Mitchell Scholars 2018: Prestige, Support for Recipients…and Applicants

Editor’s Note: The following information comes from the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, sponsors of the prestigious Mitchell Scholarship.We applaud the program’s support for both applicants and winners of the award.

November 19, 2016–The US-Ireland Alliance selected the 12 members of the 2018 Class of George J. Mitchell Scholars following interviews held Washington, D.C.

Members of the class include a military veteran; a young man working for the City of Flint; a young woman working to combat food insecurity in Kansas; a quarterback for an NCAA Division 1 football team; a future doctor who seeks to provide quality healthcare services to transgender people; and a future economist who serves as a research assistant in the White House Office the National Drug Control Policy.

The selection committee includes Frank Bruni, New York Times Op-Ed Columnist and the author of three bestselling books, including Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. One of his columns, “A Prudent College Path,” presented a very positive view of public university honors programs. The Mitchell program is very interested in applicants from honors students.

The scholarship program was created nearly 20 years ago by Trina Vargo, founder of the US-Ireland Alliance. This year, the nationwide competition attracted 323 applicants (up 14% from the previous year) for the 12 scholarships named in honor of the former Maine Senator’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service and spend a year of post-graduate study at institutions of higher learning in Ireland.

Carolina Chavez, the new Director of the Mitchell Scholarship Program, worked previously for ten years on the Fulbright program at the Department of State. Chavez noted that in all of her experience, “I can tell you that the Mitchell Scholar network is exceptionally strong. Our alumni are involved and important to each other, to the Program, and to Ireland.”

Current sponsor of the Mitchell Scholarship program include Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills, Morgan Stanley, CRH and the American Ireland Fund.

“There are numerous applicants who are incredibly talented,” Ms. Vargo said. “While we can’t offer them all a scholarship, we recognize the major effort entailed in simply applying, and we wanted to find ways to help increase their opportunities….This year, we have initiated a process whereby the resumes of applicants may be shared with our major sponsors. This is a win-win given that recruitment of top talent is a priority for many companies.”

Those selected today will begin their studies in Ireland in September 2017.

George J. Mitchell Scholarship, Class of 2018

Joel Arnold graduated from Michigan State University with a double major in Social Relations/Policy and Urban and Regional Planning. A native of Flint, Michigan, Joel is currently a Blight Management Analyst for the City of Flint and administers the Love Your Block Program, which provides residents and local organizations with no-cost resources to perform major beautification efforts….He will study Urban Policy Stream at University College Dublin.

Margaret Born is a senior at Michigan State University, double majoring in Arabic and Comparative Cultures and Politics. Born to American aid workers in South Africa, Margaret grew up in Mozambique and moved to Wyoming for high school. Interested in issues of diversity and inclusion, she founded Project Nur at MSU in 2013, a student-led organization focused on combating Islamophobia on campus….Margaret aspires to work on international refugee policy and she will study International Development, Environment, and Conflict at Dublin City University.

Theodore L. Caputi is a senior majoring in Mathematics and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Interested in the factors that contribute to drug and alcohol addiction since high school, Theodore is currently a White House research assistant in the Office of National Drug Control Policy where he conducts analysis of the nation’s drug prevention and treatment strategies. Theodore has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals…. He will study Public Health Promotion at University College Cork.

Donovan Hicks is a recent graduate of Wofford College where he double majored in Government and Finance. A native of South Carolina, Donovan became attuned to the inequities in his community at an early age. As a college freshman, he began a long-term internship with South Carolina Legal Services, providing legal assistance to persons well below the poverty line…. He will study Race, Ethnicity, and Conflict at Trinity College Dublin.

Meghan Hind is a senior at Harvard majoring in Neurobiology. Her interests lie in the brain circuitry behind decision-making and how beliefs and behaviors affect the decision-making process. She has organized and executed several wellness programs for her Harvard classmates, most recently serving as the Director of Workshops for LifeHack Improvitas, which brought prominent figures to campus to discuss self-improvement… She will study Values and Knowledge at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Peter Kiernan is a senior majoring in Political Science at Columbia University. Raised on Long Island, Pete joined the U.S. Marine Corps shortly after high school and became the youngest Marine to serve in the elite Special Operations Command in Afghanistan. After six years of service, Pete enrolled at Columbia where he founded the Ivy League Veterans Council, a not-for-profit dedicated to provide veterans equal access to top colleges and universities….He will study Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity College Dublin.

Miranda Klugesherz obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Communication Studies from Hastings College and is currently a Master’s degree student in Communications Studies at Kansas State University. Concerned with food insecurity for much of her life, she currently serves as the Chair of the Junction City Food Policy Council, which advises the City Commission on matters related to the local food system…. She will study Social Policy at University College Cork.

Elizabeth (Ellie) Sell is a senior Chemistry student at Princeton University and an Emergency Medical Technician with the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. As a research assistant at Children’s National Medical Center, Ellie used data from a trauma registry and GIS mapping to identify neighborhoods where certain types of injuries were more prevalent, giving her fellow health educators information to better hone their outreach efforts….An aspiring physician, she will study Gender, Sexuality and Culture at University College Dublin.

Lacey Smith is a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she majored Health and Human Sciences.  A native of the Los Angeles area, Lacey is currently working in Haiti as a Global Health Fellow with Medical Missionaries, a US-based volunteer organization….She will study Immunology and Global Health at Maynooth University.

