Hawks Make History with Record Number of Fellowships and Awards
It’s been a landmark year for Saint Joseph’s students, who took home a total of 12 fellowships this spring, including four Fulbright ETAs (plus two semifinalist nominations) and a record number of STEM awards — surpassing their peers at several Philadelphia universities.
It’s also the first time that two students were awarded Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships and DAAD-RISE summer fellowships in the same year, and the first time ever that a Saint Joseph’s student was recognized by the prestigious Udall Foundation with an honorable mention for her commitment to the environment.
“We had truly outstanding applicants and fellowship winners from multiple disciplines, making this a record-breaking year for SJU in terms of the number of students who won prestigious national and international fellowships. I look forward to working with next year’s class," says Mark Reynolds, Ph.D., director of the Office of Fellowships and associate professor of biochemistry and chemistry. Reynolds works closely with students to identify, advise and mentor them through the fellowships process.
With a number of study abroad opportunities and fellowship travel put on pause over the last couple years due to the pandemic, this year’s winners are excited to apply what they’ve learned on Hawk Hill out in the world.
Meet the Award Winners
The Barry M. Goldwater STEM Research Scholarship is awarded to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics or engineering. The DAAD-RISE summer STEM fellowship to Germany offers students the opportunity to complete a research internship at one of Germany’s top universities and research institutions.
Kayla Flanders ’23
- Major and Minor: Chemical biology major, art minor
- Hometown: Hainesport, New Jersey
- Awards: Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and DAAD-RISE
- Extracurriculars and Honors: SJU women’s soccer team member, women’s varsity soccer team Leadership Council, SJU’s Gift of Life Organ Donation Club co-president, Dean’s Leadership Program, McNulty and StemSquared mentorship program, Molloy Chemical Society treasurer, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma XI Honor Society, Rocky Mountain Regional Conference Flash Presentation Award, Burch Prize in First Year Writing, McNulty Scholarship, Dean’s List
- What inspired you to apply for these awards? In the past three years, I’ve learned so much about what research entails and what it takes to be a top researcher, and by writing published papers with Dr. Cerda, I was really excited to challenge myself by applying to the Goldwater scholarship. By writing a personal essay for the scholarship, I was able to articulate to myself why I do research, why it is such an important part of my life, and to hone my passions and interests, which was really helpful!
The DAAD Rise scholarship is an amazing opportunity to not only travel and immerse myself in a new culture and country for the summer, which is something I haven’t had the opportunity to do before now, but it was also a really neat way to learn new chemistry techniques, gain experience and a work in new lab that will prepare me for my future career and research! I have wanted to study abroad since high school and I am so grateful to have this unique opportunity! I am looking forward to pushing myself out of my comfort zone and learning more about another culture and myself in the process!
- What are you most looking forward to with each of these opportunities? Being a part of the Goldwater network is an invaluable opportunity to connect with other top researchers and continue learning more about new ideas! I’m excited to attend networking events and learn from, and about, other Goldwater scholars’ work. As for the DAAD-RISE, I’m excited to live in Berlin! I’ve never traveled to Europe before and I’m so excited to explore the city, meet new people, find my favorite German coffee shop on the way to work, and learn from people who have very different life experiences from mine.
Kara Moulton ’23
- Major and Minor: Chemistry major, Spanish minor
- Hometown: Sterling, Massachusetts
- Awards: Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and DAAD-RISE
- Extracurriculars and Honors: McNulty Scholar, Weekly Service community partner coordinator, organic chemistry and biology tutor at OLR, organic chemistry lab TA, Molloy Chemical Society club president, member of Sigma Xi (research honors society) and Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish honors society), and Phi Beta Kappa inductee
- What inspired you to apply for these awards? I applied for the DAAD-RISE award because I have always wanted to study abroad, but didn't want to sacrifice any research experience. Dr. Reynolds informed me of multiple opportunities where I might be able to still do research while in a different country, and the DAAD-RISE was a perfect fit!
I applied for the Goldwater scholarship with the encouragement of the two professors whose labs I have been working in for the past two years — Dr. Forman and Dr. Cerda, both of whom I am extremely grateful for. I was not expecting to win at all, but figured nonetheless it would be a good practice in articulating my research and future goals.
- What are you most looking forward to with each of these opportunities? With the DAAD-RISE, I am really looking forward to the opportunity to broaden my research horizons to be able to determine what I am most interested in within organic chemistry. As I am looking to apply to Ph.D. programs in the fall, I am also very excited to experience what it will be like to be a graduate student.
With the Goldwater, I am most looking forward to being able to join the community of Goldwater scholars, including the many that we have had in the past few years from SJU.
The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program places Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S.
Adrianna DiVentura ’22
- Majors and Minors: Spanish and secondary education double major with minors in faith justice studies and Latin American studies
- Hometown: Linwood, New Jersey
- Award(s): Fulbright ETA to Spain
- Award Committee: Mark Reynolds, Ph.D., Enrique Téllez-Espiga, Ph.D., and Kaitlin Moran, Ph.D.
