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National Recognition - fellows & Ramseys

In 2017-2018, Foundation Fellows and Ramsey Scholars once again were successful in national and international scholarship competitions, garnering prestigious Schwarzman, Truman, Fulbright, Goldwater, and Udall scholarships, as well as Carnegie Junior Research, NSF Graduate Research, and Phi Kappa Phi fellowships.

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Major Scholarship Recipients

Gaby Pierre - 2018 Schwarzman Scholar

Gaby PierreFoundation Fellow alumna Gaby Pierre is transitioning from being a UGA graduate student living among the 123,371 residents of Athens-Clarke County to being a Schwarzman Scholar tucked into the middle of the 21.7 million people living in Beijing.

At 6,490 square miles—528 in its urban center—and three millennia of history, Beijing holds the title as the world’s most populous capital city. There, the creators of the Schwarzman Scholars program work to prepare the next generation of global leaders. In their words, “the success of future leaders around the world will depend upon an understanding of China’s role in global trends.”

Gaby—along with CURO Honors Scholar Elizabeth Hardister—is among the 142 students hoping to gain a deeper understanding of China as the third cohort of Schwarzman Scholars (Foundation Fellow alumna Torre Lavelle was a Schwarzman Scholar in the inaugural 2016 class). Each group is selected to maximize the international component. This year, scholars hail from 39 countries and 97 universities and were selected from a pool of 4,042 international candidates.

Gaby will enter Tsinghua University as a Double Dawg—she earned a bachelor’s in environmental engineering in May 2017 and just completed her master’s in environmental planning and design. She will learn more about city growth, development, and public policy in China.

She is working toward becoming an international city planner specialized in developing countries and emerging economies and is wading into new territory: Gaby’s career as an international city planner “doesn’t really exist in a very structured manner,” she said. Her desire to gain a fuller understanding of her field led her to apply for the Schwarzman Scholars program.

Gaby has been studying abroad her entire college career. Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, she applied to UGA on the recommendation of friends and with the assistance of the Foundation Fellowship. During college, she also worked abroad, first as a design intern for the Kalu Yala Institute in Tres Brazos Valley, Panama, and then as an urban planning consultant for the municipality of Taşköprü, Turkey.

Laurel Hiatt - 2018 Truman Scholar

2018 Truman Scholar Laurel Hiatt

Laurel Hiatt was one of 59 undergraduates from across the nation to be named a 2018 Truman Scholar, a highly competitive graduate scholarship program for aspiring public service leaders in the U.S. Laurel is UGA’s 21st Truman Scholar. A third-year Honors student and Foundation Fellow from Dahlonega majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology and Spanish, Laurel plans to obtain an MD/PhD in medical genetics and biochemistry and pursue a career at the forefront of clinical research, with a focus on transgender healthcare.

Laurel’s public service and civic activities include training a service dog through the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, creating new training modules as director of the Lambda Alliance Speakers’ Bureau, writing and editing content for financial advocacy nonprofit Wealthy Habits, tutoring middle schoolers through UGA MATHCOUNTS, and participating in Free the Girls at UGA, which provides jobs for survivors of human trafficking.

In addition to public service, Laurel is an undergraduate researcher in public health and biochemistry; has served in leadership roles for the National Alliance on Mental Illness on Campus UGA, Dungeons and Dragons at UGA, and Science Olympiad Outreach; and works with the UGA LGBT Resource Center and Active Minds at UGA. This year, Laurel also presented at the Georgia Public Health Association’s annual conference and judged at the state Georgia Science and Engineering Fair.

Laurel is managing editor for Ampersand Magazine and was assistant culture editor and a staff writer for the Red & Black. Laurel’s other accolades include being named to the Dean William Tate Honor Society, presenting at the UGA Connect Conference, participating in Camp Pride, and being named to Sigma Delta Pi.

Fluent in Spanish, Laurel also participated in a study abroad homestay in Costa Rica.

Guy Eroh - 2018 Goldwater & Udall Scholar

2018 Goldwater & Udall Scholar Guy ErohGuy Eroh has a particular passion for fish, and his focus on the sustainability of these aquatic animals has earned him national recognition as a 2018 Udall Scholar.

UGA has had 17 Udall Scholars—all Honors students—since the scholarship was first awarded in 1996.

Guy, from Portland, Oregon, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in ecology and a master’s degree in forest resources. Also a 2018 Goldwater Scholar, he intends to earn a doctorate in biological science with an emphasis in molecular genetics and fisheries science, with the long-term goal of improving the recovery and sustainability of the world’s fish populations and their habitats.

Guy is president of 5 Rivers UGA and has been a member of Trout Unlimited, Upper Oconee Watershed Network, UGA Ocean Initiative, Georgia chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology, and Georgia and Oregon chapters of the American Fisheries Society.

He conducts research with UGA faculty Cecil Jennings, Robert Bringolf, and Jean Williams-Woodward to maximize hatch success of walleye eggs. Guy also interned for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Center for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science in the UK.

His awards include the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Wildlife Leadership Award, Stamps Foundation Scholarship, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society. Guy runs competitively with the UGA Club Cross Country Team and is a SCUBA-certified diver. He studied abroad through UGA programs in Costa Rica and Oxford, England.

Trisha Dalapati - 2018 Goldwater Scholar

2018 Goldwater Scholar Trisha DalapatiTrisha plans to obtain an MD/PhD in infectious diseases after graduating from UGA. As a translational medicine researcher, she intends to investigate disease pathogenesis to create diagnostic tools for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children.

She currently conducts cell and tissue culture work with Julie Moore, formerly a professor of infectious diseases and associate vice president for research at UGA, in Moore’s placental malaria lab (Moore recently moved to the University of Florida). Trisha also analyzes data remotely with Moses Batwala of the University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health.

Trisha is a Foundation Fellow, director of the Lunchbox Garden Project, a committee chair for Model UN, and a member of the Honors Program Student Council, Palladia Women’s Honor Society, and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Trisha received the best poster award at the Emory STEM Symposium in 2017 and is a senior dancer in the Bharatanatyam style of Indian classical dance.

Stephan George - 2018 Goldwater Scholar

2018 Goldwater Scholar Stephan GeorgeAfter earning a doctorate in biochemistry, Stephan plans to devote his career to uncovering the link between genetic abnormalities and the development of neurological disorders to improve therapeutic outcomes for children with hereditary neurological disorders.

He works with professor and Georgia Cancer Coalition Scholar Lance Wells’ laboratory, focusing on the causal linkages between aberrant glycosylation patterns and hereditary disorders. He also conducts research on aflatoxin B1 with assistant professor Brian Kvitko.

Stephan is a Foundation Fellow, was a CURO Honors Scholar, president of UGA’s iGEM Research Team and the Biochemistry Undergraduate Society, co-president of the UGA STEM Research Alliance, exam director for Science Olympiad Outreach, founding member and treasurer of the pre-health group HOSA at UGA, and a member of the Dean William Tate Honor Society. He has received the Red Cross Service Award and helped refurbish an HIV/AIDS clinic during an IMPACT Service Break in Memphis, Tennessee.

Laura Courchesne - 2017 Rhodes Scholar

Laura Courchesne - 2018 Rhodes Scholar Laura Courchesne, a Foundation Fellow (Class of 2017) from Fair Haven, New Jersey, was the 24th UGA student to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship.

