Prestigious Scholarships Announced

USF’s latest group of awardees – all high achievers – come from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.

By Barbara Melendez

     USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (June 17, 2013) – The University of South Florida’s Office of National Scholarships proudly announces the latest round of prestigious scholarships awarded to a variety of majors on a list that includes freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students.

 “These scholarships by and large represent their latest achievements – in an impressive line of achievements – as they work their way toward stellar careers in their various fields,” said Linda Lucas, director of the Office of National Scholarships.

There are five students who were awarded grants through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, four students who will participate in the Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute Program, 20 Gilman Scholars, a pair of Hollings Scholars and individual recipients of an NIH OxCam scholarship, a Presidential Management Fellowship, a TRIALS Fellowship, a Critical Language Scholarship and a James Madison Fellowship. One student was chosen to participate in the FSU Summer Law Undergraduate Program. There are two Boren Scholarship recipients, one of whom is also a Gilman Scholar. One USF student was selected for a DAAD RISE internship and one for and a Goldwater Scholarship (Honorable Mention). 

The scholarship office identifies, recruits and mentors high achieving students to apply for national merit scholarships across all disciplines. The scholarships and fellowships are specifically designed for creative, motivated and academically strong students who are leaders in all areas of their lives, both in and out of the classroom. This year’s recipients exemplify what it takes to qualify. They represent their respective colleges and schools where their achievements have been recognized in numerous ways.

All interested students are encouraged to visit the Office of National Scholarships website to find out about information sessions and to make an appointment with a scholarship advisor. 

And the recipients are (For detailed descriptions, please click on the student’s names):

NIH Oxford Cambridge Scholaran accelerated, individualized doctoral training program for outstanding science students committed to biomedical research careers

Christie Campla was selected as one of 20 students nationally to be a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Oxford Cambridge Scholar and will have four years of her PhD studies funded. She is first USF student to win this award. She will undertake a collaborative Ph.D. project in bioengineering with two research mentors; one at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) intramural campus in Bethesda, MD and one at either Oxford or Cambridge Universities in the United Kingdom. She graduated May 2013 from USF Honors College, where she was a double major in cellular and molecular biology and Spanish, with a minor in chemistry. She was a 2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar and was recently honored by the City of St. Petersburg as a Sunshine Ambassador for her many accomplishments.  A resident of St. Petersburg, Campla intends to become a research scientist in the field of bioengineering and lead her own lab and research team, as well as teach at the university level after completing a Ph.D. and postdoctoral research.   

Fulbright US Student ProgramThe Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. The research grants, teaching assistantships and summer institutes are among the most prestigious and selective scholarship programs operating world-wide.

Vinicio Carias, a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering student, has been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to continue his doctoral research at the University of Freiburg Institute for Microsystems Technology (IMTEK), one of the largest research institutions in the field of micro and nanotechnology in Germany. In 2012, he was selected as a leadership fellow for the Graduate School’s Doctoral Student Leadership Institute which recognizes future leaders. In 2010, Carias was a project leader for a Draper Laboratory URAD project, developing injection-moldable nanocomposites for multi-chip-modules (MCM) technology.  For his work with this project, he was recognized by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council’s (FHTCC) Matching Grants Research Program (MGRP) for excellence in student research. 

Upon his return to the United States, Carias will use the data and results from his research in Germany to complete his doctoral work at USF. On his way to becoming a dynamic global leader, his future career goal includes leading teams to develop high quality implantable medical devices.   

Joanna Rozpedowski, a Ph.D. in political science and USF Doctoral Student Leadership Institute Fellow, will study law at the University of Liverpool School of Law in Liverpool, England. She is one of only 46 students to study in the United Kingdom under the Fulbright program this year.  Originally from Poland, now claiming New York City as her hometown, Rozpedowski has studied political philosophy at Fordham University and international law in Italy at the European University Institute and in the Czech Republic at the Center for Public Policy. She participated in an NBC News/CNBC internship at the 2012 Republican National Convention and is fluent in Polish and English. 

Rozpedowski has been an instructor in the Department of Government and International Affairs, has been involved with USF’s Citizenship Initiative Research Center and has had her research published in scholarly journals.  Upon her return to the United States, Rozpedowski will use the one-year LLM to successfully complete her doctoral work at USF.   

