GVSU Student Success Stories
Students win Nationally Competitive Award to Study Abroad
Courtney Hart (pictured left) and Shelby DeGalan are studying abroad in Taiwan after being awarded the prestigious Gilman International Scholarships. Hart, a senior history major and East Asian Studies minor from Wyoming, Mich., plans to complete a second major in Chinese studies while abroad. DeGalan, a junior with a double major in international business and marketing and minor in Chinese language is from Grand Rapids. Both Hart and DeGalan are participating in the Taiwan Faculty-Led Program at National Taiwan Normal University.
Since Fall 2010, $64,000 in Gilman Scholarships have been awarded to 17 Grand Valley students, ranking Grand Valley among the top institutions in Michigan for number of recipients.
Read more about Grand Valley's Gilman Scholars at GV Now.
Student named first Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar
An art and design major was selected as Grand Valley's first Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.
Jessica Pleyel, from Dorr, is sponsored by the Grandville Rotary Club and will spend the next academic year studying at the University of Ghana, in Accra, and performing service work with the Rotary Club International chapter there.
Recipients of the award serve as goodwill ambassadors; the scholarship is worth about $27,000.
“Being chosen as the recipient of this award is an honor and blessing to me,” Pleyel said. “I am thrilled to begin my journey abroad to not only take master’s courses in visual arts and sociology, but also to potentially help women and children through art therapy.”
Pleyel serves as a program intern for Grand Valley’s Women’s Center, and belongs to the Asian Student Union. Active in the community, she volunteers for John Ball Zoo Society, Heartside Gallery and West Michigan Refugee Education and Cultural Center.
Students Earn Scholarships to Study Abroad
Fourteen Grand Valley students received scholarships to study abroad this year through the Benjamin Gilman International program. Students received a combined total of more than $51,000 in scholarship money.
To be eligible for a Gilman scholarship, students must be eligible to receive a Pell grant, be a U.S. citizen, and study in a country for at least for weeks that is not Cuba or on the State Department’s Travel Warning List. Details about the Gilman program are online at www.iie.org/en/Programs/Gilman-Scholarship-Program. The next campus deadline for the Gilman Scholarship is February 23, 2012.
Below are 2011 Gilman recipients, their major and country where
• Paolina Barker, English/Honors, Norway;
• Catrina Boles, Business/Psychology, Japan.
• Elise Campbell, Social Work/WGS/Honors, Ghana;
• Lori Foreman, Health Professions, Italy;
• Antais Harvey, Biomedical Sciences/Honors, Jordan;
• Katie Hekstra, Biomedical Sciences/Honors, Spain;
• Ferris Jumah, Statistics, Turkey;
• Onawa Gardiner, Advertising/Public Relations, Chile;
• Marcy McCourt, Health Professions, India;
• Dylan Moore, German/Philosophy/Classics/Honors, Italy;
• Jennifer Pider, Liberal Studies, Morocco;
• Regina Robinson, Biomedical Sciences, Ghana;
• John Rood, Political Science/Philosophy, India;
• Eric Wells, Philosophy/Honors, Ghana.
Carlee Hollenbeck Awarded Prestigious Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship
Carlee Hollenbeck, standing third from right, is shown with a class at Wyoming Park.
When Carlee Hollenbeck was in elementary school, her parents would give her math problems to keep her entertained and busy. While they couldn't know it at that time, those problems planted seeds that served as the start of Hollenbeck's lifelong passion for mathematics.
Hollenbeck, a senior mathematics major with a secondary education emphasis, earned a prestigious post-graduate fellowship that will help support her in the classroom where she can instill a love for the subject in her students. Hollenbeck received a Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship; the renewable five-year fellowships support people who are committed to teaching at the secondary level. Fellows receive tuition assistance for post-graduate study, stipends and grants for professional development valued at up to $150,000.
She joins a select group; 14 fellows were chosen from around the country from 24 mathematics finalists. "The fellowship focuses on the concept that teaching is an ongoing learning process," Hollenbeck said, adding that annual meetings, portfolios and continuing research are part of the program.
