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2018 Student National Award Winners

Each year, University of Rochester students earn awards and scholarships in recognition of their academic achievements. We’re proud to highlight several of this year’s recipients as they prepare to make the world ever better through their teaching, research, and community-building efforts.

Fulbright Awards

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, this program is designed to promote mutual understanding and peace between the United States and other nations through educational and cultural exchange and offers college graduates opportunities for career-launching study, teaching, and research abroad. Fulbright students are expected to serve as cultural ambassadors and participate in community engagement activities while carrying out their projects abroad.

LEARN MORE: Seven Rochester students accept prestigious Fulbright grants

Laura Cowie-Haskell

Laura Cowie-Haskell

Laura Cowie-Haskell ’18

Hometown: Marshfield, Massachusetts
Major: Anthropology

Laura will be an English teaching assistant in Kenya. She is the first Rochester winner for the Kenya program.

Ella De Falco

Ella De Falco

Ella De Falco ’18

Hometown: Skaneateles, New York
Major: Linguistics

Ella will be traveling to Belgium to be an English teaching assistant.

Amelia Kelly

Amelia Kelly

Amelia Kelly ’18

Hometown: Syracuse, New York
Major: Anthropology, history

Amelia will be an English teaching assistant in Malaysia.

Reva Peer

Reva Peer

Reva Peer ’18

Hometown: Roseville, California
Major: Molecular genetics

Reva is heading to South Korea, where she will be an English teaching assistant.

Joseph Plvan-Franke

Joseph Plvan-Franke

Joseph Plvan-Franke ’17, ’17 (T5)

Hometown: Syracuse, New York
Major: Computer science, linguistics

Joseph will be an English teaching assistant in Laos.

Alexis Wallace

Alexis Wallace

Alexis Wallace ’18

Hometown: Fort Drum, New York
Major: Political science, Russian

Alexis will be an English teaching assistant in Russia.

Erin Straight

Erin Straight

Erin Straight ’17

Hometown: Wolcott, New York
Major: Spanish, international relations

Erin is heading to Brazil , where she will be an English teaching assistant.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

The fellowship is part of a federally sponsored program and provides up to three years of graduate study support for students pursing doctoral or research-based master’s degrees. Since the program’s inception in 1952, it has supported more than 50,000 students conducting research in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and selected social science disciplines.

LEARN MORE: Six Rochester students receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Hayden Carder

Hayden Carder

Hayden Carder ’18

Hometown: Hinsdale, Illinois
Major: Chemistry

Hayden will begin his PhD in chemistry this fall at MIT. He plans to immerse himself in an emerging area of chemistry that optimizes the desired properties of a molecule to solve crucial problems facing society.

Sarah Henry

Sarah Henry

Sarah Henry, PhD candidate

Hometown: Benson, North Carolina

Sara will continue analyzing neutrino cross section measurements while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Physics (known as CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ryan Rubenzahl

Ryan Rubenzahl

Ryan Rubenzahl ’18

Hometown: Lowville, New York
Major: Physics and astronomy

Ryan will be attending California University of Technology to pursue a PhD in astrophysics. His research will be in observational data-driven astronomy involving surveys.

Lauren Oey

Lauren Oey

Lauren Oey ’18

Hometown: Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
Major: Brain and cognitive sciences, statistics, linguistics

Lauren will be pursuing a PhD in computational cognitive psychology at the University of California-San Diego. She hopes to develop computational models of the human mind, examining how people develop their abilities to communicate and learn.

Janet Sorrels

Janet Sorrels

Janet Sorrells ’17, ’18 (T5)

Hometown: Harvard, Massachusetts
Major: Biomedical engineering

Janet will pursue a PhD in bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research project will be in the field of biophotonics.

Aleza Wallace

Aleza Wallace

Aleza Wallace, PhD candidate

Hometown: Narberth, Pennsylvania

Aleza plans to continue studying academic motivation and study strategies at the University of Rochester.

DAAD RISE

The program allows students to pursue science and engineering summer internships at prominent research institutions in Germany. RISE scholars are mentored by German doctoral students

LEARN MORE: Rochester sets record for Germany’s DAAD RISE scholars

Diwas Gautam

Diwas Gautam

Diwas Gautam ’20

Hometown: Ilam, Nepal
Major: Mechanical engineering

Diwas will be at the Hochschule Hannover, where he’ll research the scalability of mobile micro-CHP units for their application in electric vehicles.

