Commencement is a time for new beginnings, and for many Grinnellians is the first step in continuing their education. During the past 10 years, more than 100 students and alumni have applied for and won a variety of prestigious awards to support their studies. That streak continued this spring, with students and alumni winning a total of 13 nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships and five more named as alternates or honorable mentions.
- Eight Grinnellians were granted Fulbright Scholarships, which fund one academic year of either English teaching assistantships (ETA) or academic study in another country. This year’s winners were Rachel Brolsma Whitfield ’10 (Korea ETA), Winnon Brunson ’10 (Denmark), Thomas Davis ’10 (Indonesia ETA), Harry Krejsa ’10 (Taiwan ETA), Christine McCormick ’09 (Germany ETA), Emma Peterson ’10 (Spain ETA), John Rassenfoss ’10 (Germany ETA), and Brian Wermcrantz ’09 (Korea ETA). Andrea Albright ’09, Hart Ford ’10, and Jeff Sinick ’09 were named as alternates and may still receive awards.
- Stephanie Cheung ’11 received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2010-11 school year, and Laura Mertens ’11 received an honorable mention. Goldwater Scholarships are awarded each year to incoming college juniors and seniors who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.
- Filippos Rodger Tsakiris ’10 received a Watson Fellowship, which will fund him for one year of travel and independent study about the environmental challenges and sustainable innovation on the island communities of the Western Isles of the United Kingdom, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, and the Maldives. Grinnell has participated in the Watson program since it was founded in the late 1960s and, with only three exceptions, has had at least one Watson Fellow in each class.
- Alex Reich ’11 was given an honorable mention by the Udall Foundation for the second consecutive year. The foundation offers scholarships to students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment and to Native American and Alaska Native students who are committed to pursuing careers related to public policy or Native health care.
- Ami Shrestha ’13 won an award through the Davis Projects for Peace to spend two months this summer working to improve the education of children in the mountains of Nepal. Davis Projects for Peace are funded by internationalist and philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who committed $1 million to fund grassroots projects designed to encourage and support motivated college students to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world.
- James Phelan ’11 received an American Chemical Society Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to fund his research in summer 2010.
- Mikel Shybut ’10 received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Shybut will be pursuing a Ph.D. in plant biology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Having advised many of Grinnellians who won national scholarships and fellowships, Director of Social Commitment Doug Cutchins ’93 is not surprised that Grinnell students and alumni are appealing to the awards’ selection committees.
“We have really, really smart students who care about the world and who view themselves in a global context,” says Cutchins. “ And while I’m really excited that we have had so much success in terms of traditional measurements of ‘winning,’ such as scholarship money, I’m just as pleased that so many students who weren’t selected for scholarships have had a meaningful opportunity to engage in a period of serious self-reflection and goal-setting.”
Cutchins has worked at the College since 1999. He is the current national vice-president of the National Association of Fellowship Advisors and will serve a two-year term as the association’s president starting in 2011.