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Seniors earn prestigious fellowships, scholarships

Sam Stryker | Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fourteen members of the Class of 2011 received national scholarships and fellowships as they prepare for their next steps after graduation.

Roberta Jordan, assistant director of National Fellowships for the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), said this year’s class stands out compared to past years.

In particular, students were successful in obtaining Fulbright scholarships, which provide funding for research and teaching abroad. The University’s Fulbright success rate of 25 to 30 percent is slightly above the national average.

“We’re very pleased with the number of Fulbright successes, especially in light of the increased number of applicants nationwide,” she said.

Graduate students Andrew Mrugala and Ann Weber were awarded Fulbright Research and Study Grants. The grant provides a year of funding for study and research abroad.

Seniors Cherrica Li, Jaime Cordes, John Greil, Amanda Johnson and Virginia Varraveto were awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships, which offers funds for a year of teaching English abroad.

Students hoping for a Fulbright award began the application process months before the national deadline because these grants require University nomination or endorsement, Jordan said.

“Our hope for each applicant is that they find value in the process, especially in light of the substantial time commitment for some of these,” she said. “The discernment that is required can be an excellent exercise in taking a look back at what one has accomplished, connecting the dots of academic and extracurricular activities, and thinking and dreaming about what one hopes to do in the future.”

Students also received other awards that provide funding for post-graduate work.

Graduate student Kristen Drahos and seniors Rosary Abot and Kayla Durcholz received Lilly Graduate Fellowships. The Lilly Graduate Fellowship provides a stipend for three years as well as summer conferences and mentorship.

Graduate students Claire Brown, Jake Lussier, and Kevin Mickey were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, which grant an annual stipend and a cost-of-education allowance for up to three years.

Senior Claire Reising also received a French Government Teaching Assistantship, which provides a stipend for teaching abroad.

Jordan said award recipients receive not only financial benefit for their academic endeavors but also a valuable network of peers.

“Recipients are members of a cohort, a network of other similarly focused scholars,” she said. “Quite often these foundations have people who can help recipients identify the best post-graduate opportunities and work with them for admission.”