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2015-2016 Marlin Scholar Spotlights

Keane Dye ’16

Keane Dye ’16

Hometown: Glen Allen, Virginia

Major/s: Chemistry and Biology

Keane says: The Honors and Scholars program has been a unique experience that has served to greatly enhance my time at Virginia Wesleyan. The program has allowed me to receive a true liberal arts education by encouraging me to take courses outside of my major, and by permitting me to more deeply engage with the material in these courses. I feel that by being a part of the Honors and Scholars Program I have been afforded the opportunity to be better prepared for whatever challenges I may face in my future career post-graduation.


  • Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges summer Research Fellowship (2014)
  • Virginia Tech REU Microbiology in the Post Genome Era (2015)

Undergraduate Research:

  • Morphological Studies on Polymer Electrolyte Membranes (PEMs) Used in Fuel  Cells The Effects of Environmental Conditions on Structural Changes as Determined by FTIR Spectroscopy (Presented at ACS national conference in Boston 2015)
  • A comparison of the cultivable bacteria from surface-sterilized Wolbachia-infected and Wolbachia-free Drosophila melanogaster
  • The Microscopic anatomy of the ovipositor Cosmetid Harvestmen From the Genera Eupoecilaema and Paecilaema; Investigation of the YpeB Protein’s Interactions within Bacillus anthracis.

Campus Involvement:

  • Cross country
  • Track and Field
  • Gamma Sigma Epsilon (president)
  • Beta Beta Beta
  • Sigma Zeta
  • Chi Sigma Alpha

Riana Garcia ’16

Riana Garcia ’16Hometown: Virginia Beach

Major/s: English (concentration in literature) and Psychology

Minor/s: Classics, Biology, and Chemistry

Riana says: The Honors and Scholars Program presented me with the opportunity to augment my education at VWC. I was able to explore my research interests by challenging courses for Honors credit. The variety of Honors classes that I have taken has allowed me improve and develop skills that I will continue to build on as I move forward in my education. 

Experience: Psychology Research Assistant for Dr. Hinze

Undergraduate Research: 

  • Influence of Wolbachia Infection on Fruit Fly Crosses, presented at VWC's Undergraduate Research Symposium and Academic Fair

Campus Involvement:

  • Honors and Scholars; Biology, Psychology, and Writing Tutor
  • Peer Advisor
  • Global Marlins
  • Marlins Count
  • Marlins Read
  • Gamma Sigma Epsilon
  • Chemistry Honor Society
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Leadership Honor Society
  • Sigma Tau Delta
  • English Honor Society (Secretary)
  • Psi Chi, Psychology Honor Society (President)
  • European Culture Club (President)
  • Classics Club; Science Club
  • Asian Culture Club

Marisa Harris ’16

Marisa Harris ’16Hometown: Virginia Beach

Major/s: Business

Marisa says: The Honors and Scholars Program has provided me with a venue to challenge myself with unusual classes that I would not have considered if I were not in the program.  It has also enabled me to broaden my horizons by meeting like-minded academics and challenge my required courses to learn more than the curriculum required.


  • Retirement Planning Services Intern
  • Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP


  • Geico Achievement Award 2014
  • MBE Department Sophomore Achievement Award

Campus Involvement:

  • CEO, Marlin Business Association
  • President, Phi Alpha Theta
  • Member, Sigma Beta Delta
  • Member, Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Member, Honors and Scholars
  • CEO, Spring 2015 Marlin Business Conference 
  • Business subject tutor

Thomas Simmons ’16

Thomas Simmons ’16Hometown: Virginia Beach

Major/s: Mathematics and Computer Science

Minor/s: Psychology

Thomas says: The Honors and Scholars program has incentivized me to study and gain interest in various topics hitherto unknown to me. Honors and Scholars coursework has provided guidance in discovering new and interesting ideas, incentive to appreciate and understand them, and ultimately an anticipation of connections in places where before I anticipated none.


  • Summit Analytical (Winter 2013)
    Worked with tools such as MySQL, PHP, Javascript, and frameworks and libraries including CakePHP and JQuery
    Developed features for an electronic data capture software used in clinical trials data management, gained exposure to Agile project management and programming as a profession.

Undergraduate Research: 

  • "Quantifying Art" investigated iterating over color information in raster images as a means to quantify differences or similarities in hue, saturation, and value between paintings
  • "Thoughtful" used a relational database to organize information in a hierarchical format with the intent of making a platform for easy note-keeping (and general information-organizing). The project allowed me to explore technologies such as single-page applications and REST API servers in the process
  • "The New Mastermind," with Tyler Chang and Samantha Eanes, was an investigation of permutations of the classic 1970s board game, Mastermind. We worked toward identifying an algorithm by which we could accurately predict the maximal number of turns to play a game of Mastermind given variations to the original game's rules. Presented at the 2014 Joint Mathematics Meetings convention in Baltimore.

Campus Involvement:

  • Coding Club