter healing. Obi’s research focuses on how hypoxia affects cell migration and healing by altering the regulation of basal lamina proteins and focal adhesion turnover.

Katherine Connor McLaughlin was an early and active member of the Women’s Guild. Her husband, Jim, who endowed this scholarship, was a doctor at the Student Health Clinic, where he was respected by his colleagues as a diagnostician and beloved by students as a reassuring presence (he had, for their amusement, a large collection of distinctively flamboyant neckties). 

Elsbeth Melville Scholarship

Kristina Cohen is a fifth year student in the Biology PhD program studying the mechanisms of environmentally cued hatching in frogs with Professor Karen Warkentin. Kristina divides her research between the field and the lab, both in Panama and locally. As a former high school teacher, she is working to develop educational outreach materials in collaboration with in-service teachers. Kristina strives to make science more accessible to students who have been excluded by the traditional boundaries of our education system.

Elsbeth Melville (CAS ’25), founder of the Women’s Guild, was dean of women from 1945 to 1970, and then the virtually full-time volunteer advisor on alumni affairs to successive CAS deans. A realistic femi-nist, she was mentor to hundreds of BU women individually: supportive of whatever lives they chose and devoted to their development as leaders and public-spirited volunteers. 

Boston University Women’s Guild Scholarships 

Jessica Chicka is interested in engaging congregations in environmental education and activism. Her primary research interest is Christian ethical responses to the social, economic, and ecological impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She earned a B.S. in environmental science and religion from Muhlenberg College, and an M.T.S. and S.T.M. from BU School of Theology. In addition to her Ph.D. work, she also serves as Chapel Associate for Lutheran Ministry at Marsh Chapel at Boston University.

Andrea DiGiorgio is a PhD student Anthropology and is currently conducting field research in the rainforests of Indonesia where she is collaborating with the Indonesian

National Nutrition Laboratory (LIPI). Her research focuses on nutrient drivers and movement ecology of orangutan foraging. The larger goals of this research are to provide an evolutionary model of foraging behavior in human ancestors and to elucidate which foods and nutrients are critical to the conservation of these critically endangered apes.

Susan Fields is an EdD candidate in Literacy and Language Studies at BU’s School of Education where her dissertation research focuses on the interplay of identity and academic writing development among adolescents in urban schools. She is also an instructor for pre-service English teachers and a tutor in the BU reading and writing clinic. Prior to graduate study, Susan worked for eight years as a secondary English teacher in Texas and Massachusetts.

Sarah Foster is a PhD candidate in the Earth and Environment Department and works in Dr. Robinson “Wally” Fulweiler’s lab. Sarah’s fundamental research interest is the exploration of coastal ecosystem response to anthropogenic changes (such as nutrient pollution and climate change) across a variety of geographic and temporal scales. As part of her dissertation she is investigating how low oxygen conditions associated with nutrient pollution, alters microbial processes that regulate emissions of greenhouse gases from coastal ecosystems.

Dawn Leaness is enrolled in the PEMBA program, pursuing an MBA with a focus on non-profit management and leadership and organizational change.  She is the Director of Institutional Advancement at Codman Academy, a public charter school in Dorchester, MA, and she intends to use her MBA to improve operations, infrastructures, and financial management in organizations that address urban education.

Upon graduating with a B.S. in biology, Caitlin O’Connell spent one year as a field assistant studying wild capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica. This experience cemented her desire to pursue her life-long fascination with primates. As a Ph.D. candidate in biological anthropology, she is exploring different factors that influence social behavior in wild orangutans. After one year in the Bornean rainforest, she is eager to share some exciting findings on orangutan socioecology and contribute to our understanding of primate sociality.