While at UGA, Laura’s studies focused on the emerging field of behavioral approaches to conflict, and because no degree program at UGA quite fit with her career aspirations, she took the unusual route of majoring in economics and religion. She graduated this past May with bachelor’s degrees in both. This October, she starts her master’s degree in development studies at the University of Oxford.

“UGA has offered me the opportunity to really customize my education and have the opportunities I thought were best to help prepare me for the future,” she said. “The Honors Program and Foundation Fellowship enabled me to create something that was unique to me.”

The bulk of her work, which explores the link between non-state armed groups and civilian populations, has been focused on rebel groups such as Afghanistan’s Taliban and al-Qa’ida, Africa’s Boko Haram, Colombia’s FARC, and other groups in Southeast Asia. She hunts for behavioral patterns shared by groups in different countries and types of conflict to build better conflict policies by rooting them in anthropology, sociology, psychology, and organizational behavior. She is fascinated with what influences non-violent populations to begin endorsing and engaging in violence.

Laura was a research assistant for the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project at Princeton University and a research analyst for the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Unit for Relations with Arms Carriers. She has conducted research in Bali, Indonesia; Binghamton, New York; Lausanne, Switzerland; the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; and the Carter Center’s Americas Program in Atlanta.

She was an Honors teaching assistant and an editor for the UGA Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. She is on the board of trustees for the Jonathan D. Rosen Family Charitable Foundation and is fluent in English, French, and Spanish and conversational in Chinese.

Mallory Harris - 2017 Goldwater Scholar

2017 Goldwater Scholar Mallory HarrisMallory Harris, from Dunwoody, is pursuing a double major in computational biology and mathematics. She plans to obtain a doctorate in computational biology and conduct research and teach at the intersection of mathematics and biology. After receiving a PhD, she hopes to study disease systems at both the biochemical and population levels. Specifically, she wants to develop more accurate diagnostic tests and precisely targeted treatment strategies based on genetic indicators, supporting a shift from reactionary to preventive approaches to epidemiology.

She is working with John Drake, a professor in the Odum School of Ecology, studying vector-borne disease forecasting. In summer 2017, she was a research intern in the lab of Dr. Erin Mordecai—Foundation Fellow Class of 2007 who is now an assistant professor of biology at Stanford University—working to determine the effects of climate factors on Zika transmission based on time series incidence data.

She has been motivated to excel and prove that gender and mathematical success are unlinked. Mallory volunteers with MathCounts Outreach, coaching an all-girls math team. She is also a communications intern for Girlology, math and reading tutor at Barrow Elementary School, and a CURO Research Assistant.

Shreya Ganeshan - 2017 Udall Scholar

2017 Udall Scholar Shreya GaneshanShreya Ganeshan, from Johns Creek, is majoring in economics and statistics and plans to pursue a doctorate in clean energy innovation and deployment.

Shreya is a campus tour guide through the UGA Visitors Center, executive director of the Roosevelt Institute at UGA, director of UGAvotes, adviser for the Lunchbox Garden Project, and an Emerging Fellow for energy and environment for Roosevelt Institute national. She was a research assistant on the UGA geography department’s Seattle Project and on a Leiden University aquaculture project in the Netherlands, a Vinson Institute policy fellow, an energy intern for the UGA Office of Sustainability, and an Honors in Washington intern at the State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change.

She has been involved in the Energy Concept at UGA, RefUGA, the Student Government Association and Palladia Women’s and Dean William Tate honor societies. She presented posters at the Stanford University Clean Energy Awards, the Harvard University Research Conference, and the EPA Symposium. Since high school, Shreya has been a South Indian classical music vocalist and performer.

After graduation, Shreya plans to study how weather-related disasters strain local and national infrastructure and wants to develop financial models for clean energy.

Elizabeth Wilkes - 2017 Udall Scholar

2017 Udall Scholar Elizabeth WilkesElizabeth Wilkes, from Atlanta, is majoring in geography and ecology and plans to pursue a master’s degree in either food policy or agricultural and environmental studies.

Elizabeth is a research intern with the national Food and Water Watch and a national student representative on the Real Food Challenge steering committee. She mentored high school students through the Young Urban Farmers Program, volunteered on the UGA Office of Sustainability’s zero waste and compost teams, was executive director of the Lunchbox Garden Project, and presented at the Association of American Geographers meeting and the Mississippi Sustainable Food Summit.

Her internships include Food Tank: The Think Tank for Food and First Presbyterian Church of Athens’ Waddel Fellowship. She has been involved with the Roosevelt Institute, Society for Applied Anthropology, Palladia Women’s Honor Society, Presbyterian Student Center, and Students for Environmental Action. She conducted undergraduate research in geography and political ecology and was a community organizer-in-training through the Sierra Student Coalition’s summer program.

Elizabeth plans to pursue a career as an advocate for food justice and hopes to transform food systems to promote environmental and social justice.

meredith paker - 2016 marshall scholar

2016 Marshall Scholar Meredith Paker Up to 40 Marshall Scholars are selected each year, and Meredith Paker, who graduated in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in mathematics, is UGA’s third student in the last decade to earn the award and the seventh in the university’s history. Meredith will use the scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in economic and social history from the University of Oxford.

While at UGA, Meredith 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 presented her work at the International Health Economics Association conference in Italy and at the UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO) Symposium. After completing her MPhil at Oxford, her goal is to pursue a doctorate in economics and begin a career as an academic economist.

In addition to being a recipient of the Foundation Fellowship, Meredith is an inductee to 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.

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

torre lavelle - 2016 schwarzman scholar & 2015 udall scholar

2016 Schwarzman Scholar Torre Lavelle

Torre Lavelle is one of 111 students from around the world to be named to the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars, a highly selective and fully funded one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. More than 3,000 applicants from 135 countries applied for the Schwarzman Scholars program, making it one of the most selective in the world. At Tsinghua University, Schwarzman Scholars will live and study together on the campus of Schwarzman College, a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, and will pursue degrees in public policy, economics and business, and international studies.

Torre graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in ecology and an Honors interdisciplinary degree in political ecology. As an undergraduate, she was named a 2015 Udall Scholar and engaged in a number of hands-on learning experiences on campus and around the world. She studied conservation and ecotourism in Fiji and Tanzania and also studied literature through the UGA at Oxford program.

She interned in Thailand at the Freeland Foundation, an organization that seeks to end human and wildlife trafficking; at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia; at NASA DEVELOP, conducting feasibility studies for unmanned aircraft systems to provide poaching surveillance in Kruger National Park; and at the U.S. Department of State, where she researched international conservation policies and tracked economic development in African nations.

In 2015, she was one of six students nationwide invited to present a policy paper at the White House, and she also presented research findings at UGA’s CURO Symposium and at the Georgia Water Resources Conference. Torre served in several leadership roles in the Roosevelt Institute, UGA’s student-run think tank, and worked as the Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment of the Roosevelt National Campus Network. Torre also co-founded and served as executive director of Campus Scouts at UGA, an after-school outreach initiative for underserved girls in the Athens community.

bert thompson - 2016 carnegie junior research fellow

2016 Carnegie Junior Research Fellow Bert Thompson

Bert Thompson was awarded a Carnegie Junior Research Fellowship, becoming one of just 14 young scholars from across the nation to join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a research assistant. His fellowship will center on nuclear nonproliferation, a subject that has surrounded his coursework and experiential learning at UGA.

