Architecture major wins Cultural Vistas Fellowship to Singapore
Critical Language Scholarship finalists
U.S. Student Fulbright Grant finalists
Two students win Gilman Scholarship
Ball State athlete wins Bob Jones Memorial Scholarship
Three from Ball State receive Fulbright Student Grants
Men’s volleyball player wins NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship
Recent alumna receives Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship for graduate studies
Art and biology major selected for U.K. Fulbright Summer Institute
Hollings Scholarship winners
Goldwater Scholarship honorable mentions
Udall Scholarship winner and honorable mention
Skylar Chew: NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship
March 2014: Denise Blankenberger – a sophomore Honors College student majoring in architecture, with a minor in sustainability – has been awarded a Cultural Vistas Fellowship to undertake a fully funded, eight-week internship in Singapore this summer. She is the first Ball State student to win the fellowship, which is in its second year.
The Cultural Vistas Fellowship program annually offers 12 U.S. undergraduates the opportunity to advance their career goals, develop global competencies, and experience life in Argentina, Germany, and Singapore through eight-week internships that focus on sustainability. Denise is one of four students selected for the Singapore program, which includes additional weeks of pre-trip preparation in New York City.
While in Singapore, Denise will intern with an architecture firm or other professional organization that incorporates sustainability principles and practices into its work. “Part of my duty as an architect is to find better ways to approach building and design techniques to assure a cleaner, better future,” she said.
Denise is active in Ball State’s chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and American Institute of Architecture Students. She participated in a Global Brigades environmental service trip to the Panama rainforest in December and has become president of Ball State’s newest Global Brigades program, a brigade specifically focused on architecture.
“I am thrilled to get the chance to travel and explore Singapore, which is one of the most sustainable cities in the world,” said Denise. “I hope to learn about their culture, particularly how individuals live and interact with the built environment, to broaden my understanding of architecture on the international scale.”
Cultural Vistas is a not-for-profit organization that has used career exploration to facilitate connections between Americans and international visitors for more than 60 years. Its mission is “to enrich minds, advance global skills, build careers, and connect lives through international exchange."
February 2014: Three Ball State students advanced in the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS):
Hilary Hughes (for study of Russian) - finalist
Kirby (for study of Bangla) - finalist
Amon Rizvi (for study of Urdu) -alternate
Critical Language Scholarships provided 8-10 weeks of summer language study in one of 13 languages that are considered critical to U.S. national security. Each language program also provides cultural immersion in a country in which the language is spoken.
January 2014: Eight Ball State applicants for the U.S. Student Fulbright Grant have advanced to the finalist stage:
Taylor Byrd (to teach English in Malaysia)
Talley Gale (for graduate study in the United Kingdom)
Amara Knox (to teach English in Malaysia)
Jeffrey Lauer (to conduct research in India)
Meghan Reidy (to teach English in Germany)
Matthew Smith (for graduate study in the United Kingdom)
Hannah Turner (for study in Hungary)
Anna Wurdeman (to teach English in Germany)
Finalists will be notified of their final status in the spring. If awarded a grant, the recipient will go abroad this fall for approximately 9-10 months.
This year the Fulbright headquarters received a record number of applications – over 10,000 – from graduating seniors, graduate students, and recent graduates.
January 2014: Two students have received Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships, to support educational experiences in Malta and Germany this semester.
Ellie Komoda, a junior majoring in general studies, with minors in history and psychology, has been awarded a Benjamin Gilman Scholarship to support her study at the University of Malta.
In addition to her studies at the university, Ellie is creating a short film about her experiences that she will use, upon her return to the U.S., to encourage other college students to study abroad. “So much can be learned outside of their home countries,” said Ellie, who is fluent in four languages, “and opportunities to study abroad are in abundance.”
Her film will fulfill the requirement that all Gilman Scholarship recipients carry out a follow-on project that helps promote international education and understanding.
After completing her bachelor’s degree, Ellie – a resident of Bloomington, Ind. – intends to pursue a career teaching English as a Second Language, in order to help immigrants to the United States adapt to their new country.
Hailey Rice, from Kokomo, Ind., is spending the semester student teaching in Germany with the support of a Gilman Scholarship. A senior in BSU’s exceptional needs and severe interventions program, Hailey is the first Ball State student from her major to participate in the student teaching program at Ramstein, a United States Air force base in Germany.
“I am so thankful for this scholarship and the awareness it will help bring to other special education majors about this nontraditional route for student teaching,” Hailey said. “I am extremely fortunate to have been given the chance to showcase my abilities and strengthen my passion for teaching students with special needs in Germany.”
