Liberal Education and Effective Practice


2013 LEEP Pioneers and Their Projects


In spring 2013, 109 students were selected to be LEEP Project Pioneers. Faculty mentors, Clark alumni and organizational partners worked with the Pioneers on research that spanned the breadth of Clark's academic areas, from the social sciences to business, from the humanities to the sciences. The students' LEEP Projects provided opportunities for them to connect their academic learning with professional development. They explored, in depth, topics about which they are passionate, while also demonstrating mastery of the five LEEP Learning Outcomes, including the ability to integrate skills and knowledge and to solve complex problems through creative thinking, collaboration and persistence.

The LEEP Pioneers hail from places like Jamaica and Oregon, and traveled to places like Mexico, Alaska, and NYC. They interviewed and befriended fascinating people, observed and researched exotic environments, and obtained new knowledge and skills that will prepare them for meaningful careers and lives.

Read about LEEP Pioneers and their projects in
Arts | Business Development | Humanities | Science | Social Science | Sustainability and Environment


The 'Situation' in Tegus: A Photographic Journey in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Lyor Dotan Lyor Dotan '14
Major: Communication and Culture
Project Mentor: Stephen Dirado
Lyor created a photography project about the capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, with the end goal of making a book about the city and its people: a personal journey into Tegucigalpa that can benefit both natives and foreigners. 2013 Hervey Ross Speech Contest third place winner.

Recording an Album of Original Compositions in Worcester, Mass.

Joel Helander Joel Helander '14
Majors: Music and English
Project Mentor: John Aylward
Joel wrote and arranged twelve pieces of instrumental music and recorded them with professional musicians from the Worcester area in August. The result, after the material is engineered and mastered, will be a thematically unified album— complete by February and available for purchase at

'Remastered'—Rehanging in the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Mass.

Leah Siegel-Reamer Leah Siegel-Reamer '15 from Pawtucket, R.I.
Major: Biology
Project Mentor: John Garton
Leah aided the Worcester Art Museum, along with two other students, in the task of rehanging its Baroque art collection. She did extensive research on a particular painting, and with that information created a label that will be displayed on a tablet in the exhibit.

Art Restoration Apprenticeship to Art, Media and the Effect of Human Behavior in Siena, Italy

Ananya Sikand Ananya Sikand '14
Majors: Studio Art and Art History
Project Mentor: Elli Crocker
Ananya spent her summer working as an assistant to an art restorer. She helped restore 1920s-era walnut furniture and wallpaper from the Castle of San Leonino in the Tuscan countryside.

Designing Content for the Worcester Art Museum's (WAM) Masters Remastered Show in Worcester, Mass.

J. Spahr J. Spahr '14
Major: Art History
Project Mentor: John Garton
J. researched paintings featured in the WAM's most recent show. Her work helped to uncover content that will be shared with new audiences at the WAM.


Business Development

Hampton Properties LLC Intern in Worcester, Mass.

Yonathan Bassal Yonathan Bassal '14 from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Major: Economics and Psychology
Project Mentor: Jen Plante
Yonathan helped with property management for Hampton Properties LLC; his responsibilities included marketing, hiring and acquisitions.

Upgrading the Clark University OneCard in Worcester, Mass.

Alex Caro Alex Caro '14 from Acton, Mass.
Major: Political Science
Project Mentor: Joseph Kalinowski
Alex put together a proposal for an upgrade to Clark University's student I.D. cards—the Clark OneCard. His proposal weighs the technical pros and cons of various types of contactless card technologies, looks at the specific products offered by those companies that provide contactless student I.D. cards to universities, and provides suggestions as to which product Clark University should purchase.

"A Catalyst for Change" Grant Writing at Jacob Riis Settlement House in Queens, N.Y.

Daniel Diez Daniel Diez '15
Major: Political Science
Project Mentor: Mark Miller
Daniel worked to gain a comprehensive understanding of the services provided by the Riis Settlement House, with a focus on its immigrant services programs.

Development for WaterFire in Providence, R.I.

Casey Epstein Casey Epstein '14
Major: History
Project Mentor: Don Honeman
Casey worked on fundraising for the arts nonprofit WaterFire Providence. He wrote grants, updated the fundraising database, and learned mail-merging for thank you cards and fundraising campaigns. He also assisted the exclusive Brazier Society tent and coordinated with the fundraising directors to ensure that the event was successful.

Operations Assistant Manager at the Worcester Chamber Music Society ( WCMS) 2013 Summer Festival in Worcester, Mass.

