Fellowships & Scholarships

2014-2015 National Fellowship & Scholarship Winners

FULBRIGHT ENGLISH TEACHING ASSISTANT GRANTS

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The prestigious program places grantees in schools overseas to supplement local English language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in the classrooms. Only 1,900 U.S. students are selected each year to receive awards.

Union’s 2015 grant recipients are:

Lindsay Hage ’12 was awarded an ETA grant to Colombia. While she’s there, she will also establish a basketball program where college students work with local grade-school students to promote social equality. Hage majored in sociology and minored in English and Spanish.

Julia Hotz ’15 will serve as a teaching fellow at the Hellenic American Educational Foundation in Greece, working with students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. She will also serve as a coach and mentor in the Forensics Club, Theater Club and Debate Club. At the end of the year, she will be a camp counselor at the organization’s English Language Summer Camp. Hotz double-majored in political science and philosophy and minored in history.

Lucas Rivers ’15 will be a teaching assistant in Vietnam. He will teach listening, speaking and pronunciation to students and teachers by organizing language-related cross-cultural student activities. He plans to engage the local community in theatrical performances to help strengthen their English skills and foster community solidarity. He will also act as a resource for LGBTQ Vietnamese students. Rivers double-majored in political science and Chinese.

Selene Paloma ’15 has won a Fulbright Teaching Assistant award to Azerbaijan. While there, she will teach under the supervision of an experienced English instructor and serve as a resource for conversation, vocabulary and reading and writing courses. As a way to engage in different activities with students and locals, she will also be teaching Latin dance and cooking. Paloma double-majored in political science and Russian and East European studies.

THOMAS J. WATSON FELLOWSHIP PROGAM

The program was established in 1968 by the children of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM, and his wife, Jeanette K. Watson, to honor their parents’ longstanding interest in education and world affairs. This year’s fellows receive a $30,000 stipend to cover a year of independent study and travel outside the U.S. They’ll traverse 78 countries exploring topics ranging from artificial reef communities to criminal justice from cross-cultural comedy to global cinema; from childhood education to smart grids.

Union’s 2015 recipients are:

Karlee Bergendorff ’15 will study in Argentina, Germany, India, Cambodia and South Africa. Her project, “The Dirty Archeology of Alternative History,” will focus on looking at textbook versions of history, which often focus on “greatness” and monumental events. Bergendorff will use shreds of history, pieces of junk and abandoned spaces, to piece together untold stories through her art. “I hope to rediscover a history that fills in the gaps of traditional, historical narratives,” said Bergendorff. “I will search for meaning in material remains and create reflective art in each location based on what I discover.” Bergendorff is a political science major with a dual concentration in art history and fine arts

Warren Thompson ’15 will focus on Japan, Australia, India and Peru. His project is entitled “Flute Music Across the World: Exploring Expression, Ritual, and Healing.” Flute music is used in cultures around the world for important rituals, for expressing traditional stories, and for healing. In all of these traditions, the musicians use the flute for deep emotional expression in such meaningful pursuits. “I will learn the elements of four flute styles from musicians who have grown up with the music,” said Thompson. “Playing music in clinics, hospitals, and other places of healing will allow me to explore what the music means to people in each culture, musicians and non-musicians, and discover how much I can use music to reach vulnerable patients, learn more about listeners in general, and help them heal.” Thompson is majoring in biochemistry and music.

BARRY GOLDWATER SCHOLARSHIP AND EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION PROGRAM

Created in 1989, the scholarship honors the memory of U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater. It seeks to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these fields. Of this year’s Scholars, 34 are mathematics majors, 154 are science and related majors, 68 are majoring in engineering, and four are computer science majors. Union’s 2015 recipients are among only 260 sophomores and juniors selected for academic merit from among 1,206 students nominated by their colleges and universities nationwide. Each will receive up to $7,500 to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

Union’s 2015 recipients are:

Ryan M Bouck ’16 is majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in nanotechnology. His career goal is to pursue a doctorate in materials science and engineering. Bouck hopes to conduct research in synthesis, characterization, and applications of nanomaterials and teach at the university level.

Michael Warrener ’16 is double majoring in physics and mathematics. He hopes to pursue theoretical astrophysics research and teach at the collegiate level.

Theodor Di Pauli von Treuheim ’16 is majoring in bioengineering. He plans on earning a doctorate in bioengineering and conduct research in the bionics/prosthetics industry, bridging orthopedics and neurophysiology.

BENJAMIN A. GILMAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go. This year, 860 American undergraduate students were chosen from 332 colleges and universities.

Union’s 2014-2015 recipients are:

Nia Francis ’17 will travel to Fiji, where she will learn how to conduct anthropological research while exploring the cultures of Pacific Islands. She will also get hands-on teaching experience in local schools. Francis is double-majoring in anthropology and environmental policy.

Shivangi Mehta ’16 will travel to Greece and explore a broad range of areas related to ancient and modern Greece, including classical art and archaeology, ancient history and philosophy, and the religions of Greece and the Middle East. She will also study European and Mediterranean politics, international relations, philosophy and urban planning and sustainability. Mehta is majoring in political science and minoring in classical civilization.

