FSU undergraduates rake in prestigious scholarships and awards
Florida State University may have an international reputation for the strength of its graduate programs, as well as for the academic accomplishments of the students in those programs. But by at least one measure, the university's undergraduates are giving their graduate-level peers a run for their money.
With assistance from FSU faculty and the Office of National Fellowships, numerous undergraduates this year have been the recipients of highly competitive and prestigious college scholarships, educational grants and research internships, some valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. With these major national awards, many talented students have been able to get a head start on their graduate careers by conducting serious scientific research, while others have been able to continue their studies in foreign countries.
"Working with this group of students is an absolute dream come true," said D. Craig Filar, director of the Office of National Fellowships. "These are the best and brightest students that we have here at Florida State University, and they bring such a great amount of energy to everything they do. You can't help but be inspired by the amazing amount of intelligence, talent and drive they exhibit. These are young people who are ready to take on the world."
The scholars Filar refers to come from a wide variety of disciplines, but they all have one thing in common: They reflect the overall academic excellence of the more than 31,000 undergraduate students currently attending Florida State.
Among the many success stories are recipients of one of the most widely recognized and esteemed academic awards of them all — the Fulbright. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study, conduct research and/or teach English abroad.
This year, two graduating seniors at FSU received and accepted Fulbright awards:
In addition to the three undergraduates, an FSU graduate student — Jacob Newberry of Gulfport, Miss. — also was awarded a Fulbright this year. Newberry, who is pursuing his doctorate in creative writing, received a Fulbright Study/Research Grant. With it, he plans to write a collection of poetry about Southern evangelicals in Israel.
Fulbright recipient Boyce credited his alma mater with helping him accomplish many of his goals.
"I honestly don't know where I would be if I weren't at Florida State University," he said. "The opportunities to study and do research as an undergraduate are astronomical here. The chances to have a support network that is truly invested in the kinds of research and studies that you're doing and being able to be competitive for these national fellowships through the Office of National Fellowships has prepared me to do the kinds of study that I want to do in the future."
For budding scientists, meanwhile, few academic awards are more highly coveted than Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This year, three graduating FSU seniors received the NSF awards; they are Vivek Pal and Duncan Haldane, both of Tallahassee, and Kim Reuter of Fort Myers, Fla. Over a three-year period, each will receive a $30,000 annual stipend, a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance, and a one-time stipend of $1,000 for international travel to support them as they begin their graduate research.
Pal, who graduated in April with a bachelor's degree in pure mathematics, plans to pursue a master's degree in mathematics at Columbia University. He previously received a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for undergraduate math and science majors in 2010. (Read more about him here.) Haldane, who earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, will pursue his master's in the same field at Florida State. And Reuter, who received her bachelor's degree in biology in fall 2010, will study conservation biology at Temple University.
Also in the sciences, Nick Trombetta of Plano, Texas, and Kyle Ahern of Boynton Beach, Fla., both meteorology majors, were awarded Ernest F. Hollings Scholarships by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These are two-year awards that fund scholars at $8,000 per year during their junior and senior years. A summer research internship at NOAA between the junior and senior years is a key benefit of the scholarship.
In addition to its newest Fulbright recipients, Florida State University will be well represented across the globe over the next year thanks to a number of scholarships and awards that are enabling FSU undergrads to pursue their studies abroad. Among them:
Two additional FSU undergrads received unique honors recently:
"I continue to be impressed by the energy and creativity of the young men and women who are seeking and winning these awards," said Dean of Undergraduate Studies Karen Laughlin. "Their sincere desire to serve others and take on leadership roles in their chosen fields is an inspiration. Their success, as well as the success of the Office of National Fellowships in assisting them, convincingly demonstrates that Florida State University students can compete successfully with any students in the nation."
Since its inception in 2005, the Florida State University Office of National Fellowships has mentored and assisted some of our most talented students. Over the past six years, our students have won more than 80 nationally competitive awards, including three prestigious Rhodes scholarships, three Truman scholarships, five Goldwater scholarships, seven Hollings scholarships, three Pickering fellowships and 38 Fulbright scholarships. To learn more about the Office of National Fellowships, contact director D. Craig Filar at (850) 644-7596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"These are the best and brightest students that we have here at Florida State University, and they bring such a great amount of energy to everything they do."
D. Craig Filar
Florida State University Office of National Fellowships