Wesleyan announces Ledford Scholarship recipients

Two West Virginia Wesleyan students have been awarded the Col. Lee B. Ledford Scholarship, a scholarship program established by the Appalachian College Association in 1999.

Haven Lyndsey Clay, a junior biology major and chemistry and honors minor from Huntington, and David Paul Rhodes, a junior physics and engineering major from Hambleton, were awarded this prestigious scholarship.

The Ledford scholars support many forms of research, including laboratory/field work, interviews, analyzing special collections and participant observation, for students enrolled at ACA institutions. Students in a variety of disciplines have been supported in the past, such as English, sociology, history, biology, computer science and religious studies.

Clay hopes to see how the Centaurea nigrescents (tyrol knapweed) fractions that she has been purifying over some semesters have an effect on biofilm deposition on Staphaloccocnus aureus, or what is commonly known as a staph infection. If she is able to see biofilm formation being inhibited, the compounds isolated may be affecting the infection.

“If I had not attended Wesleyan, I may not have had this opportunity,” Clay said. “I feel very blessed to be part of this program because not very many people have the chance to work so closely on a research project to see how the results and how it will impact the world. It really is a beautiful thing, and it has become a passion of mine.”

Rhodes plans to complete research to calculate the amount of thrust being pushed from a small-scale turbine engine.

“I am extremely excited to have received this scholarship to do research,” Rhodes said. “This internship will be a great stepping stone toward my advances in physics and engineering, and it will also give me more hands-on experience outside of the book work. I plan to be a roller coaster designer once I finish my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and I feel this scholarship is just what I need to give me a small taste of what I plan to do in the future.”

Both Clay and Rhodes will complete their research at the college and will present their projects at the 2013 ACA Summit upon conclusion of their research.

Ledford, a native of Harlan County, Ky., established an endowment before his death to provide central Appalachian students with research and learning experiences outside the classroom.

The Appalachian College Association is an organization of 36 independent liberal arts colleges that provides expanded and enhanced learning opportunities to faculty and students in Central Appalachia. This educational consortium offers a wide variety of academic, research, scholarship, library and travel programs, serving more than 54,000 students and 4,000 faculty in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The Appalachian College Association is an independent, nonprofit incorporated organization, governed by a board comprised of member college presidents and an executive committee.