Many fellowship programs postponed participation or developed remote options during the pandemic. But this year, students are fully experiencing the fruits of their labor after years of hard work.

“We are always so proud of our applicants. As they will tell you, the process of applying for awards requires a great deal of introspection and also the ability to share their visions with others. And while we recognize and applaud their success, great discoveries are made through the process,” said Marisa Iglesias, Ph.D., interim director of the Office of Prestigious Fellowships. “I am so impressed by the Fordham students and alumni who worked with the Campion Institute to achieve their goals. It’s a joy to celebrate them at this time of the year.” 

As of May 20, Fordham undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni have received 52 prestigious awards this year, including seven Fulbrights, one Critical Language Scholarship, and three National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. In addition to the winners, 13 scholars were named as finalists, semi-finalists, and alternates for prestigious awards, including one Marshall Scholarship finalist. Additional awards will be announced this summer. 

A woman with curly hair smiles with her mouth closed.
Photo courtesy of Schmitz

Giselle Schmitz, a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow who earned her master’s degree in international political economy and development last February, won the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. In a year-long fellowship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Science and Technology, Schmitz is supporting sustainable fisheries management and learning how policy interventions can be most effective in the marine sciences.

“Fisheries are important for a myriad of reasons. They support nutrition security worldwide as an important source of protein and they’re vital for a healthy ecosystem,” said Schmitz, a California native who started the fellowship in Maryland last February. 

Schmitz said she plans on using her Fordham education—and her law degree from the University of Oregon, where she learned about policymaking in relation to marine resources—to help protect the environment. 

“Fordham was a timely and wonderful experience for me. I had the opportunity to apply to their Coverdell Fellowship as a returning Peace Corps volunteer. Through the Coverdell Fellowship and the IPED program, I was able to dig deeper into quantitative methods and studies and examine the economic side of my legal research,” Schmitz said. “In the future, I hope to work in conservation criminology and study sustainable fisheries and marine protected areas.” 

A man with blonde hair and a jean jacket smiles with his mouth closed.
Photo courtesy of Ray

Jason Ray, a doctoral student in English, won a Fulbright Research Award to the United Kingdom. Starting in September, he will study how medieval texts illuminate early Welsh people on their own terms, instead of as the subjects of English and Norman elites. “Wales is often considered to be England’s first colony. Since the Saxons invaded, the Welsh have been subject to xenophobia, displacement, subjugation, and exploitation,” Ray said. “I want to contribute to the critical conversations about identity, race, and colonization in this period and place.” 

Ray, a Georgia native, has a bachelor’s degree in theater studies from Yale University and a master’s degree in medieval and renaissance studies from Columbia University. When he realized that what he really loved about theater was not so much performing, but dissecting Shakespeare’s English, he returned to school with a renewed interest in the history of the English language. 

“That set me on this trajectory of going backwards in time until I reached Old English. And I couldn’t help but also think about the story behind its development, which is where literature and history come in. I went down a rabbit hole, and I haven’t come up yet. I feel a little bit like Alice in Wonderland,” he said, laughing. 

Ray said that someday, he wants to conduct research and teach as a professor. “Pedagogy is a huge part of our training at Fordham. At the same time, the school insists on rigorous research,” he said. “Fordham is really preparing me for a career in academia.”

As of May 20, prestigious awards received this year include: 

  • In addition to Jason Ray, six Fulbright awards: Evan Allen, FCRH ’21, to Kazakhstan; Megan Brady, FCRH ’13, to Bosnia; Tauland Kaca, FCLC ’21, to Germany; Kristina Lazdauskas, FCRH ’21, to Lithuania; Christopher Myers, GSAS ’18 and current doctoral candidate, to Germany; and Tammen Nicholson, GSAS ’20, to Lesotho
  • Critical Language Scholarship: Dominique Valentine, FCRH ’22
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships: William Beatrez, FCRH ’19; Kathryn Belcher, FCRH ’21; and Morgan McGrath, FCRH ’22
  • U.S. Presidential Management Fellowships: Hannah Babiss, GSS ’21; Ellie Bauer, GSAS ’22; Adam Brasher, GSAS ’22; Jessica Dunston, GSS ’22; Dhan Gurung, GSAS ’21; Jacob Olson, GSAS ’21; Kevin Strohm, GSAS ’22; and Courtney Vice, LAW ’22
  • International Atomic Energy Agency Internship: Victor Sapkota, GSAS ’21
  • American Psychological Foundation/Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology Scholarship: Okeoma Nwakanma, GSAS ’22
  • St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Awards: Giselle Schmitz, GSAS ’22, and David Woodside, GSAS ’23

Taylor is a visual storytelling strategist in Fordham University's marketing and communications department, where she documents University life through photography and video. Since joining Fordham in 2018, she has served as a writer, photographer, videographer, and social media manager, dividing her time between University Marketing and Communications and the Office of the President. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Stony Brook University's School of Communication and Journalism and her master's degree in public media from Fordham University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her work has appeared on NPR, NBC New York, and amNewYork METRO.