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|David B. Elkins '81|
As a pre-freshman at the College's Biology Field Station in 1977, the Mentor native knew he wanted to study biology. In his first two years at Hiram, Dave worked at the field station, a home a few miles from campus for over 60 species of animals and birds. He became interested in parasitology through his work with pheasants, which are especially subject to parasitic diseases.
Studying abroad in England and India heightened his interest in the field. Elkins also spent time with the San Antonio Zoo in Texas while completing undergraduate work.
His sophomore year internship there was set up by James Barrow. His work at the zoo helped define his goals for graduate school; at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, he received an assistantship to run a lab for graduate students. Once at UNC, he became so excited about his work on his master's degree that he condensed and completed his work in one year.
Eighteen months after graduating from Hiram College in 1981 with a degree in biology, Elkins left for Thailand where he researched human parasite ecology while working toward his Ph.D. In Thailand, Elkins' field research was working with hookworms and roundworms, which are responsible for anemia, malnutrition, growth retardation, and death in many Third World countries.
Elkins was one of only two people in the world at this time to do this type of research. His study was funded by a British Government Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Fellowship, with his degree granted but the Imperial College, University of London.
"This opportunity and all the chances I have had to do research have been a result of my affiliation with Hiram," Dave said. Dave was chosen to receive this award for his joint work in India and Thailand throughout his career in parasitology.