Tyler Swafford is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University majoring in Globalization and International Affairs. He is the starting quarterback of the Division I EKU football team and serves on the EKU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as the liaison between the team and the EKU administration. He has twice received the Ohio Valley Conference Academic Medal of Honor for having the highest GPA (4.0) on the football team…. An aspiring human rights attorney, he will study Geopolitics and Global Economy at University College Dublin.

May Treuhaft-Ali is a senior at Wesleyan University majoring in Theater Studies. With a belief that theater has the power to question and deconstruct systems of power, May has written and directed plays for Wesleyan’s Theater Department and Second Stage. Her plays were selected twice by the LA-based Blank Theatre Company’s Young Playwrights Festival, a national competition for young writers…. She will study Theatre and Performance at Trinity College Dublin.

Kathleen White is a graduate of Manhattan College and holds a degree in History and Peace Studies. A social justice advocate, Kathleen joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after college and served as Outreach Coordinator for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth where she worked on abolishing juvenile life without parole….Kathleen will study Sociology at University College College Cork.

Rhodes Scholars 2017: Ivies Down a Bit, UVA Has Two

The Rhodes Scholarships continue to be awarded mainly to students from private colleges and universities, but the latest group of 32 students does include “only” 10 from Ivy League universities. Public universities with 2017 scholars are Virginia (2), Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, and UT Austin, for a total of seven.

The new list of Rhodes Scholars (awarded in November 2016 for the year 2017) includes four from Harvard, far and away the cumulative leader among all schools; one from Princeton, two from Yale, and one each from Dartmouth and Cornell. In the previous two years, the Ivy League had 14 of the 32 awards won by American students. In 2013 there were 16.

The University of  Virginia has now had six Rhodes Scholars since 2013.  UVA and North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the leaders among all state universities in the number of Rhodes Scholars earned by their graduates. UVA has 53 Rhodes Scholars, and UNC Chapel Hill has 49.

The University of Georgia, with another Rhodes winner this year for a total of 24, is notable for having almost all of its many prestigious award winners being members or graduates of the honors program.

Montana State University, despite its relatively small size, now has 11 Rhodes Scholars this year to go with an extremely high number of Goldwater Scholars.

The University of Texas at Austin now has 31 Rhodes Scholars.

Once again, the service academies are well-represented: both the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point had Rhodes winners.

Universities of Alabama and Arkansas Each Have Two Truman Scholars for 2016

The University of Arkansas and the University of Alabama each have two Truman Scholars for 2016, leading all public universities. Almost half of the 54 Truman Scholars this year are students at public universities, and most are honors students.

Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be academically excellent and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

The Truman program drew 775 candidates nominated by 305 colleges and universities. The recipients were chosen from 197 finalists by 16 independent selection panels on the basis of the students’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

The program has selected 3,077 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977.

Below are the 2016 awardees who attend public universities:

Victoria Maloch, a member of the honors college at the University of Arkansas

Daniela Estrada, University of California-Irvine

Elizabeth Hale, an honors program student at Colorado State University

Sarah Hartman, an honors program student at the University of Delaware

Amalia Gomez-Rexrode, University of Michigan

Wendy Ruiz, Florida International University

Dana Sweeney, an honors college student at the University of Alabama

Zoie Sheets, an honors college student at University of Illinois-Chicago

Danielle Neighbour, an honors college student at the University of Arkansas

Hannah Wilson, a McConnell Scholar at the University of Louisville

Chauncey Stephens,a student in the Ogden Honors College at Louisiana State University

Lia Petrose, a student in the honors college at the University of Pittsburgh

Natalie Jones, a member of the honors college at Mississippi State University

Maria Kalaitzandonakes, University of Missouri

Levi Birky, an honors college student at Montana State University

Hannah Kelley, a member of the honors college at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Madelaine Britt, University at Buffalo SUNY

Jed Hanson, University of North Dakota

Jeremy Allen, University of Oklahoma

Jory Fleming, a Capstone Scholar at the University of South Carolina

Josh Arens, an honors student at the University of South Dakota

Vaughn Vargas, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Zoraima Pelaez, a Liberal Arts Honors student at the University of Texas at Austin

Madelyn Fife, an honors student and Huntsman Scholar at Utah State University

Jill Ferguson, a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia

Deshawn McKinney, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Best Major Universities for Merit Scholarships–Part Two

Note: This post has now been updated on October 7, 2019, to include the most recent data from the 130 public and private universities listed below. Merit scholarships are fewer than ever, and the awards are generally smaller, though some are still generous. In fact, an increasing number of colleges are offering only minimal National Merit Scholarships, if any. Most “merit” scholarships that remain are not linked specifically to National Merit, although finalists do of course make strong candidates for almost any merit awards.

Most universities now refer to their most valuable merit awards as “distinguished” or “academic” or “presidential” scholarships, avoiding the specific mention of National Merit status. NMS has become somewhat controversial, as has merit aid in general, because many advocates for more equity in higher ed believe merit money should be allocated for need-based aid.

In most cases this does not mean that National Merit Finalists and Semifinalists have a lesser shot at the scholarships, although a few schools now emphasize high test scores more than they do NMS standing. One reason could be that some states have relatively low NMS/PSAT cutoff scores. Students from these states might have, for example, an SAT confirming score of 1420 or so, versus an SAT confirming score of around 1550 for students from states with higher PSAT cutoff scores. It appears that in place of NMS status specifically, an SAT score of 1550 (ACT 35) or higher is now more important that NMS status for selective institutions and programs.

