Two Lyon College students have received competitive scholarships from the Alpha Chi National College Scholarship Honor Society.
Ellie Embry, ’20, of Hindsville, received Region II’s Joseph E. Pryor Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship is presented to a graduating senior who plans to pursue full-time academic work in graduate or professional school the following year.
Senior John Pruden, of Allen, Texas, received Region II’s Edward W. Gaston Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded to a junior who plans to continue full-time undergraduate work in the following year.
Alpha Chi is a coeducational academic honor society that accepts only college juniors and seniors who place in the top 10% of their class from all academic disciplines. Alpha Chi’s Region II includes Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
Embry was surprised to receive the award.
“I wasn’t initially announced with the rest of the scholarship winners, so when I was emailed a month or two later by Dr. Allyn Dodd telling me that I actually had won it definitely was not expected.”
She plans to use the scholarship to cover some of the costs of moving to Oregon to attend Pacific University and get her doctorate in clinical psychology.
“Driving up to Oregon is no small task, so anything that I can get for the move helps a ton.”
A double major in biology and psychology, Embry submitted her project investigating the effects of Vitamin E on rat behavior following injections of aggregated amyloid-beta, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, into the hippocampus.
She plans on becoming a neuropsychologist and working in geriatrics.
“I’ve always been interested in studying the brain,” Embry said. “It’s insane to me how quickly and intricately it works with the rest of the body.”
Neuropsychology interests her because she will get to see how changes in the brain can affect everyday life and hopefully find out why people are experiencing those effects.
“Using neuropsychological testing to diagnose is like putting a complicated puzzle together,” she said, “but when everything fits, it’s so satisfying.”
Embry has loved working with the geriatric population ever since she worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in an assisted living center her first summer of college.
“Everyone was so friendly and grateful for the help, but they were also just appreciative of the company.”
She continued, “I hope to have an impact on individuals and their families. Being able to diagnose different dementias is a heavy task, but being able to put a name on what the individual and family have been experiencing can bring ease to a situation.”
Pruden was excited when he learned he had received the Edward W. Gaston Scholarship.
“I was in the car with my sister and screamed,” he said, laughing. “She thought something bad was happening and pulled over.”
Pruden also received the James G. Stemler Study Abroad Scholarship for $2,000 from the Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society and the Ronald Reagan Leadership Scholarship for $1,000 from his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon.
He plans to use these scholarships to study abroad this fall at the Université de Poitiers in Poitiers, France.
“I am so excited to explore all of the regions of France,” Pruden said. “French culture is so deep and expansive.”
A double major in chemistry and French, he submitted his work on optical deficiencies using an industrial optical bench to Alpha Chi.
“Optics is the study of light,” Pruden said. “I looked at how light passes through materials. I wanted to focus on optical aberrations, which is a fancy way of saying how lenses differ from ideality.”
He is interested in becoming a patent attorney because he enjoys learning about a lot of different fields.
“That’s what brought me to a liberal arts institution,” Pruden said. “I like when I get to use knowledge from many different fields, and I feel like patent law and intellectual property law in general falls right there.”
He believes science is important but cannot remain in a vacuum.
“In order for it to have any impact, you have to connect it to society in some way if you want to generate global progress.”
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