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A Greater Good

From international business ethics to earthquake safety to global medicine, several SCU students and alumni get ready to put their prestigious awards to good use

Fulbright Award Recipients and Alternates

Saayeli Mukherji ’13 is a finance major and history minor who will study at the Duisenberg School of Finance in The Netherlands. She plans to create an open forum on business ethics to help prevent global ethics catastrophes such as the 2008 financial crisis.

"This Fulbright opportunity allows me to continue my work as a Hackworth Business Ethics Fellow and further ignite global conversations about business ethics. Specifically, I hope this dialogue allows for a crowd sourced business ethics guide that can help develop more integrity in future generations of business leaders."


Julianne Parayo ’12  plans to use her English and music training at SCU to explore her capacity for teaching English in a new environment and to participate in a powerful and artistic cross-cultural exchange. She chose Poland to explore its deep regard for both tradition and progress and to investigate how cross-generational dynamics transform a nation's culture.

"By teaching English not just as a foreign language, but as a means for self-expression, I hope to give Polish students a fair representation of American culture, and become an ambassador in an artistic sense, by allowing students to engage their voices in a cross-cultural discourse. In doing so, I wish to explore the ability to override language barriers through multi-disciplinary engagement of music and song."

Natalie Lays ’14, will teach English in Brazil and looks forward to pursuing her interest in other cultures and global medicine. After a summer internship, she was inspired by the dynamic culture and forward-looking mentality of the Brazilian people. She is graduating with a degree in psychology from SCU this June.

"With this award I hope to improve my leadership skills and gain a wider perspective on the health disparities experienced outside of the United States.

Daniel Peng '12, is using his Fulbright award to address the growing diabetes epidemic in China.  Peng was a biology major at SCU and wants to improve diabetes management, as well as long-term clinical outcome in diabetes patients at a regional diabetes clinic in Hangzhou, China by establishing actionable patient goals, relevant community activity groups, and an electronic follow-up system.

"Working with children affected by the disease has been a great personal motivation to create answers for how to better manage diabetes through health education and lifestyle habits. By investigating best practices in clinical health education in a rural clinic in China, my goal is to bring knowledge and answers back to the United States to advocate for better health education in underserved, immigrant communities."

Rachel Wilmoth ’14, was selected as an alternate and is hoping her project to research the mechanical and structural components of the sea urchin’s self-sharpening teeth will be funded. The project could help improve the sharpness of tools like knives or drill bits. The tests would be run at a lab in New Zealand. She is graduating with a mechanical engineering degree in June.

Erik McAdams ’14, was selected as an alternate and is hoping his project to address rural poverty in earthquake-prone Ecuador by analyzing the structural characteristics of houses in remote villages will be funded. He’s very involved in SCU’s chapter of Engineers without Borders and will graduate with a civil engineering major and Spanish minor from SCU in June.

“With the Fulbright, I plan to use my engineering skills in an exciting and global context, and to learn about the cultural, social, and engineering practices of Ecuador. I also hope to grow personally through the many challenges that will be encountered during this overseas adventure. “


National Science Foundation Research Fellowships Awards

Julie Herman ’14 plans to use her NSF research fellowship award to study the evolutionary forces in the mustard oil biosynthetic pathway and possible coevolution of mustards and pierid butterflies. She trained under Dr. Justen Whittall and will receive her biology degree this June. She will then pursue her Ph.D. at UC Santa Cruz.

“I hope to investigate evolutionary forces in the chemical pathways plants use to defend themselves against insects. Greater understanding of plant defense can help us improve our agricultural practices in a time when we are in danger of not being able to produce enough food to feed everyone in the world.” says Herman.

Claire Kunkle ’14 will use her NSF award to study and design energy systems to benefit developing nations. She studied under Dr. Hohyn Lee at SCU and will earn her mechanical engineering degree this June. She will then pursue her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley.

“In receiving this NSF fellowship I feel a renewed sense of excitement to pursue authentic, cutting-edge research. This will be coupled with a desire to explore the field of engineering pedagogy and hopefully become a new face in the national issue of engaging students of all backgrounds in STEM fields,” says Kunkle.

Read the next edition of fyi for how Kunkle plans to inspire future engineers to accomplish their dreams, particularly young girls interested in STEM.

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