The Year in Review 2021 – 2022

The close of the academic year is an opportunity to share news about individualized majors and their wide-ranging accomplishments. This has been another challenging pandemic year, but it has not stopped individualized majors from engaging in research, education abroad, internships, and other co-curricular activities.

Graduates

Sixty-seven students will graduate with an individualized major this year (Dec ’21 and May and Aug ’22). You can read about their accomplishments in the 2022 grad booklet.

Highlights

Jasmine Aboumahboob ’23 (IMJR: Human Physiology and Sociomedical Sciences) was awarded a SURF grant for Summer 2022 for her project, “The Development of the Inferior Olivary Nuclei and its Connections to the Purkinje Cells of the Cerebellum.” Her faculty mentor is Dr. James Li, Genetics and Genome Sciences (UCHC).

Nour Al Zouabi ’23 (IMJR: Health, Rights, and Refugees) and faculty mentor, Dr. Sara Silverstein (History and Human Rights) have been granted a SHARE award for spring 2022 for the project  “A Health Service Without a Country: The History of Healthcare for Refugees and Displaced Persons After World War II.” Nour was also a finalist for the Edward Victor Gant Undergraduate Student Life Award.

Michelle Antony ’23 (IMJR: Community Health, MCB) has been selected to join the University Scholar program. Her project, “Determining Growth Factor Properties Required to Promote Articular Cartilage Healing,” explores molecular signaling mechanisms in cartilage healing and narrows the field of candidate growth factors that can activate self-repair by cartilage cells. By identifying growth factors with therapeutic regenerative potential, treatments for patients who have suffered damage to their joints can be optimized.

Kathryn Atkinson ’23 (IMJR: Food Studies, Nutritional Sciences) has been selected to join the University Scholar program. Her project, “Cenabis Bene: A Culinary Odyssey through Apicius,” explores cooking in the Classical era. Apicius, or De re culinaria, is the sole surviving cookbook from ancient Rome and provides valuable insight into how food relates to and influences a multitude of aspects of Roman life. The project involves the authentic recreation of selected recipes from Apicius as well as in-depth critical analysis of the cookbook as a whole, examining each recipe through social, historical, and anthropological contexts in order to develop a deeper understanding of Roman feasting customs.

Poorna Balakumar ’23 (IMJR: Asian Arts, Culture, and Feminism; MCB) has been selected to join the University Scholar program. Her project, “Gender and Transnationalism in Kuchipudi Dance,” explores different representations of gender in Indian theatre and performance, focusing on the revival of classical Indian dance forms in the 20th century and the transnational experience of first-generation women learning classical Indian dance under the male gaze. The ethnography of Indian dance as an embodied, gendered form of performance provides important insight into the politics of racialization, transnationalism and gender.

Amayia Cordova ’22 (IMJR: Healthcare Analysis, Math) has been granted the John T. Szarlan FYE Mentor Award for her work in a First Year Experience course devoted to first generation students. This experience promoted a better understanding of what a first-year student or faculty member needs to feel connected to the UConn Community. She is extremely thankful to the faculty and students that supported her along the way.

Zoey England ’22 (IMJR: Population Health, Disease, and Policy) is UConn’s first recipient of a Gilman-McCain scholarship. The program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, provides awards of $5,000 for undergraduate child dependents of active duty service members to study or serve an internship abroad. Zoey will use the funds to pursue research in Mauritius with Prof. Dimitris Xygalatas (Anthropology) at the UConn summer interdisciplinary ethnography field school.

Sumeet Kadian ’22 (IMJR: Healthcare and Society, MCB) has been selected to participate in the Leadership Legacy Experience. Sumeet is a student representative on the University Senate Delta 2 General Education Task Force, a trip director for Community Outreach-Alternative Breaks, vice president of Medical Minds Matter, and secretary of Special Programs in Medicine/Dental Medicine Board.

Phi Beta Kappa. Twenty-one individualized majors were elected to Phi Beta Kappa this year.

IMJRs in the News

Kynza Khimani ’22 (IMJR: Global Health, PNB), a senior, was asked by UConn Today to reflect on her experiences at UConn. After graduation, Kynza will pursue a masters in public health at Harvard.

Catherine Pomposi ’10 (IMJR: Environmental Analysis, Statistics), a Climate Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), was recently interviewed by Addison Magrath ’23 (SFA) for UConn Today. In the article, Catherine describes her major and how it set the foundation for her graduate work in climate science. She also describes her work in then-Senator Kamala Harris’ office, where she contributed to legislation on climate adaptation and resilience, reflects on the skills that she learned at UConn, and offers advice to students with similar professional goals.

Sara Tomis ’22 (IMJR: Agricultural Education and Outreach) was featured in UConn Today for her work with the UConn 4-H New London County Office, where she develops experiential learning kits to distribute at local libraries. She also works with local summer camps to teach campers about agriculture and the natural world through lessons on topics like metamorphic bugs’ life cycles.

Previous Years in Review

2020-2021, 2019-2020, 2018-2019