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Fulbright and National Science Foundation Fellowship

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I am thrilled to announce that several recent alumni and students have been selected for prestigious fellowships and awards. Three Santa Clara students and recent alumni received Fulbright fellowships and two additional students  were named as alternates. Two additional students were awarded National Science Foundation research fellowship awards.

Fulbright Award Recipients and Alternates

Saayeli Mukherji (SCU '13), a finance major and history minor, will study at the Duisenberg School of Finance in The Netherlands to integrate ethics and business. She will dive deeply into international legal and financial regulations that help prevent global ethics catastrophes such as the 2008 Financial Crisis. Additionally, she plans to start an open forum on business ethics with contributions from Silicon Valley and Dutch professionals that will serve as a resource for future business leaders.

Julianne Parayo (SCU '12), an English and music double major, will be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Poland. She plans to use her English and Music training 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.

Natalie Lays (SCU ’14), a psychology major will be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Brazil, where her passion for other cultures and interest in global medicine will enrich the new experiences as a teaching assistant. After interning for five weeks in Brazil this past summer, Natalie was inspired by the dynamic culture and forward-looking mentality of the Brazilians she worked alongside. She anticipates that the Fulbright experience will help her pursue her vocation.

Rachel Wilmoth (SCU ’14), a mechanical engineering major, was selected as an alternate. If funded, Rachel’s project will be research into the mechanical and structural properties of sea urchin teeth on the nano-scale to understand their self-sharpening technique.  Tests available at the Nanomechanical Research Lab at the University of Auckland in New Zealand will allow Rachel to investigate ways to replicate self-sharpening on the macro-scale to improve the sharpness of tools such as knives or drill bits.

Erik McAdams (SCU '14), a civil engineering major and Spanish minor, was selected as an alternate. If funded, Erik's project will address rural poverty in earthquake-prone Ecuador by analyzing the structural characteristics of houses in remote villages. He has been an active team leader for an engineering project in Uganda on solar panels and very involved in SCU's chapter of Engineers Without Borders, where he helped design a water distribution grid for a rural town in Honduras.

National Science Foundation Research Fellowships Awards

Julie Herman (SCU ’14), biology major, is a recipient of an NSF research fellowship award. Julie, who was trained in the lab of Dr. Justen Whittall in the SCU Department of Biology, will be joining Dr. Kathleen Kay's lab at UC Santa Cruz to pursue a Ph.D in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The lab studies diversification and speciation in flowering plants. Julie is planning to study the evolutionary forces in the mustard oil biosynthetic pathway and possible coevolution of mustards and Pierid butterflies.

Claire Kunkle (SCU ’14), mechanical engineering major, is a recipient of an NSF Research Fellowship Award. Claire, who was trained in the lab of Dr. Hohyun Lee in the SCU Department of Mechanical Engineering, will be attending UC Berkeley in Fall 2014 to pursue a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Energy and Thermal Science. She is interested in designing energy systems to benefit developing nations and hopes to use the fellowship to participate in local and international research. Ultimately, Claire wants to use her Ph.D. in academia as a professor and inspire future engineers towards their dreams.