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Prestigious Awards Program recognizes 'Hurst students

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Prestigious Awards Program at Mercyhurst University is celebrating the accomplishments of five students, who have either won or been nominated for a prestigious award during the academic year.

Each year, qualified Mercyhurst students vie for some of the most coveted national and international awards in undergraduate and graduate scholarship. Among those are the Boren Scholarship, Goldwater Scholarship, Fulbright Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship. While some are for undergraduate research and study here and abroad, the majority of awards are for international graduate study at some of the world’s leading universities.

“Most of the awards and scholarships in the Prestigious Awards Program require an extensive and lengthy application process,” said Mercyhurst program director Justin Ross. “Just being nominated is quite a statement on a student’s resilience and persistence in pursuit of their academic goals. We want to congratulate each of our students for such a strong showing.”

Vianna Quach
Fulbright Teaching Award

Fulbright grants fund teaching assistantships for recent college graduates to teach English or American Studies in countries around the world. Vianna Quach, who graduates May 14 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociocultural anthropology and Asian studies, will be taking her assistantship in Taitung in Taiwan. She is a native of Chicago.

During her time at Mercyhurst, she studied abroad in Kunshan, China, where she developed an interest in the field of international educational development. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in the field after her Fulbright term ends.

Her advisor is Marnie Sullivan, assistant professor of English.

Amber Matha
Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Goldwater scholarships are awarded to students with promise of pursuing careers in science, math and engineering, to complete their junior and/or senior years of undergraduate studies.

Honors student Amber Matha of Erie is a junior biochemistry major with a minor in public health. During the 2016-17 school year, she served as the opinion page editor for the Merciad, vice president of the Forensic Science Club, and a member of Chemistry Club. 

She plans on attending a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) this summer in Athens, Georgia, to perform water quality testing in conjunction with the University of Georgia.  She is currently doing research on cancer cells.

Amy Danowitz, assistant professor of chemistry, is Matha’s advisor.

Kiana Harris
Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Goldwater scholarships are awarded to students with promise of pursuing careers in science, math and engineering, to complete their junior and/or senior years of undergraduate studies.

Originally from California, Kiana Harris is currently a junior, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in geology with a double minor in creative writing and mathematics. She is a part of the Mercyhurst Honors Program, and the Phi Eta Sigma and Sigma Tau Delta honor societies. She has presented posters at the Geological Society of America’s National Conferences for the past two years. After graduating from Mercyhurst, she plans to head back to the West Coast to pursue a master’s degree in geophysics and/or a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.

Her advisor is Amy Danowitz, assistant professor of chemistry.

Sarah Paschal
Marshall Scholarship

The Marshall Scholarship is an award funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for two or three years of graduate study in the United Kingdom. It is awarded to distinguished young Americans who will one day become leaders, opinion formers and decision-makers in their own country.

Cleveland native Sarah Paschal is a senior anthropology major with a concentration in sociocultural anthropology. After graduation, she plans to study visual anthropology at the University of Manchester. Eventually, she would like to work with refugees and migrants.  

Assistant Professor of History Benjamin Scharff is her faculty advisor.

Charra Luton
Boren Scholarship

The Boren Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students to fund study-abroad opportunities in areas of the world deemed important to US national security. The goal is to promote cultural understanding and exchange.

Majoring in intelligence studies with a minor in Arabic & Islamic Studies, Charra Luton is a junior from Wimauma, Florida. 

Orlandrew Danzell, associate professor of intelligence studies, is her faculty advisor.