Swarthmore Students Rake in Scholarships, Fellowships

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Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

A number of Swarthmore students are offered prestigious scholarships and fellowships each year, and 2015 is no exception. Among this year’s recipients were Hayden Dahmm ‘15, Olivia Mendelson ‘16, Mayra Tenorio ‘15, Ascanio Guarini ‘16, Louis Laine ‘16, and Elizabeth Bachman ‘15, Randall Burson ‘15, Paul Bierman ‘15, Supriya Davis ‘15, Isabel Sacks ‘15 and Victoria Shepard ‘15.

Dahmm is one of 31 scholars from around the nation to receive the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, which provides full living expenses and tuition for two years of study at a university in the United Kingdom. Dahmm is an Honors Engineering Major and created Sound Plot, a program which converts graphs into sound bites.

Mendelson received one of twenty of the Beinecke Scholarships to attend graduate school. Mendelson plans to apply to art history PhD programs so she can study modern and contemporary Chinese art history. Mendelson chose to apply to the Beinecke Scholarship because of the unique opportunities this scholarship opportunity offers.

“When I was looking into scholarship opportunities last year, the Beinecke stood out to me because of its breadth of applicability,” said Mendelson. “Instead of being limited to applicants with very niche qualifications, the Beinecke is designed for college juniors who wish to pursue graduate study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences and who demonstrate financial need. In addition, the scholarship money can be used towards a graduate degree from any institution, including those outside the US. I liked the freedom that the Beinecke affords and knew that the scholarship would go a long way towards helping me achieve my academic goals.”

Tenorio was awarded the Watson Fellowship, a fellowship that allows students to travel around the world, researching a topic of their choice. During Tenorio’s project, “Daughter of Women: Chronicling our Survival,” Tenorio will travel to Spain, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Argentina and Canada.

Tenorio stressed that she has two important definitions of survival.

“The first part is yes, of course, all the difficult things you have to go through,” said Tenorio. “The struggles and the burdens, both physical and emotional. The other part of survival is you find all these other things. These sources of happiness, other people, you find schools, communities, even just things, like a photograph that allows you to survive. So I think that survival is full of possibility to me. To me it doesn’t mean barely making it. To me it means you’re doing it, you’re getting out of it and women are finding these ways.”

Guarini received the Goldwater Scholarship, which is intended for students of math, science and engineering who intend to pursue research after graduation. Guarini is an engineering major, and intends to use the scholarship to complete a M.D/Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering/Electrical Engineering. Guarini hopes to improve health outcomes by developing innovative strategies through the utilization of advanced numerical methods.

Laine is one of 58 students from around the country to receive the Truman Scholarship, which provides a $30,000 scholarship for graduate school. Lane intends to use the scholarship to pursue a degree in Civil Rights Law.

“Most of my motivations have been things that I have personally gone through,” said Laine. “I was born in Haiti so when moved here I faced a lot of things that were outside of my control. And so I received a lot of help from people who were civil rights activists at that time in my community in New Jersey. I feel like me having this opportunity to gain so much capital here at Swarthmore, I have the responsibility to go back to my own community and try to give back the best way I can.”

Bachman received the Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Taiwan to complete the English Teaching Assistantship.

“I had gone to [Taiwan] before, the summer out of my sophomore year,” said Bachman. “Chinese has been one of my focuses here. […] Becoming fluent in Mandarin was my primary motivations for going there in the first place. And my motivation for going back is to be fully fluent.”

Burson, Bierman, Davis, Shepard, and Sacks received Fulbright Scholarships. Shepard and Davis received the grant to complete research. Shepard will be pursuing research about art and architectural history in China, and Davis will be researching tuberculosis in New Delhi. Bierman and Sacks will both be completing the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Bierman will be located in Thailand, and Sacks will be located in Brazil.

“I’ve always had an interest in spending time in Brazil and learning Portuguese,” said Sacks. “My parents both spent a lot of time [in Brazil] while they were in their 20s and it’s how they connected, so I’ve grown up around Brazilian music and my parent’s Brazilian friends, and I’m curious to explore it myself. I also have an intellectual interest in going there. It’s the biggest country in Latin America and they speak portuguese and it is incredibly diverse. […] It just seems like a really fascinating place.”

To learn more about these fellowship and prize opportunities, contact Melissa Mandos, head of Swarthmore’s Fellowship and Prize office.

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