- Extracurriculars and Honors: Extracurriculars include: PSIP leader, sister of Alpha Gamma Delta, brother of Phi Sigma Pi, APEX, Winter Immersion Program, Kappa Delta Pi, Sigma Delta Pi and Weekly Service volunteer. Honors include: María del Carmen Faccini Award – Spanish program, Teacher Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award, Sullivan Award for Latin American Studies – Latin American and Latinx Studies Program.
- What inspired you to apply for this award? For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to combine both of my passions of traveling and teaching, and so going abroad to teach English in a Spanish-speaking country has been a dream of mine forever. Thanks to Fulbright, my dream is now becoming a reality, and I am so excited for this journey that is ahead of me.
- What are you most looking forward to with this opportunity? I am so excited to live abroad in Spain, where I will be able to immerse myself in its unique culture, encounter wonderful people, try delicious Spanish foods and, most importantly, grow as a person. I want to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself to me so that I can make the most of this experience, and I hope to come back with amazing memories and stories to share with others.
Erin Doherty '22
- Major and Minor: Political science major, Spanish minor (honors)
- Hometown: Franklin, Massachusetts
- Award: Fulbright ETA to Spain
- Award Committee: Richard Gioioso, Ph.D., Enrique Tellez-Espiga, Ph.D., and Mark Reynolds, Ph.D.
- Extracurriculars and Honors: 2022 Political Science Award for Academic Excellence, member of Phi Beta Kappa, member of Phi Sigma Alpha (political science honor society), case manager at the Kinney Center, member of Dean's Leadership Program
- What inspired you to apply for this award? To challenge myself in a new way and have the chance to live and learn in a new country.
- What are you most looking forward to with this opportunity? Exploring a new culture and sharing my own experiences with my students and community.
Maddelyn Guerke ’21
- Majors: International relations and Spanish double major
- Hometown: Elkridge, Maryland
- Award: Fulbright ETA to Mexico
- Award Committee: Elaine Shenk, Ph.D., Richard Gioioso, Ph.D., and Mark Reynolds, Ph.D.
- Extracurriculars and Honors: Summer Scholars with Dr. Gioioso; Winter Immersion Program (WIP) leader (El Salvador); WIP participant (Peru); volunteer for Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity’s Pardon Project; PSIP leader; brother of Alpha Sigma Nu, Sigma Delta Pi and Sigma Iota Rho; Hawk Host, Spanish tutor at the OLR, Kinney SCHOLAR. Honors: International Relations Award for Academic Excellence, Matthew G. Sullivan S.J., Latin American Studies Program Award, University Student Senate Award for Service, Maria del Carmen Faccini Award for Academic Travel and Study of Latin American Culture and Language, Pan American Association of Philadelphia's Janice Bond Senior Award, Gustafson Distinguished Research Grant Recipient, Law and Justice Internship Award Recipient, Representative of SJU for the 30th anniversary of the Jesuit Martyr delegation to El Salvador
- What inspired you to apply for this award? There are many reasons why I applied for Fulbright, but I think the underlying inspiration is my love for experiencing new cultures and connecting with people. Fulbright's main purpose is to build intercultural connections and foster mutual understanding, and I think it is fascinating that despite being neighbors with Mexico, we have so much to learn from each other. I hope to continue working with and advocating for immigrants in the future, and Fulbright will give me the opportunity to better understand the realities of Latin American migrants
- What are you most looking forward to with this opportunity? I am most looking forward to the abundance of new experiences this will bring — it will be a year of growth and learning. My community program will focus on female empowerment, so I am especially looking forward to seeing how this project will take shape, and getting to know the women in my community. I am also really excited to try a lot of new food!
Claire Fitzgerald ’21
- Majors and minor: Spanish and communication, minor in graphic design
- Hometown: Timonium, Maryland
- Award: Fulbright IE master’s semifinalist (Madrid)
- Award Committee: J. Michael Lyons, Ph.D., Enrique Téllez-Espiga, Ph.D., and Mark Reynolds, Ph.D.
- Extracurriculars and Honors: Fair Trade Club, SJ Brew, Green Fund, Hawk Host
- What inspired you to apply for this award? When looking at different Fulbright programs, the title “Visual and Digital Media” grabbed my attention. My favorite communication classes at SJU were digital content creation classes; it's the work that doesn't feel like work. I have a strong base in these skills, but want to dedicate time to honing them further. Apart from that, I was a Spanish major and would love to further improve my speaking skills. I studied abroad in Granada, Spain, where I became a much better and more confident speaker. I still have lots to learn though!
- What are you up to now? Currently I work in the marketing department at Advanced Solutions International, the developers of a software platform for associations, nonprofits and unions. I do email marketing, social media and assorted graphic design tasks.
- What’s next for you? My application focused heavily on my passion for fair trade. In the future, I see myself as a digital content creator within the movement. My involvement with SJ Brew pushed me to create content that highlighted the benefits of fair trade and emphasized the dignity and autonomy of fair trade producers.
Raeghan Smith ’21, ’22 (M.S.)
Unavailable for interview.
The Meddeas Language Assistant Program places recent college graduates in English as a New Language classrooms throughout the private school system in Spain. Graduates gain teaching experience, a full teaching ENL certification, and bolster their Spanish language skills.
