Students Recognized for Garnering National Scholarships

The Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA) held two recent events to recognize student scholars, both those who are completing their undergraduate degrees and those who are up and coming.

The CFSA works with students to help them determine which scholarships might fit their academic goals, figure out the application process and submit a compelling essay, through writing workshops and editing suggestions.

One event was held April 16 in the Strasser Room in Eggers Hall to honor those students who have applied for national scholarships and acknowledge those who were named finalists and winners.

This year, over 177 students and recent alumni have applied for nationally competitive awards offered by private foundations and government agencies ranging from the Boren Scholarship to the National Science Foundation to the Fulbright Program, in all fields and many different countries.

At the event, Syracuse University Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Liz Liddy spoke, along with students Natalie Rebeyev, a Gates Cambridge Scholar, and Tyler Smith, a Goldwater Scholarship recipient.

Highlights of this academic year’s scholarships and awards are the following:

  • Luke Strauskulage was awarded an Astronaut Scholarship, one of only 27 national awardees.
  • Ryan Drysdale and Cameron Reed were selected for the Boren Fellowship.
  • Christopher Conrad, Amber Barrow, Rachel Bass, Kimberly Hatcher, Alycia Maurer and Heather Rounds were awarded Critical Language Scholarships.
  • Eleven students, both undergraduates and graduates, were named Fulbright Finalists. Brent Elder, Tesia Kim and Rebeyev were awarded grants. Some students are still awaiting the final award decisions from the various countries to which they applied.
  • Kelsey Carlson, Jacqueline Gerson, Caitlin McDonough, Kristopher Murray, Sarah Platt and Alanna Warner won National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF GRFP). Elise Hinman, Strauskulage and Emily Tucci received NSF GRFP Honorable Mentions.
  • Terry Jones is a recipient of the Udall Scholarship, one of 50 students chosen nationwide.
  • Along with Tyler Smith being awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, Alec Beaton and Samantha Usman were awarded Goldwater Honorable Mentions.
  • Three students were also finalists for the Rhodes, Marshall and Luce awards.
  • In 2014 and 2015, 39 undergraduates received Gilman Scholarships to support them as they participated in a study abroad semester.

At another event, on April 15, CFSA and Dr. Ruth Chen hosted a reception at the Chancellor’s house for first- and second-year students who were identified by faculty members as having exceptional academic potential. The event was an opportunity to congratulate the students on their work and encourage them in making the most of their opportunities while at Syracuse University.

Samantha Usman receives highly competitive Astronaut Scholarship

A rising senior in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences is flying high upon learning of her latest academic achievement.

Samantha Usman ’16, a double major in physics and mathematics, has just been named a recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s (ASF) award. She will use the $10,000 prize to continue her research on gravitational waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational- Wave Observatory (LIGO) group at Syracuse.

Originally created by the Mercury 7 astronauts, the ASF is a non-profit organization backed by more than 100 of America’s space pioneers from Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs. The organization’s mission is to provide scholarships and support to the brightest students in the country pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as the STEM disciplines.

According to her faculty mentors in the Department of Physics, it was practically written in the heavens that Usman would find success in her academic career.

“I’m thrilled that Samantha has been recognized with an Astronaut Scholarship. Through her undergraduate research project, Sam has already made important contributions to the way that LIGO searches for colliding neutron stars and black holes. These contributions have been broadly recognized,” says Duncan Brown, associate professor of physics. “Sam has tremendous potential and I’m sure that she will soon be a leader in the field of gravitational-wave astrophysics.”

Usman learned of her award during her summer internship on the West Coast. She is currently working at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) studying the use of gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars to understand the physics of matter at very high densities. When she returns to Syracuse in the fall, she will continue this work for her capstone thesis as part of the Renée Crown University Honors program.

“I’ve always loved mathematics, but I find it particularly beautiful when it describes nature,” explains Usman, who is also minoring in French. “I feel fortunate that I have worked with Professor Brown since my freshman year. I’ve learned so much and have accomplished more than I have ever thought possible.”

Upon graduation next May, Usman will begin her pursuit of a doctorate in physics.

“I plan on applying for a Fulbright or Marshall scholarship to study abroad for one year before returning to the United States to complete my Ph.D. in Physics,” says the Pittsburgh, PA native. “Following that, I hope to continue my research as a post-doctoral researcher and eventually as a professor at a university in the U.S.”