For her follow-on project, Hailey plans to share her experiences in Germany in special education classrooms at Ball State and also create printed materials to promote the Ramstein program.
The federally-funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students pursuing academic studies abroad, in order to better prepare them to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world. Up to $3,000 of additional funding is available to students to pursue study of certain languages.
August 2013: Skylar Chew, a 2012 graduate who played for the women’s soccer team, has received the Bob James Memorial Award from the Mid-American Conference (MAC), in recognition of her outstanding academic performance, character, leadership, and citizenship.
Each year the MAC Faculty Athletics Representatives select one female and one male senior athlete for the $5,000 scholarship, which must be used for graduate studies.
Skylar, who majored in psychology (with a minor in interpersonal relations), will use the scholarship to help fund her future studies in counseling or healthcare, with the goal of becoming a mental health counselor.
Earlier this year she received a $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, which also must be used to support graduate studies. Nationwide, she was one of only 29 female athletes in fall sports to receive the scholarship and one of 174 athletes, both male and female, to receive the award during the 2012-13 academic year.
Skylar is spending most of 2013 teaching psychology and English to women at the Leadership Center in Honduras. As a BSU student she was extremely active in community service and spent a summer teaching and coaching in Peru.
“I am so thankful for this honor and feel so blessed by everyone who has helped me get to where I am,” Skylar stated. “I pray that this award will contribute to furthering my education so that I am better equipped to serve others and make a positive different throughout the wider world.”
With a 4.0 GPA, Skylar graduated summa cum laude from Ball State in December 2012. She was the first women’s soccer player in the school’s history to be named first-team Capital One Academic All-American. She also earned ESPN Academic All-District second team and Academic All-MAC (Mid-American Conference) honors.
Now in its 25th year, the Bob James Memorial Award is named in honor Bob James, the second commissioner in Mid-American Conference history (1964-71). The male recipient for the 2012 Bob James Award was Briggs Orsbon, a member of Ball State’s football team.
July 2013: Two Ball State students and an alumna have received Fulbright U.S. Student Grants, to support teaching and research opportunities abroad during the 2013-14 academic year.
The Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and is intended to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of more than 155 countries. In 2013 the department awarded approximately 1,700 grants to U.S. students and recent graduates.
Carly Bacurin, a 2009 Ball State graduate, received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany. There she will assist a German teacher of English by facilitating conversations in English and giving presentations on American culture and traditions.
Outside of her time in the classroom, she also intends to volunteer at a hippotherapy center, drawing upon her experience in horseback riding and interest in working with individuals with disabilities.
An Evansville, Ind., native, Carly majored in German and visual communications at Ball State and was a student in the Honors College. Following her Fulbright year, she intends to enter a Master of Speech-Language Pathology degree.
“I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to live in Germany for a year,” Carly said. “While helping German students develop their English skills, I will be able to gain classroom experience that I hope will aid me in my dream to become a speech pathologist in the public school system.”
Abby Savage, from Hicksville Ohio, likewise has received an English Teaching Assistantship to Germany and also has been named a Diversity Ambassador for the Fulbright Program, to instruct German students on American politics, culture, and education.
Abby intends to create a conversation partner program between her students and U.S. classrooms and to develop a drama program that will involve her students in community theater. She further hopes to become involved in the community she lives in by providing Zumba lessons at a local gym and teaching conversational English classes.
The May 2013 graduate – who was a Whitinger Scholar within the Honors College – majored in elementary education and German at Ball State. After her year with Fulbright, Abby hopes to secure a position teaching in a developing nation.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be returning to teach in a place that inspired my passion for education,” said Abby, who briefly studied in Germany in both high school and college. “My experience abroad will help me to become a more culturally-responsive educator, and this is a lesson I will carry into all my future teaching experiences. I am ecstatic to work alongside the Fulbright Commission to provide culture and language enrichment for students in Germany.”
Doctoral student Cynthia L. Smith, originally of Heiskell, Tenn., has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to conduct research in Basel, Switzerland during the 2013-14 academic year. She will be working with the Paul Sacher Foundation and the University of Basel to research the manuscripts of Holocaust composer Viktor Ullmann and promote his compositions within the Basel community.
Cynthia entered the doctor of arts program in vocal performance and music history and musicology at Ball State’s School of Music in 2010. Her work in Switzerland will be part of her dissertation research and her larger journey as a scholar of Holocaust music.