Many of the scholarships offered by the public and private institutions listed below are NOT restricted to National Merit Scholars. We include them to show “full ride” and other high-value options. If you find an error below, please notify editor@publicuniversityhonors.com.

The colleges below in bold are those that still specify National Merit status for at least some of their major awards. These offer National Merit aid of $1,000 a year or more. Although automatic scholarships specifically tied to National Merit status are in decline, National Merit Finalists will almost always be among the top candidates for merit awards.

Many elite colleges and universities offer few or no merit awards of any kind now, because they believe that they need to allocate their funds only on the basis of financial need.

Another post on this site lists the colleges that offer the prestigious Stamps Scholarships.

These range from tuition to full ride, and in some cases, these are the only merit scholarships offered by the college.

And here is a list published by U.S. News that shows colleges with highest percentage of merit aid, based on enrollment. This map does not assess actual net remaining costs after merit aid, however.

In this post, we will provide a table that shows 130 universities, public and private, which provide full or partial tuition, tuition “plus”, or full ride, and full ride merit scholarships. In most cases, the tuition is at least at the in-state level. Tuition “plus” means that the extra award can include stipends or one or more years of housing. Full ride is tuition, room, board, and often additional funds for study abroad, conferences, and other activities.

The more prestigious the university, the more likely it is that the test score and GPA requirements will at least match stats for National Merit Finalists, even if the scholarship is not tied directly to National Merit awards. It is noteworthy that universities previously known for “full rides” have lowered the merit offerings, often to a level below that of a true full ride, especially for National Merit Scholars.

Note: Merit scholarships are constantly changing; the list below is at best a snapshot for 2019-2020.

It is important to know that some of the universities listed offer VERY FEW scholarships of the type listed. For example, the Jefferson Scholarships at the University of Virginia are valued at $150,000 (in-state) and $280,000 (OOS), but only 36 extremely fortunate students are selected from more than 2,000 candidates. These students must be nominated by participating high schools in different regions of the nation.

Again, colleges that continue to offer National Merit-specific scholarships that are greater than $1,000 per year are in bold.

