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Spring 2014 updates


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Professors Receive Fifth National Science Foundation Grant

Professor of Analytical Chemistry Dr. Daniel Burden and Guest Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Lisa Keranen-Burden received a 3-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to characterize protein nanopores with modified caps. This is the fifth NSF grant the Burdens have been awarded since 2006. Two of their past awards were received in conjunction with science faculty Dr. Peter Walhout, Dr. Jenny Busch, and Dr. Brian Hunt.

The grant supports the couple’s scientific and pedagogical goals: to explore the behavior of a particular class of cell-membrane protein after large chemical alterations are made to its molecular structure (with potential applications for ultra-rapid DNA sequencing, new chemical sensors, and medicine), and to provide cutting-edge undergraduate research opportunities for Wheaton students at the intersection of chemical synthesis, analysis, and computer simulation.

“We have been working with this class of proteins for some time; however, this particular avenue of research is new, not only to our laboratories at Wheaton, but also to the field,” Dr. Daniel Burden says. “We will be creating and characterizing novel nanopores that will help inform the field about broader nanopore-design principles.”

Over three years, the Burdens will work with five students per year on the projects outlined in the NSF grant, and another five students per year on related but non-NSF-funded research. They will share the new molecules with scientific collaborators at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., and at Virginia Commonwealth University. They will also publish their results in scientific literature and journals, and will present their findings at conferences.

Matthew McMillan ’14 Wins Marshall Scholarship

Mathematics and physics double major Matthew McMillan ’14 is the first Wheaton student to receive the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, a gift created by the British Parliament that funds two years of graduate studies in the United Kingdom. Beginning in fall 2014, Matthew will spend a year at Cambridge studying toward the MASt in mathematics and theoretical physics in Part III of the Mathematical Tripos. His second year will be spent at Oxford, studying towards the MSt in Philosophy of Physics.

According to Matthew’s academic adviser, Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Stephen Lovett, Matthew has done practically everything there is to do at Wheaton in the math and physics departments—and beyond. His research in plasma physics with Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Darren Craig led to fusion research at Princeton University. He’s studied measure theory and quantum logic in Budapest, analyzed symplectic embedding problems at UC Berkeley, and presented his research on magnetic reconnection in plasmas at national meetings of the American Physical Society. Matthew has also written a number of academic papers, including one co-authored with Dr. Lovett and Cole Adams ’13 through Wheaton’s Faculty-Student Mentoring Initiative.

“The work on his senior thesis reaches into topics that are well into graduate-level mathematics and cutting- edge research,” Dr. Lovett says. “His exceptional abilities, his dogged pursuit of knowledge, his already excellent curriculum vitae, and now the wonderful opportunity of studying at Cambridge and Oxford through the Marshall Scholarship indicate that he has the potential to become a world- class mathematician or mathematical physicist.”

Award Recognizes Outstanding First-Year Students

David Robinson ’15 and Kalei Hosaka ’16 received Student Government’s Outstanding First-Year Student Award for 2012 and 2013, respectively. Introduced in 2012, the award was designed to prepare first-year students for the rigorous application process of highly competitive scholarships and fellowships.

Applicants must receive nominations from a peer and a professor, coach, or staff member, and all applications require submission of a resume and 1,000-word personal statement, modeled after the essay portion of competitive scholarships such as the Rhodes Scholarship. Three finalists are interviewed by the dean for student engagement and four faculty members who each advise one of the competitive scholarship application processes at the College. All three finalists receive a financial gift, and the panel selects the winner based on academic accomplishment, community service, leadership, athletics, and personal goals.

A philosophy and French double major, David was the first recipient of the award. He hopes to blend his interests in philosophy, French, and African politics through a career in either business or law. The 2013 award went to Kalei, an anthropology major with a pre-med focus, who plans to pursue a career in international health care and medical anthropology.

Dr. Michael Wilder elected associate chair of the Commission on Accreditation within the NASM

Dr. Michael Wilder, Dean of the Conservatory, Arts, and Communication, was elected associate chair of the Commission on Accreditation within the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the national organization under which Wheaton College is accredited in music. According to Provost Dr. Stan Jones, NASM is the most important of the collegiate music organizations. “All of Wheaton College benefits from this remarkable vote of confidence in Dr. Wilder’s work,” Dr. Jones says.

Dr. Wilder has served as a representative and visiting evaluator with the NASM for many years, and has now accepted a three-year term as associate chair of the NASM Commission and a member of the NASM Executive Committee.

Dr. Matthew Milliner ’98 appointed to the Senate Curatorial Advisory Board

Assistant professor of art history, was appointed by U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to the Senate Curatorial Advisory Board for the 113th Congress. Through January 2015, Dr. Milliner will help counsel the U.S. Senate Commission on Art on the preservation of the Capitol archives, art, and architecture. “I got to know the early history of American architecture intimately during the nine years I was in Princeton,” says Dr. Milliner, who earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in art history at Princeton University. “Its campus is a veritable textbook of American architecture, all of which, of course, is reflected in the Capitol as well.”

Faculty Receive Promotions and/or Tenure

Promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor:

Dr. Darcie Delzell ’98, Mathematics & Computer Science

Dr. Becky Eggimann ’00, Chemistry

Dr. Sarah Hall, Psychology

Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Politics & International Relations

Dr. Matthew Lundin, History

Dr. Adam Miglio ’01, Biblical & Theological Studies

Dr. Shawn Okpebholo, Conservatory of Music

Promotion from Associate Professor to Professor:

Dr. Brian Howell, Sociology & Anthropology

Dr. Nicholas Perrin, Biblical & Theological Studies

Dr. David Setran ’92, Christian Formation & Ministry

Dr. Daniel Sommerville, Conservatory of Music


Dr. Becky Eggimann ’00, Chemistry

Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Politics & International Relations

Dr. Grant Henley, Foreign Languages

Dr. Henry H. Kim, Sociology & Anthropology

Dr. R. Tracy McKenzie, History

Dr. Miho Nonaka, English

Dr. Shawn Okpebholo, Conservatory of Music

Professor Joonhee Park, Art and Communication


Dr. Norman Ewert, Business & Economics

Dr. Phyllis Mitchell, Foreign Languages

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