Bert, who graduated in May with a double major in international affairs and history, worked as a research intern at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, DC, and studied at the Hertog War Studies Program in DC, the Center for the Study of Global Issues in Verona, Italy, and at Oxford University through the UGA at Oxford program. He also served as a Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Scholar at UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security and as then-Congressman Jack Kingston’s military legislative intern at the U.S. Capitol.

Bert has served as a Student Government Association executive cabinet member, a student advisory board member for the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, a student athletic representative for the UGA Athletic Association board of directors, a member of the Arch Society, assistant senior editor of Georgia Political Review and as an Honors Program teaching assistant.

jonah driggers - 2016 udall scholar

2016 Udall Scholar Jonah Driggers

Jonah Driggers is the ninth UGA student to be awarded the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholarship in the past six years. The scholarships of up to $7,000 are awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing careers related to environmental or Native American public policy. He is one of 60 Udall Scholars nationwide chosen from nearly 500 nominees.

Jonah is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in geography and a combined master’s degree in conservation ecology. Following his graduation, he plans to pursue a Juris Doctor to fulfill his career aspiration of working as a policy leader to help the U.S. transition to clean energy.

An avid outdoorsman and Eagle Scout, Jonah has explored his passion for environmental policy as director of the Center for Energy and the Environment, which is part of the UGA chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a student-run think tank.

He is a founder and co-executive director of The Energy Concept, an organization that stimulates discussion of interdisciplinary energy strategies, and he served as an intern in the Office of Climate Preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Jonah has participated in several research projects through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities and also as a graduate student researcher at the UGA River Basin Center and in the lab of Meigs Professor James Porter. He is the head gardener for the Lunchbox Garden Project, a student-led organization that aims to educate schoolchildren about gardening, nutrition and environmental issues.

cali callaway - 2016 goldwater scholar

2016 Goldwater Scholar Cali Callaway

Two Foundation Fellows received 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate scholarship in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Since 1995, 51 UGA students have received the award.

Cali Callaway is majoring in biology with a concentration in neuroscience and pursuing a combined master's degree in artificial intelligence. She aims to earn a doctorate and a medical degree and to pursue a career conducting research in regenerative bioscience.

She has spent extensive time in a laboratory through UGA's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, working with Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Steven Stice, director of the UGA Regenerative Bioscience Center, as well as during an intensive summer research experience at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. Cali also interned at Hocoma AG, the world's largest producer of robotic rehabilitation devices located in Zurich, Switzerland, and at the Shepherd Spinal Center's Spinal Cord Injury Lab in Atlanta.

She serves as president of UGA Mathcounts, a student organization that mentors middle school students in math skills, and vice president of the Blue Key Honor Society, among other activities.

morrison nolan - 2016 goldwater scholar

2016 Goldwater Scholar Morrison Nolan

Morrison Nolan is majoring in geology and chemistry and plans to pursue a PhD in invertebrate paleontology on a path to a career teaching and researching as a professor or museum curator.

He has conducted research through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, studying alongside Sally Walker, a professor of geology and marine sciences.

In summer 2016, Morrison completed UGA's Geology Field School in Cañon City, Colorado, and also taught English to high school students in South Korea.

Previously, he participated in paleontology field studies of Cretaceous deposits in Hell Creek, Montana, through the University of Washington's paleontological field methods course and interned at a fiber optic company through the Technology Association of Georgia.

Morrison co-founded UGA’s Science Olympiad Outreach Club and is secretary of the UGA Geology Club. He is also a student affiliate of the American Chemical Society and a member of the Geological Society of America and the Georgia Mineral Society.

carver goodhue - 2016 boren scholar

2016 Boren Scholar Carver Goodhue

Although most Americans aren’t familiar with the Wolof language, it is spoken by more than 4 million people in the West African countries of Senegal and Gambia and the North African country of Mauritania.

And, in time, it will be spoken by at least one University of Georgia undergraduate, Carver Goodhue.

As part of his Boren Scholarship experience in Senegal, Carver will study Wolof and French, international development, and public health through the National Security Education Program’s African Flagship Languages Initiative. He also expects to spend a significant amount of time working with a public health NGO, and if he can find the time, he plans to train with a Senegalese wrestling team.

“Wrestling is actually their international sport,” Carver, who was an outstanding wrestler in the 170-pound weight division at Clarke Central High School in Athens, says.

When Carver graduates with degrees in Romance languages and anthropology and a minor in biology, he plans to fulfill his yearlong Boren service requirement by working on public health projects in Senegal for the CDC or U.S. AID. And after his year of service, Carver says he’ll begin studies for an MD/MPH degree.

Carver adds that one of the highlights of his undergraduate experiences has been learning French, which included a two-month sojourn to France in 2015.

“All the professors I’ve taken French with at UGA have been really excellent teachers, and I consider many of them to be mentors to me,” Carver says. “Thanks to the Fellowship, last summer I was able to build on everything my French professors taught me by spending two months in France, during which time I lived with French host families, took French classes in a language school in Montpelier, and worked on a cider farm in La Perche.”

He has also made the most of local volunteering opportunities, including being part of U-Lead, a nonprofit providing academic counseling, tutoring, and scholarships to immigrant students in the Athens area.

“It’s been very rewarding for me, as someone from Athens, to work with students from this community and to see them succeed and obtain higher education despite significant financial and political impediments,” Carver says.

This year, four University of Georgia students received Boren Scholarships, which are funded by the National Security Education Program and offer up to $20,000 for language study abroad in areas of the world deemed critical to United States interests.

kirstie hostetter - 2016 phi kappa phi graduate fellow

2016 PKP Graduate Fellow Kirstie Hostetter

Kirstie Hostetter, who graduated in May with a degree in environmental economics and management, was recently awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship to support her pursuit of a master’s degree in sustainable systems at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

While at UGA, Kirstie served as an intern with the Sustainable Investment Group and was co-founder and executive director of industry relations for The Energy Concept, facilitating the discussion of energy-related topics throughout the campus community. She also worked on a research project that examined sea level rise in coastal communities of Georgia.

As a teaching assistant, regional conference planner, and environment center director for the Roosevelt Institute, Kirstie worked on projects focused on affordable housing, organophosphate use, and rooftop gardens, and served as editor-in-chief of 10 Ideas for Energy & Environment.

She says one of the more memorable moments of her undergraduate tenure was hosting Ronny Just, environmental issues manager for Georgia Power Company, in partnership with The Energy Concept and the Roosevelt Institute “and packing an entire lecture hall.”

She also points to her work with the Lunchbox Garden Project, where she served as senior advisor and executive director. “A highlight was working with the students at Barnett Shoals Elementary School through the Lunchbox Garden and seeing them go from being incredibly distrustful of vegetables at the beginning of the semester to consuming entire veggie plates by the end,” she says.

Kirstie, who during her time at UGA had travel-study experiences in Bali, England, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Uruguay, hasn’t decided what she’ll pursue once she completes her studies at Michigan, but there’s little question sustainability will be front and center, whether she is working in corporate sustainability or sustainable development in Latin America.

kathleen wilson - 2016 erasmus mundus (Eu) scholar

2016 Erasmus Mundus Scholar Kathleen Wilson

Kathleen Wilson – who graduated in May with degrees in Arabic, economics, international affairs – recently received the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship and will spend the next two years in pursuit of a joint master’s degree in Educational Polices for Global Development (GLOBED), which will include residencies in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Malta, Oslo, and either Jordan or Lebanon.