Sara Goldstein Sara Goldstein '14
Major: Psychology
Project Mentor: Laura Burgess
Sara helped the director with the day-to-day operation of WCMS's two-week classical music camp. Tasks included assisting with pre-festival set-up and communications, working with all faculty and music coaches, managing extra food plans, talking to students' parents, and initiating partnerships with other local NGOs.

Market Research Intern at First Washington Realty in Bethesda, Md.

Asniya Iqbal Asniya Iqbal '14
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Economics
Project Mentor: John Brown
Asniya conducted commercial real estate research, which involved analyzing up-and-coming markets and identifying leading locations for economic and job growth. She also forecasted and tracked market trends to determine the economic drivers of the cities in which First Washington was interested in acquiring property.

Special Events and Operations at WaterFire in Providence, R.I.

Chelsea Kryspin Chelsea Kryspin '14
Major: Asian Studies
Project Mentor: Amy Whitney
Chelsea worked as a Special Events and Operations intern for the WaterFire arts installation in Providence, R.I. Her project involved coordinating special events, setting up and breaking down the site, having a comprehensive understanding of WaterFire's operations, managing new brazier purchases and rentals, and other tasks to make each event run smoothly.
Read Chelsea's blog


Community Outreach Intern in Worcester, Mass.

Gus Meissner Gus Meissner '14
Major: Management
Project Mentor: Laura Burgess
Gus worked to develop the Clark Community Thrift Store's visibility within Worcester by implementing a strategic marketing campaign and establishing community partnerships.
Read Gus's blog and watch a video about his project

Novartis Oncology Operations in Cambridge, Mass.

Andrew Musler Andrew Musler '14
Majors: Economics and Management
Project Mentor: Dessislava Slavtcheva
Andrew focused on increasing the efficiency of the oncology department by examining current practices and establishing new operations. The main projects included review and analysis of Oncology and vendor spending, on-site inventory management, audits, space and equipment management, and participation in collaborations and partnerships.

Small Business Development through Microfinance in Sangolqui, Ecuador

Melissa PiconMelissa Picon '14
Major: Economics
Project Mentor: Jude Fernando
Melissa worked with the Small Business Development program to provide free individual consultation and basic accounting services for local small businesses. Working with the Patronato—the social service branch of the town council—she helped provide a five-week course in agribusiness planning and management to around 15 community members from the semirural barrio (neighborhood) of Jatumpungo. At the end of this course, five participants were selected to take out loans.

Working at CIT-Group: The Originations and Onboarding in Jacksonville, Fla.

Saul Ramirez Saul Ramirez '14
Majors: Mathematics and Economics
Project Mentor: Dominik Reinhold
Saul performed statistical analysis of the operational processes occurring in the vendor finance sector. He strengthened his skills in applying statistical methods and programming in real life situations.

Investment Management and Trust Intern at Boston Private Bank &: Trust Company in Boston, Mass.

Oliver Samples Oliver Samples '14
Majors: Economics and Political Science
Project Mentor: Dessislava Slavtcheva
Oliver's primary responsibilities included assisting risk and compliance officers with fiduciary duties and participating in intern projects aimed at enhancing business development within the Bank.



The Complexities of Nonprofit Work in New York, NY

Camille Adeoye Camille Adeoye '14
Major: Psychology
Project Mentor: Eric DeMeulenaere
Camille was responsible for organizing pre-existing and developing curricula for the Author Workshops at Behind the Book.

GoodEd: A Smart Sex Ed Resource for Clark Students in Worcester, Mass.

Clark Valentine JacksonClark Valentine Jackson '14
Major: Chemistry
Project Mentor: Ernest Krygier
In partnership with Clark University Choices, Clark created a sexual health resource site that provides accurate information about reproductive health, STIs and testing, healthy relationships, and consent. Using information and data from Choices encounters, peer educators, and surveys of the student body, she learned about the sexual health behaviors of Clark students to create a public health resource, with the goal of improving individual student and overall campus health.
Read her blog and watch her first place speech from the 2013 Hervey Ross Speech Contest

Photo Voice Research: Telling the Stories of Nepali Dalit Women

Cecelia RanaCecelia Rana '14 from Kathmandu, Nepal
Major: Political Science
Project Mentor: Bill Fisher
Cecelia worked on "photo voice" research in a village in Nepal. She and Bhumika Regmi '14 stayed with a "Dalit" community for four weeks and interacted with 10 women who shared their stories through pictures taken with disposable cameras. The Dalit women's pictures will be compiled into a photo book, to be used by Empowering Dalit Women of Nepal (EDWON) for promotional and fundraising activities.

