Students Receive Fulbright, Boren, and Goldwater Awards

From the June 2017 Desktop News | Each year students from The University of Alabama bring in dozens of major national accolades, and, as the largest college on campus, the College of Arts and Sciences is the place most of those students call home. This year, College of Arts and Sciences students received 11 Fulbright Awards, five Boren Scholarships, and two Goldwater Scholarships.


The highly competitive Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually-designed research projects or for English-teaching assistantships. More than 11,000 applicants compete for approximately 1,500 awards each year. Eleven students and alumni of the College of Arts and Sciences received support from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program this year. The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest U.S. international exchange program.

  • Kathryn Cater will conduct research on bacteriophage therapy for treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections in Poland. She is a University Scholar who will complete her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology in 2017.
  • Jonathan Joyner will conduct a study in Sri Lanka on its recent civil war. He is a Blount Scholar, a 2017 graduate in international studies, and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.
  • Alexandra LeViness will conduct research at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald, Germany. She is a 2017 graduate in physics and mathematics.
  • Kevin Ryan Williams will travel to the United Kingdom to pursue a master’s in classical acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as recipient of the John Wood LAMDA Award in Classical Acting. He is a 2015 graduate with a double major in theatre and film.
  • Ruth Bishop, a graduate in biology and Spanish; Benjamin Canady, a graduate in international studies; Brittany Groves, a graduate in history and German; Jackson Knappen, a graduate in biology and Spanish; Julia Quan, a New College graduate and Blount Scholar; Ann Varnedoe, a graduate in psychology and African American studies; and Sarah Dylan Walker, a graduate in political science and journalism, each received awards to teach and research abroad. They will work in Colombia, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Macedonia, and Macau.



Of the five University of Alabama students to receive Boren Scholarships this year, all five were from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Boren Scholarships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide funding for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in such regions as Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Boren Scholarship recipients represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholarship recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation. Amounts range from $8,000 for a summer program to $20,000 for six to 12 months of study.

Merideth Cazalas, a junior majoring in international studies, will study Japanese in an intensive language program at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. On her return, she hopes to continue on the pre-law track and eventually join the U.S. military as a Judge Advocate General, or JAG, lawyer.

Maria Huryn, a sophomore studying international relations and economics, will study Russian language and Eastern European politics in Daugavpils, Latvia, during the 2017-2018 academic year. She hopes to work for the U.S. Department of State as a foreign service officer.

Amica Rapadas, a sophomore studying international relations, economics, and Chinese, will study in Chengdu, China, to strengthen her proficiency in Mandarin and to learn about culture and politics.

Samuel Watson, a mathematics and computer science major, will be in Seoul studying Korean.

Matthew Zeliff, an international development major through New College, will be at the University of Ghana for a full academic year while studying Akan.



The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program has selected two of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences students as Goldwater Scholars for 2017-2018.

From 2007 to 2017, UA has been No. 1 in the United States for Goldwater Scholars with 31. Harvard is second with 29. This year, 1,286 students from 470 institutions were nominated for a Goldwater scholarship. The program named 240 new Goldwater Scholars and identified 307 students as Honorable Mentions.

The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 a year for up to two years.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The scholarship program honoring U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

Alison Farrar, a physics and astronomy major, has conducted research on theoretical materials physics with the Mewes Magnetics Laboratory for the past two years. Her work investigates anisotropic damping, a new phenomenon of micromagnetic behavior found in the modern magnetic materials used for computer storage devices and medical technology. She plans to pursue a research career in medical nanotechnology as an MD-PhD.

Melissa Uehling, a biology major, has conducted research since the fall of her freshman year on the neurological disorders torsion dystonia and Alzheimer’s disease. Her work on torsion dystonia involved drug discovery research, and her work on Alzheimer’s has focused on genetic factors that influence disease pathology. She hopes to earn a doctorate in molecular biology to continue her study of neurodegenerative disorders as a career.