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Haslam Scholars and Alumni Receive National Scholarships and Fellowships

By Colleen Ryan, senior in global studies and honors sociology, 2013 Cohort

This year, nine scholars received national scholarship and fellowship awards. These awards exemplify scholastic excellence and integrity. Two scholars received awards from the Fulbright US Student Program, five received Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF), one received the Barry S. Goldwater Scholarship, and one was named UT’s first ever Gates Cambridge Scholar.


Colleen Ryan and Esther Choo

Esther Choo, a senior in anthropology, was awarded the Fulbright Open Study/ Research Award to conduct an independent research project in Korean-American studies in collaboration with Seoul National University, Yonsei National University, and the South Korean Ministry of National Defense Agency for Killed-in-Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI). Her proposed project will compare forensic aging methods to shed light on victims of the Korean War and future forensic programs and techniques for Asian populations.

Colleen Ryan, a senior in global studies, received the Fulbright Postgraduate Award, which provides a full tuition waiver and stipend to pursue a master’s degree in post-war recovery studies at the University of York’s Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit. Her research will examine penal reform in post-conflict areas.


Ian Francis, Louis Varriano, and Patrick McKenzie

Ian Francis, a senior in mathematics, will attend the University of Cambridge in the UK to complete Part III of the Mathematical Tripos through the Trinity Studentship in Mathematics before returning to the United States to pursue his PhD. In 2016 Ian was the recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes sophomores and juniors in mathematics, sciences, and engineering.

Emma Hollmann, an HSP alumna (‘15) who studied chemical and biomolecular engineering, is currently pursuing her PhD in chemical engineering at Vanderbilt University. Emma’s research focuses on using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and high-throughput techniques to model and understand neurovascular disease.

Patrick McKenzie, a senior in ecology and evolutionary biology and mathematics, will use his fellowship to pursue doctoral studies at Columbia University in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology.  Patrick will study evolutionary genomics. Previously, he participated in the NSF-funded REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program at Harvard Forest.

Kenna Rewcastle, an HSP alumna (‘15) who studied ecotoxicology and environmental conservation, is currently in Sweden on a Fulbright award studying the impact of climate change on the food source for reindeer herds managed by the Sami indigenous people. She will return to the US to attend the University of Vermont in the fall.

Louis Varriano, a senior in honors physics, will apply his NSF Graduate Research Fellowship toward a PhD in physics at the University of Chicago. Louis began performing research in physics during his first semester at UT under Yuri Kamyshkov and has continued to work on neutron oscillations throughout his four years.


Kimberly Bress, a junior studying neuroscience and mental health, received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships for undergraduates in the US. The scholarship was designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.


Sahba Seddighian HSP alumna (‘16) who studied neural plasticity and neurodegenerative disorders, will use her award to continue her research on Alzheimer’s disease, which she began as an undergraduate. Sahba is one of 90 students of 6,000 applicants worldwide to win the scholarship.