Collin Gwilt

Collin Gwilt

Collin Gwilt ’20

Hometown: Liverpool, New York
Major: Biomedical engineering

Collin will be working at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg. He will assist in taking clinical samples of HIV-infected patients, and analyzing the correlation between the expression of integrin proteins and the size of the viral reservoir.

Muhammad Hadi

Muhammad Hadi

Muhammad Hadi ’19

Hometown: Muscat, Oman
Major: Mechanical engineering

Muhammad will be at Hamburg University of Technology working on developing and implementing non-linear controls for flexible lightweight robots.

Carley Haft

Carley Haft

Carley Haft ’19

Hometown: San Diego, California
Major: Biology, and Health, behavior & society

Carley will be working in a cognitive neuroscience lab at Humboldt University of Berlin, helping to create an automated system for animal care in order to minimize human error.

Shemmar Jackson

Shemmar Jackson

Shemmar Jackson ’20

Hometown: Springfield Gardens, New York
Major: Mechanical engineering

Shemmar will be at the Technical University of Dortmund, working on a research project titled “Manufacturing of Load-optimized Automotive Components by Incremental Sheet-Bulk Metal Forming.”

Megan Kice

Megan Kice

Megan Kice ’20

Hometown: Memphis, Missouri
Major: Microbiology

Megan’s internship will be at the Helmhotz Centre for Environmental Research, studying the effect of preceding drought on the stress response of bacteria at the Helmhotz Centre for Environmental Research.

Yunke “Claudia” Ren

Yunke “Claudia” Ren

Yunke “Claudia” Ren ’20

Hometown: Hefei, China
Major: Biomedical engineering
Yunke will be working on a research project called “Biomimetic Adhesive from Lignin” at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. It will focus on imitating the adhesive properties of mussels to develop a new, non-toxic adhesive, based on a lignin backbone.

Adina Ripin

Adina Ripin

Adina Ripin ’20

Hometown: Old Saybrook, Connecticut
Major: Physics

Adina will be performing research in a physics lab at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, where she will study individual atoms submerged in Bose-Einstein condensate.

Erin Sumfleth

Erin Sumfleth

Erin Sumfleth ’20

Hometown: Callicoon, New York
Major: Optical engineering

Erin will be working with polymers and solar cells at the Karlsruhe Institute of Microstructure Technology.

Lauren Testa

Lauren Testa

Lauren Testa ’19

Hometown: Glen Rock, New Jersey
Major: Molecular genetics

Lauren will be at the University of Tübingen, performing genetics research on the cardiovascular genetic disorder familial dilated cardiomyopathy. Her project will involve generating a knock-in cell line and using it for drug testing.

Aimé Laurent Twizerimana

Aimé Laurent Twizerimana

Aimé Laurent Twizerimana ’20

Hometown: Nyabihu, Rwanda
Major: Chemical engineering

Aimé will be working at the Julich Research Centre on a project that involves developing innovative reactors for fuel synthesis from hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Sifan Ye

Sifan Ye

Sifan Ye ’20

Hometown: Shanghai, China
Major: Computer science

Sifan will be participating in research at Saarland University that details the privacy impact of self-tracking devices.

Javon Walker

Javon Walker

Javon Walker ’19

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Major: Electrical and computer engineering

Javon will be at the University of Kaiserslautern, conducting research on antenna design to improve performance.

Isaac Wong

Isaac Wong

Isaac Wong ’19

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Major: Computational biology

Isaac will be at Free University in Berlin, working on cellular receptor signaling and cytoskeleton studied by live cell and super resolution microscopy.

Victor Zhang

Victor Zhang

Victor Zhang ’19

Hometown: Lexington, Massachusetts
Major: Biomedical engineeriny

Victor will be joining a lab at Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgard working on organ-on-a-chip technologies. His project will involve further research and development of the system and optimizing its use in future applications.

