Student Spotlights

John William Brandon, IV
John William Brandon, IV
Bachelor Of Science In Biology, With A Concentration In Marine Biology, 2019

When John William Brandon, IV graduates from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University in May, it will be another step in his journey that is rooted in an interest in marine science that started at a very young age.  Since sixth grade, John has blazed an academic path that no one has done before.  In 2009, while attending Forrest Grove Middle School, he enrolled in the first year of the Marine Oceanographic Academy Prep Program (MOA Prep). The program is a specially designed to identify and prepare a limited cohort of grade 6-8 students for the transition to a specialized high school that was also in its infancy, the Marine and Oceanographic Academy (MOA) of Harbor Branch at Florida Atlantic University. In May, John will receive a Bachelor of Science in Biology, with a concentration in Marine Biology. John will continue to do great things.  His success is a model for other students who are interested in an educational path that allows them to fully explore the fantastic natural environment of the Treasure Coast as they grow up. Read more

Abageal Roland
Abageal Roland
Biological Anthropology, 2019

Abageal Roland, a senior at Florida Atlantic University's Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, will graduate May 2019 with a major concentration in biological anthropology.  Abageal will be entering FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing this fall, where she will pursue her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. This Spring, Abageal will present her thesis research at two undergraduate research conferences; the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference and the Florida Academy of Sciences Conference. She will also be a speaker at the TedX FAU Jupiter event March 20 and will o present her thesis research in a poster session during the annual college Research Symposium on April 5.  Abageal attributes the college with cultivating interests she might not have discovered elsewhere. She loved learning about so many different academic disciplines, but when she took an anthropology course to fulfill the college's core requirements, she became hooked on understanding people through the lens of history and culture.  Along the way, she also discovered so much more about herself – including a career path that combines her interest in medicine with her love of working closely with people.  

 

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Joshua Torres ‘18
Neuroscience

Joshua Torres graduated as a neuroscience major from the Wilkes Honors College and works in the laboratory of Alex Keene, Ph.D. of FAU’s Jupiter Life Science Initiative (JLSI). During his senior year, Torres published his research in the scientific journal, Ecology and Evolution. The paper entitled "Variation in sleep and metabolic function is associated with latitude and average temperature in Drosophila melanogaster" examines the role ecological forces play in sleep and metabolic function in the Drosophila melanogaster.“My lab experience has been fantastic to say the least,” said Torres, “I have had endless opportunities and have been able to present my research at multiple events. With my goal of pursuing Medical School, I have been fortunate to experience the research side of the world, helping me become a well-rounded student with appreciation for both fields of work.”Torres has been accepted into the Atlantis Fellowship program where he will spend four weeks in Barcelona, Spain, shadowing physicians and learning about how the healthcare system operates in a foreign country. In the Fall of 2018, Torres will attend FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine to purse his Master's in Biomedical Sciences. He plans to continue his research with Dr. Keene's laboratory while attend the College of Medicine.

Rubens Tavora ‘18
Rubens Tavora ‘18
Biology

Rubens Tavora is from Brazil and the Wilkes Honors College of FAU opened the door to an exciting future. For the past two years, Tavora has conducted research in Dr. Brock Grill’s laboratory at the Scripps Florida Institute on campus. His research focuses on the molecular coordinators of neuronal development and has co-authored a paper that will soon be submitted to a top-tier scientific journal.Tavora was awarded the Community Engagement Scholarship during his junior year, and has served as an intern at the El Sol Resource Center, an immigrant integration center in Jupiter. As an immigrant himself, Tavora has a first-hand understanding of many the challenges faces by this community. Tavora is also involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters, and he meets with his “little brother” on a weekly basis. Tavora is proud to have helped this child from Guatemala learn English and overcome extreme shyness to become the enthusiastic and engaged boy that he is today.Tavora notes, “if not for the scholarship support I have received, I would not have been able to come here and pursue my degree. I feel so lucky to have found this college and this community where I can combine my passion for scholarship with giving something back to the community.”

Micael Idani ‘19
Micael Idani ‘19
Neuroscience

Micael Idani is a student at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, member of the Wilkes Honors College Pre-Medical Society, Kingdom Club and Musically Inclined Club. Idani has been the recipient of the John Nambu Memorial Summer REU Program scholarship two years in a row for his internship working in the laboratory of Dr. Tanja Godenschwege of FAU’s Jupiter Life Science Initiative (JLSI). His research project is investigating transmembrane glycoproteins associated with neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as adult-onset spongiform, neurodegeneration, and autism, using the powerful genetic tools of the Drosophila (fruit fly) model system. The long-term goal of his project is to elucidate how specific signaling pathways contribute to neurodevelopment, protection against oxidative stress and neuronal survival, which is pertinent to a board spectrum of neurological disorders. His goals are to attain a MD/PhD degree in Neuroscience and says that he has "learned more than he ever thought possible, and this program has embraced his zeal for science like never before." Watch Idani discuss his research and learn more about JLSI.

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Joseph Elmo ‘18
Interdisciplinary History

Joseph Elmo served our country as a hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy before transferring into the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of FAU in 2016. Elmo is pursuing his passion for world history and his honors thesis analyzed the role of anarchists in the Spanish Civil War. The first chapter of his thesis has been accepted for publication in a peer reviewed journal. Elmo has interned at the Palm Springs public library, updating and promoting the history collection and teaching the public how to conduct research.Elmo will attend Columbia University’s graduate program where he plans to earn his Ph.D. in History and teach at the university level. As Elmo explains, his time at the Wilkes Honors College of FAU opened a door to opportunities he never imagined would be possible. “I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the generosity of those who provide scholarships so that students like me can attend such a great College!”

Christy Folk ‘18
Christy Folk ‘18
Environmental Science

Christy Folk concentrated in Environmental Science and minored in Spanish Literature at the Wilkes Honors College. A National Merit Finalist and Newman Civic Fellow, as an incoming student Christy received one of the college’s prestigious, four-year Henry Morrison Flagler Scholarships. She is also the 2018 recipient of the Stan and Renee Wimberly Award.“My academic coursework played a large role in my intellectual development, but the Flagler Scholarship really challenged me to step beyond my comfort zone, and I have grown so much as a result! I honed my teamwork skills in my Outward Bound course mountaineering and kayaking in Washington state. Another summer I interned with a forestry company monitoring endangered bird species throughout South Carolina and Florida. However, it was my time abroad that had the biggest impact. I interned with a non-profit in a rural Mayan community in Guatemala, where I helped secure scholarships for students to finish high school and get good jobs in their own country. Since no one else spoke English, my Spanish speaking skills improved dramatically! Most recently, I spent seven (7) weeks living with a rural homestay family in a remote region of the Himalayas in Nepal, where I studied their sustainable agricultural practices. My global travels have led me to the conclusion that despite cultural and geographical differences, we all have more in common than we realize.”Folk has joined AmeriCorps NCCC after graduating from the Wilkes Honors College and plans to complete a year of the program before applying to graduate school.