Honors college students sweep up prestigious scholarships

Four students from the Robert D. Clark Honors College have been awarded significant scholarships for the upcoming year, including the prestigious Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship, Fullbright Summer Institute to the U.K., the National Ocean and Atmospheric Hollings Scholarship and the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship.

“These students are achieving remarkable things, synthesizing their experiences in the classroom with their personal goals and motivations,” said Terry Hunt, dean of the Clark Honors College. “We could not be more proud of them.”

Namratha Somayajula, an international studies major, was named a Scoville Peace Fellow, a highly competitive national program that provides recent graduates with a six-to-nine month stay in Washington, D.C. as a junior staff member at the participating organization of their choice, supported by a full salary. Established in 1987, 171 fellowships have been awarded to date.

“The Scoville is unique in that it will allow me to begin working in Washington, D.C. in a field that I’d be very excited to go into in the future,” Somayajula said. “Beginning to learn how to navigate a complicated political environment early on in my career would be beneficial, and I'd have the opportunity to observe from a closer vantage point the interplay between policy and reality.”

Somayajula will also have the opportunity to meet with policy experts through the fellowship.

“The Scoville seems to place an emphasis on maintaining a strong network of communication and collaboration between fellows, alumni and board members,” she said. “It would allow me to seek out in the workplace a level of engagement similar to what I had found in college.”

Physics major Laura Queen was awarded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hollings Scholarship, which provides tuition support and paid summer internships to 120 undergraduates a year.

“(Professor) Barbara Mossberg introduced me to the NOAA Hollings Scholarship and encouraged me to apply,” Queen said. “Without her and the Clark Honors College I would not have received this award.”

The internship between the first and second years of the award delivers hands-on experience in related science, technology, policy and research fields. Awardees also attend a NOAA scholarship program orientation and the annual Science and Education Symposium, where students present their research.

“The NOAA Hollings Scholarship program will give me the opportunity to get hands-on research experience, expose me to more fields of study and prepare me for a public service career in natural resource and science agencies,” Queen said.

Gypsy Prince, a humanities major, received a Fullbright Summer Institute participant fellowship. The award provides three-to-four week programs for undergraduates to explore the culture, heritage and history of the United Kingdom.

“I am truly enamored by Shakespeare as a writer and theater practitioner,” Prince said. “This award offers me not only the opportunity to study Shakespeare's work — but to do so in the context of the location and culture in which he wrote.”

In the program, Prince will have the opportunity to study alongside leading academics and professionals; participate in field and in-service education; take workshops in acting, combat and swordplay; and develop knowledge in specific areas.

“One of my career goals is to start a nonprofit that works with juvenile detention centers to teach theater — and specifically Shakespeare — to incarcerated youth,” Prince said. “My hope is that this experience will give me the knowledge and skills that I need to pursue that goal.”

History major Augustine Beard received the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship and will visit Tucson, Arizona, for orientation before going on to work with Native American tribes on environmental issues and gain access to the Udall Alumni Network.

“The Udall fellowship offers great opportunities for networking students and professionals interested in the environment as well as those involved in tribal health and policy,” Beard said.

As many as 60 scholarships, which can lead to job and internship opportunities, are awarded each year through the Udall Foundation.

“The Udall Foundation emphasizes their dedication to keeping scholars connected and in contact, and I believe this is probably the greatest value of the fellowship,” Beard said.

—By Laurie Notaro, University Communications