Brad Samore, a transfer student from Palm Beach State College where he received his associate of arts degree in music education, graduated in May with a bachelor of arts degree in international studies, and a minor in music. He also earned a certificate in India studies. Samore was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) grant to Malaysia. He will spend 10 months teaching English in Malaysia where he also plans to observe how rural villages are affected by environmental degradation. 

Originally from Wellington, Fla., the award-winning student participated in an internship in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the Madres de Plaza de Mayo-Línea Fundadora where he researched and compiled databases regarding information pertaining to the disappearances of people during Argentina’s last dictatorship.

Samore plans to attend graduate school when he returns to the United States to study ecological anthropology to research how different cultures interact with their environment. 

Brittany Vosler, a Ph.D. student in history, has been awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to continue her doctoral dissertation research at the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill in Barbados. Brittany is one of only two students to receive a full grant to Barbados. Focusing on the British Caribbean, and specifically Barbados, Brittany will research how Pan-Africanism and other internationalist ideologies connect local struggles against colonial rule with global politics at the University of the West Indies. Vosler received her master’s degree from USF in history. Upon her return to the United States, she plans to use her research to complete her dissertation. Her future career goal is to teach British history and Caribbean history at the university level. This Fulbright research opportunity will allow her to foster relationships with Barbadian scholars and students to help achieve this goal.

Shahnaz Rashid, graduated in May. She majored in biomedical sciences with a minor in public health. She was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) grant to Bangladesh where she will spend the next nine months.  While in Bangladesh, she plans also to volunteer at a hospital or health clinic to observe the differences and similarities between health care in Bangladesh and the United States. Rashid plans to bring the teaching and communication skills learned through the ETA grant and apply them to a future career in medicine. She has been a resident assistant on the USF Tampa campus for the past three years, a site leader for the Bulls Service Break and a volunteer at the Benjamin Mendick Hope Lodge.

Fulbright UK Summer Institute ProgramThe US-UK Fulbright Commission offers special Summer Institutes for undergraduates who are U.S. citizens to go to the UK to study at a highly regarded university and explore culture, heritage and history. The goal is for the students to develop their academic ability by improving presentation, research and communication skills.

Pedro Zamora, an Honors College sophomore pursuing a degree in chemical engineering, will study at the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. He currently participates in undergraduate research, is a resident assistant for USF Housing and Residential Education, and was a Leader on the Honors College Alternative Spring Break to Puerto Rico, as well as a site leader for a USF Bulls Service Break to Texas, assisting with the construction of homes damaged by hurricanes. Zamora is also a mentor and tutor for the College Assistant Migrant Program (CAMP) and interned at a health clinic with the Student Action with Farmworkers, an organization headquartered at Duke University.

Shelby Thomas, an Honors College freshman, will study at Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities in Wales. The Fulbright Wales Summer Institute focuses on Welsh culture and industry. The program allows students to learn about the changing role that Wales plays within the United Kingdom and how the culture of the small nation has been preserved. She is pursuing dual degrees in international business and international studies. As a participant, she intends to study the relationship between the Welsh culture and its effect on business adaptability, specifically when it concerns the coal mining industry and disruptive change. From this experience she hopes to eventually serve the United States as a Foreign Service Officer.

Jennifer Stenback, an Honors College freshman, will study at the University of Exeter. She is pursuing a degree in public health. Stenback is part of the Provost’s Scholars Program and is a member of the Volunteer Committee for the Honors College Student Council and fundraising chair for Bulls for Moffitt. This summer Jennifer will be provided with the latest information on approaches in the preventive treatment of chronic disease. As a future public health professional, it is her goal to incorporate the preventive approach into mainstream medicine, and participating in this institute is an opportunity to learn the skills she will use when formulating future public health initiatives.

Andrew Krajewski, an Honors College sophomore pursuing a degree in psychology, will study at Queen’s University Belfast. This Fulbright Institute focuses on Irish studies and allows students to learn about Northern Ireland in terms of its political, economic and cultural relationships within the United Kingdom and in the world. Krajewski currently participates in undergraduate research into caregiver homicide, homicide-suicide and compassion. He is a teaching assistant, is on the Dean’s List of Scholars, is a Siede Research Award recipient and serves as secretary for the USF Debate Team.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings ScholarshipThe Hollings Scholarship Program provides successful undergraduate applicants with awards that include financial scholarships and internships at a NOAA facility.

