John G. Martin Scholarship
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John G. Martin Scholarship

Lyla O’Brien ’17

Lyla O’Brien ’17

Bachelor of Arts, Summa cum laude
Biology

Minor
Environmental Studies


Lyla is the first University of Hartford student to receive a prestigious Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The program provided financial support for her junior and senior years, as well as funding for environmental research with the EPA in Narragansett, R.I. Her work involved a wetland restoration project on Martha’s Vineyard and the study of long-term water quality in Narragansett Bay.

The University presented Lyla with awards for excellence and outstanding achievement in the courses Molecular Cellular Biology and Developmental Biology, as well as the Rachel Carson Award for Ecology. Her academic advisor, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Program Director Bin Zhu, recruited her to work on a study funded by the University’s Women’s Advancement Initiative on “flipped” classes in life sciences.

Other research projects include one with Zhu on water quality and the biodiversity of aquatic plants, and another with Assistant Professor of Biology Adam Silver that focused on identifying the virulence factors of staph aureus, a strain of bacteria. In addition, she worked as a tutor and a chemistry lab teaching assistant. Lyla served as a course assistant for a marine debris policy class taught by Katharine Owens, associate professor of public and environmental politics and director of the All-University Curriculum.

Through the John G. Martin Scholarship, O’Brien will pursue a degree in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management at the University of Oxford this fall.