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IRVINE — UC Irvine students and alumni have won 10 of the nation’s most competitive academic awards this year, and will use their scholarships to work on critical issues such as autism, public health and wildlife conservation.
The awards include six Fulbright Fellowships, one Donald A. Strauss Scholarship, one National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and two National Security Education Program David L. Boren Scholarships. The six Fulbright awards this year is a record for UCI, doubling the previous record.
Five of the scholarship winners are seniors who will join more than 5,000 undergraduates participating in commencement ceremonies this weekend, June 13 to 15. For more information about UCI’s 43rd annual commencement exercises, visit http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1773.
U.S. Fulbright Program: Brian Baek ’07, Jarrod Larson ’07, Yoo Nam ’08, Neil Saigal ’08, Denise Sandoval ’08, Christina Zdenek ’08
The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest international exchange program in the nation and provides funding for graduate students and professors to study abroad and teach in more than 150 countries. The fellowship program was created to foster understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of other countries.
• Brian Baek, a 2007 biological sciences alumnus, will travel to Finland to conduct genetics research looking at markers for the early detection of autism.
• Jarrod Larson, a 2007 biological sciences alumnus, plans to investigate the educational and social factors that affect HIV/AIDS awareness among adolescents in Peru.
• Yoo Nam, a senior biological sciences major, will teach English to high school students in South Korea.
• Neil Saigal, a senior psychology major, will travel to Sweden to study advanced techniques for brain imaging.
• Denise Sandoval, a senior economics and international studies double major, will study business in Mexico as part of a Fulbright binational business program.
• Christina Zdenek, a senior ecology and evolutionary biology major, plans to conduct wildlife conservation research in the rainforests of the Cape York Peninsula in Australia.
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship: Julie Rico ’08
The NSF program provides stipends for outstanding students at or near the beginning of their graduate studies. Winners are chosen for their potential to contribute to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.
• Julie Rico, a senior informatics major, will study the social effects of using advanced computer technology in public settings during her stay at the University of Glasgow.
Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship: Andy Hoang ’09
This $10,000 scholarship is awarded annually to at least 14 California college juniors to fund public service projects the students perform during their senior year. Recipients are chosen for their commitment to public service and leadership potential.
• Andy Hoang, a junior neurobiology and comparative literature double major, plans to launch a public service project to improve the health, education and quality of life for disabled and disadvantaged children in Kim Phuc, Vietnam.
National Security Education Program David L. Boren Scholarship: Nicholas Gerda ’09, Michael Ji ’09
The scholarship provides undergraduates the opportunity to study in regions deemed critical to U.S. national security.
• Nicholas Gerda, a junior political science major, will study Arabic at American University in Cairo, Egypt.
• Michael Ji, a junior criminology, law and society major, will study Korean at Yonsei University in South Korea.
Additional scholarship recipients
Annette Burgueno ’07 was named a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholar in 2007 and is currently pursuing a master’s in social work at the University of Southern California. The Cooke scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the U.S., providing up to $50,000 annually for up to six years of graduate study. Yvette Shirinian ’08 won a Coro Foundation Fellowship and will participate in a public affairs leadership training program in Southern California. Vasudhsiri Torch Sathienmars ’06 and Scott Seekatz ’07 were selected for the Capital Fellows Program, and both will participate in the postgraduate government internship program in Sacramento. Jackie Seiglie ’08 received a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship for 2009-10 and will pursue a master’s degree in community health and welfare at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain.
About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 2,000 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.6 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.
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