Hollenbeck will earn teaching certification in December and said she hopes to find a position as a geometry teacher. She said math is often a subject students dread. "One of my hopes in becoming a math teacher is to weaken the negative stigma that students have for mathematics," she said. "I hope that through exploration and discovery students will gain a greater appreciation for the fascination behind concepts in mathematics."
Matt Boelkins, associate professor of mathematics, said Hollenbeck's communication, listening and leadership skills gave her the needed edge to receive this fellowship. "Carlee talks about wanting to affect change in education," Boelkins said. "She will be a reliable peer and contributor in any setting, as well as one who naturally gravitates to responsibility and leadership."
- by Michele Coffill
GVSU Students Awarded Highly Selective Fulbright Scholarships
Rikki Brown of West Olive, MI, a Russian Studies major and Sean Duffie of Brighton, MI, a Spanish-Secondary Education and Group Social Studies-Secondary History double major, have both been awarded prestigious Student Fulbright Scholarships as English Teaching Assistants to Russia and Spain respectively. Additionally, Shaynon Munn of Grand Rapids, an English-Secondary Education major and Class of 2010 Alumna, has been named a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Alternate to Rwanda. These awards are highly coveted and extremely competitive—the national applicant pool for Fulbright Student English Teaching Assistantships in these areas were as follows: Spain 396 (68 awarded), Russia 93 (20 awarded), and Rwanda 28 (2 awarded). We congratulate these students on this tremendous accomplishment as they are part of the largest cohort of U.S. Student Fulbright Scholars and Alternates in GVSU history.
Fulbright grants aim to increase mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchange while serving as a catalyst for long-term leadership development. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards over 1,500 grants annually and currently operates in more than 130 countries worldwide. Program participants pursue graduate or professional study, advanced research, or English teaching in elementary and secondary schools or universities.
To learn more about the U.S. Fulbright Student Program, visit http://us.fulbrightonline.org/home.html.
Read more about our 2011 Fulbright Scholars at GV Now.
Kate Coveney Awarded Prestigious Hollings Scholarship
Kate Coveney, an applied mathematics major, received a competitive scholarship sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Coveney, from Indianapolis, Indiana, received an $8,000 award for the next two years plus $6,500 to attend a 10-week summer session at a NOAA facility for an internship in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management and education activities.
Coveney, a Frederik Meijer Honors College student, was one of 72 recipients selected from a national pool of applicants for the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship. The scholarship program is designed to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology and education.
Read more about our 2011 Hollings Scholar at GV Now.
Two GVSU Students Names Truman Scholarship Finalists
Chris Gale, a Public Administration and Nonprofit Management major, and Aubrey McMahan, International Relations major, were among 197 finalists selected from 602 national applicants.
They are the first finalists in GVSU history. The federal scholarship is granted to U.S. college juniors for demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service. Approximately 65 scholars are selected nationally to receive $30,000 scholarships to help fund their master's degree programs. Scholars are expected to attend premier graduate programs in their respective fields.
Gale, of Holland, works as the middle school program leader at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland. He plans to pursue a master's degree in public administration.
McMahan, of White Lake, plans to pursue a master's degree in foreign service, with aspirations of a career in the U.S. Department of State. Last year, she interned at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna and with the Federal Government of Canada.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship (http://www.truman.gov/) is a federal scholarship granted to U.S. college juniors for demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service. Truman Scholars are future “change agents” who have the passion, intellect and leadership potential to, in the course of their careers, improve the ways that public entities such as government agencies and nonprofit organizations serve the public good. The Truman Foundation seeks students who are committed to making a difference above making a dollar.