University Award Type InState/OOS
Alabama full ride 5 yrs, 4 yrs housing+stipend, finalist Both
Appalachian St Chancellors schols Both
Arizona tuition plus, stackable Both
Arizona State tuition plus, stackable Both
Arkansas equiv full? New Arkansan+Chancellor’s Both
Auburn up to full tuition with high test scores, gpa Both
Baylor NMS finalist, faculty schol full tuition; gold schols $80k+ Both
Boston College tuition Presidential Schols only 15/yr Both
Boston University tuition Trustee Schols 20 per yr Both
Case Western Wolf scholars, full ride; Squire, Treuhaft tuition Both
Centre full ride plus, Brown Fellows; several at $20k+ Both
Chicago $5k to $10k/yr Both
Cincinnati full ride Cincinnatus; Presidential NMS $44k In State
Clark full ride, five LEEP/yr; others up to $20k/yr Both
Clemson full ride 12 National Schols, via honors college Both
Colorado College limited number $2500 to $5000/ semester Both
Connecticut Stamps full ride very few; nutmeg full tuition? In State
Cooper Union half tuition ($22,275/yr) for all enrolled Both
Davidson full ride Belk Scholarship Both
Delaware trustee scholars, $15k–$17k per year Both
Denison from $5k to full tuition Both
Drake full ride, six national alumni scholarships Both
Drexel up to tuition, Drexel Merit Both
Duke several full ride: BN & AB Duke, Robertson, etc. Both
Emory Woodruff schols full ride, others partial Both
Florida full ride Benacquisto Both
Florida St full ride Benacquisto Both
Fordham presidential full ride plus $5k/yr Both
Furman James Duke schol, tuition plus $5k in stipends Both
Georgia Foundation fellows, full, no engineering Both
Georgia State Presidential 22k/yr in st; 31k/yr OOS Both
Georgia Tech Stamps full ride top 1% Gtech; no NMS spons Both
Harvey Mudd tuition 8 presidential schols Both
Holy Cross a few tuition grants for specific majors Both
Houston NM finalist full tuition; stackable Tier One, Terry Both
Idaho full ride Both
Illinois Stamps full ride + $12k very few In State
Indiana $2k/yr plus Dean’s up to $11k/yr? Both
Iowa NM finalist $3k/yr plus others up to $8500/yr Both
Iowa State full tuition In State
Kansas $10k year; KU Excellence $16.2k/yr OOS In State
Kent St $1k to $3k Both
Kentucky Singletary, Patterson tuition + housing stipend, might be stackable with others Both
Kenyon multiple half and full tuition; others at $25k/yr Both
Lehigh NMF $1k-$2k; Founders, Trustee full/half tuition Both
Louisville NMF $20k; Brown scholars (10)  tuition plus Both?
Loyala Chicago $17k to $25k/yr Both
LSU Stamps 10/yr full ride plus; also others $9k/yr Both
Maine NM semifinalist tuition plus Both
Maryland full ride Banneker/Key 150 per year Both
Massachusetts tuition credits plus, Chancellor’s, Dean’s etc. Mostly OOS
Miami Univ NMS $1-2k; others half/full tuition acc to sat/act Both
Michigan St “Distinguished” schols award then tuition and/or full ride Both
Michigan up to $20k per year; a few Stamps, full ride Both
Michigan Tech Leading Scholar award, in-state full ride, OOS tuition Both
Minnesota Gold Scholarships 10k year + $1k NM finalist Both
Minnesota Morris NM finalists, full tuition; plus others up to $4k/yr Both
Mississippi appears to approach full ride Both
Mississippi St full ride presidential SAT 1450+ or maybe lower Both
Nebraska tuition Regents ACT 32+ Both
Nevada Las Vegas NM finalist $10k/yr plus $5k study abroad Both
Nevada Reno NM finalist $16k/yr plus others stackable Both
New Hampshire $5k-$10k Both
New Mexico NM finalist In state tuition & housing, OOS $36k Both
New Mexico St tuition & fees + $5k stipend + one yr housing Both
NJIT tuition plus, must be in honors college Both
North Carolina full ride few Robertson Scholars Both
NC Charlotte Levine full ride, 20 per year Both
North Carolina St full ride Park Scholars mostly in state or region In Region
Northeastern NM finalists =”competitive” award, $25-$30k??? Both
Notre Dame Stamps full ride; a few others at $25k/yr Both
Ohio St 54k to full ride (for Eminence Fellows) 25/yr Both
Ohio Univ Cutler scholarship = $92k across 4 years Both
Oklahoma St NM finalists full ride OOS $145k Both
Oklahoma 1560 SAT =full ride; NM finalist only= 80% total cost in state, but stackable options too Both
Oregon NM finalist $2k/yr; Stamps full ride, 10; presidential = $9k yr Both
Oregon St $40k total presidential scholarship Both
Pitt full ride Chancellor’s Scholarship, 10-12 yr Both
Purdue Beering and Stamps full ride+, few; trustees $10k or $12-$16k OOS Both
Rhodes several from $22k to $35k Both
Rice tuition for income $65-$130; half tuition for income < $200k Both
Richmond up to $2k NM only; 5k to full ride for Richmond Scholars Both
RIT $2k plus $20k per year nms finalists Both
Rose-Hulman Class of 1940 schol half of total cost Both
Rochester 2k to full tuition Dean’s Scholarships Both
RPI Rensselaer medal $25k/yr math & science Both
Rutgers $1k NM only; $3500 to $28k other awards Both
Santa Clara Johnson schols (5) full ride; presidential full tuition Both
SMU NMF only $5k; full tuition and fees presidential Both
South Carolina Top Scholars (40) $127k to $176k OOS), avg SAT 1552 Both
Southern Illinois full ride Chancellor’s Both
Southern Miss NMF full ride; NMSF tuition Both
Stevens Inst Tech tuition Neupauer, Stevens Both
St. Louis Univ NMF only $2k; tuition Presidential; others $8-$23k Both
Swarthmore McCabe Schols tuition minimum; up to full cost dep on need Both
Syracuse 1870 schol =tuition; Coronat tuition plus lib arts Both
TCU NMF $2k/yr; tuition Chancellors 1500/34 tests Both
Temple $3k to full tuition for President’s scholars Both
Texas A&M $33k minimum total; also Brown Schols full ride Both
Texas St 10 k/year NMF Both
Texas Tech NM finalist full ride Both
Trinity San Antonio tuition, 20 awarded, Trinity Tower; also Murchision $26k/yr Both
Truman St full ride 12 Pershing Scholarships + $4k Both
Tulane tuition plus, Dean’s Honor, Paul Tulane, 5 Stamps full ride Both
Tulsa tuition Presidential, about 65 per year Both
UCF full ride Benacquisto Both
USF full ride Benacquisto Both
UCLA Regents Scholars $2k/year; 150 for all UC Campuses Both
UC Berkeley Regents Scholars $2k/year; 150 for all UC Campuses In State
Univ at Buffalo $15k/year for Presidential plus others possible Both
Univ of Miami $6-$30k annually President’s scholarship Both
Univ of North Texas full ride 122k in state; 173k OOS Both
USC tuition Mork, Stamps, Trustee; NMF half tuition Both
UT Arlington NM finalist 25k per year Both
UT Austin  14-15 full, 40 Acres Schols; full tuition fam income< $65k, tuition break fam income< $125k Mostly TX
UT Dallas full ride McDermott plus stipends and perks Both
UT San Antonio $5k year Distinguished Presidential Schol Both
Utah tuition and fees Presidential Scholars Mostly UT
Va Commonwealth NMF & others Presidential schol $114k, avg SAT 1484 In State
Vanderbilt tuition plus, Ingram, Vanderbilt, Chancellor’s Both
Vermont Presidential $17 to $20k OOS; in state $5k/yr Both
Villanova full ride presidential Both
Virginia Jefferson scholars= $150k in state; $280k OOS Both
Wake Forest full ride Carswell, Gordon, Graylyn, etc. Both
Washington St NM semifinalists tuition plus Both
West Virginia Full ride in for Foundation Scholars (5); Bucklew scholars $10k/year Both
William and Mary full ride for “1693” Scholars; tuition Wm Mary sch Both
Wofford full ride Richardson Both
WPI $20k minimum Presidential Both
WUSTL tuition or half tuition Danforth, Earvin, Rodriguez Both

Goldwater Scholars 2016: CUNY, Maryland, Wisconsin, U North Texas Shine

Each year, we provide an update of Goldwater scholarships won by public university students, and public universities did extraordinarily well in 2016, winning 136 out of 252  scholarships awarded this year. The percentage of scholars is slightly down from 2015, when 152 out of 260 scholars were from state universities.

