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Scholars Win Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater, Madison Awards

By the view Staff Article published April 18, 2007

Four UVM scholars — two undergraduates, a medical student and a local teacher beginning graduate work — recently received notification that they have won prestigious national and international awards. The four recipients will wear the mantles of Fulbright, Truman, Madison, and Goldwater scholars beginning with the new academic year this fall. Abu Rizvi, associate dean of the Honors College, believes the breadth, and possibly the number, of awards in one year are unprecedented. He notes that two more scholars are awaiting decisions on Fulbright and Jack Kent Cooke awards.

The United Kingdom Fulbright, won by fourth-year medical student Justin Sanders, is the most competitive of that award; it receives the most applications for the fewest scholarships. Sanders, whom Rizvi calls “a remarkable individual,” is completing a residency at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. He wants to study the practices of palliative care in a cross-cultural setting. Under the Fulbright award, he’ll receive a master of science degree in medical anthropology at University College in London.

Kesha Ram, an Honors College junior from California, was named a Truman Scholar for the coming year. She is the first Truman winner at UVM since 1995, according to Rizvi. Ram, recently elected SGA president, is a double major in natural resources and political science. The highly competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship — approximately 80 are awarded nationwide — provides $30,000 to juniors planning to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in public service. Winners also receive leadership training, graduate school counseling, preferential admission to premier graduate institutions and internship opportunities with federal agencies.

Laura Balzer, a junior Honors College student from California majoring in mathematics, has been named a Goldwater Scholar. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship provides up to $7,500 per year for educational expenses to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering. Only 28 mathematics scholars were chosen this year. After graduation, Balzer will pursue a Ph.D. in mathematical biology, which uses math models to simulate biomedical processes.

Katie Reen, an elementary teacher in Milton, received the Madison Scholarship from the James Madison Foundation. Winners, experienced teachers, must pursue a graduate degree in American history, political science, American constitutional history or government. Keen will begin her graduate program at UVM in the fall. The foundation awards only one applicant per state; Reen will receive $24,000 for her studies.

All the winners received assistance in their pursuit of the awards from an office in the Honors College; the office helps interested students whether or not they are enolled in the Honors College. Rizvi says the staff sends targeted emails to students based on their interests and grades, holds workshops twice a year and manages an informative Website. For more information, see the fellowship information site.