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Prestigious awards given to graduates

Becky Hogan | Friday, May 18, 2007

Several seniors have received fellowships and scholarships that will assist them in pursuing their passions and future careers as they embark on the next stage of their lives.

Senior Zach Stewart, an architecture and medieval studies major, was one of the eight recipients of the prestigious Fulbright research grant, out of a pool of 500 applicants.

Stewart will spend a year studying medieval architecture at the University of London’s Courtauld Institute of Art.

“The [grant] is useful because I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in the history of medieval architecture,” Stewart said. “It will give me the chance to spend the year studying the buildings themselves.”

Stewart said his study abroad experience in Rome impacted both his leaning and his passion for architecture.

“Studying abroad for a year with the Rome program was important to exposing me to different educational methods,” he said. “Part of the reason I applied for the Fulbright [grant] in first place is because it is so independent and research-based – so you really get to dig into the material.”

Although Stewart said he had not considered looking into fellowship until the end of his junior year, he said there were a number of faculty members who were instrumental in helping him pursue this grant.

Stewart explained that whether he pursues a career in academia or architecture, “rigorous historical background regarding buildings” is essential to his future goals.

Marshall Scholarship recipient Meg Towle plans to obtain a master’s degree in Humanitarian Studies at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The Marshall Scholarship enables her to obtain a master’s degree after one year of study in the United Kingdom, and then pursue her research in international health management more extensively in her second year.

Towle said applying for the scholarship was a last-minute decision, which proved to have successful results and will be a stepping-stone for her to pursue a career in international health.

“I think this will have everything to do with my career,” she said. “I want to work in international health management, particularly with displaced women and refugees.”

An anthropology and peace studies major, Towle said her experiences at Notre Dame with community-based learning, international studies and research have helped her discern her interests and obtain the Marshall Scholarship. She also said the anthropology department, the Kroc Institute and the Center for Social Concerns were essential to her success.

“This will be a fantastic educational experience and will help me to [study] in areas that I hope to work in,” Towle said.

Other scholarships will assist students financially for post-graduate school.

Senior Ted Brown received $7,500 toward his medical school education at the Indiana School of Medicine from the NCAA Scholarship, which is awarded to successful student-athletes.

As a swimmer at Notre Dame, Brown said both his professors and coaches were instrumental in helping him to obtain the scholarship.

“I think the most important thing I learned at Notre Dame was the importance of time management,” Brown said. “Because I was able to handle rigorous academics and the swimming requirement, I think I can achieve my goals because of the foundation I had at Notre Dame.”

Brown hopes to specialize in oncology, but said he is keeping his options open to other fields of medicine as well.

Many also use fellowships and scholarships to explore fields of study of particular interest to them.

This September, senior Juan Gastelum will teach middle school English and American Studies in Spain as part of the Fulbright Teaching Assistantship.

Gastelum said the program fosters cultural exchange between the United States and Spain.

“The Romance Language component [of my studies] gave me a good background in Spanish and Italian literature and also helped me to learn Spanish culture,” Gastelum said.

A pre-professional studies and romance languages major, Gastelum said the nine-month assistantship will help him decide whether he wants to continue to pursue a career in medicine.

“This might give me a new direction, and it is a way to give myself time. … It is also an amazing opportunity,” Gastelum said.

While in Spain, Gastelum will also have the opportunity to conduct research on the portrayal of immigrant cultures in film.

Other awards won by members of the class of 2007 include Austrian Teaching Assistantships (Adam Snider and Stephen Zakas), French Teaching Assistantships (Samantha Alarie-Leca, Michael P. Barrett, Danielle Danaher, Andrea Nolet), the Humanity in Action Fellowship (Naomi Hansen) and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (Jonathan Bischof, Rebecca Ladewski, Elizabeth Rollins).