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Spotlight: Meet Our Student Changemakers
MA, Arts Management and Legal Studies
Austin T. Farrow is an arts leader determined to impact the entertainment industry through Pan-African and LGBTQ+ stories, narratives, and conversations.
My dreams are uniquely big, and that is why I am putting in all the groundwork and effort to actualize them. I plan on impacting the world on a global scale—beginning through art and ending only God knows where!
He holds a BFA in Theatre with a concentration in Acting from Howard University and acting certificates from the British American Drama Academy in London. At American University, where he is working towards an MA in Arts Management and Legal Studies, Austin is a graduate arts ambassador, focusing on conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. He has also received a highly competitive Kennedy Center fellowship, where he works in the Social Impact Department.
Austin’s goal is to create his own art collaborative, merging the four artistic disciplines of theatre, dance, fine arts, and music. “I want to successfully start up and run a nonprofit in every facet and phase,” he says. “AU is equipping me with the necessary tools and network to make it happen. I am just beginning my second year, and I have gained so much clarity and understanding in nonprofit organization and operation.”
Austin’s dreams don’t end there. He thinks about owning his own television and radio network and film studio, engaging in philanthropic work, and even creating fashion and product lines.
MS, Health Promotion Management
Not only is Lisa Joseph on track to earn her MS in Health Promotion Management in 2022, but she has already landed her dream job.
This month, Lisa began work as the Program Coordinator of Education at the prestigious American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). At ASCO, she helps organize educational courses conducted by volunteer/partnered doctors for the pharmaceutical industries. The goal is to help patients better understand current research and new drug developments.
At American University, Lisa has worked as a graduate assistant in the Department of Health Studies, doing program development, data collection, and data analysis. She helped produce a “Faithfully Fit Toolkit” for ministries to implement into their own programs, as well as a report on how to balance food store profits with customers’ needs for fresh, healthy food. Finally, as a COVID Case Coordinator at the university, she worked on contact tracing and as a source of information for individuals who were potentially infected with the virus.
Lisa credits AU faculty for helping her to obtain her dream job at ASCO.
Each of my professors have played a key role in my success at AU. From my very first conversations with Dr. Snelling, I immediately felt supported when weighing my financial options. Since attending AU, I have had professors consistently provide wisdom and career advice, send job postings, and serve as references, supporting both my professional development and job applications.
MS in Statistics candidate Lesley Chapman is putting her statistical expertise to work for a worthy cause. As a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute, she is researching the genetic risk associated with pediatric cancer by using epidemiologic and statistical strategies.
Lesley says she received her first introduction to American University after attending an orientation session where she received a warm welcome and an impressive overview of the Masters in Statistics program. “Effective teaching approaches are something I appreciate as a part of any training experience, and American University offers just that. At AU, I have learned a number of foundational statistical concepts that I can directly apply to my research.”
Lesley was recently selected as an American Society of Human Genetics Human Genetics Scholar. Her long-term goal is to become an independent research investigator and conduct research to identify genetic risk associated with diseases such as cancer. She says that her mathematics and statistics coursework has been a key part of her training.
“I am developing machine learning-based methods to identify risk variants in patients with rare disease. My classes, such as Mathematical Statistics and Advanced Machine Learning, have helped inform statistical based approaches to study patient populations. The faculty here have also been a tremendous support in providing explanations on the ways in which concepts discussed in courses can be applied to address questions in other fields of research.”
Alex Lutz has loved chemistry since eighth grade. Now he is an MS in Chemistry candidate at American University, and he’s received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to pursue exciting research on the next generation of antibiotics.
In Associate Professor of Chemistry Monika Konaklieva’s lab, Alex is synthesizing and purifying novel antibiotic compounds to test their effectiveness against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Some of the compounds have also demonstrated effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s and other viral diseases.
Alex says he first became interested in American University because of its post-baccalaureate program. While he was studying in that program, he took a class on organic chemistry, which rekindled his love for chemistry and narrowed it down more to organic synthesis. He is planning on applying to PhD programs to continue his education in chemistry and hopes to focus on organic synthesis. He is also hoping to directly use the skills and techniques that he uses in the lab now in his future research.
“I would like to recognize and thank Dr. Monika Konaklieva for her constant support and guidance during my time as a graduate student,” Alex says. “Her constant patience and support during my research have been invaluable to me. Her guidance not only helped my selection of work, but has been vital in keeping me on track.”
Students and alumni discuss distinctive features of the College, why they chose their particular degrees, and program opportunities they pursued.