Offered by the European Commission, the Erasmus Mundus Programme offers financial assistance to promote cooperation among higher education institutions and to enhance the profile of higher education in Europe.

A 2015 recipient of the Truman Scholarship, Kathleen, whose career plans include advancing women’s political, social, and economic rights through international development projects, is spending the summer in Washington, D.C., working at the World Bank Inspection Panel.

Kathleen’s World Bank internship represents the third time she’s worked in the nation’s capital while a UGA student. After her sophomore year, she interned (with the support of the UGA Honors in Washington Program) at the Feminist Majority Foundation, and in the spring of her junior year, she interned at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

Her study of Arabic also found her in immersive environments in the Middle East, where she spent time in Morocco, Oman, and Jordan. In Morocco, Kathleen also volunteered at a women’s hospital while studying in Meknès; in Oman, she studied with the support of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship; and in Jordan, she took advanced Arabic literature and media classes at the Qasid Language Institute.

kameel mir - 2016 fulbright scholar (turkey)

2016 Fulbright Scholar Kameel Mir

Having spent time in Bangladesh, Costa Rica, England, Morocco, and South Korea, Kameel Mir is well acquainted with the power of language. In addition to English, she speaks Turkish, Bengali, Arabic, and Spanish, and her Fulbright experience will focus on teaching English to young Turkish students at Kırrıkale Üniversite in Kırrıkale, a small town adjacent to the capital, Ankara.

Kameel – who recently graduated with three undergraduate degrees (Arabic, English, international affairs) and an MA in English – served as president and executive director of UGA Roosevelt, the student policy think tank. An officer in the Women’s Studies Student Organization, she also interned with the Carter Center, the Center for American Progress, the Center for International Trade and Security, and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

She is a 2015 Virginia Walters Scholar, the UGA English Department’s award for the outstanding undergraduate and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Dean William Tate Honor Society.

At the conclusion of her Fulbright experience, Kameel will pursue an MFA in creative writing, followed perhaps by a doctorate in rhetoric, composition, and communication. Her possible career plans include working as a college professor and novelist.

hannah reiss - 2016 fulbright scholar (india)

2016 Fulbright Scholar Hannah Reiss

For the first three months of her Fulbright year, Hannah Reiss will study Hindi at the American Institute for Indian Studies in Jaipur, and then she’ll spend nine months on an academic research grant in Mumbai.

While in Mumbai, Hannah will work on a project that evaluates the impact of a prenatal mobile health initiative on its intended clientele. By drawing upon semi-structured interviews, the project will examine if and how this program serves as a catalyst for female empowerment.

Hannah graduated in May with degrees in anthropology and biology, and her career plans include working on global health issues (specializing in maternal/child health or infectious disease). On campus, she conducted research in the stem cell lab of Dr. Steve Stice and served as executive director of UGA’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute.

Off campus, she studied abroad in England and Spain and interned with the Carter Center in Atlanta; Freedman Consulting in Washington, DC; and Strand Life Sciences & Organization for Rare Disease in Bangalore, India. She was also a Virtual Student Foreign Service Intern with the U.S. Department of State.

After her Fulbright year, Hannah plans to attend medical school, enrolling in a joint MD/MPH program.

treva tam - 2016 fulbright scholar (turkey)

2016 Fulbright Scholar Treva Tam

As a sophomore, Treva Tam spent six weeks in Istanbul on an AIESEC internship, but as part of her Fulbright experience, she’ll be teaching English at a university in Sakarya, a part of the country where she’s never been before.

Treva, who majored in advertising and sociology at UGA, also studied abroad in England, France, and South Africa, completing a semester at Stellenbosch University through a university exchange program.

She maintained a torrid pace on campus, interning with the University of Georgia Press and serving as vice president for the Asian Children Mentoring Program.

She also served as publicity chair for the UGA AdClub and publications coordinator for Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

In addition, she found time to work with Georgia Political Review as design editor and to participate in a sociology research project spearheaded by Dr. Linda Renzulli.

At the conclusion of her Fulbright year, Treva will attend the University of Pennsylvania in pursuit of a PhD in sociology.

alli koch - 2016 nsf graduate research fellow

2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellow Alli Koch

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships recognize and support outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $32,000, along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees. The fellowships are among the most competitive in the United States.

In 2013, Alli Koch enrolled in a course on tropical rainforest ecology at the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Three years later, she’s returning to Bocas del Toro to conduct research on the relationship between humans and their ecological environment, funded in part by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Alli, a Ramsey Scholar and Mid-Term Foundation Fellow who graduated from UGA in 2015 with degrees in anthropology and Latin American and Caribbean studies, is working on her PhD in anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her NSF Fellowship is currently “on reserve” as she was recently awarded two years of research funding from Texas-San Antonio.

In Bocas del Toro, she is broadly exploring environmental relations – such as the transfer of ecological knowledge and conservation practices – between biological field stations and nearby communities. The NSF grant has made it financially feasible to do this yearly travel.

Alli, who as an undergraduate also traveled to Indonesia and Morocco and conducted anthropological research through CURO, points to a 2013 sojourn she took to Costa Rica as one of the formative times in her education and in her life.

A running and biking enthusiast, Alli once organized a campaign on behalf of the American Heart Association to bike from Canada to Mexico to raise funds and promote healthy lifestyle choices. During her time at UGA, she volunteered for many athletic events and river cleanups, and was race director and cycling instructor for the UGA Triathlon Club. She has also competed in the World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

kathleen wilson - 2015 truman scholar & cls scholar2015 Truman Scholar Kathleen Wilson

Kathleen Wilson, an economics and international affairs major, was one of 58 students nationwide to be named a 2015 Truman Scholar. The Texas native plans to pursue master’s degrees in public policy and Middle Eastern studies. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which provides $30,000 toward graduate study, recognizes juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government and public service.

Kathleen was a founder and executive director of the Women’s Outreach and Resource Collective, which has worked to increase access to women’s resources on the UGA campus. She also serves as president of the Peace by Piece UGA initiative, which promotes dialogue and community among students of different faiths, and she has been active in the Roosevelt Institute, Student Government Association, Georgia Political Review, Oasis Católico, and UGA MathCounts Outreach.

Away from campus, Kathleen has studied abroad in Morocco, interned with the Feminist Majority Foundation, and as part of UGA’s Washington Semester Program, interned at the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

In addition to being named a Truman Scholar, Kathleen this year received a Critical Language Scholarship to continue her Arabic studies in Oman. Sponsored by the State Department, the Critical Language Scholarship program provides fully funded language and cultural immersion experiences for American college students, with the goal of widening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building international relationships.

chenee tracey - 2015 boren scholar

2015 Boren Scholar Chenee Tracey

This year, five University of Georgia students received Boren Scholarships, which are funded by the National Security Education Program and offer up to $20,000 for language study abroad in areas of the world deemed critical to United States interests.

Among this year’s recipients is Chenee Tracey, who also received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. With Boren and FLAS support, she will spend the summer and fall studying Portuguese, first at the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis, Brazil, and then at Universidade de Sao Paolo in Sao Paolo, Brazil, with coursework in Portuguese, political science, and international affairs.

