Past Alumni Memorial Scholars (AMS) Projects - Colgate University Skip Navigation

AMS Grants

Alumni Memorial Scholars are eligible to apply for a grant of up to $6,000 to pursue research, study, and academically meaningful internships or experiences beyond Colgate's formal programming.
Grant awards enrich the liberal arts experience beyond the traditional semester or classroom experience. Sample projects may include: in-depth research and/or study on an area of specialized interest; expanded research on a topic begun earlier, perhaps in preparation for an honors thesis; intellectual exploration outside the formal Colgate curriculum; attendance at a relevant academic conference; participation in an academically meaningful internship or experience; independent research, project, or creative work while at Colgate or on a study group.

Recently Completed Projects

Eric Taber overlooking a valley in Switzerland.Eric Taber '13
Biology and environmental studies
Road Development along the Annapurna Trekking Circuit, Nepal

I chose Colgate for several reasons. The small size, tight-knit community, and faculty that are genuinely interested in the success of their students were huge selling points for me. Being named an Alumni Memorial Scholar, and the research opportunities that came along with that distinction, were also deciding factors.

Opportunities for undergraduates to become involved in research at Colgate abound, however I took my research a little further afield. With the AMS research grant, my research options were truly unlimited. I am researching the relationship between road development, the trekking industry, and conservation measures along the Annapurna Trekking Circuit of Nepal. By measuring locals’ and trekkers’ perceptions of the costs and benefits of road development and conservation practices, I hope to identify potential consequences of road development for Nepali communities. While trekking the Annapurna Circuit, I will interview and survey locals and trekkers to explore the various reasons for support or opposition to road construction. Using the information gained from these interactions, I will determine consequences of development for communities along the route and identify ways in which negative consequences from development can be minimized.

Stella Yoh posing with people she met in TanzaniaJeehyon “Stella” Yoh '14
International relations

Small-Scale Chinese Manufacturing Businesses in Tanzania: the Impact of the Family Business Structure on the Local Economy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The AMS grant is the perfect supplement to Colgate's liberal arts program. Focusing on the researcher's intellectual and personal growth has given me the chance to apply perspectives and principles I learned in class to real life situations. The AMS program was a primary factor in my decision to choose Colgate. It encourages interaction with other bright and open-minded students. I have been to the symposia of other Alumni Memorial Scholars, and received mentoring from many of them while preparing for my research.

Using the AMS grant, I set out to explore the growth of private Chinese business structures in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and how this growth changes the local economy. I started out my first week visiting one or two small factories, and by the middle of second week I found myself interacting with various business associations and social groups. I retrieved formal data from monitoring work sites and interviewing people, but also gained a great deal of perspective through a variety of social engagements. I spent time cooking with the Tanzanian workers during their lunch breaks, and meeting with the Chinese managers before an evening of karaoke. These interactions have allowed me to examine every aspect of my project.

Richard Merkhofer poses by homes in Mali.Richard Merkhofer '12

Field Studies in Medical Entomology; Mali

As a junior at Colgate, I studied Leishmania parasites at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and was exposed to many aspects of their global impact: 300 million people at risk, a disease of poverty, and increasing drug resistance. However, living thousands of miles away from an area affected by Leishmania, it was sometimes hard to truly understand the human impact. My experience in Mali put the research I was doing at the NIH into a global context.

While in Mali, I spent six days going from house to house in a remote tribal village, collecting sand flies (the insects that spread Leishmania parasites) with a scientist from the NIH and colleagues from the University of Bamako. During that time, I encountered the people who would be impacted by my research. I shared tea with families, was given a Bambara name (“Basamba Traoré”), and was taught a half dozen uses of curry tree, a commonly used spice.

The greatest tangible result of the work I did in Mali was collecting sand flies to bring back to the NIH in support of further research on Leishmania. Even greater is the massive personal impact this project had on me. I saw the interface of biomedical research and the human implications; as a result I felt a deeper commitment and greater urgency to the work I was doing. This AMS grant is a significant part of my path to becoming a biomedical researcher.