Strassler Center Digital Archive in Worcester, Mass.

Zoe VallasZoe Vallas '15
Major: Political Science
Project Mentor: Mary Jane Rein
Zoe organized and digitized the Strassler Center's collection of photos from different events at the Center. The digitized photos will be used for the Annual Report and on the Center's website.



Investigation into the Effects of Early Stage BMP signaling in the Annelid Capitella teleta in Worcester, Mass.

Michele CorbetMichele Corbet '14
Majors: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Project Mentor: Neva Meyer
Michele conducted experiments on the annelid worm C. teleta, assessing the importance of Bone Morphogenic Protein-signaling in early development. Results were quantified using fluorescence microscopy, which allows for visualization of key features such as the brain, eyes, and nervous system.

Imaging Molecular Structures with Atomic Force Microscopy in Worcester, Mass.

Unurbat ErdenemunkhUnurbat Erdenemunkh '13
Major: Physics Minor: Mathematics
Tyler Flanagan '14
Major: Physics
Project Mentor: Michael Boyer
Unurbat and Tyler repaired the Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and wrote a user manual on using AFM. They also scanned "Synthetic Polymers” and collaborated with professors Sergio Granados and Luis Smith to produce their topographic images by AFM.

Physiology of the marine bacterium Roseobacter denitrificans under carbon and n itrogen starvation in Worcester, Mass.

Clive GreenClive Green '14
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Project Mentor: Joseph Tang
Clive worked on growing photosynthetic bacteria in various carbon and nitrogen sources. Photosynthetic bacteria can use solar energy (free and abundant) to produce biofuel and alternative energy (H2, NH4+, etc.), so they are good candidates for producing sustainable energy.

Brain Development in Marine Worm Embryos in Worcester, Mass.

Lauren KoppelLauren Koppel '14
Major: Psychology and Biology
Project Mentor: Neva Meyer
Lauren researched how the brains of Capitella teleta, a species of marine worm, developed during their embryonic and larval stages. She filmed their live development through microscopes, observed gene expression patterns at various larval stages, and cloned gene fragments related to brain development. Read Lauren's blog

Investigating and Communicating the Scientific Process in Alaska and Newfoundland

Emma O'MeliaEmma O'Melia '15
Major: Biology
Project Mentor: Susan Foster
Emma's project involved traveling to Alaska and Newfoundland to observe and describe the adaptive radiation of the three-spine stickleback fish in the field, in addition to rearing and studying the fish in the lab. Her work combined behavior and conservation research with a role as recorder and blogger, as she posted images and narrative from both of those locations during the summer.

Elucidation of the Mechanism for the Inhibition of Amyloid Formation by Rosmarinic Acid in Worcester, Mass.

Gregory O'SullivanGregory O'Sullivan
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Project Mentor: Noel Lazo
Gregory synthesized the pathogenic turn region of the Amyloid ß protein, and—using circular dichroism and limited proteolysis—studied the inhibition and cleavage of the ß turn.

Software Development Intern at Axispoint in NYC

Neil OrzechowskiNeil Orzechowski
Major: Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Project Mentor: John Magee
Neil worked on a very small development team where he developed Web services in an agile, test-driven environment, working closely with the team lead and senior architect as well as the other team members. He implemented and unit-tested RESTful Web services in Java using Spring (application programming interface), Hibernate (object-relational mapping) and MySql (a relational database), where the implementation was based around unified modeling language designs written by the architect. Watch his second place speech from the 2013 Hervey Ross Speech Contest.

The Impact of Tannins in Early Life Development in Three-spine Stickleback in Worcester, Mass.

Laura UrciuoliLaura Urciuoli '14
Majors: Biology
Project Mentor: John Baker
Laura studied how varying tannin levels impacted the mortality rate of fertilized stickleback eggs, as well as the size of hatched fry.


Social Science

Health Care and Infrastructural Assessment in Bandawa, Sierra Leone

Will CretinonDylan SansoneWill Cretinon '14
Major: Geography and Management
Project Mentor: Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger

Dylan Sansone '14
Major: Political Science
Project Mentor: Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger
Dylan and Will spent several weeks collecting data to create a spatially accurate map of the area surrounding a recently built health care center, which serves several thousand people. They also worked to identify the footpath network used by people in the 27 villages to get to and from the clinic, while detailing the numerous natural barriers present.

