2021 Scholarship Recipients UMD National Scholarships Office

We are incredibly proud of this year's scholarship recipients, who overcame difficult circumstances and made hard choices in their pursuits for research and learning opportunities. Thank you to everyone who encouraged these students, who taught and mentored them and who applaud them today.

Boren Fellowship

Amanda Fiore (Taiwan) was awarded the Boren Fellowship, which funds graduate students to study a critical language and conduct research abroad.

"This award will allow me to conduct my dissertation research in Taiwan while formally studying Mandarin. It will also allow me a path towards a career in the federal government."

Boren Scholarships

Two UMD students received Boren scholarships to study abroad in world regions critical to U.S. interests.

Yaelle Goldschlag (Tajikistan)

Not pictured: Austin Brown (Taiwan)

Critical Language Scholarships

Twelve students were invited to participate this Department of State cultural and educational exchange program for undergraduates. Students spend the summer in intensive language study abroad.

"Through the CLS, I'm excited to gain exposure to the richness and diversity of Indonesian language and culture. This experience will help me pursue my goal of working within the Southeast Asia region as part of the Foreign Service." - Catherine Nguyen
Clockwise: Catherine Nguyen, Kelly Tang, Maytal Mark, Nathan Boyle
"Studying Arabic in the CLS program will directly impact my ability to read primary and secondary sources as a historian. Fluency in Arabic can open up international academic communities and archives that I would not be able to access otherwise." -Maytal Mark
Joella Huynh, Oreet Zimand, Alawi Masud, Holly Gregory (declined)
"Receiving this award taught me the value of perseverance, since it took me multiple years to get it. This lesson will carry me through not only my career, but life's various trials and tribulations." - Alawi Masud

Not pictured: Ian McCallum, Nur Bromund, Samantha Smith (declined), Alicia Lin Chen (declined)

Winston Churchill Scholarship

Pavan Ravindra—who was named both a Goldwater Scholar and a Merrill Presidential Scholar in 2020—will pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in chemistry at the University of Cambridge.

Pavan Ravindra studied biochemistry and computer science at UMD. He’s also president of UMD’s Rubik’s Cube Club, having clocked some of the world's fastest times solving it one-handed.

Fulbright Scholars

Eight UMD students were chosen as Fulbright Scholars.

The program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students.

Hazim Abdullah-Smith

Country: Jamaica

"The Fulbright Award will contribute to my goal of service to and scholarship on an expansive Black queer diasporic community. I look forward to fieldwork that situates gender and sexual diversity amongst Jamaicans and contemporary transformations in cultural production, activism and tourism industry."

Julie Choi

Country: South Korea

"... Fulbright feels like a natural next step where I can learn more about cultural exchange and prepare for my career as a State Department Foreign Service Officer. I look forward to learning more about my own heritage while sharing American culture through my Korean-American perspective."

Isabel Conforti

Country: Kosovo

Gilma Chavez

Country: Argentina

"Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges believed that 'there is always a moment in every man’s life where he knows forever who he is.' I identify with this thought because as a young student I knew I wanted to pursue a career in education. Fulbright is giving me the opportunity to teach as an ETA in Argentina and I know this experience will solidify my commitment to become an educator. Teaching abroad and fostering relationships with Argentine people will catalyze my pedagogical development.

Anita (Xiao) Kuang

Country: Taiwan

Tiffany Melgar

Country: Honduras

"In addition to my academic and professional experiences, the opportunity to serve as a mentor, tutor and a teacher’s assistant to students of all ages and diverse backgrounds has prepared me to serve as a Fulbright ETA in Honduras. I hope to increase my cross-cultural experience abroad before furthering my education to one day become an immigration lawyer. I am only more motivated as a Salvadoran to connect to other Central Americans in their homeland."

Colin Olson

Country: Denmark

"The outstanding faculty at the School of Public Policy have given me unparalleled insight into the policy and sustainability areas I will be researching in Denmark. My experiences at the World Resources Institute, UN Environment Programme, and Maryland State Legislature, while at UMD have uniquely prepared me for my Fulbright Grant and a career in politics and energy policy when I return."

Lillian Wies

Country: Japan

Lily has declined the Fulbright in favor of another award.


Veeraj Shah, who is receiving dual degrees in biological sciences with a specialization in neurobiology and physiology and individual studies majoring in health policy and technology, received this prestigious scholarship, established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to study at the University of Cambridge.

