The H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College Institute has introduced its first class of Newcomb Scholars. These 20 first-year women have already made big plans for the rest of their college careers at Tulane, including committing to fulfilling a junior-year service internship and presenting their own research at a campus conference during their senior year.
According to Charlotte Maheu, assistant director of the Newcomb College Institute, the program will create a graduate program-type experience for the undergraduate students.
Though the Newcomb Scholars' areas of research interest are even more varied than their disciplines of study, these young women seem to have more than academic dedication in common. Nearly all the scholars' research plans are motivated by a desire to effect positive change in communities with boundaries far beyond those of the campus.
Gisele Calderon, a biomedical engineering major, expects to study tissue engineering.
"I am fascinated by technology that saves lives. Manipulating polymers to form plastics for medical purposes seems unreal and magical," she says. "With tissue engineering, I will be able to create working tissues from artificial materials, potentially saving the future from ever having to donate organs again."
For Taylor Geiger, who is studying marketing and international development, the possibility to impact people's lives lies in consumer behavior research.
"I'm curious as to what it would take to motivate people to change their spending habits to evoke social change," she says.
In addition to serving as a significant catalyst to their research ambitions, many of the scholars also foresee the program impacting their personal development and their post-graduation lives.
"I hope to gain leadership skills and important relationships in order to make my research as beneficial as possible to the community well outside of Tulane and New Orleans," Calderon says.
For more information on the Newcomb Scholars program, contact Charlotte Maheu or Sarah McAllister.
Catherine Freshley received a bachelor of arts in economics and English from Tulane in May 2009.