With the goal of becoming a Latin America regional expert, Chenee has spent the last eight years focusing on learning Spanish (including a semester at the University of Montevideo in Uruguay and a research assistantship in the Linguistic Atlas Lab, documenting regional colloquialisms) but is now expanding her linguistic reach to include achieving fluency in Portuguese. Chenee points out that Brazil is the United States’ eighth-largest export market, generating more than $35 billion in trade, and she adds that as commerce between the two countries increases, economies will become more connected, making Brazilian border control and regional cooperation even more critical.

Chenee will graduate in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and master’s degree in international policy. She is a Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Scholar in UGA’s Center for Trade and International Security and served as a National Security International Policy intern at the Center for American Progress in Washington. She hopes to one day work with the National Defense University, examining regional security issues in Latin America and training foreign officials in improving their current security apparatuses.

lauren dennison - 2015 goldwater scholar

2015 Goldwater Scholar Lauren Dennison

Three Foundation Fellows/Ramsey Scholars received 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate scholarship in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. UGA students have earned the Goldwater Scholarship nearly every year in the past 20 years, and the 2015 recipients bring the university’s total of Goldwater Scholars to 49.

With plans to seek a PhD in cancer biology in order to explore the nature of leukemia and the mechanisms that lead to drug resistance, Lauren Dennison is a good fit for the Goldwater award. The junior from Raleigh, North Carolina (by way of Ohio), has a double major in genetics and biochemistry and molecular biology. Under the auspices of the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO), she conducts research on African sleeping sickness in the lab of Dr. Stephen Hajduk.

In 2014 Lauren took part in the New York University Undergraduate Research Program, where she shadowed a physician and worked in the lab of the director of the NYU Cancer Institute and the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Program at NYU Medical Center. At the conclusion of her internship, her research paper was submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and she presented her findings at a national conference. She returned to New York in summer 2015 to continue her research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

erin hollander - 2015 goldwater scholar

2015 Goldwater Scholar Erin Hollander

Three Foundation Fellows/Ramsey Scholars received 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate scholarship in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. UGA students have earned the Goldwater Scholarship nearly every year in the past 20 years, and the 2015 recipients bring the university’s total of Goldwater Scholars to 49.

Majoring in genetics and biochemistry and molecular biology, Erin Hollander has plans to pursue a PhD in biomedical engineering with the goal of conducting research into treatments for neurological disorders using gene-therapy techniques.

Erin conducts research through CURO in the lab of Distinguished Research Professor Michael Terns, who researches the CRISPR-Cas system, an immune system of bacteria and archaea that allow microorganisms to incorporate segments of DNA from foreign invaders into their own genome. She also spent summer 2014 in Germany as an intern at the University of Lübeck’s Institute of Molecular Medicine through the DAAD Rise Scholarship, and was recently selected to participate in New York University’s 2015 Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

karishma sriram - 2015 goldwater scholar

2015 Goldwater Scholar Karishma Sriram

Three Foundation Fellows/Ramsey Scholars received 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate scholarship in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. UGA students have earned the Goldwater Scholarship nearly every year in the past 20 years, and the 2015 recipients bring the university’s total of Goldwater Scholars to 49.

Karishma Sriram, whose future includes research into the use of stem cells in healing bone injuries and tissue damage, is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, with plans to enroll in an MD/PhD program upon graduation. She has conducted stem cell research in the lab of Dr. Steve Stice, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and director of UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center, and worked under Stephen Dalton, GRA Eminent Scholar of Molecular Cell Biology, as part of the UGA Young Dawgs program.

In addition to her lab work, Karishma spent summer 2014 in a global medical shadowing program in Bolivia. She has pursed policy research through the Roosevelt Scholars under the eye of kinesiology professor Bryan McCullick on effective ways to increase and enhance high school physical education classes. Active in UGA’s Arch Society and MathCounts Outreach, she mentored incoming UGA students as a Dawg Camp counselor in summer 2015.

megan ernst - 2015 james madison fellow

2015 Madison Fellow Megan Ernst

During her four years at UGA, Megan Ernst displayed an earnest passion for education and education policy, and her work has been rewarded as she was recently named a 2015 James Madison Graduate Fellow. The fellowship provides up to $24,000 for graduate study for college students planning to become U.S. Constitution teachers on the secondary school level. Only one student per state can receive the fellowship, and this is the second consecutive year a UGA Foundation Fellow has earned the award.

Megan graduated in May with bachelor’s degrees in political science and public affairs journalism and a master’s degree in public administration, plans to remain in Athens to pursue a master’s degree in teaching in secondary social studies education.

Besides working as a graduate intern at the Georgia Department of Education, Megan also served as a program specialist in the College of Education’s Office of School Engagement, and has had internships at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Washington-based Friedman Consulting LLC and Atlanta-based Springs Publishing.

While at UGA, Megan served as a national senior fellow for education policy for the Roosevelt Institute, where she conducted policy research and wrote opinion pieces.

She also worked as an administration beat reporter and associate editor for the Red & Black student newspaper, executive editor of JURO, and was on the UGA Women’s Resources Coordinating Committee. She was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Blue Key honor societies.

The Atlanta native, who in 2013 was named a UGA Public Service and Outreach Student Scholar, also served as chief of staff for the Student Government Association and was executive director for Whatever It Takes at UGA.

yuliya bila - 2014 carnegie junior research fellow

2014 Carnegie Junior Fellow Yuliya Bila

Yuliya Bila, the University of Georgia’s latest Carnegie Junior Research Fellow, graduated in May with degrees in international affairs, Russian, and Spanish. She has spent much of the last two years pursuing her interests in the relationship between Russia and the United States, first as a Critical Language Scholar in the Russian Republic of Tartarstan and later in Washington, DC, as an intern in UGA’s Washington Semester Program.

Every year, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace offers 10-12 one-year fellowships to graduating seniors who serve as research assistants to the endowment’s senior associates.

Born in Ukraine and raised in the Czech Republic before immigrating to the U.S. to become a citizen, Yuliya has been a passionate student of the language and culture of Russia and will avail herself of the opportunity to learn even more in Carnegie’s Russia/Eurasia Program.

“This is a great way for me to launch my career as a foreign policy expert specializing in the countries of the former Soviet Union,” says Yuliya, a Mid-Term Foundation Fellow who attended high school in metro Atlanta before enrolling at UGA. “The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is one of the most prestigious think tanks in international relations and one of the few to have a full-fledged office in Moscow. The institute attracts some of the brightest minds in the field, and I am excited to work with them to explore how we can better engage with Russia in the pursuit of the national interests of the United States, our allies, Russia’s neighbors, and Russia itself.”

Thanks to the Critical Language Scholarship she received, Yuliya spent the summer of 2013 in intensive Russian language classes, but that time away from Athens also afforded her the opportunity to more closely examine Russia’s culture while finding the answers to questions she’s long held about the complicated relationship between Russia and Ukraine.

During the spring 2014 semester, Yuliya’s internship with the State Department provided her with a front-row seat to history in the emerging friction between Russia and Ukraine over the Crimean Peninsula, an issue that has drawn worldwide interest since late February.

“The unfortunate crisis between Ukraine and Russia certainly made for an exciting time to be working at the State Department, especially in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs,” says Yuliya. “Since the violent developments of February 18, the bureau has made Ukraine a top priority – our leadership dedicated the vast majority of their time and energy to the crisis. My office (Western Europe) was heavily involved in coordinating the response of the United States and our allies, and we were swamped by the constant visits and calls between Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts in London, Paris, Berlin, and other cities.