We provide this update because Goldwater scholars are all still undergraduates, and their selection is an indication of the undergraduate research opportunities at their universities. The Goldwater Scholarship is also a strong predictor of postgraduate success.

“The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,150 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the institutional representatives of 415 colleges and universities nationwide,” according to the Goldwater Foundation.

“One hundred forty-four of the Scholars are men, 108 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Thirty Scholars are mathematics majors, 157 are science and related majors, 59 are majoring in engineering, and 6 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.

“The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

“Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 86 Rhodes Scholarships, 125 Marshall Awards, 134 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.”

In 2015, six public universities had the maximum of four Goldwater scholars, but in 2016 there are four: CUNY Macaulay Honors, Maryland, the University of North Texas, and Wisconsin. In 2015, ten public universities had three scholars, and ten also have three scholars in 2016: Arizona State, Auburn, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland-Baltimore County, Miami Ohio, Montana State, Oklahoma, Pitt, and Stony Brook.

Here are the public universities with two Goldwater scholars in 2016:

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
Georgia
Illinois
Kansas
Kansas State
Michigan
Minnesota
NC State
South Carolina
South Dakota
Utah
UC Santa Barbara
Iowa State
Youngstown State
Ohio State
William and Mary
West Virginia

Gates Cambridge Scholars 2016: 13 New Scholars Are from Public Universities

Thirteen of the 35 Gates Cambridge Scholars for 2016 are from public universities, and another three scholars are from the U.S. Naval Academy. Our special congratulations to new scholars from the University of Oregon and the University of South Carolina for being the first from the schools to win the award. They and several other winners this year are present or former honors program students.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are the most generous awards we track. They cover tuition (“composition fees”) of about $30,000 a year at the University of Cambridge for one to three years of graduate study. Scholars also receive annual stipends of about $21,000 for housing and maintenance. Other benefits include the costs of airfare to and from England, conference travel, and annual retreats to the lake country.

Successful candidates must have at least a 3.70 GPA and be graduating seniors or graduates. Although many Gates Cambridge Scholars are STEM students, the award is not restricted to scholars in the STEM disciplines. About 95 scholars are chosen annually from more than 4,000 candidates.

Below are the students from U.S. public universities along with excerpts from the bios each composed for the Gates Foundation:

Sanna Alas, UCLA

Growing up a child of immigrants in the heart of Orange County, I was graced with the so-called hyphenated identity of a Muslim-Syrian-American. That hyphen, the moment of mediation between two seemingly disparate things, has served as the foundation for my academic interests and future aspirations. It fuels my passion for intersectional issues as an activist and advocate for educational and environmental justice in South Los Angeles.

Miriam Alvarado, UC Berkeley

Originally from California, I have been lucky enough to spend the last three years in Barbados studying physical activity and health disparities. I originally came to the Caribbean as a Fulbright Fellow, and was later affiliated with the University of the West Indies, Cavehill….Before coming to Barbados, I was a Post Bachelor Fellow at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation and focused on the Global Burden of Disease and social determinants of health. I received my MPH from the University of Washington, and have a BA in Economics and Development Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Eric Bringley, South Carolina

I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina loving computers and mathematics for as long as I can remember and grew to love chemistry early in high school. While attending the University of South Carolina, I studied chemical engineering with minors in chemistry and mathematics…. I wish to make contributions to global problems through computational modeling. My PhD will consist of stochastic and multilevel modeling of a variety of chemical systems including combustion engines of biofuels. Eric is a senior in the University of South Carolina Honors College.

Daniel Charytonowicz, Delaware

As an undergraduate Biomedical Engineering student at the University of Delaware, I developed a strong interest in biomedical technologies through a combination of research experiences and self-started software development projects. I have always had a passion for computer related technologies, and am looking for ways in which to apply this knowledge towards expanding the capabilities of modern healthcare. Daniel is a senior in the University of Delaware Honors Program.

Ryan DuChanois, Arkansas

Born and raised in a small town in Arkansas, I proceeded to pursue a bachelors of science in civil engineering at the University of Arkansas with a desire to address water concerns around the globe. My undergraduate experience provided water-related research and service opportunities in nations such as South Africa, India, and Ethiopia. These experiences continuously reminded me that many people have limited or contaminated water supply despite the fact water is a fundamental physiological need. Ryan is a senior in the University of Arkansas Honors College.

Amelia Fitch, Oregon

I grew up in Astoria, Oregon, a small pocket of beautiful coastal and temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest. During my undergraduate years at the University of Oregon, I worked on two majors, Biology and Environmental Science because I couldn’t choose between the two distinctly different departments. I have both a passion for a mechanistic understanding of the natural world and conservation of these phenomena. During my MPhil in Biological Science, I will pursue this amalgamation of conservation and biology through research in aquatic ecosystems. Amelia is a senior in Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon.

Larry Han, UNC Chapel Hill

As the son of immigrants from China, I had always wanted to reconnect with my roots and study at a Chinese institute of higher learning. Through the Schwarzman Scholars program, I studied public policy and health economics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Previously, I focused my undergraduate studies in biostatistics and infectious diseases at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. A Morehead-Cain Scholar and Phillips Ambassador, I co-lead an NIH-funded randomized controlled trial to improve sexual health delivery in Guangzhou, China.

