April 27, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 16

Maryann Odusanya '08 sees her Amanda Houston Fellowship as an opportunity to combine her field of study with her longstanding interest in French culture.

Psych Major Earns Houston Fellowship

Maryann Odusanya '08, whose current interests combine psychology and French culture, is the winner of the 2006 Amanda V. Houston Memorial Fellowship.

A psychology major from New Brunswick, NJ, Odusanya was announced as the winner at a ceremony held March 28 in Gasson 100. The Houston Fellowship award, named in honor of BC's first Black Studies Program director, is given annually to prepare BC undergraduates for leadership by enriching their educational development through travel-study experiences.

Odusanya plans to use the scholarship to help strengthen her research interests and enhance the intellectual experience of her college years by studying in France at the University of Paris VII Denis Diderot.

"French culture has an influence on many other parts of the world and I'd like to learn more about that," she said. "I'm so grateful for this opportunity. I trust that through my experience in France, the vision of Amanda Houston will continue to live on."

Even as she explores these aspects of French culture, Odusanya hopes to bolster her other chief scholarly interest. She views the Houston Fellowship as an opportunity to broaden her experiences as an Undergraduate Research Fellow assisting with a study of anorexia nervosa led by Prof. Barbara Wolfe (CSON).

"The work I've done with Professor Wolfe has sparked in me a desire to explore the eating habits and trends of French adolescents compared to American adolescents," she said.

But Odusanya's interest in France extends beyond the familiar elements - the celebrated cuisine, art and popular Paris landmarks. She wants to learn more about the country's African immigrants, and in particular the circumstances that may have contributed to the riots in many of France's immigrant communities.

"I feel this issue needs to be better understood from a psychological perspective. There's a lot that can be done and I hope to make a contribution."

Odusanya says the Undergraduate Research Fellow program, which enables students to hone their research skills through a mentoring relationship with a faculty member, has been instrumental to her at BC. "Doing research makes coursework in other areas so much more meaningful."

She also cites as a source of inspiration her visits to Beth-Israel Deaconess Hospital, which she said have helped motivate her to pursue graduate studies and, eventually, a doctorate. - Stephen Gawlik

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