Davina Tran ’17 will travel to Vietnam to explore this ancient Asian civilization, which is undergoing a dramatic process of transition and modernization. She will undergo intensive Vietnamese language instruction in Ho Chi Minh City, continuing under the direction of faculty from Vietnam National University in Hanoi. Tran is majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology.

Astrid Vargas ’17 will travel to France and embark upon an intensive study of modern French with emphasis on speaking and writing. She will also have the opportunity to explore French art history, French cinema, economics, phonetics and French literature. Vargas has an interdepartmental major in anthropology and French and francophone studies.

Lai Wong ’17 will travel to Brazil for a program that is offered in conjunction with the Fundãcao Armando Alvares Penteado, a renowned higher learning institution in Brazil. She will pursue a range of studies including an exploration of women, environment and social change and contemporary Brazilian cinema. Wong will also study relevant issues and aspects of Brazilian communities, such as Afro-Brazilian religions, the Catholic Church, evangelical movements, the economy and urbanization. She will take a course in Portuguese language offered in conjunction with Associacao Alumni in São Paulo and tour important historical and cultural sites around Brazil. Wong is double-majoring in computer science and sociology.

Alison Curley ’16 studied abroad in the United Kingdom in spring 2015, where she explored issues such as international marketing, European government and politics, child development and globalization. Curley was able to combine classroom learning with workplace practice and social and cultural investigation. She was also able to visit and tour important sites to gain a deeper understanding of London’s historical heritage and society. She is completing an organizing theme major.

Nurisha Rodriguez ’17 studied abroad in Turkey in winter and spring 2015 in an exchange program with Middle East Technical University (METU), a state university with approximately 23,000 students. METU hosts over 1,500 international students from nearly 80 different countries. The program she followed is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) programs in the U.S. Rodriguez is majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in Spanish.

UDALL UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to American Indian nations or to the environment. The Udall Scholarship honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on American Indian self-governance, health care, and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources. This year 464 students were nominated by 222 schools for the national competition. Only 50 scholars were chosen.

Union’s 2015 recipient:

Sara Covelli ’17 plans on pursuing a degree in environmental law. She hopes to use her academic experience to resolve climate change disputes and to create better environmental policy and education programs to address modern-day anthropogenic climate change. She is majoring in environmental policy.

KATHRYN WASSERMAN DAVIS PROJECTS FOR PEACE AWARDS

The Davis Projects for Peace is an invitation to undergraduates to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer. The objective is to encourage and support today’s motivated youth to create and try out their ideas for building peace. Each project is funded with a $10,000 grant. Union’s two 2015 award recipients are among 127 students nationwide to win Davis awards.

In 2014-15, Union was one of the few schools to have multiple winners. Recipients are:

Tshering Lama Sherpa ’18 will pursue an initiative entitledEco-Friendly Economic Solutions for Junbesi, Nepal.” Sherpa, who hails from Nepal, hopes to make a difference to the economic and living conditions of Junbesi, a remote village in the mountainous region of Solu Khumbu, while emphasizing environmental sustainability as a way to rebuild the community peacefully.

She hopes to introduce bio-briquettes as an alternative environmentally friendly fuel in Junbesi and an extra source of income. Sherpa also hopes to offer kiwi farming workshops for the villagers as an alternative job opportunity and establish a kiwi orchard for the Junbesi High School. She plans on purchasing books and school supplies for local school students and funding two representatives from Nepal’s Children’s Art Museum to provide creativity and learning integrated workshops at the Junbesi School.

“Through the Davis Projects for Peace grant, I feel privileged to be able to make a difference to their economic and living conditions while emphasizing environmental sustainability as a way to rebuild the community peacefully,” said Sherpa.

Sherpa is majoring in environmental Science and minoring in political science.


Dima Yankova ’16 has entitled her project, “A Right to Play,” and hopes to alleviate the dire situation of Bulgaria’s biggest refugee-integration centers by fully upgrading its outdoor facilities and providing a welcoming and stimulating environment for its residents.

“A Right to Play” hopes to transform the outdoor space of the center by replacing the two old gravel-covered courts with a small soccer field and a basketball court. Two basketball hoops, two mini soccer goals and a portable volleyball net will be added to the facility.

Yankova, who is from Targovishte, Bulgaria, hopes that the project becomes part of a bigger commitment to change the way people in her country view refugees. “The recent influx of asylum seekers has caused fear and anxiety in the Bulgarian society, which is already struggling to support a brittle economy,” said Yankova. “I wish people would stop looking at refugees as a threat and begin to recognize them as individuals who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Yankova is pursuing a major in mechanical engineering and minors in environmental and political science.

JAPAN EXCHANGE AND TEACHING PROGRAM (JET)

The JET Program is an initiative sponsored by the Japanese government to promote internationalization at the grassroots level by bringing young, college-educated individuals to work in communities throughout Japan. Since 1987, over 60,000 participants from countries around the world have gone to Japan on the JET Program. JET participants work full-time as assistant language teachers (ALTs) in the public school system or as coordinators for international relations (CIRs) in local government offices.

Union’s 2015 recipient:

Kristofer Hammer ’15 will work as an assistant language teacher in the city of Takikawa in Hokkaido. He plans to use neighborhood involvement and art, specifically ceramics, as tools for language teaching and cultural exchange. At Union, he majored in bioengineering and minored in studio arts and Japanese.