He was also a finalist for the Harry S. Truman and Marshall Scholarships.


Six students received the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad.

"The Gilman scholarship has opened the door for me to make international connections. I am excited for the opportunity to study alongside international peers and to experience the day to day life of a student in a foreign country." - Alex Fraley

Alex Fraley (Germany)

Brandy Hernandez Lopez (South Korea)

Noorul Raza (Italy)

Tierra Moore (India)

Christopher Mulcahy (New Zealand)

Nana Nyarko (Virtual - Global)

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Three students who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering were awarded scholarships.

Sanketh Andhavarapu, Ela Rockafellow, Naveen Raman

"The scholarship helped me understand why I'm interested in research, and what types of research I want to do in the future." -Naveen Raman

NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship

Five UMD students in environmental science or policy will receive tuition support & paid summer internships with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"My hope is that this experience will help me further refine my academic interests so that I can choose a graduate program in line with my research goals." - Reese Barrett
Reese Barrett, Eric Robinson
"I’ve loved exploring the environmental applications of Computer Science and GIS and I look forward to getting some hands on experience." - Eric Robinson
Julia Kischkat, Siobhan Light
"What lead me to Hollings was my passion for research. Being able to design my own project in high school as well as becoming involved with research in college showed me that Hollings would be a great opportunity for me to use my knowledge and develop new skills. This program will definitely help me realize what direction I want to go into academically and provide me with an understanding of how NOAA plays a role in policymaking and environmental conservation!" –Julia Kischkat

Not pictured: Yulia Lim


Elizabeth Childs will study at Stanford University in a community of future global leaders working to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. Elizabeth will pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering.

Marshall Scholarship

Nataliya Stepanova was awarded a Marshall Scholarship, which finances young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom.

National Science Foundation

Twenty-one UMD students and recent alumni will receive three years of support for PhD studies from the National Science Foundation.

Jameson O'Reilly, John Perry Lathrop, Tyler Daniel Hoffman
"...it is a testament to all the people who have invested time in my journey to becoming a scientist. I will continue to do them proud by using this award to make advances in the study of the hormonal basis of reproductive behaviors in cichlid fish." –Karen Gu
Karen Gu, Mihailo Stefan Rancic, Rachel Yu, Moriah O. James
I plan to use this fellowship to examine how plants adapt to climate conditions while pursuing a PhD at Michigan State University. –Madison Lucille Plunkert
Jesse Griff-McMahon, Madison Lucille Plunkert, Joshua Chiel
"This fellowship will allow me to work on novel energy storage and generation methods with a focus on sustainability." - Jesse Emoto Matthews
Marisa Renee Patsy, Jesse Emoto Matthews, Richard Dean Barney, Robert Paul Dalka
"This fellowship ...supports me while I engage in meaningful research and service work." –Robert Paul Dalka

Not pictured: Daniela Fontecha Solano, Alexander Dennis Davydov, Saul Schaffer, Elissa Moller, Anna Bernice Seminara, Samantha Rose Litvin, Scott Barrow Moroch


Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) works to promote the inclusion and full participation of underrepresented groups in public service and to advance their leadership roles throughout our civic institutions serving domestic and international affairs.

Michael Mareno, Alex (Geonhee) Na
"This program will challenge me to think critically with students from all over the country, which will broaden my perspective when facing contemporary international relations issues." –Alex Na
“This past year has presented a fair share of challenges to our most vulnerable populations. I am proud to have organized alongside fellow students to bring some much-needed change to our communities, and am looking forward to learning more at the PPIA Junior Summer Institute.” - Michael Mareno


Linden Yuan will participate in the DoD NDSEG Fellowship Program, designed to increase the number of students trained in science and engineering disciplines of military importance.

"I will be using this award to conduct research in Markov chains, optimization, and machine learning."

Rangel Fellowship

Sarah Ahmed has been accepted into the Charles B. Rangel Fellowship that prepares outstanding young people for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State.

TFAS Eben Tisdale Fellowship

Coby Kranz was awarded the fellowship created by The Fund for American Studies to learn about high-tech public policy issues with hands-on experience in Washington, D.C.

"This fellowship... focuses on the intersection between business and government, with a further emphasis on policy-making. It includes an internship at a large technology company and study at George Mason University."

Best wishes to every scholarship and fellowship recipient! We are confident that your studies will be meaningful. Everyone at UMD is incredibly proud of your accomplishments.


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