Dingzhe Zheng

Dingzhe Zheng

Dingzhe Zheng ’19

Hometown: Wenzhou, China
Major: Optical engineering

Dingzhe is heading to the Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences in Giessen, researching a new concept to achieve a quantitative detection of fluorescence markers.

Davis Projects for Peace

This highly competitive national program promotes peace and intercultural understanding by providing $10,000 grants to college students nominated by their institutions who are part of the Davis World College Scholars Program to carry out grassroots summer projects anywhere in the world. The program was born in 2007, when philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis committed $1 million for 100 projects to celebrate her 100th birthday.

LEARN MORE: Two pairs of University students to receive Davis Projects for Peace grants

Allen Chen

Allen Chen

Philemon Rono ’21

Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Major: Mechanical engineering

Bienfait Mugenza ’21

Hometown: Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
Major: Political science

Bienfait and Philemon will run a workshop in Kigali, Rwanda called “Peace through Entrepreneurship.” The goal is to teach young people the leadership skills vital to peace and economic stability.

Allen Chen

Allen Chen

Ashely Tenesaca ’20

Hometown: New York, New York
Major: Computer science

Shingirai Dhoro ’20

Hometown: Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Major: Electrical and computer engineering

Shinghirai and Ashely will be working on a project in Zimbabwe titled “Water for Peace: Solving Mukwerera Conflict through the Provision of Sustainable Water Supply.”

NIH Academy Enrichment Program Fellowship

The National Institutes of Health offers competitive funding to trainees at the postbaccalaureate level interested in learning about health disparities while performing world-class research at the NIH’s Bethesda, Maryland, campus.

Oluwatobi Abubakare

Oluwatobi Abubakare

Oluwatobi (“Tobi”) Abubakare ’18

Hometown: Houston, Texas
Major: Language and brain development

Tobi will use this fellowship to conduct research in both the neurology of developmental disabilities and natural language processing of functional data within disability.

Amgen Scholarship

The Amgen Scholarship Program provides hundreds of selected undergraduates with an opportunity to engage in hands-on health-related research during the summer at many of the world’s leading institutions.

Allen Chen

Allen Chen

Allen Chen ’19

Hometown: Clarence, New York
Major: Neuroscience

Allen will spend the summer at the University of California-San Francisco, where he either will work in a lab that develops invasive brain computer interfaces or one that lies in the intersection of neuroscience and engineering.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by Congress in 1986 to develop a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding undergraduate scholarships to outstanding college sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue advanced degrees and research careers in those fields. Colleges and universities nominate up to four candidates each year.

LEARN MORE: Two University students awarded prestigious Goldwater Scholarships

Allen Chen

Allen Chen

Allen Chen ’19

Hometown: Clarence, New York
Major: Neuroscience

Allen will use his scholarship money toward next year’s tuition.

Audrey Goldfarb

Audrey Goldfarb

Audrey Goldfarb ’19

Hometown: Honeoye Falls, New York
Major: Biology

Audrey plans to use her scholarship money toward next year’s tuition.

Critical Language Scholarship

A program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the scholarship includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

LEARN MORE: Three undergraduates earn Critical Language Scholarships

Jacqueline Tran

Jacqueline Tran

Jacqueline Tran ’18

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Major: Anthropology

Jacqueline is heading to Amman, Jordan, this summer to study Arabic.

John Cole

John Cole

John Cole ’19

Hometown: Oberlin, Ohio
Major: Economics and international relations

John is headed to Xi’an, China, where he will study Chinese.

Joy Nicholas

Joy Nicholas

Joy Nicholas ’19

Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Major: Health, behavior & society

Joy will travel to Arusha, Tanzania, this summer to study Swahili.

Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Scholarships are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

LEARN MORE: Two University graduates honored with Gates Cambridge scholarships

Garrett Rubin

Garrett Rubin

Garrett Rubin ’12E, ’13 (T5)

Hometown: Roseville, California
Major: Voice performance (Eastman) and US-Middle Eastern cultural diplomacy (Take Five)

Garrett will be undertaking a PhD in education, with a focus on the socioloty of education during times of war.

Levan Bokeria

Levan Bokeria

Levan Bokeria ’14

Hometown: Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
Major: Philosophy, brain and cognitive sciences

Levan will be undertaking a PhD in biological science at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.