Distributed May 3, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mary Jo Curtis

Twenty-six undergraduates receive Royce Fellowships for research

Twenty-six Brown University undergraduates have been awarded Royce Fellowships to advance their research and public service projects locally, nationally and internationally. They will also receive lifetime membership in the Society of Royce Fellows.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Twenty-six Brown University undergraduate students have been selected to receive Royce Fellowships – awards that will help them complete proposed research, curricular development and public service projects locally, nationally and internationally.

From Madagascar and Mali to New Hampshire and Providence, this year’s recipients will research their chosen topics in the fields of science, medicine, history, sociology, politics and the arts.

The Royce Fellows Program celebrates exceptional academic performance, creativity, leadership and community service by undergraduates. Recipients are awarded lifetime membership in the Society of Royce Fellows, which supports reflection and inquiry by inspiring Fellows to connect their scholarly work with that of their peers and faculty. This year’s contingent brings the Society’s membership to 150. The program was established at Brown in 1996 by Charles Royce, a 1961 graduate. President of Royce Funds, Royce is also a University trustee. This year’s Royce Fellows are:


Jessica Intrator ’02, of San Jose, will observe and document reaproveitamento, a form of art and recycling practiced in Brazil. Interviewing youth participants and leaders from three community groups, she will produce a written and video portfolio to promote both the art form and communication among the three organizations.

Katherine Saxton ’02, of Oakland, will document the extent to which healthcare services and information regarding health risks are available to South Africans suffering from asbestos-related lung disease. Her research will evaluate and facilitate progress made by the Health Remediation and Compensation Commission formed at the 1998 National Asbestos Summit.


Rachel Pepper ’02, of Denver, will work this summer on the creation of an experimental model system to explore macromolecular crowding-driven polymerization at a basic level. Her study of this phenomenon will lead to a deeper understanding of cellular processes, particularly in the polymerization and building of actin, a filament responsible for many aspects of cell shape and movement.


Carolyn Fredericks ’03, of New Canaan, will use functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine areas of the brain involved in face recognition and emotion. She will specifically look at the roles different parts of the cortex play in various visual tasks designed to elucidate automatic face and emotion processing.

Heather McCrea ’02, of Wilton, will study and characterize a member of a newly identified protein family forming the solute barrier between epithelial cells. Comparing the localization and function of this normal and mutated protein, she will test whether specific amino acids affect the junction formed between adjacent cells.


Jacob Isaac Reidel ’02, of Newark, will chronicle the architecture of Brown University that never came to fruition, paying particular attention to why designs were passed over in lieu of the ones we see today. Through this “reverse image” architectural history, he will uncover a deeper understanding of Brown’s physical campus and its origins.


Kristen Erickson ’02, of Orlando, will investigate the compensation status of employees suffering from asbestos-related disease at Everite Co., a South African-based firm still in operation. Using company records, she will assess the efficiency and pitfalls of the current compensation system, promoting further application for support by workers and their families.


Michelle L. Niemann ’02, of Fort Wayne, will research and write three critical essays this summer on Muriel Rukeyser, an American poet who suffered critical neglect because of the overtly political nature of her work. She will contribute to a growing body of writing reclaiming Rukeyser as a major poet and challenging the definitions of poetry that discounted her.


Claire Grace ’02.5, of Swans Island, will travel to Mali this summer to study bogolanfini, a mud-painted cloth traditionally used as a medium for social and political expression. Through interviews with local artists and primary research, she will analyze bogolan’s continuing potential as a socially, politically and economically empowering art form.


Michelle Rome ’02, of Rockville, will – through extensive field observations and two experiments – determine gull foraging effects on marine invertebrate communities in Appledore Island, N.H. Her work will be conducted at Shoals Marine Laboratory.


Gil J. Ghatan ’03, of Chestnut Hill, is undertaking a two-part project. He will use high-resolution topographic data and images of Mars to investigate the geology of its polar regions, then select two prime landing sites for human expeditions to the planet and assess the advantages of human rather than robot exploration.