After completing her doctorate, Cynthia intends to pursue a teaching position at the college or university level.
“I am truly honored to be a recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Student Award,” Cynthia said. “I hope to make Viktor Ullmann’s vocal compositions, particularly his Holocaust works, more accessible to performers and audiences. His music deserves to be performed.”
Learn more about Cynthia's time in Switzerland by following her blog.
Another student, Jeffrey Dick, of Muncie, also was offered a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, to South Korea, but he declined in order to accept an opportunity in graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. The May 2013 graduate majored in chemistry at Ball State.
Lauren Siefert, from Batesville, Ind., was named an alternate to Fulbright’s ETA program in Indonesia. In May she completed her undergraduate degree in family and consumer sciences.
June 2013: Tommy Rouse, who was a member of the BSU men’s volleyball team, received a $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship to support his studies in dental school. The scholarship, which recognizes athletes who excel in academics, leadership, service, and character, is awarded to 174 athletes annually – 29 male athletes and 29 female athletes for each sports season.
A Carmel, Ind., resident, Tommy majored in biology and pre-dental preparation at Ball State, graduating in May 2013 with a 3.86 GPA.
His academic and athletic honors as a student included the MAC (Mid-American Conference) Commissioner's Award, the Ball State Student Athlete Award, MIVA (Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) All-Academic honors, and First Team All-MIVA. He was an active volunteer for several Muncie organizations.
He plans to enter dental school in the fall of 2014.
June 2013: Laura Gilbert, a 2012 Ball State graduate from Monticello, Ind., has received a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship to support her graduate studies at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. She is one of 51 recent graduates across the country to win the $5,000 fellowship, in addition to six students who received $15,000 fellowships.
Laura graduated from Ball State and Honors College in July 2012 as the university’s first Medallion Scholar, a prestigious opportunity that allowed her to design her own major in the Classical Tradition. During the last year she worked as a publishing and media intern at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Through the University of Bristol’s MA program in Classical Reception, Laura will study the ways in classical cultures continue to influence modern culture, especially in art and literature. After completing her degree there, she intends to pursue a career in research and education at an art museum or a civic arts organization.
Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Ball State has had a campus chapter since 2003.
May 2013: Sarah Fischer, an Honors College student and double major in printmaking and wildlife biology, was selected to participate in the 2013 U.K. Fulbright Summer Institute at Notthingham Trent University. She was one of 62 freshmen and sophomores chosen nationwide for nine summer institutes, all of which are fully funded.
Sarah, who completed her freshman year in May, intends to become a wildlife illustrator. The Louisville, Kentucky, native is a member of Ball State’s Wildlife Society and has already won a national award for one of her drawings.
During her four weeks at Nottingham Trent University, Sarah and seven other participants will take several art courses, create and present art pieces in a final exhibition, and participate in various history and culture lectures, shows, and activities to gain a better understanding of the United Kingdom’s history, heritage, and culture.
“Collaboration is very important to me, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals in a new setting,” said Sarah. “As a hopeful scientific illustrator, I am also excited to have the chance to observe the biodiversity of England.”
One of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating world-wide, the U.K. Fulbright Summer Institute is a program of the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission. Summer Institute participants are chosen as future leaders who will support the “special relationship” between the U.S. and U.K.
April 2013: Two Honors College students – Kacie Shourd and Amy “Aj” Wardle, both of whom are majoring in meteorology in the Geography Department – have become Ball State’s first students ever to win the prestigious Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship.
An initiative of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Hollings Scholarship is awarded to students who intend to pursue careers in oceanic and atmospheric science. The scholarship awards $8,000 per year during recipients’ junior and senior years, as well as a paid 10-week summer internship at a NOAA facility.
Kacie Shourd, a sophomore from Westfield, Ind., has a minor in astrophysics and is currently assistant director of Ball State’s Storm Chase Team.
As an undergraduate research assistant, she has helped investigate the relationships between bad weather and multi-car accidents. She has also participated in a weather balloon launch and hopes to revive the National Weather Service observation station that once existed at Ball State.
After completing her undergraduate degree, Kacie intends to pursue a Ph.D. in meteorology, focusing her research on tornado-producing storms and improved forecasting models.
Eventually combining that expertise with a graduate degree in astrophysics/astronomy, Kacie wants to study how factors outside the Earth’s atmosphere, such as solar weather, affect our weather.
Aj Wardle, a sophomore from Pittsboro, Ind., is complementing her meteorology major with minors in geographical information science and natural resources.