Elaina Graham, an Honors College sophomore double majoring in cell and molecular biology and anthropology, has been awarded a Hollings scholarship. Graham is also the international projects director for Nourish International, where she works to connect with NGO’s in other countries to organize and implement sustainable projects. As a high school student, she was a recipient of the Florida Holocaust Museum Anne Frank Humanitarian Award, which honors outstanding humanitarian efforts by high school students. She hopes to earn a Ph.D. in marine microbiology and research marine organisms to investigate the potential medical and industrial uses of metabolites of marine microorganisms.

Nadia Tenouri, an Honors College sophomore majoring in environmental biology, also has been awarded the Hollings scholarship. Tenouri is a past recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad in Japan. Originally from Tampa, Tenouri hopes to facilitate the formation of a world where people can live in harmony with the environment and where problems such as depleted resources, deforestation, pollution and endangered species are seriously addressed. She plans to earn a Ph.D. while doing research on how to enhance populations of threatened and endangered species. Tenouri would like to work for a government agency like NOAA or the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continuing to research and help implement more effective conservation policies.

Presidential Management Fellowship – Sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, this program recruits outstanding graduate students for leadership and development in federal government. It provides leadership training, job rotations and the potential for accelerated promotions.

Lizette Howard, a 2013 Ph.D. graduate of the USF Department of Government and International Affairs, has been selected to receive a Presidential Management Fellowship. Fellows in the program receive full Federal employee salary and benefits. Howard was selected from a long multi-stage assessment process. Howard will serve a two-year appointment to develop her leadership skills wherever she is placed. She is also a McKnight Doctoral Fellow. Her dissertation topic focuses on European Union institutions, democratic discourse, and the “Color Revolutions” in the Soviet Union.

James Madison Fellowship – James Madison Fellowships support the graduate study of American history by aspiring and experienced secondary school teachers of American history, American government and social studies.

Elizabeth Rasmussen is currently pursuing her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction -secondary education, with a concentration in social studies.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor of arts degree in education in social science education from the University of North Florida. Rasmussen has been teaching since 2008 and currently teaches social studies to 9th and 12th grade students at Fort Meade Middle Senior High School. Her long term goal is to inspire her students to use their knowledge of the Constitution and Founding Documents to better support and facilitate their future learning in life.


TRIALS ScholarshipTRIALS – a unique partnership of NYU School of Law, Harvard Law School and the Advantage Testing Foundation – is a residential scholarship program that helps talented and motivated college students of modest means gain admission to the nation’s leading law schools. This rigorous five-week summer course enhances opportunities for students of underrepresented backgrounds by bolstering their skills and focusing their goals.


Shaina Maldonado, an Honors College senior majoring in international business, has received the TRIALS Scholarship. She will spend five weeks this summer at Harvard Law School preparing for the LSAT, attending lectures and enhancing her interpersonal skills. She is currently a teaching assistant in business statistics and has volunteered at the Museum of Science and Industry and the Teen Court Program at the Dade City Courthouse. Through the College of Business, Maldonado was selected for the Dean’s List for Academic Achievements. She plans to use the knowledge and networking she gains from this program as a foundation for her future education and career in international law.

FSU Summer Law Undergraduate ProgramSince 1992, the Florida State University College of Law has hosted its award-winning Summer for Undergraduates Program, which brings to its campus undergraduate students from throughout the country for a month-long immersion into legal study. The largest and oldest of its kind, the primary goals of the program are to acquaint students with the study of law and assist them in acquiring skills that will benefit their undergraduate and future law school studies.

Jasmine Paulino, an Honors College junior majoring in mass communications with a focus on telecommunication was chosen to participate in the 2013 Summer for Undergraduates Program. Out of 550 applications, 60 students from throughout the United States were selected. Originally from Miami, Paulino is fluent in Spanish and English and is studying Modern Standard Arabic. After she graduates, she plans to become a television investigative reporter and in the future, attend law school to practice criminal prosecution.

Goldwater Scholarship (Honorable Mention) – The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence and Education Program presents the nation’s most prestigious award for undergraduate students in science.

