Gettysburg College students win Fulbright, Goldwater grants

Gettysburg College students won an unprecedented number of prestigious grants and scholarships this year.

Included are two grants through the United States Department of State's Fulbright Program for research in Germany and Cameroon, two $7,500 federal Barry M. Goldwater scholarships for scientific studies, and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship.

"Gettysburg students are more and more successful even as the competition for grants keeps ratcheting up every year," said Assistant Provost Maureen Forrestal, who mentors students over their four years in college as they seek fellowships, scholarships, and grants.

Despite competition that includes applicants with doctorates and master's degrees from elite institutions, Gettysburg students have earned Fulbrights in each of the past five years and frequently in years before that. "But this is the first time we've had two Fulbrights in one year," said Forrestal, adding that a third student is an alternate who will receive a Fulbright for study in Spain should another recipient be unable to accept his or her award.

Similarly, this year's pair of Goldwater scholarships matches the total for the entire previous history of the College.

The College's successes - such as the Rhodes Scholarship won by 2006 graduate Luke Norris - are emboldening students to seek grants, Forrestal said. "They think, ‘I know him from class,' and they realize that they could apply too."
 
Gettysburg's extensive study-abroad program is also a factor. "The strongest applicants have studied outside the United States, and our Office of Off-Campus Studies makes sure they have a substantive experience," Forrestal said.

Fulbright awardees and their projects are:

  • Anne Emerson, a senior majoring in physics and education, will observe elementary school classes in Cameroon to help determine why girls there and in the United States "tend to show a loss of interest in mathematics and science as well as a loss of confidence in their abilities as early as fourth and fifth grade." For an article to be published in a scholarly journal, she will also work with a faculty member of the University of Yaounde 1 to interview girls and boys about their attitudes toward math and science and plans for the future. She is from South Pasadena, Calif.
  • Rachel Burg, a senior political science and history major, will gauge changing attitudes toward U.S. foreign policy and German cooperation with it. She will interview focus groups comprising native-born Germans and Muslim immigrants as well as persons over 60 years old and under 30. She will also review relevant media coverage in cooperation with a University of Erfurt faculty member. "No longer can government officials and political leaders work within the bubble that is their respective country," she said. "By interacting with other students and German professors, I will broaden my understanding of the United States and our place in the world." She is from New London, Wisc.
  • The Fulbright alternate is a 2005 Gettysburg graduate who earned a master's in science writing in 2006 at Johns Hopkins University. Meagan White hopes to help Spanish researchers learn more about deadly virus outbreaks among protected Mediterranean striped dolphins and to write about the issue for general audiences in both English and Spanish.
The Goldwater and Hollings scholarships all went to students majoring in environmental studies. They are:

  • Natasha Gownaris, a junior from Bellmawr, N.J. who is also majoring in biology and plans to conduct marine ecological research to help governments better manage resources. She did research on the common blue mussel in Maine with Gettysburg College environmental studies professor John Commito.
  • Julie Markus, a junior from Greenfield Center, N.Y., who hopes to conduct research on northern glaciers to improve understanding of climate change. To measure climate change over the past approximately 11,000 years, she analyzed peat samples from Maine in collaboration with Gettysburg College environmental studies professor Sarah Principato.
  • Alexander Horning, a sophomore also majoring in political science, received the Hollings scholarship, which includes an academic scholarship of up to $8,000 and a 10-week internship at an NOAA facility. Horning is from Elizabethtown, Pa.

Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences. With a student body of approximately 2,600, it is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1832.

Posted April 17, 2008

By Jim Hale 

Posted: Thu, 17 Apr 2008

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