Read more about our 2011 Truman Scholarship Finalists at GV Now
Six GVSU Students Named Gilman Scholars for Winter 2011
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute for International Education (IIE) have named six GVSU students as Gilman Scholars for the Winter 2011 semester. This sets a new record for the largest number of Gilman Scholars selected in one award cycle for GVSU. Onawa Gardiner, Advertising & Public Relations major will study in Chile; Ferris Jumah, triple major: Statistics, Accounting & Finance, will study in Turkey; Jennifer Pider, Liberal Studies major, will study in Morocco; Regina Robinson, Biomedical Sciences will study in Ghana; Marcy McCourt, Health Professions major and John Rood, double major in Political Science & Philosophy will both study abroad in India. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program received nearly 2,900 applications for over 850 awards this past year. The total scholarship amount for all combined awards is nearly $25,000. We congratulate these students on this outstanding achievement and wish them safe travels. They join a growing number of GVSU Gilman Scholars.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. Such international study is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world. Each student looks forward to the adventures that await them and to sharing their experiences with their colleagues upon their return to campus.
The next Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program campus deadline is February 14, 2011 for students who plan to study abroad in spring/summer or fall 2011. Students are strongly encouraged to set up an on-line OASIS account through the Padnos International Center, 130 LOH, well before the February 1, 2011 GVSU study abroad application deadline and meet with Amanda Cuevas, Office of Fellowships Director, 120 NMH to learn about the Gilman Scholarship eligibility and application requirements. To learn more about the Gilman Scholarship, visit http://www.iie.org/en/Programs/Gilman-Scholarship-Program.
Read more about our winter 2011 Gilman Scholars at GV Now.
Natalie Klackle Selected to Participate in Fellowship in Saudi Arabia
Klackle was chosen by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Higher Education to participate in a fellowship program in which students will attend formal meetings, official visits, and cultural experiences in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a competitive opportunity for students who have participated in the Model Arab League simulation, which Grand Valley hosts every winter. To read the full story on Natalie Klackle’s fellowship in Saudi Arabia please click here.
Tom Gunnel Takes Second Place in Norman Mailer College Writing Award for Creative Nonfiction
Tom Gunnel's short story, How to Tell a True Love Story, won second place in the 2010 Norman Mailer College Writing Award for Creative Nonfiction. To read more about Tom's accomplishment please click here. To learn more about the Norman Mailer College Writing Award for Creative Nonfiction visit http://www.ncte.org/awards/student/nmwa.
Elizabeth Fetzer Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship
Elizabeth Fetzer received a grant for $5,000 to put towards graduate school from the national chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. To read Fetzer’s full story on become a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow click here.
Nicole Summers named DAAD Young Ambassador
Nicole Summers, German and psychology double major, has been named a DAAD Young Ambassador. She was one of only 35 students selected throughout Canada and the United States by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) better known as the German Academic Exchange Service. DAAD is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation which offers programs and funding for students and professors. They represent the German higher education system abroad, offer grants and scholarships, and promote Germany as an academic and research destination, and help build ties between institutions around the world.
Summers, president of the GVSU German Club, studied abroad and researched in Germany this summer and was nominated by Dr. Regina Smith who teaches German in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department. After attending a program orientation in August, Summers plans to share DAAD opportunities with interested GVSU students at various events this academic year. “Study abroad gives students opportunities to build connections and provides different opportunities than what GVSU can offer,” she noted. Summers suggests that students interested in studying abroad plan ahead and work closely with the Padnos International Center and the Office of Fellowships to identify study abroad scholarships or grants at least one year ahead of a planned departure. To learn more about DAAD Programs, contact Nicole Summers firstname.lastname@example.org visit http://www.daad.org/.
Ashley Keller Wins Morris K. Udall Scholarship
We are pleased to announce that GVSU student, Ashley Keller has been selected as a 2010 Morris K. Udall Scholar! Ashley is a behavioral science major with a concentration in sociology and a theatre minor within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Ashley was one of only 80 students selected nationwide for this highly competitive award and will receive up to a $5000 scholarship. To our knowledge, Ashley is the first Udall Scholar in GVSU's history! Congratulations, Ashley, on this exceptional achievement!