Spatial Analysis of Home Health Care Quality, Costs and Risk Assessment Throughout Southern New England in Marlborough, Mass.

Anastassios DardasAnastassios Dardas '14
Major: Geography
Project Mentor: John Rogan
Anastassios has conducted spatial analysis on home health care quality and costs throughout Southern New England with the Visiting Nurse Association of New England (VNANE). The project's goal is to find correlations between the two major variables, and to speculate areas that are at high risk of developing chronic diseases. If the results turn out to be significant, then home health agencies would advocate changes in policy. Read his blog.

Girls Inc. Intern: A LEEP Project and Lois and Robert Green Internship Initiative in Worcester, Mass.

Brenna MerrillBrenna Merrill '14
Major: Political Science
Project Mentor: Sharon Krefetz
Brenna worked in the marketing department at Girls Inc. and helped to develop and execute a recognition program for graduating senior girls. In the fund development office, she also undertook many initiatives including the organization of grant books, a demographic analysis, and inputting donor information after events. Read her blog.

Corporate Social Responsibility Research in Worcester, Mass.

Zachary NussbaumZachary Nussbaum '14
Major: Sociology
Project Mentor: Bob Ross
Zachary researched workplace disasters in the global garment industry for the International Labor Rights Forum. The research focused on cases where corporate social responsibility systems did not protect factory workers from the disasters, as well as cases where the factories produced goods for Western brands and retailers.

The Impact of the Clark Community Thrift Store in Worcester, Mass.

Sarah PhilbrickSarah Philbrick '15
Major: Economics
Project Mentor: Jenny Isler
Sarah created a survey that analyzed the Clark Community Thrift Store's presence within the Clark community. She defined clear values that people associated with the Thrift Store, and used those values to create a dynamic marketing and events planning strategy.


Sustainability and Environment

Clark's Sustainable Landscape Master Plan in Worcester, Mass.

Gigi ChowGigi Chow '14
Major: Biology
Project Mentor: Jenny Isler
Gigi worked with a number of people on and off campus to create a landscape plan for Clark's future. By asking students and staff about their needs and wants, and with additional research, she was able to create an outline of Clark's Master Landscape Plan in a way that will benefit students, staff and faculty in the future.

Sustainability within Athletics in Worcester, Mass.

Megan GrondinMegan Grondin '14
Major: Management
Project Mentor: Jenny Isler
Megan inventoried and audited Clark University's main athletic facility, the George F. Kneller Athletics Center, to create a list of recommendations for sustainable improvements. The project also involved traveling to other universities for athletic facility tours and meeting with alumni and staff to create stakeholder engagement for a list of "best practices" within collegiate athletic departments.

Mapping Impacts of Industrial Pollution in Salamanca, Guanajuato, Mexico

Jake KaileyShane D'LimaJake Kailey '14
Major: Environmental Science & Policy
Project Mentor: Tim Downs

Shane D'Lima '14
Majors: Economics and Geography
Project Mentor: Tim Downs
Jake and Shane interned with the Environmental Department of the Municipality of Salamanca in Guanajuato, Mexico and assisted with an ongoing investigation by the Municipality of Salamanca, the State Government of Guanajuato, Universidad de Guanajuato and Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes on the environmental impacts of severe industrial pollution near Salamanca due to pesticide factory Tekchem and Pemex oil refinery. The universities and the municipal and state governments have been studying this pollution for the past six years and Jake and Shane were able to gain valuable insight and contribute to the project.

Understanding Stream Marcroinvertebrate Communities across a Disturbance Gradient in Athol, Mass.

Nicholas PaganNicholas Pagan '15
Major: Environmental and Conservation Biology
Project Mentor: John Baker
Nick worked with the Mt. Grace Land Trust to continue and expand the first efforts to establish long-term ecological monitoring in the Otter River System. The main focus of the effort was obtaining samples of Macroinvertebrates to assess stream health. The Otter River and four smaller flows in the system were sampled three times over the course of the summer.

Mapping Livelihood Vulnerability to Mineral Extraction in Madre de Dios Peru in Worcester, Mass.

Zoe RitterZoe Ritter '14
Major: Geography
Project Mentor: John Rogan
Zoe is using GIS data and analysis to map livelihood vulnerability to mineral mining in Madre de Dios, Peru, located in the lowland forest of southern Peru bordering Brazil and Bolivia. Vulnerability mapping includes the identification of local hazards as well as the potential/risk for a specified community to experience harm from identified hazards.