With all the very real stress and anxiety of our current situation, it has been a comfort to think about the things that have gone well in ONSF this year.  In this spirit, I’d like to share with all of you a few of our success stories:

Student Recipients & Finalists

  • Evan Binkley (Art History) won a Marshall Scholarship to study African art history and cultural preservation at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.  Evan is our third Marshall Scholar in two years.  Taylor King (Political Science) was a Marshall finalist and alternate for the scholarship.

  • David Schafer (LSA ‘17) was selected for the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.  This is the second year in a row that U-M has had a Schwarzman Scholar.
  • Nadine Jawad (Public Policy, ‘18) and Emily Russell (Political Science) were both selected for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship at Stanford.  Nadine will use the scholarship to pursue her MD, Emily will pursue a PhD in Political Science.  U-M has now had four Knight-Hennessy Scholars selected in the first three years of that program.

  • We had four Goldwater Scholars selected this year: Jacob Florian (Chemical Engineering), Sabrina Corsetti (Physics), Alex Wang (Mathematics), and Matthew Nelson (MCDB).  This marks the fourth time in the history of this scholarship that U-M has had four scholars in a year (2002, 2002, 2018). Read the full story here.

  • Jacob Florian, (Chemical Engineering, Goldwater Scholar) was also selected as an Astronaut Scholar. This scholarship honors leaders in undergraduate research by supporting some of the very best science and engineering students. 

  • Annie Xu (Math) and Lindsey Lammlin (Biochemistry, Earth & Environmental Science) became the 2nd and 3rd recipients of the U-M STEM Research Career Award. This award is also used to find U-M nominees for the Goldwater and Astronaut Scholarships. Read their story here.

  • Ayah Kutmah (International Studies, Political Science) was offered the Gaither Fellowship from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace but declined the award to accept another fellowship instead. 

  • Amytess Girgis (Political Science) and Ben Gerstein (Public Policy) were both national finalists for the Truman Scholarship

  • Finally, Abby Meyer (Computer Science) became the 8th recipient of U-M’s Wallenberg Fellowship and the first from the College of Engineering.  An aspiring climate scientist, Abby will spend next year living with communities in southern Greenland, working on a newly created UNESCO heritage site, and researching how traditional communities are adapting to rapid climate change in the region. 

Institutional Accomplishments

Alongside these individual accomplishments, there are several institutional milestones that we should celebrate.  Alex Wang's Goldwater Scholarship keeps alive an amazing streak in the Math Department: they’ve had at least one Goldwater Scholar selected from their department for 14 years in a row! 

This year U-M also moved into sole possession of 7th place on the all-time Goldwater list with 81 total scholars, and is now the top Goldwater school in the Big Ten.  Since 2014 U-M has climbed from 11th to 7th place on the all-time list with 18 Goldwater Scholars. Only Stanford (22) and UChicago (19) have more scholars during this period.  

U-M once again ranked fourth nationally in NSF Graduate Research Fellowships received.  Many of the recipients were students who previously worked with ONSF on Goldwater, Beinecke, or other research scholarships.

This year, we also celebrate the marvelous achievements of all our finalists, nominees, and applicants.  In the rigorous environment of nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, students named a finalist or nominee are typically as outstanding as the recipients themselves.  Furthermore, the rigorous application process often helps students prepare for successful future endeavors, such as applying to prestigious graduate and professional programs.  One of my favorite activities this time of year is reconnecting with past applicants for fall scholarships (e.g. Rhodes, Marshall, and Knight-Hennessy) and sharing in the good news of their graduate school admissions or other post-graduate plans.  

Several of these stories about finalists and nominees include recent recipients of 2021-22 Fulbright fellowships.  We can’t publicize these yet, but their success speaks to the strong collaborative relationship between ONSF and the International Institute.  Often, the students applying for awards through ONSF are simultaneously applying for Fulbrights with each advising relationship strengthening their applications.  We look forward to telling some of those stories next fall when the Fulbrights are officially released for publication. 

Thank you!

These success stories would not be possible without the efforts of all the faculty and staff who serve on ONSF’s nomination committees, who participated in practice interviews for finalists or had one-on-one coaching conversations with our applicants. We are fortunate to have several Truman and Beinecke Scholars enrolled in U-M graduate programs who donated their time to our recruitment efforts.

Last but not least, 2019-20 is notable for the addition of Katie Gass as ONSF’s program assistant.  Katie has strengthened our outreach efforts, including this newsletter and blog, and other operations in the office in more ways than I can possibly list.  Many readers will know that campaigned long and hard for additional staffing in ONSF.  In Katie, the ONSF students and I have found a perfect partner.

Please stay in touch with ONSF over the summer.  We’re already recruiting to make 2020-21 another successful year!