“During such a period of crisis management, I also had the chance to be part of the State Department’s 24/7 crisis monitoring and response team, working overnight and early morning shifts to be the first to report on developments. I learned something new every hour of every day.”

Yulia plans to earn a doctorate in area studies, with the goal of working at Carnegie Moscow to influence the foreign policy strategies of the U.S.-Russia relationship. She constructed an excellent foundation for her future endeavors while at UGA, serving as the committee president of AIESEC, the world’s largest youth-run organization, conducting cyber warfare project research for the Roosevelt Institute (and presenting her findings at a CURO symposium and at the Defense, Diplomacy & Development Conference in Washington), and working as an intern at both the Center for International Trade and Security in Washington and the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta.

sarah mirza - 2014 truman scholar

2014 Truman Scholar Sarah MirzaSarah Mirza, a third-year Fellow majoring in Spanish and geography, received a 2014 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which recognizes juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government and elsewhere in public service.

Sarah is a graduate of Grand Island Senior High in Grand Island, Nebraska. She was one of 59 students nationwide to receive the scholarship, which offers up to $30,000 for graduate study. She is the 19th UGA recipient of the Truman scholarship since 1982, the first year UGA students received the award.

Sarah, who aims to pursue a master’s degree in cultural geography followed by a law degree so that she can work as an immigration lawyer, has dedicated herself to volunteerism and empowering disadvantaged people to advocate for themselves.

Sarah has studied abroad in Oxford, England, through the UGA at Oxford Program and is active in a number of campus organizations. In 2013, she chaired the events and outreach activities of the Undocumented Student Alliance, an organization that works to promote education as a human right. She plays trumpet in the university’s Redcoat Marching Band and is a DJ at campus radio station WUOG-FM 90.5.

She volunteers at Casa de Amistad, a non-profit organization in Athens that provides services and support to underserved members of the Hispanic community. Her volunteer work also takes her to the Stewart Detention Center for individuals detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where she visits detainees and helps them communicate with their distant families. She volunteers for Freedom University, which provides college-level instruction to academically qualified students regardless of their immigration status.

Sarah interned with the Workers Defense Project, a membership-based organization in Austin, Texas that empowers low-income workers to advocate for fair employment. She is a member of the Sigma Delta Pi National Spanish Honor Society and Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographic Honor Society, and is the recipient of the UGA geography department’s Kenyon Memorial Award for academic excellence in geography.

Truman Scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

tuan nguyen - 2014 Goldwater scholar

2014 Goldwater Scholar Tuan NguyenAlong with Honors student Amy Webster, Tuan Nguyen, Ramsey Scholar ’15, was named a 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. The UGA Goldwater Scholars are among a group of 283 recipients of the one- and two-year scholarships that recognize exceptional sophomores and juniors in engineering, mathematics, and the natural sciences. UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship almost every year since the mid-1990s, and the 2014 recipients bring the university’s total of Goldwater Scholars to 46.

Tuan is a junior from Douglasville majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology as well as mathematics. He plans to pursue a combined M.D./Ph.D. degree with the ultimate goal of improving cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Tuan conducts research in the lab of Dr. Natarajan Kannan, with whom he has co-authored two articles that have been submitted to peer-reviewed journals. He is a member of the UGA Chapter of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation, a volunteer tutor through the UGA Division of Academic Enhancement, and a tutor through UGA MATHCOUNTS.

In 2013 he participated in an NSF-funded summer undergraduate research fellowship at the University of California-San Diego, and in 2014 he participated in New York University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

Tuan is also a recipient of the UGA CURO Honors Scholarship and the CURO Summer Research Fellowship.

Matt tyler - 2014 james madison graduate fellow

2014 Madison Fellow Matt Tyler

Receiving the prestigious James Madison Graduate Fellowship will afford Matt Tyler the opportunity to pursue his passion – teaching social studies to high school students. The fellowship, awarded to only one person per state, is granted to students desiring to become outstanding teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary school level.

Matt, a Mid-Term Foundation Fellow who graduated in May with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science, will use his Madison Fellowship to attend Teachers College at Columbia University in New York.

“I hope that the Madison Fellowship will provide me with the same type of support that I have received from faculty, staff, and students at UGA,” Tyler said. “There are 25 years’ worth of social studies teachers that have come through this program. I will be connected to a network of extraordinary secondary teachers before I even step foot in the classroom.”

Although he admittedly lacks classroom seasoning, Matt possesses a host of experiences – both at home and abroad – that have prepared him for a career in education. Where he’s been will no doubt guide where he’s going. His passion for teaching began during the summers of 2010 and 2011, when he worked as a counselor at an environmental education camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It was there that he learned that students learn more through experiences than through memorizing names and dates in a book. Tyler has researched the impact of experiential learning on student outcomes and aims to put that research into practice as a social studies teacher in Georgia.

Last summer, he traveled to Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai to study politics, political economy, culture, and education as part of UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs’ China Maymester program and also served as a research assistant at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Education. In Hong Kong, he began work on a collaborative study of mathematics teaching that he later contributed to through data analysis at the University of Cambridge.

In the spring of 2012, Matt undertook an independent research sojourn to France, Ghana, and Italy. His intention was to explore the nexus of policy, society, and pedagogy through classroom observations, homestays, and extensive interviews with teachers, parents, and government officials. Earlier that year, he spent three months at the University of Oxford, examining contemporary political thought and political philosophy.

A little closer to home, Matt has served in a number of roles with UGA’s Students for Environmental Action (SEA) and Phi Kappa Literary Society and was an executive board member for the local Lunchbox Garden Project, an innovative program where volunteers teach food literacy and environmental education through experiential learning. As the president of SEA, Matt organized a light waste audit, co-organized a departmental bike share program, and led petitioning campaigns and monthly volunteer events.

As a research assistant in the College of Education, he researched democratic values in the 21st century classroom and assessed experimental teaching of civic skills through teacher-supervised projects and group discussions. He also worked as a research fellow at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, a counselor with Duke TIP, and a teaching assistant in the UGA Honors Program.

elizabeth allan - 2013 rhodes scholar

2013 Rhodes Scholar Elizabeth Allan In 2011, future Rhodes Scholar Elizabeth Allan, FF ’12, joined three of her classmates representing the University at the tri-annual UGA vs. Oxford Debate, a competition pitting the best on-campus orators against a team of England’s best young speakers.

“Oxford had beaten Georgia in the past two debates, so we really wanted to make sure it didn’t turn into a streak,” remembers Elizabeth, who graduated in December with bachelor’s degrees in English, Arabic, and international affairs and a master’s in international policy. “I was selected for the team, and it was a little intimidating being up there in the Chapel with CNN correspondents and the Queen’s representative watching.” UGA won the debate that evening.

Elizabeth now has the opportunity – if she so chooses – to join the other side when she travels this fall to begin her two years at Oxford. The University’s fourth Rhodes Scholar in the past six years, Elizabeth will pursue a master’s in modern Middle Eastern studies and may even try her hand at Oxford-style debate across the pond.

