UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

A year of firsts for student scholarships and fellowships

At home and abroad, UND students celebrate another banner year for national awards

UND archival image.

Yee Han Chu, academic support and fellowship opportunities coordinator, said this was a year of many firsts for UND student scholarships and fellowships.

“I think it reflects a high level of enthusiasm among our students and the faculty and staff who support them to participate in these opportunities,” Chu said. “Sometimes I just have to take a step back and appreciate how much we have going on.”

Richard Hoberg, for example, is the first student during Chu’s tenure to receive a Fulbright research grant, and the first student ever to receive an outbound American-Scandinavian Fellowship award for his research in Norway. Chu also mentioned Melissa Gjellstad, who provided Hoberg assistance while applying for the grants, and said that UND faculty and staff are among the reasons this year has stood out.

“These achievements are a reflection of a deeper culture that is supported by faculty and staff,” Chu said. “I would say that for each one of these students, there is a faculty member or staff member who is kind of behind the curtain and who is assisting them.”

Other firsts include students participating in the 2024 Henry Clay Center’s College Student Congress, receiving a Meridian-Cox Foreign Service Fellowship and advancing to interviews for the BFF Riya Bhakkad Memorial Scholarship Fellowship.

With the help of UND faculty such as Gjellstad, Alena Kubatova, Amanda Nagy and Mark Jendrysik and staff members such as Study Abroad Advisor Allison Johansen, students are discovering ways to supplement their education with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Chu said.

“I like to call these ‘enhancement opportunities’ — opportunities for students who want to enrich what they do in the classrooms in more depth, experience and rigor,” Chu said. “I think there’s a great appeal for these across disciplines, and I’m glad to see how many students are taking advantage of them.”

Fellowships & scholarships

Evelyn Jordan, a student majoring in Commercial Aviation, has been awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The Gilman Scholarship, supported by the U.S. Department of State, facilitates studies abroad for American students of limited financial means. She will attend the Korean Aerospace University in South Korea this summer to study Aviation Transportation and Finance. Evelyn is also the membership and fundraising chair for UND’s Women in Aviation chapter.

Hannah Thorlakson, a junior majoring in Accountancy and Music with a minor in Leadership through the Honors Program, also has been honored with the Gilman Scholarship. This scholarship will support her study of music in Salzburg, Austria, this summer through the American Institute for Foreign Study Salzburg program. Thorlakson is also the president of the First Generation College Students Club at UND.

Kayla Barral, a Political Science and government student, has been selected as a Fellow in the Meridian-Cox Foreign Service Fellowship for Emerging Leaders, which will take place June 23-29 in Washington, D.C.. This program introduces participants to the roles of foreign service officers and includes diplomatic training and networking opportunities. Kayla is among only 20 students nationwide to earn this fellowship.

Thomas Iken, a Physics graduate student; Kaitlyn Gura, a graduate Biomedical Sciences student; and Briana Krupinski, a recent UND alumna, have been awarded the 2024 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The awards will provide substantial support for their scientific studiesThe program aims to broaden the participation of the full spectrum of diverse talents in STEM. The five-year fellowship offers three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $37,000.

Nichole Dumlao, a senior majoring in Psychology and president of the Honors Program Student Organization, was selected to interview for the BFF Riya Bhakkad Memorial Scholarship next week. This scholarship empowers underrepresented groups to create a diverse workforce enriched with highly qualified candidates from various backgrounds. Selected students will receive a scholarship award of up to $10,000 to participate in a 12-week program working with an advisor from Science Systems and Applications, Inc. advisor.

Christopher Scott, a Physics student, and Elisabeth Starsota, a Biochemistry and Pre-medicine student, have achieved finalist status for the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Spark program. CLS Spark provides virtual instruction to students studying Chinese, Russian and Arabic at beginning levels. Scott will study Russian, and Starsota will study Chinese. CLS Spark finalists automatically qualify as semifinalists for the traditional CLS competition to study abroad the following year.

Ally Kujath, an Economics and Political Science student, and Madilyn Lee, a Philosophy student with a Pre-law concentration, have been selected to represent Minnesota and North Dakota, respectively, at the 2024 Henry Clay Center’s College Student Congress. This summer program invites 51 rising college seniors representing each state and the District of Columbia to learn about the dynamics of policymaking through an experimental, immersive curriculum.

Richard Hoberg, doctoral student in Educational Foundations & Research, was named a 2024 Fulbright Research Grantee and 2024 American Scandinavian Foundation Scholar for his doctoral research project in Norway called “Investigating Equity in the Reorganization of Norway’s Rural Schools.”  Fulbright will fund his core research proposal in Trøndelag sites, while the American Scandinavian Foundation will fund his expansion project in Møre og Romsdal and Nordland.