The scholarship is awarded to sophomore and junior level college students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care. Ashley plans to pursue graduate study in Tribal Public Policy. Her career goal is to help Native American children through program development and/or social work. She is committed to influencing the well-being of Native Americans through cultural and health awareness education and counseling. Ashley is a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
The Udall Foundation seeks future Native American and Alaska Native leaders in Native American health care and tribal public policy. Tribal policy includes fields related to tribal sovereignty, tribal governance, tribal law, Native American education, Native American justice, natural resource management, cultural preservation and revitalization, Native American economic development, and other areas affecting Native American communities. Native American health care includes health care administration, social work, medicine, and research into health conditions affecting Native American communities.
More details about this scholarship are available at http://udall.gov/OurPrograms/MKUScholarship/MKUScholarship.aspx . Students interested in learning more about this nationally competitive scholarship are encouraged to contact Amanda Cuevas, director of the GVSU Office of Fellowships located in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, NMH 120 at email@example.com or 331-3219.
IIE Gilman Award Winners
Stephanie Stephens, international business major and Jamie Zimmerman, psychology major at Grand Valley State University are two of over 1,700 outstanding American undergraduate students from over 480 colleges and universities across the U.S. who were offered the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship www.iie.org/gilman to participate in a study abroad program during the 2009-2010 academic year. This semester, Stephens is studying in Japan while Zimmerman is studying in India.
Senior wins Goldwater Scholarship
Update on Goldwater Scholar Kyle Schneider
Grand Valley student Kyle Schneider has been recognized for his interest in science and his strong research abilities and experiences. Recently this senior chemistry major received the Goldwater Scholarship that will allow him to continue conducting research in science for many years to come.
The Goldwater Scholarship is given to junior and senior-year college students who are studying a subject related to math or science and who would like to get into research as a major focus as well as earn a Ph.D. This year there were 321 scholarships winners from 1,035 students applicants. The scholarship honors Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, and covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board.
Schneider said that one of the main reasons why he got the scholarship is due to the amount of experience he has had in research. He has worked in the laboratory for the State of Michigan as a student assistant, and he is currently working at the aquatic toxicology lab for Environmental Resource Management in Holland. At both facilities, he tested environmental samples to ensure the pollution level was within state regulations. Currently he is working as a student assistant to professor Dave Leonard in the Chemistry Department where he conducts biochemical research on antibiotics.
“Basically what we do is biochemical research on bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin,” said Schneider, “It's a work in process, but we hope to lay a solid groundwork in understanding these mechanisms of resistance so that others can come and move forward in this field.”
Schneider began working for professor Leonard in 2007, and he said that working with him helped him figure out what he wanted to do after graduation.
“I always knew that I wanted to do something in science, but once I got into research with Dr. Leonard it opened a lot of doors, and I was able to see that graduate school was a great option for what I wanted to do,” he said.
Schneider graduated in April and is attending graduate school at Yale University, working toward a doctorate in biochemistry. While at Grand Valley, he conducted research on an antibiotic called doripenem, which is similar to penicillin. His findings are featured in the January-March 2010 issue of Biochemistry, a journal published by the American Chemical Society. To read more about this, click here.
Fulbright winner Teaches Abroad
Unlike so many, Laura Kennedy has always loved math. The Grand Valley alumna earned a master’s degree in general education with advanced content specialization in mathematics. She said she plans to use her degree to eventually conduct research in mathematics educationI’d like to focus my research on the different methods of teaching math and how students learn,” said Kennedy. “There is a need for highly trained and motivated teachers. My goal is to teach future math teachers how to teach math.”
On her way to achieving that goal, Kennedy will travel abroad to teach. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in South Korea, beginning in July 2008. Kennedy hopes to spend two or three years teaching abroad, before coming back to the states to work toward a doctorate in mathematics.
“It has been my dream to teach internationally ever since I studied abroad in Nairobi, Kenya,” she said. “My hometown, Greenwood, Wisconsin, is a very small town. I’ve arranged for my students in South Korea to be penpals with some students from my former high school.”
Kennedy feels prepared for what lies ahead. She spent a year working on academic enrichment programs in an after-school program at Congress Elementary in Grand Rapids Public Schools. She helped students play math games and problem solve to show them how the subject can be fun.
“So many students believe they are bad at math or can’t advance. They just need to be inspired to learn it,” she said.
Page last modified March 1, 2012