Alex Kong, Kansas

When I was about six years old, I announced to my parents that I would one day be a scientist, unaware of what a scientist actually did. Growing up in Lawrence, Kansas, a mere seven-minute drive from my future university, I was able to learn just that. At the University of Kansas, my love for the sciences deepened, as did my passions for creative writing, performing a cappella music, and pipetting my way to carpal tunnel syndrome. Alex is a senior in the University of Kansas Honors Program.

Joanna Lawrence, Wisconsin

I developed an interest in archaeology as an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin. After I withdrew from my former career as a ballet dancer, my passion to create physical expressions of myself found satisfaction in uncovering the memories of selves expressed in the physical objects they left behind. As an archaeologist, I am interested in the everyday experiences of Bronze Age people in northern Europe.

Matthew Leming, UNC Chapel Hill

I grew up in a Navy family, moving around five different states before attending high school. As a student in the 5-year Computer Science BS/MS program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (with a minor in Russian language!), I became interested in computational analysis of diffusion MRIs of the brain as a means of detecting neurological disorders. This research took me to laboratories in St. Petersburg and London, as well as many hours on Linux machines at the UNC medical school. Matthew is an Honors Carolina student at Chapel Hill.

Connor Richards, UC Riverside

As an undergraduate studying physics at the University of California, Riverside, I worked alongside faculty searching for evidence of new physics at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC)…. My field is elementary particle physics, meaning that I am interested in what makes up the universe at the most fundamental level. Dark matter and other questions about the universe have long fascinated me, and I hope to help answer these during my career. Connor is in the University Honors Program at UC Riverside.

Yevgen Sautin, Florida

I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, lived in Japan as a young boy, and grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where I went to school at the University of Florida. Since childhood I have been fascinated by history. As an undergraduate student, I began studying Chinese, which quickly became a lifelong pursuit. At Cambridge I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Modern Chinese History, researching Manchuria in the early post-war period. At the time Manchuria was a fiercely contested space both geopolitically and in terms of its identity. Yevgen is a participant in the University Scholars Program at Florida.

Daniel Stevens, UCLA

As an undergraduate at UCLA, I fell in love with the language, literature, and linguistics of Ancient Greek. The entire classical world fascinated me, and I enjoyed exploring its mix of cultures and its wide range of both art and philosophical thought….Building upon this work, in my PhD, I will focus on how the concepts of covenant and promise were used in an early Jewish Christian text to provide a group identity and hope for an audience that had previously faced hardship and displacement from their property and were expecting to soon face more of the same.

Most UT Austin Forty Acres Scholars Major in Plan II or Business Honors

The most prestigious scholarship–a rare “full ride”–at the University of Texas at Austin is the Forty Acres award. Only 15-20 of these scholarships are granted in any given year. One notable fact about the scholarships is that more than half are awarded to Plan II Honors and/or Business Honors Students. One of the most common majors of Forty Acres Scholars is the combined Plan II/Business Honors major.

Bear in mind that Plan II only has about 700 students out of 39,000 undergrads on the UT Campus, which was originally assigned to, yes, forty acres of land in Austin. About three quarters of all Forty Acres Scholars are in some kind of honors program, with Plan II predominating. Others are engineering honors and the Turing Scholars program for computer science.

Both Plan II and Business Honors are highly selective. In this post on UT’s Business Honors Program, we wrote that by “’highly qualified’ we mean enrolled students with an average ACT of 33, and SAT of 1477 (higher than the 1466 average for the Wharton School at Penn), and an average high school class standing in the top 2.27%.”

For Plan II, the admissions statistics show that enrolled students had middle 50 percent SAT scores of 2090–2270 and middle ACT scores of 32–34.

It is likely that many Forty Acres Scholars have even more impressive credentials. The most recent group of scholars with Plan II, Business Honors, or both majors is below:

Susie and John L. Adams Forty Acres Scholarship
Henry Boehm
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Waco, TX
High School: Vanguard College Preparatory School

Ray and Denise Nixon Forty Acres Scholarship
Michael Everett
Major: Business Honors
Honors Program: Business Honors
Hometown: Southlake, TX
High School: Carroll Senior High School

BHP Forty Acres Scholarship
Chevron Enrichment Award
Alejandra Flores
Major: Business Honors
Honors Program: Business Honors
Hometown: Laredo, TX
High School: United South High School

Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Forty Acres Scholarship
Chandler Groves
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Southlake, TX
High School: Carroll Senior High School

Elizabeth Shatto Massey Forty Acres Scholarship
Mandy Justiz
Majors: Biochemistry; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Dean’s Scholars; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Austin, TX
High School: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

Barbara and Alan Dreeben Forty Acres Scholarship
Seth Krasne
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: El Paso, TX
High School: Coronado High School

Charline and Red McCombs Family Forty Acres Scholarship
Alex Rabinovich
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: McAllen, TX
High School: McAllen Memorial High School

Lowell Lebermann Scholarship
Francesca Reece
Majors: Government; Plan II Honors
Honors Program: Plan II Honors
Hometown: Euless, TX
High School: Trinity High School

Madison Charitable Foundation Forty Acres Scholarship
Audrey Urbis
Majors: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Honors Programs: Business Honors; Plan II Honors
Hometown: Brownsville, TX
High School: Los Fresnos High School

 

Univ of Arizona Honors Students Win Churchill Scholarships, Show Value of Undergrad Research

Editor’s Note: This post is by Jill Goetz, Karna Walter, and Emily Kotay of the University Arizona College of Engineering and Honors College and was first published on January 17, 2016, on the UA News site.