Grace Schairer ’22
- Majors: Spanish and chemistry
- Hometown: Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Award: Meddeas Fellowship
- Extracurriculars and Honors: Chapel Choir/Band, liturgy and music peer minister, Writing Center tutor, pep band, community partner coordinator for Weekly Service at the ELS Center, Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society
- What inspired you to apply for this award? Ever since I studied abroad in Madrid right before COVID, I knew I wanted to return. I had made amazing connections with my host family, and especially with my young host siblings, who were so welcoming and embraced me as a fifth child in the family. When I learned about Meddeas, I was so excited by the idea of getting to make even more of those connections with students and teaching them and learning from them at the same time.
- What are you most looking forward to with this opportunity? I am most looking forward to fostering my love of teaching that I've discovered recently at SJU. I have loved tutoring English in various ways over the past few years and I am very excited to be able to combine that passion with my desire to learn about Spanish language and culture through the students I teach.
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.
Alex Manduca ’22
- Major: Physics major
- Hometown: Staten Island, New York
- Award(s): National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF-GRFP)
- Extracurriculars and Honors: Extracurriculars include undergraduate researcher in cosmology instrumentation, president of SJU Society of Physics Students, SJU Community Garden student director, physics tutor and teaching assistant. Honors include Goldwater scholarship, NASA Space Grant, DAAD-Rise scholarship and SJU Dean’s scholarship.
- What inspired you to apply for this award? The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding students who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000, making the total award approximately $138,000.
- What are you most looking forward to with this opportunity? I very much am looking forward to being fully funded during the course of my graduate studies. I’ll be pursuing my Ph.D. in physics at the University of Pennsylvania and will be working on building the most sensitive millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelength ground-based and balloon-borne cosmic microwave background telescopes ever made.
The purpose of the St. Andrews Fellowship is to foster cultural exchange between the U.S. and Scotland, while developing each individual student through their year at one of the four “ancient” Scottish universities.
Ethan Robison Ramoutar '24
- Majors: Political science and economics double major
- Hometown: Delaware, Ohio
- Award: The Andrew Mulch Fellowship at the University of St. Andrews
- Extracurriculars and Honors: Co-founder of Hawk Hill Badminton; Saint Joseph's University Presidential Scholarship
- What inspired you to apply for this award? As a student committed to the discipline of political economy, an opportunity to study in the U.K. presents an unparalleled experience. The University of St. Andrews in particular boasts a globally esteemed school of international relations as well as an economics department producing new research on monetary history and quality of life metrics.
Seeking to continue the education in Neo-Keynesian economics I cultivated while studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science during the summer semester of 2021, I applied for the St. Andrews Scholarship. It is my hope that the coursework I pursue at the University of St. Andrews will prepare me for graduate studies in the discipline and contribute to my broader vision of legislating economic policy in the interest of the universal human dignity our university strives to uphold as a Jesuit institution.
- What are you most looking forward to with this opportunity? I am excited by the prospect of being immersed in another culture and its way of being in the world. As a golfer, the nation of Scotland offers numerous opportunities to explore the history of the game. The town of St. Andrews alone is home to seven of the game's most historic courses, including the Old Course. As a violinist, I look forward to learning about Scottish fiddle technique through the University of St. Andrews traditional music society.
The Teaching Assistant Program in France offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months, where they will teach English to French students ranging from ages 8 to 18 years old. Applicants must be able to speak intermediate French.
Jordan Finkelstein '22
- Majors and Minors: English and philosophy double major, minors in French, faith justice, theology and religious studies
- Hometown: Burlington, Vermont
- Extracurriculars and Honors: Women's Club Ice Hockey, Ice Hockey coach for Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, Sigma Tau Delta, French Program Award, Pi Delta Phi, Phi Sigma Tau, Theta Alpha Kappa, Phi Beta Kappa, Dean's List, Honors College
- What inspired you to apply for this award? My cousin did TAPIF 10 years ago and loved it, so it's always been on my radar and I've had the goal of living in France and becoming fluent since I started French classes in middle school. I love working with kids and this program seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to achieve my personal goals with the language, as well as help young kids learn about and appreciate other languages and cultures.
- What are you most looking forward to with this opportunity? I'm most looking forward to meeting new people and getting to know a different culture, as well as having the opportunity to expand my horizons and travel around Europe.
The Udall Foundation recognizes students for their leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. This is the first time a Saint Joseph’s student has been recognized.
Caren Teague ’23
- Majors: Environmental science and English double major
- Hometown: West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Award: Udall Scholarship honorable mention
- Extracurriculars: University Student Senate, Dean’s Leadership Program, Women’s Rugby, SJU Naturals, SJU LEAD, Running Start Early Arrival Program
- What inspired you to apply for this award? I came across the Udall Scholarship in a search for post-graduate school funding, and the scholarship's founding mission of public service and environmental advocacy resonated with me. I was excited to see how I could approach the application with my perspective.
- What are you up to now? What’s next? I am currently studying abroad in South Africa and after graduation hope to attend law school.
To apply for a scholarship, fellowship or grant, or to learn about award opportunities, visit Saint Joseph’s Fellowships Office.