College of Arts & Sciences Beyond the Book Scholarships Extend Student Learning Outside the Classroom

14 Students Received Grants to Pursue Individual Research Projects this Summer

As Spain recognizes the 10-year anniversary of its progressive legislation legalizing gay marriage and adoption, UM College of Arts & Sciences rising junior Joshua Marzano will spend the summer in Madrid – conducting a research project on how this landmark measure has affected the portrayal of young gay men in books.

Spain was the first country to eliminate all legal distinctions between same-sex and heterosexual marriages, in 2005. Just one year later, the legislature passed a comprehensive law allowing transgender individuals to change their legal gender.  

Marzano, who is majoring in Spanish and Women’s and Gender Studies, plans to discover and read 5 contemporary Spanish novels written since these laws came into effect, with college-aged gay men as their main characters.

“I’ll be looking for patterns, generalizations and overall attitudes toward gay men after the past decade of activism,” he said, adding, “I’m expecting to find a positive portrayal.”

While working on this research project – which he plans to expand to become his senior honors thesis – Marzano will also intern with the Community of Madrid’s Programa de Información y Atención a Homosexuales y Transexuales (Information and Assistance Program for Homosexuals and Transexuals), where he will intern under legal advisor Manuel Ródenas.

“Gay Pride in Madrid is very fun and festive,” he said. “Straight people go too. It attracts a lot of visitors.”

Marzano secured his internship through Gema Pérez-Sánchez, an associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, who also arranged for him to conduct research in Spain’s national library.

Marzano is one of 14 College of Arts & Sciences students to receive funding through the Beyond the Book Scholarship program, an initiative that provides financial support to undergraduate students to pursue special, intensive, experiential learning opportunities. This can include lab research, fieldwork, internships and more.

Each Beyond the Book scholar receives $2,500, and must submit a report to Dean Leonidas G. Bachas at the completion of their research activities.

“The Beyond the Book program allows College of Arts & Sciences students to pursue their passions,” Dean Bachas said. “I am grateful to the generous donors who make this program possible, and provide our students with a rewarding and challenging undergraduate research experience."

The 14 2015 Beyond the Book recipients are:

* Daniel Amat, chemistry, Non-Toxic Carbon Dot Based Anti-Cancer Drug Delivery
* Amelia Bahamonde, microbiology and immunology, Glioblastoma: Putting a Stop to Aggressive Brain Cancer
* Tara Brown, musical theatre, Commedia dell’Arte: Storytelling through the Mask (Tuscany, Italy)
* Philip Davidson, biology, Gene Expression in the Ctenophore Mnemiepsis Leidyi During Embryonic Development
* Ariane Karine Goncalves, chemistry, Novel Cobals Dithiolene Complexes for Catalytic Hydrogen Production
* Benjamin Langer, biochemistry, An Analysis of Anatomical Mistakes Made by Celsus and Galen
* Joshua Marzano, Spanish and women’s and gender studies, LGBT Fiction in Modern Spain (Madrid, Spain)
* Joseph Miller, political science, How Does the Use of Smartphone Applications by Cities Impact Municipal Response to Citizen Needs?
* Erin Smith, anthropology, Emergent Inequality in Middle Horizon Atacama Dases (San Pedro de Atacama, Chile)
* Andres Taledro, geological science, The First 3D View of the Reefs that Built Miami
* Jeanette Tho, biochemistry, Expression Analysis if Candidate Regulatory Genes of the Disheveled Protein in Animal Vegetal Axis Specification in the Sea Urchin Strongylocentrotus Purpuratus Embryo
* Laura Vander Meiden, ecosystem science and policy and biology, Northern Mockingbird Response to Daily Changes in Levels of Anthropogenic Noise
* Jacob Yomtoob, biochemistry and neuroscience, Identification of Small Molecule Epigenetic Modulators of CD24low+ Subpopulations in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells
* Jorge Zambrano, psychology, Expanding Creativity and Algorithmic Thinking Through Play

 Marzano said, “I never anticipated having the opportunity to do something like this.” He plans to spend more time in Madrid, studying and teaching English, after he graduates from UM in 2016.

June 02, 2015