Two University of Arizona seniors have won prestigious Churchill Scholarships to complete a one-year master’s degree program at the University of Cambridge in England.

UA College of Engineering majors Travis Sawyer and Jeannie Wilkening, both students in the Honors College, are two of only 15 Churchill Scholars selected in 2016-2017 for outstanding academic achievement and proven research talent in science, engineering or mathematics.

Both are the third and fourth UA students to receive the award since it was first granted by the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States in 1963.

The UA is able to nominate only two students to apply for the Churchill Scholarship each year, and this year is the first time that both UA nominees have been awarded the scholarship.

Churchill Scholarships range from $50,000 to $60,000 and cover a year of tuition and fees at Cambridge University’s Churchill College. Scholars also receive travel and living allowances and may get additional funding for presentations at international conferences and visits to other universities.

Capturing Magic From Van Gogh’s Paintings

Sawyer is majoring in optical sciences and engineering, a program jointly administered by the College of Optical Sciences and College of Engineering. He is developing visual recognition software using different wavelengths, such as infrared and X-ray, to help scientists capture more detailed images for making discoveries in fields as different as art preservation, astronomy and medicine.

Travis Sawyer (photo credit Graeme Hunt)

Travis Sawyer (photo credit Graeme Hunt)

For his master of philosophy, or MPhil, degree in physics, he will conduct research on applying hyperspectral imaging for detecting early-stage cancer with Cambridge scientist Sarah Bohndiek, whose lab is affiliated with the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

An Optics Ambassador with a 4.0 grade-point average throughout college, Sawyer came to optics in an unusual way. He was misdiagnosed with leukemia his freshman year and became fascinated with the optical instruments doctors used to examine him and, ultimately, ensure he was healthy.

Sawyer’s rising stardom was recognized in 2014 with a $10,000 Astronaut Scholarship, which he won again in 2015 — a first-ever feat at the UA. In 2015, he also won a Goldwater Scholarship, and his UA student team won the Robert S. Hilburn Memorial Optical Design Competition for its camera system to be sent to Saturn’s moon Titan.

“Hopefully, I can make a contribution or invent a technology that helps someone in the same way optics helped me,” Travis Sawyer says.

Sawyer credits his research mentors for their guidance. After Cambridge, Sawyer plans to pursue doctoral and postdoctoral work and establish his own research lab as a university professor.

Engineering for a Healthier Planet

Chemical engineering student Jeannie Wilkening studies how human activity affects biogeochemical cycles, the movement of water and other compounds through the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. She is particularly interested in how these processes relate to climate change and in developing models for more environmentally sustainable technologies.

“My experiences over the past four years have been instrumental in getting me to this point. I’ve been surrounded by incredible faculty, friends and classmates who have supported me, challenged me and taught me so much,”  Wilkening says.

Jeannie Wilkenning (photo courtesy Univ of Arizona College of Engineering)

Jeannie Wilkening (photo courtesy Univ of Arizona College of Engineering)

For her MPhil in earth sciences, she will conduct research with Cambridge scientist Alexandra Turchyn on carbon, sulfur and iron cycling in marshes and climate implications.

The Churchill Scholarship is the latest in a string of top honors and internships for Wilkening. She entered the UA as a National Merit Scholar and Flinn Scholar and, like Sawyer, won a Goldwater Scholarship in 2015.

She won a NASA Space Grant and interned at Princeton University and the University of Michigan through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. She belongs to the Tau Beta Pi and Omega Chi Epsilon engineering honor societies, is an Ambassador for both the Honors College and the College of Engineering and is president of the UA chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.

“Since I was a child, I have been incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by great female role models who instilled a passion in me for science and engineering,” Wilkening said.
One of them was her mother, Betsy Wilkening. After earning her own bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the UA in 1982, she became a popular science teacher at Richard B. Wilson Jr. Middle School. Two of her students there were Wilkening and Sawyer.

After Cambridge, Jeannie Wilkening plans to return to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and then an academic career, teaching and conducting research.

Iowa Student, with Honors Mentoring, Wins Rhodes, Truman, Boren, and Udall Awards

Editor’s Note: The following post was written by Tricia Brown of the University of Iowa.

University of Iowa student Jeffrey Ding says he’s unsure yet how being named a Rhodes scholar will change his life, but he’s already getting more than the usual number of friend requests on Facebook.

Jeffrey Ding: Rhodes Scholar, Truman Scholar, Boren Scholar, and Udall Scholar

Jeffrey Ding: Rhodes Scholar, Truman Scholar, Boren Scholar, and Udall Scholar

Ding, a senior from Iowa City, was selected as one of 32 American Rhodes scholars on Nov. 22 from a field of 869 applicants; 90 are named worldwide. He’ll receive $50,000 annually for two years and will have the opportunity to attend Oxford University in England.

“I feel a mix of excitement and gratefulness,” Ding writes via email from Beijing, where he’s enrolled in Peking University’s School of Economics. “I’m excited to make the most of this opportunity to study about the world at Oxford, and I am grateful to all the people who made this opportunity possible.”

Ding, a member of the Honors Program and a student in the UI’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will graduate in May with degrees in economics (B.B.A.), political science (B.S.), and Asian languages and literature (B.A.), along with a certificate in international business.