Alice Kidder ’02, of Williamsburg, will evaluate the effectiveness of recommendations made by a South African commission in facilitating the development and environmental rehabilitation of asbestos-contaminated communities. Based on interviews with community members, policy-makers and union officials, she will evaluate the status of the commission’s recommendations and where and how resources should be deployed.

Sarah B. Kingan ’02, of Bolton, will spend the summer and fall researching the intensity of sperm competition in primate species and its influence on genetic evolution. Specifically, she will investigate the rate of evolution and amount of genetic variation in the gene encoding semenogelin I, a protein that may affect competition for fertilization between sperm from different males within the female’s reproductive tract.

Adam Reich ’03, of Cambridge, will work with students from the state juvenile corrections facility and from Brown to create, produce and distribute a newspaper addressing issues of social justice. With the support of professors, professional journalists and educators, the publication will bring together different skills and complementary perspectives to areas of mutual concern.

New Hampshire

Marc W. Manseau ’02, of Manchester, will research the health policy of medical provision and compensation for asbestos-related disease in South Africa. Paying particular attention to a community-based policy approach, he will detail the system of compensation and health remediation for asbestos-related disease and suggest areas for improvement and research.

New York

Yuliya Chernova ’02, of New York City, will research and document the stories of elderly Russian immigrants in Brooklyn whose lives began under the Nazi siege of Leningrad in the 1940s. Combining interviews with primary document research and translation, she will capture in book form the voices of the children from wartime Leningrad.

North Carolina

Matthew Perault ’02, of Chapel Hill, will work with the United Nations Development Program Emergencies Unit in Ethiopia, examining the agency’s response to the country’s most recent outbreak of forest fires. Through primary document research, interviews and fieldwork, he will focus on the intersection of culture, politics and communities in disaster relief, considering how natural disaster impacts both the land and its people.

Rhode Island

Polina Malikin ’02, of Providence, will continue her current work with art collectives across the country and correspond with, visit and document several artists’ communities in Providence. She will create a documentary film and Web site to inform a larger audience about the social and political issues facing artists living and working in urban communities.

Jason McGill ’02, of Providence, will study through oral history and archival research the Celebrity Club, a racially integrated jazz nightclub in 1950s Providence. Placing his findings in the context of postwar American culture, he will assess the club’s role and significance in affecting local race relations.


Aruna Chandrasekhar ’02, of Houston, will collaborate with Daya, a community organization in Houston that works with battered South Asian women, to create a user-friendly and culturally sensitive resource guide for its clients. Providing information on legal rights and low-cost community services in Hindi and Gujarati, the guide will assist in protecting women in abusive relationships.


John Jacobs’02, of Winchester, will undertake a reading of St. Augustine’s Confessions as part of a collaborative project on the legacy of Virgil with professors Michael Putnam and Jan Ziolkowski. He will examine several commentaries on the works of Virgil to trace the development of Virgilian interpretation and criticism.

Elizabeth Allyn Smith ’03, of Stafford, will attend a two-week summer school program and mathematical linguistics conference in Helsinki, Finland. Because this specialized topic is not well addressed in college curriculums in the United States, her attendance will give her the necessary background to pursue a senior thesis in the field.

Washington, D.C.

Colby Gottert ’03 will travel to Ifaty, Madagascar, a coastal region in the southwest of the country, where he will study both the costs and benefits of protecting the coral reef. He will also conduct a workshop for local youth, informing them about the effects of human actions on the reef and identifying simple conservation measures.

Maryam Jamshidi ’02 will use the People’s Mojahedin of Iran as a case study to research how revolutionary movements continue after a revolution is over. Through archival research, formal interviews and site-based observation, she will examine how utopian Mojahedin communities in Paris, New York City and Washington D.C. support and perpetuate the movement’s ideology and struggle.

Edward H. Smith II ’02 will study the nature of the unexplored relationship between teachers, parents and secondary educational actors (i.e. tutors and mentors). He will use his findings to help facilitate a more efficient and effective model of collaboration in the District of Columbia Public Schools.


Gerassimos Bastas ’02, of Athens, will demonstrate the site-specific decoration of proteins with a single sugar. Through successful experimentation, he hopes a prototype drug can be developed that enlists the immune system against progressed stages of cancer, substituting for the toxic agents currently used during treatment.