Campaign Gifts Have Impact: Summer Research Opportunities

The support and generosity of alumnae giving to the Campaign for Douglass: Innovative Education, Women’s Leadership, enables Douglass students to conduct research through Project SUPER (Science for Undergraduates: a Program for Excellence in Research) and enhances the Bunting-Cobb math, Science, and Engineering Residence Hall by establishing additional programming and outreach to pre-college students.

Kayla Fowler, Class of 2017, recently shared her summer research at the Douglass 2014 Summer Research Poster Session held at the Douglass College Center. Her presentation detailed research about spinal cord injury, titled “Improving Implantable Microelectrodes for Neuronal Signal Acquisition: Histologic Assessment of Glial Response to Different Probe Forms.” Being involved in research at the undergraduate level has helped Kayla achieve in her studies as a Biological Sciences major. She also has minors in International and Global Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is the recipient of the Amelia Landenberger Ruggles Scholarship administered by the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College and established by a bequest from Amelia Landenberger Ruggles NJC ’23 to provide scholarships for students in botanical science.

“The summer research,” says Kayla, “helped me solely decide that my heart lies in studying neuroscience and radiology studies.” It also helped fuel her future aspirations following Douglass. “I hope to study abroad to do clinical research and then go to medical school,” she says. The experience also opened her eyes to the world of research which Kayla finds intriguing.

Most importantly, she says, the research setting taught her “how to handle and take in constructive criticism, remembering the criticism is meant to reconstruct what was done and not to tear you down. Summer research taught me how to better manage my time because deadlines are an extreme importance in the research field, especially when papers and/or presentations need to be reviewed by numerous people.”

One of her personal achievement is developing her communication, mentoring and leadership skills. She combines leadership at Douglass as a Barbara Voorhees and Douglass Project mentor helping students, with serving in WINGS (Women Investing In and Guiding Women) and as Youth Empowerment Services mentor off campus. Kayla is also the Class of 2017 Representative in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and Governing Council and is on the Douglass Social Media and Communication team.

“Here at Douglass, I have learned that I have a love for international studies, discussion about controversial issues on women empowerment, and most of all how to network. Although I am only a sophomore, I have been blessed with numerous opportunities that many do not receive until their junior or senior year. Using every possible resource and networking has made a great impact on me,” she says, “and being a Douglass woman has been a strength building experience.”

Kayla hails from Ledyard, Connecticut, and follows in the Douglass footsteps of her mother Marie Fowler ’86, aunts Janice Fowler ’84 and Sophie Smith ’89, and her late paternal grandmother Sara Juanita Dempsey UNC ’78. “They were Douglass women, so it only felt right for me to be a Douglass woman,” she says.

The Associate Alumnae of Douglass College (AADC) held the public launch of the Campaign for Douglass at a special kick-off reception in New York City in October 2010. It is the most ambitious capital campaign undertaken thus far and benefits Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University. Thank you to all who have supported the Campaign and are helping us exceed our $35 million goal. All alumnae are invited to join in this historic initiative! Learn more at

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