He adds the Rhodes scholarship to his cache of other awards and honors. Earlier in 2015, he was awarded the Udall scholarship and the Truman scholarship. He is the only UI student to have received all three. He arrived at the UI as a first-year presidential scholar, the highest award the UI gives to incoming undergraduates. He’s also the recipient of the Stanley undergraduate award for international research and was named a Boren scholar through UI International Programs.

A total of 19 UI students have been awarded Rhodes scholarships since 1905. The university’s most recent Rhodes scholar was Renugan Raidoo, in 2011.

“Jeffrey has had an incredible experience here at Iowa,” says Kelly Thornburg, director of scholar development at the UI Honors Program. “Being a part of the Rhodes scholar community will help him make what he was already doing that much more extraordinary. More than the money, it’s really about the greater connection to other people who are like him and who care about the world in the same way and will challenge him to do more in ways he might not have considered.”

The Rhodes scholarship is a well-deserved honor for Ding, and for the entire campus, says P. Barry Butler, UI executive vice president and provost.

“Jeffrey’s achievements exemplify the world-class academic experience available at the UI,” he says.

Ding has been involved with the UI Climate Narrative Project, for which he presented in-depth research and performed field studies and personal interviews with farmers and agricultural experts. He served as vice president of the UI Student Government and is a member of the Chinese Church of Iowa City.

Thornburg says that aside from being “very, very smart,” Ding is just like other people his age.

“He’s not an intellectual snob,” she says. “He loves tennis and plays video games and is pretty obsessive about sports. He’s very good at choosing where he spends his time. He’s also a lot of fun and a good friend.”

She says she thinks Ding won this award because he makes getting to know people a priority, and he seeks out ways he can help others. He has also cultivated strong relationships with many UI faculty members and takes a genuine interest in their research.

“He really sees people,” she says.

At a time when UI athletics is receiving so much attention—the football team was named champion of the Big Ten West division after defeating Purdue on Nov. 21—Thornburg says Ding’s award is a testament to the quality of the university as a whole.

“The University of Iowa offers really incredible opportunities to undergraduates. It is amazing that we are doing so well in football, and it is so wonderful to have this very prominent example of what our students are able to do as scholars and leaders on our campus,” she says.

Ding is approaching this honor with modesty. He says people aren’t surprised when they learn he is from Iowa.

“I have so much love and pride for both Iowa and the University of Iowa that people who know me and find out that I received the Rhodes already see Iowa as a part of who I am,” he says.

UGA Honors Student: Honors, Mentoring, Research Lead to 2016 Marshall Scholarship

Editor’s Note: The following post comes from the University of Georgia and staff writer Camie Williams.

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia Honors student Meredith Paker has been named a recipient of the Marshall Scholarship to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom. Up to 40 Marshall Scholars are selected each year, and Paker is UGA’s third student in the last decade to earn the award and the seventh in the university’s history.

Meredith Paker

Meredith Paker

Paker, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, and a recipient of UGA’s Foundation Fellowship, plans to pursue a master’s degree in economic and social history from the University of Oxford. She will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Terry College of Business and a minor in mathematics from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

While at UGA, Paker has conducted economics research with faculty members Jonathan Williams, David Bradford and William Lastrapes. Contributing to a growing literature on the prevalence and impact of off-label prescriptions in the U.S. pharmaceuticals market, she has recently presented her work at the International Health Economics Association conference in Italy and at the UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium. After completing her master’s at Oxford, her goal is to pursue a doctorate in economics and begin a career as an academic economist.

“The University of Georgia is very proud of Meredith for this accomplishment,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Her selection as a Marshall Scholar is a testament to the quality of UGA students and the benefits of undergraduate research. I am confident that Meredith will excel in her studies at Oxford University and that she will make a significant impact on the field of economics throughout her career.”

The Marshall Scholarship, established by an Act of Parliament in 1953, is one of the highest academic honors bestowed on American post-baccalaureate students. More than 900 students from across the U.S. apply annually. The program, which was created in gratitude for U.S. assistance to the United Kingdom during World War II under the Marshall Plan, provides funding for up to three years of graduate study at any United Kingdom university in any field.

“I am so pleased for Meredith, and I am appreciative of the excellent faculty mentoring she has received,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of UGA’s Honors Program. “I think it is important to note that Meredith is not only a gifted thinker and researcher, but it is clear that she is also deeply passionate about using her intellect for the betterment of society.”

In addition to being a recipient of the Foundation Fellowship, UGA’s premier undergraduate scholarship, Paker is an inductee to the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. She has studied abroad at Oxford and in Tanzania, where she summited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014.

“I am so excited to explore a new area of my field for the next two years,” said Paker. “With the Marshall Scholarship, I will become the best economist I can be. I can’t thank the Honors Program and my research mentors enough for their support.”

Paker has served as an Honors teaching assistant for first-year Honors students and is vice president of the UGA Economics Society. She leads a Girl Scout troop through Campus Scouts and hosts a weekly radio show on UGA’s student-run radio station, WUOG 90.5FM.

“Earning this prestigious honor is the byproduct of Meredith’s hard work in two different, but critical, arenas,” said Jessica Hunt, major scholarships coordinator in the UGA Honors Program. “Meredith has been committed to academic excellence, undergraduate research, and civic engagement throughout her four years at UGA, and she has also spent several months successfully navigating the arduous application and interview process. The Marshall award is a testament to her talent, her dedication to the field of economics, and her desire to positively impact local, national, and international communities.”