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Cannon Scholar Alumni Success Profiles

Rebecca (Miller) Schroding ’15

Rebecca Schroding

Rebecca (Miller) Schroding

As an active participant of the first Cannon Scholar cohort, Rebecca (Miller) Schroding engaged in undergraduate research during her junior (13-14) and senior (14-15) years at Wesley. Through the NSF EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) program and the NIH INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) program, Rebecca’s research resulted in several presentations describing the West Africa Ebola Outbreak, which was led by her primary mentor, Dr. Agashi Nwogbaga. Rebecca credits Dr. Nwogbaga as having the biggest impact on her undergraduate research career at Wesley. The cohesive, professional relationship that Rebecca was able to build with her mentor, Dr. Nwogbaga, was one of the most rewarding aspects of her research journey. This personalized mentee/mentor connection helped her navigate through the challenges of her research project, which kept her focused and motivated.

Through her current role as Wesley’s Director of International Programs, Rebecca has applied her versatile skill set to meeting the International students’ needs to ensure that they have the best possible experience while studying at Wesley. Rebecca encourages the current Cannon Scholar research cohort to “be versatile and open to different research topics so you can expand your current interests and knowledge”. By embracing Rebecca’s advice, each Cannon Scholar is in a better position to adapt to change and constructively contribute innovative ideas to the surrounding community.

Outside of work, Rebecca enjoys serving as a Volleyball coach for Lake Forest High School and volunteering through Delaware’s Kent County Parks and Recreation in support of her son’s extracurricular activities. Involvement in extracurricular activities, such as directed research and peer tutoring, while an undergraduate math major at Wesley has helped develop her philanthropic spirit.

Riza Bautista ’16

Through federal funding support, Cannon Scholar, Riza Bautista, is accomplishing more than she dreamed possible since graduating from Wesley College in May 2016 with her bachelor of science degree in mathematics. She is now a current graduate research student at the University of Delaware performing work within the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Ph.D. program.

Bautista credits her mentors’ guidance and undergraduate research experience at Wesley for her most recent accomplishments. Beginning in summer 2014, she was able to complete a summer internship through the NASA DESGC (Delaware Space Grant Consortium) under the mentoring lead of Dr. Derald Wentzien (professor of mathematics) and Dr. Malcolm D’Souza (dean of sponsored research and professor of chemistry). This summer experience catapulted her academic journey as she received subsequent opportunities to conduct research throughout the following two academic years, including summer internships through the DE-INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) program in 2015 and 2016. The DE-EPSCoR (Experimental Project to Stimulate Competitive Research) program also financially supported Bautista’s research projects during her undergraduate career at Wesley.

Furthermore, her active participation in undergraduate research helped her focus her career interests and step outside of her comfort zone. If she had not been willing to seek and learn from different perspectives outside of mathematics, it is unlikely that she would have continued to receive external funding support during her undergraduate years at Wesley and current graduate years at the University of Delaware. Case in point, Bautista is a recipient of the NSF (National Science Foundation) IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) graduate fellowship award, which supports her current graduate work.

Bautista is also recognized as an ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational and Data Science Graduate Fellow for 2018. Only seven graduate students in the United States received this award. Through Intel funding, this fellowship program was established to motivate and reward a diverse student body pursuing graduate degrees in data science and computational science with stipend support and travel support to the fellowship’s national conference in Dallas, Texas, where the recipients will be officially recognized. Learn more information about the fellowship award and this year’s (2018) recipients.

As an active Cannon Scholar alumna, Bautista advises the current Cannon Scholar cohort to “take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you.” As evidenced by her academic journey, every promising opportunity involves some degree of risk and lots of hard work that may or may not be situated within a convenient time frame or familiar environment. Productive results require discipline and persistence.

Robert Dina ’17

Robert Dina, biological chemistry major, obtained gainful employment as a Quality Control Technician at Edgewell Personal Care (Dover, DE) in March 2017, before graduation. Dina credits his achievements to the invaluable research opportunities he received while an undergraduate at Wesley College.

The summer of 2015 began his research experiences at Wesley through the INBRE Summer Scholars’ program, a year-round program funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) NIGMS (National Institute of General Medical Sciences) federal DE-INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) program. Under primary mentorship of the Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary/Collaborative Sponsored Research, Dr. Malcolm D’Souza, Dina continued to progress in his research throughout the following academic year (fall 2015 and spring 2016) and earned the attention of a practicing orthopedic doctor at Nemours Children’s Hospital (Wilmington, DE) in the summer of 2016.

Dina attributes the networking opportunities he has garnered as the most rewarding aspect of his research journey so far. He credits the connections made at Nemours with his most recent accomplishment of receiving acceptance into Northeastern University’s (Boston, MA) Master of Public Health program. Dina will begin his graduate work in the fall of 2018. In addition to the mentor connections he made at Nemours, Dina largely credits his primary Wesley mentor, Dr. D’Souza, for having the biggest impact on his academic research and career journey.

As a result, Dina advises Wesley’s current students to get involved and always stay proactive in their research work regardless of the obstacles that will arise. One of the biggest challenges Dina experienced while a research student at Wesley was discovering the specific research path to take and what innovative approach should be used. By thinking objectively and creatively, Dina’s challenges not only became easier as he progressed as an undergraduate research student at Wesley, but he is now competently able to give professional presentations at Edgewell that are concise but understandable and informative.

Dina will always be grateful to Dr. D’Souza for encouraging him to stay actively engaged in research as he states, “Active engagement in research is what led to a lot of my experiences and success” now and while at Wesley. Dina is a prime example of a Wesley STEM research student who stayed active and effectively managed his time among biochemistry research projects (which included serving as co-author on peer-reviewed research publications), men’s soccer games, and scholarly activities through the Cannon Scholars program, an NSF funded scholarship program, of which he was a recipient and active participant throughout his time at Wesley from fall 2015 to May 2017.