Active in Ball State’s Storm Chase Team, she plans to pursue a career with NOAA or Homeland Security as a weather forecaster. Outside of Ball State, she has been active as a referee for U.S. Soccer at various age levels.
After gaining some professional work experience, Aj plans to pursue a graduate degree in meteorology, with the goal of developing more accurate models for forecasting severe weather.
Her ultimate goal is to establish a career with the National Weather Service, ideally at the Storm Prediction Center, or with Homeland Security, perhaps in FEMA or the Coast Guard.
Kacie and Aj are among 126 sophomores to receive the Hollings Scholarship this year. For more information, visit the NOAA website.
April 2013: Two Ball State juniors have been awarded Honorable Mention in the 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship competition, which recognizes sophomores and juniors who plan to enter careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.
Hunter Gibbons, from Toledo, Ohio, is majoring in biology, with a concentration in genetics and a certification in biotechnology. As an undergraduate, Hunter has gained extensive experience in genetics research at Ball State and the University of Toledo. This summer he will participate in rheumatology research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
After graduating from Ball State, Hunter intends to pursue a Ph.D. in human genetics, with a focus on rheumatoid arthritis.
Anna Salvati, a chemistry major from Goshen, Ind., likewise has an extensive research record, beginning with chemistry research in the summers of 2010 and 2011 at Depuy Orthopedics in Warsaw, Ind.
At Ball State Anna participated in the summer 2012 CRISP (Chemistry Research Immersion Summer Program) and continues ongoing research in synthetic organic chemistry. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in that same field, with the goal of improving chemical dispersants in industry.
In the last decade, eight Ball State students have been named Goldwater Scholars, and five have received Honorable Mention.
April 2013: Kevin Williams, a junior majoring in natural resources and environmental management, has received a 2013 Udall Scholarship. He is one of 50 students nationwide to receive the $5,000 scholarship, which recognizes his commitment to a career in the environment, his leadership potential, and his academic achievement.
He is the seventh Ball State student to win a Udall Scholarship since 2005.
A resident of Indianapolis, Kevin intends to pursue a career in water quality management and public education, with a special focus on runoff and drinking water supplies for urban areas.
During summer 2012 he interned with the U.S. Department of the Interior in both Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.
Kevin is spending spring semester 2013 at Ball State’s Cost Rica Center, where he is studying and gaining hands-on experience at Tirimbina Biological Reserve. In December he received another national award, the Benjamin Gilman Scholarship, to support his studies in Costa Rica.
From August 7-11, Kevin and the other 2013 Udall Scholars will assemble in Tucson, Ariz., to receive their awards and meet policymakers and leaders in environmental fields and tribal healthcare and governance.
“I am now a part of a special group of students and alumni across the country who are challenged to think creatively about how to improve the state of our environment,” Kevin said. “The Udall legacy has blazed the trail for many environmental efforts in this country, so being a recipient of the scholarship is incredible.”
Another student majoring in natural resources and environmental management, Alyssa Hartman, was one of 50 students to receive Honorable Mention in the Udall Scholarship competition. A junior from Van Wert, Ohio, Alyssa is also studying at the Tirimbina Biological Reserve in Costa Rica.
With plans to pursue a career in global food security, focusing on sustainable farming practices, Alyssa has been president of Ball State’s Oxfam chapter and a participant in Oxfam’s CHANGE Initiative leadership program in Boston. In 2011 she received a scholarship to participate in the UK Fulbright Summer Institute in Wales.
The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports sophomores and juniors committed to careers that protect or serve the environment or tribal policy and healthcare. This year the Foundation received 488 scholarship nominations from 230 colleges and universities.
March 2013: Recent graduate and soccer player Skylar Chew, from Mason, Ohio, has received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, recognizing her excellence in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and community service.
Skylar, who majored in psychology (with a minor in interpersonal relations), will use the $7,500 scholarship to help fund her future studies in counseling and counselor education at Indiana University, where she will study after spending much of 2013 teaching psychology and English in Honduras. She plans to become a mental health counselor.
With a 4.0 GPA, Skylar graduated summa cum laude in December 2012. Her athletic honors include being a first-team Capital One Academic All-American, while earning ESPN Academic All-District second team and Academic All-MAC (Mid-American Conference) honors.
"It means a great deal for me to receive this honor," said Skylar. "The mental health field has such a large need right now, so I feel really blessed for the opportunity to continue my education so that I can be of greater help in this area and to other people in this world."
A total of 174 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships are awarded each year, with 29 male and 29 female athletes selected for each sports season.
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