There can be no argument, however, about the impact the Atlanta native has had on the University community. Elizabeth is a member of UGA’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a national student-run think tank, where she wrote papers about energy policy and education and also taught policy analysis to other undergraduates. She participated in the Center for Undergraduate Research (CURO) Symposium and presented results of her research on employment dynamics at two national conferences. She also interned at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, through which she traveled to China during an annual training program the institute conducts in Beijing.

In addition to her participation in the Roosevelt Campus Network (at both the university and national levels), Elizabeth pledged her time and talents locally to the Thomas Lay After School Tutoring Program, which not only engaged hundreds of young students to improve their study habits but also drew both the UGA Honors Program and the Athens-Clarke County community closer together.

“When I had my Rhodes interview, which lasted 25 minutes, I spent a third of the conversation talking about the Thomas Lay program – that’s how excited I have been with it,” says Elizabeth, who rose to co-director of the tutoring and mentoring program. “It’s probably one of the most satisfying things I did at UGA, to go into an organization that was operating well but had places for improvement. When you come upon a problem, it’s satisfying to figure out how to solve it and have a tangible impact on young people’s lives there.”

Saying her “dream job” would be setting U.S. foreign policy – in both the long and short term – in the Middle East, Elizabeth adds her vision for the tutoring program and her forays abroad were quite similar.
“I am motivated to work in the realm of policy by the vision of a world in which every person has the resources and capabilities to imagine and pursue his or her dreams free from legal restrictions, economic constraints, or limitations imposed by social norms,” she says.

Elizabeth, who has studied abroad in Oxford, Morocco, Australia, Peru, Germany, India, China, and South Korea during her undergraduate years, spent spring of 2013 interning at the Carter Center in Atlanta, keeping a close eye on Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, and Jordan as part of the Center’s Democracy Program, and she was on the ground in Egypt this summer as events unfolded there.

smitha ganeshan - 2013 truman scholar, 2014 PKP fellow

2013 Truman Scholar Smitha Ganeshan

Smitha Ganeshan, FF ’14, a biology major and anthropology minor with pre-med intentions, received a 2013 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which recognizes juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government and elsewhere in public service.

Smitha, who aims to pursue dual MD and Master of Public Policy degrees, is active in healthcare and health policy issues in Athens and across the globe.

She has been involved with UGA’s Roosevelt Institute, a student-run think tank, since her freshman year and currently directs its health policy center and its environmental policy center. Through the Roosevelt Institute, she developed a policy proposal to improve access to primary care services for low-income and uninsured patients.

Smitha volunteers at the non-profit Athens Nurses Clinic, which provides basic primary care and dental services for uninsured patients, and has interned at the Athens Health Network, an organization that works to reduce healthcare disparities by coordinating health services for the indigent population. She is a member of the Lunchbox Garden Project, an after-school nutrition education and obesity prevention program that now serves two schools in Athens through a grant from UGA’s Office of Sustainability.

As an intern at the Greater New York Hospital Association, Smitha worked under Executive Vice President and General Counsel Susan C. Waltman, a trustee of the UGA Foundation and an alumna, to translate evidence-based obesity prevention models into programs for hospital implementation. She has studied at Oxford University and interned at the World Health Organization’s M.V. Hospital for Diabetes in Chennai, India, where she worked as a member of the epidemiology team. The following winter, she worked at a mobile health clinic in Lima, Peru and later that year assisted a physician at a community health clinic in Nicaragua.

Also the recipient of a 2014 Phi Kappa Phi Urann Fellowhsip, Smitha begins her studies at Harvard Medical School in fall 2014.

phil grayeski - 2013 goldwater scholar

2013 Goldwater Scholar Phil GrayeskiPhil Grayeski, FF ’14, a genetics and chemistry major, was named a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. The scholarship recognizes exceptional sophomores and juniors in engineering, mathematics, and the natural sciences. He intends to pursue a combined MD/PhD degree with a focus on gene therapy and translating academic research into treatments for cancer and hereditary disorders.

Phil works in the genetics laboratory of assistant professor Jonathan Eggenschwiler. He also has conducted research with UGA genetics professor Janet Westpheling as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center. He spent three months at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany researching genetic approaches for targeting melanoma treatments. He has presented his research findings at the UGA CURO Symposium and at a meeting of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in Versailles, France. In summer 2013, he worked with Dr. Michael Goldberg in the Cancer Immunology and AIDS department at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

He is the co-founder and executive director of Whatever It Takes at UGA, where he coordinates a network of more than 300 student volunteers for educational and health and wellness programs targeting families in Athens Clarke-County. He directs two after-school programs in Athens and manages 40 volunteers at each location to provide a one-to-one ratio of tutors to students. He served as vice president of programming for the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and coaches three boys basketball teams for the Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department. In 2012, Phil travelled to Peru to assemble mobile clinics in medically underserved communities.

sara black - 2013 udall scholar

2013 Udall Scholar Sara Black

Two University of Georgia Honors students were among 50 students nationwide who were awarded 2013 Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholarships. The scholarships are awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing careers focused on environmental or Native American public policy. The recipients bring the university's total of Udall Scholars to 12 in the past 10 years.

This year's recipients are Sara Black, FF ’14, who is pursuing degrees in anthropology and ecology, and Ian Karra, a junior Honors student who is pursuing degrees in economics and finance.

Sara plans to pursue a career in the environmental or food justice non-profit sector. She has held national leadership positions in prominent grassroots organizations, including the Real Food Challenge, the Greenhorns, the Sierra Club and the Sierra Student Coalition, where she currently works to coordinate trainings on grassroots organizing skills for young people. She is also a co-founder of Real Food UGA, a campus organization working with Food Services on sustainability initiatives. She has participated in the UGA Washington Semester program and studied abroad at Oxford University. Ian and Sara co-lead Georgia YES (Youth for Environmental Solutions), a network of more than 75 student environmental leaders on more than a dozen campuses in Georgia. The organization works to promote clean energy infrastructure and policy on college campuses throughout the state.

matt sellers - 2012 marshall scholar

Matt Sellers, 2012 Marshall Scholar, in the Fellows Library

Foundation Fellow Matthew Sellers recalls his first time at Oxford University, where he encountered a demanding academic environment as a freshman.

“It’s one of the most intellectually stimulating places I’ve ever been,” he said. “It fosters not just critical thinking but independence that you don’t get in a classroom elsewhere. It made me a better researcher and writer and motivated me in new ways.”

Now he will return as a 2012 Marshall Scholar to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom. He is the fifth UGA student to earn the award in the past decade.

“I’m looking forward to that same environment where everyone is engaged with work and where you have the opportunity to really dig into some heavy scholarship,” he said. “It’s also an international university that attracts students from around the globe, and I’m looking forward to meeting and interacting with all these people from different cultures.”

After graduating from UGA in May with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in history, Matt will pursue a master of studies program in modern literature followed by a doctor of philosophy program in English language and literature.

At Oxford, he will unite the two sides of himself – the one that enjoys literary analysis and the other that digs into applied policy. Envisioning a future as a professor, he hopes to take scholarly pursuit and make it accessible to others, sharing literature with his community in a way that helps members identify with themselves.

Matt’s grasp on policy is apparent through his various internships with National Association of Counties in Washington, DC through the Honors in Washington program; Organizing for America in Athens, GA; the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in Washington, DC; the University of Georgia Press; and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government in Athens, GA.

Matt has served in several leadership roles with UGA’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a national student-run think tank, and with UGA’s Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, an online publication encompassing all disciplines.

