Gleich Scholar Esha Vij Wins Webster Groves Nature Study Society Scholarship
May 25, 2023
Esha Vij (second from the right) pictured with members of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society and two other scholarship winners.
Esha Vij, a rising third year Gleich Honors College Scholar and biology/film, television and video production double major, has won the 2023 Mickey Scudder Scholarship from the Webster Groves Nature Study Society.
The Mickey Scudder Scholarship is awarded to support the research or field work of students in the Greater St. Louis area. The award is up to $1,000 for one year. Although typically awarded to graduate students, Vij, an undergraduate student studying biology, was chosen because of the quality of her work.
Vij’s research seeks to explore the negative impact of the fungus Batachonchytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) on frogs. She is curious how the presence of zooplankton and large invertebrates in local ponds affect levels of this killer which latches onto and then penetrates amphibian skin.
With this award, Vij will purchase materials which allow her to test factors that counter the density of the fungus in the frogs’ ponds. She will also try to establish how the density of Bd spores affects frog infection.
“I started researching the topic of my study about a year ago," Vij said. "The problem with examining Bd is that it's hard to find in water before it infects frogs, and I knew in order to experiment with it properly I would need money. My advisor, Dr. Miller-Struttmann, told me about the Mickey Scudder Scholarship, and I quickly seized the opportunity.”
This research will culminate her biology major – after only four semesters at Webster. Vij’s precocious research and community focus reflect what the Gleich Honors College strives to foster in all its students.
The Webster Groves Nature Study Society recently held an award banquet to recognize the 2023 scholarship winners, including Vij.