Five Ball State students receive prestigious national scholarships

Topics: Scholarships, College of Sciences and Humanities, Teachers College

June 18, 2008

Ball State University junior Sahba Charkhzarrin attributes his experiences at the university to helping him win one of the nation's most sought-after collegiate scholarships.

Charkhzarrin is the recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, having been selected for the award from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants.

He is one of five high-achieving Ball State students recently recognized for receiving national scholarships to pursue educational opportunities related to their fields of study.

"The wonderful environment of the campus, the availability of research opportunities and the thoughtful mentorship of faculty members with whom I have worked greatly contributed to my success [in the Goldwater competition]," Charkhzarrin said. "I could not accomplish this without the training I received at Ball State."

Barb Stedman, Ball State's director of national and international scholarships, said the number of Ball State students winning such major scholarships is on an upward trend.

"As we attract more high-achieving students to Ball State, we certainly should see more of them making a serious bid for top-tier scholarships like the ones received by these students," Stedman said.

Critical Language Scholarship

Jessica Barnes, La Porte, Ind., received the 2008 Critical Language Scholarship from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department. The department gives the scholarship nationwide to U.S. students and recent graduates for participation in summer language programs on behalf of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), a U.S. government interagency effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need foreign languages. Barnes, a sophomore landscape architecture major, will spend two months of her summer in Tunisia studying Arabic.

"It's my hope to use my future cultural understanding and linguistic skills to learn more about water resources in North Africa after I graduate from Ball State," Barnes said.

Barnes is the first student from Ball State to be awarded the scholarship.

Morris K. Udall Scholarship

Carissa Buchholz, Crown Point, Ind., earned the 2008 Morris K. Udall Scholarship from the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation. The foundation awarded the scholarship to Buchholz, who was among 80 recipients and 510 applicants and only one of 22 sophomores. The award is given nationwide to sophomores and juniors intending to pursue careers related to the environment, tribal health care or tribal policy. Buchholz, a sophomore majoring in natural resources and environmental management, will travel to Tucson, Ariz., to receive her $5,000 scholarship and meet policymakers and community leaders in environmental fields, tribal health care and governance.

"The Udall Scholarship is truly a blessing for me," Buchholz said. "It will help me accomplish my lifetime goal of becoming a renewable energy specialist."

Buchholz is the fourth Ball State student to be named a Udall Scholar in the last four years.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Charkhzarrin of Muncie, Ind., was one of 321 students selected from 1,035 applicants for the Goldwater Scholarship. The scholarship is based on merit and covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board to a maximum of $7,500. Sophomores and juniors planning to enter careers in the sciences, mathematics and engineering are eligible.

Charkhzarrin said he is honored to receive the award and feels that he has been recognized for his efforts.

He is a biology-biochemistry major.

U.S. Navy Health Professions Scholarship

Justin Orr, Gladstone, Mo., has earned the 2008 U.S. Navy Health Professions Scholarship from the Navy's Medical and Dental Corps Program. The scholarship, given to 75 students nationwide, provides Orr with four years of full tuition and fees, a living stipend and a sign-on bonus for his education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City's doctor of dental surgery program. A senior biology and pre-dental major, Orr plans to find a career in the Navy after earning his degree.

"I am extremely grateful and honored to be receiving this scholarship," Orr said. "I am excited for all the opportunities a career in the Navy will offer me and look forward to serving my fellow countrymen."

Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship

The U.S. State Department has awarded Matthew Rooney, Indianapolis, the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, which is part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The program is intended to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of more than 140 countries. The department gives 1,200 awards to students from the nation.

"Growing up in a small town, I never anticipated having such incredible opportunities available to me," Rooney said.

The senior instrumental and general music education major will teach English to middle or high school students in Korea for the next year. The grant covers Rooney's travel, living expenses and health insurance during his stay in Korea.

"Matthew Rooney is the sort of student who will make an excellent Fulbright," said Dom Caristi, Ball State's Fulbright program adviser and associate professor of telecommunications. "I am certain that all the Koreans who meet and work with him will have a positive attitude about Americans, thanks to Matthew's intelligence, hard work and positive attitude."

By Elaina Gemelas

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