Matt knew that he wanted to study literature after completing a research project as a 2009 summer fellow with the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. Matt focused on the poetry of Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Penn Warren under the guidance of English professor Hugh Ruppersburg, who serves as interim dean of UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. In his thesis, Matt explored how Warren depicts populism and populist leaders in fiction and compared those representations to current grassroots political movements.

Matt traveled to India and the United Kingdom through the Foundation Fellowship and has also been to France and Italy as a member of the UGA Chamber Choir in the Hodgson School of Music. Last year, he taught English and mathematics in a primary school in Tanzania, where he embraced his plans to move forward as a professor.

In a literary sense, this “call to action” describes the moment when main characters discover purpose. For Matt, the call beckons him to Oxford to study postcolonial literature.

tracy yang - 2011 Rhodes Scholar; 2010 truman scholar

Tracy Yang

Fourth-year Foundation Fellow Tracy Yang has been awarded a 2011 Rhodes Scholarship to attend England’s Oxford University. She plans to pursue an MSc in global health science. Tracy, also a 2010 Truman Scholar, will graduate from UGA in May with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She is one of 32 Rhodes recipients in the U.S. and the only one from the state of Georgia. Tracy is UGA’s 22nd Rhodes Scholar and third UGA female student to be selected since 1976, the first year women were eligible to apply. Before Tracy, UGA’s most recent recipients were Foundation Fellows Deep Shah and Kate Vyborny in 2008.

With aspirations to pursue a career as a physician-policy analyst, Tracy has concentrated her research as well as her local and international involvement on efforts to address public health disparities and improving access to services.

As a sophomore, Tracy conducted research on the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi under the guidance of Rick Tarleton, Distinguished Research Professor in Cellular Biology. The parasite, which causes Chagas disease, has infected approximately 18 million people in Latin America.

She also participated in the Nathan Schnaper Cancer Research Intern Program in summer 2008, and in a public health and emergency preparedness internship at Greater New York Hospital Association in summer 2010. She has traveled to Nicaragua, working with medical personnel who provide health services to residents through community hospital or home visits.

Tracy currently is working as an intern with the Athens Health Network, part of a community-based initiative to address poverty issues in Athens. She also serves as a mentor and ESL teacher in the local community.

Tracy’s interest in policy decision-making precipitated her involvement with UGA’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institution, a national student-run think tank, in which she has served in several leadership roles. She also is an editor for UGA’s Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, an online undergraduate research journal for the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. Candidates must first be endorsed by their college or university; then selection committees in each of 16 districts invite the strongest applicants for an interview. This year, 837 students were endorsed by 309 colleges and universities.

muktha natrajan - 2011 Gates Cambridge Scholar, NSF Graduate Fellow, NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar; 2010 Udall Scholar; 2009 Goldwater Scholar

muktha natrajan

Muktha Natrajan led the field this year, earning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and a National Institutes of Health Oxford–Cambridge Scholarship.

These awards will facilitate the next steps on Muktha’s path toward becoming a researcher and policy analyst at the National Institutes of Health. With the funding and professional opportunities provided by these awards, Muktha will pursue a PhD in neuroscience next year, combining her interests in neuroscience and the environment by studying the effects of extrinsic factors on neural cell growth and development.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship, established a decade ago through a $210 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, offers recipients who reside outside the United Kingdom the opportunity to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge. The scholarship program aims to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. Muktha is among a group of 30 U.S. recipients selected for this highly competitive award and is the fifth UGA student to receive the award since 2001.

The NIH Oxford–Cambridge Scholars Program provides accelerated, individualized training for doctoral students in the sciences. Students in this fully funded program are matched with two research mentors – one at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and one at either Oxford University or Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Students conduct research in both locations during their PhD.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is for doctoral students who are pursuing research-based graduate studies in mathematics, science, and engineering. Students may apply their NSF funding to any academic institution.

This is the third year that Muktha has garnered national recognition for her academic achievements. In 2010, Muktha received a Morris K. Udall Scholarship, a national award that recognizes sophomores and juniors who are pursuing careers focused on environmental or Native American issues. She was also a 2009 recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a prominent national award for undergraduates in math, science, and engineering.

Muktha began her undergraduate career as a CURO Apprentice, conducting stem cell research in the lab of Dr. Steve Stice, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. Since then, she has conducted research for eleven weeks in China on an NSF grant and participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program in New York University Medical Center’s neurobiology department.

She has spearheaded efforts for campus sustainable solutions through the Go Green Alliance, served as inaugural director of environmental program implementation for Promote Africa, attended the 2009 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen as a non-governmental organization delegate, and interned with the World Health Organization in Namibia.

Christina Faust - Triple Crown Winner

Foundation Fellow Christina Faust made history in 2009 when she became the first UGA student to win the Udall, Truman, and Mitchell scholarships in a single undergraduate career. We like to call her our Truditchell Scholar. Christina graduated May 2009 with a dual bachelor’s/master’s degree in ecology from the Odum School of Ecology.

She began her winning streak in 2008 as a third-year Fellow, garnering the Morris K. Udall and the Harry S. Truman awards. The former is awarded to second- and third-year students who are planning careers related to environmental policy, and the latter recognizes third-year students who are preparing for public service careers.

Christina was one of only 12 students in the U.S. awarded the prestigious George J. Mitchell Postgraduate Scholarship, named in honor of the former U.S. senator who helmed the historic peace negotiations in Northern Ireland in 1998. Under the auspices of the Mitchell Scholarship, Christina will spend the 2009-2010 academic year studying at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth for an M.Sc. degree in immunology and global health. This course of study is the next step in preparation for her future career in wildlife conservation with an emphasis on infectious diseases and their impact on wildlife and human populations.

During her four years as a Fellow, Christina has combined infectious disease research with ecology by examining the influence of bivalves and environmental factors on avian influenza transmission. She has worked on research projects with the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Odum School of Ecology at UGA, the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Prevention and Control in China, the Arcturos wildlife conservation nongovernmental organization in Greece, and the New Zealand Conservation Volunteers in New Zealand. She has presented her research at several conferences, including the International Wildlife Disease Association Conference as one of only 12 student presenters.

In addition to her research pursuits, Christina has provided leadership for conservation efforts on the UGA campus. As the co-coordinator of the Gameday Recycling program, she collaborated with volunteers from the Ecology Club, the Go Green Alliance, and UGA Habitat for Humanity to collect plastic and glass from tailgaters, saving thousands of pounds of recyclables from the landfill and contributing hundreds of dollars’ worth of aluminum to UGA Habitat for Humanity’s Cans for Homes initiative.

Heading the Go Green Alliance Council, Christina organized the first collaborative group of students, staff, and faculty interested in sustainability issues on campus and in the Athens community to discuss issues and implement solutions. Prior to that, as co-chair of the Ecology Club’s Sustainable Development Committee, she organized a forum for university students on sustainability challenges at UGA and drafted a 35-page report on student-supported sustainability initiatives for UGA.

These accomplishments – in addition to Christina’s involvements as co-president of UGA Habitat for Humanity, counselor for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Georgia, team member of the #7 nationally ranked UGA Women’s Rugby Football Club, and Honors Teaching Fellow for first-year Honors students – are a testament to the kind of student the Foundation Fellowship attracts. Christina exemplifies what can be achieved in four years at The University of Georgia with the support of the Fellowship.

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Emily Shirley,
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