Nick Gunther, an Honors College junior majoring in Chemical Engineering with a 4.0 GPA, has received an Honorable Mention for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Gunther was a finalist for the SMART scholarship to research and intern with the Department of Defense in 2012. He has received the Florida Academic Scholars Award, the USF Directors Award and the Chemical Engineering Alumni Award, a scholarship awarded to outstanding undergraduate chemical engineering students. Gunther will be interning with Ford Motor Company in Michigan this summer to work on prototype manufacturing. In the future, he plans to work as a biomedical engineer in research and the development of new products and biomaterials to solve plaguing health issues.

Critical Language Scholarship - The Critical Language Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, offers fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and summer language institutes for U.S. university undergraduate and graduate students to study thirteen critical foreign languages for the summer term in locations where the language is natively spoken. 

Sarah Sharfstein, a sophomore with a double major in anthropology and communications, was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship to study intermediate Arabic in Morocco for nine weeks this summer. She plans to work for the U.S. Department of State with a concentration on Middle Eastern countries. A member of Chi Omega where she has served as alumnae relations chair, she has also served as Pan-Hellenic director of community service and Junior Pan-Hellenic president.

DAAD RISE internshipDAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauch Dienst), or the German Academic Exchange Service, supports academic exchange including several programs for students to study, travel, research and intern in Germany. The Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program provides placement and stipends for U.S. students in science and engineering majors to work on 8-12 week summer research projects in universities all across Germany.

Trang Luong was awarded the DAAD RISE internship and will work on a civil engineering project in Weimar, Germany during the summer of 2013. She is one of only 300 students from more than 2,000 applicants to gain this position. She is the first international student at USF to win a national scholarship. An Honors College sophomore with a major in civil engineering, Luong came to USF through INTO from Vietnam in 2011. Luong has worked as a site leader at Gandhi Day of Service and Bulls Service Breaks and volunteers as a math and science tutor.

Benjamin A. Gilman International ScholarshipThe Gilman offers up to $5,000 to fund study abroad and language study. Recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies – making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.  All recipients are required to carry out a Follow-on Project to share information about the Gilman program within their university and community. All together they set a new USF record for Gilman recipients.

Spring Semester:

Christine Goddard, an Honors College sophomore majoring in international studies, studied in Salamanca, Spain. She also participated in the Fulbright UK Summer institute program to Wales. After graduation she hopes to pursue graduate study in international development with the ultimate goal of working as a Foreign Service officer or a language specialist.


Melanie King, a junior double majoring in international studies and international business, was awarded both the Gilman Scholarship and the Freeman-Asia Scholarship to study abroad in Hirakata, Japan during the spring 2013 semester. She studied Japanese language and culture at Kansai Gaidai University. While abroad, King blogged about her experiences. She hopes to go on to graduate school in International Business and eventually work for an international company doing business with Japan.


Najja Pemberton, and Honors College junior majoring in business, studied in Melbourne, Australia. His area of study was marketing at Deakin University. After graduation he hopes to work in the field of advertising and create a nonprofit internship program for high school and college students.


Lianet Vasquez, an Honors College junior majoring in biology with minors in political science and psychology, studied the Arabic language as well as Middle Eastern studies and international studies in Amman, Jordan. She also volunteered with the Jordan Institute for Middle Eastern Studies.


Summer Semester:

Hiram Rios, originally from Puerto Rico and fluent in English and Spanish, plans to earn a Ph.D. in economics and work for the Department of State as a Foreign Service officer. He will study Mandarin Chinese in China. Rios is an Honors College sophomore, with a double major in economics and mathematics and a minor in Mandarin Chinese. He has received the Honors College McCorkle Scholarship and is a Stuart Silverman Endowed Scholar.  He also serves as a USF ambassador and is USF’s first Student Employee of the Year.

Adrianna Matallana, is a senior majoring in Spanish and working towards a career as a Spanish teacher. She will be studying Spanish language and Latin American culture with the USF Costa Rica Language program. Matallana has previously studied and worked in her native country of Colombia in the area of graphic design and fashion design before returning to school at USF. She is the mother of four children, the Spanish ambassador for the Patel Conservatory and has had her paintings displayed in multiple Tampa locations.  

Monica Velasco, an Honors College freshman majoring in biochemistry and minoring in Chinese, will study abroad in Beijing and Qingdao, China. She will be studying Mandarin and Chinese culture with USF’s Chinese Learning in the Culture Tier 1 program. Velasco hopes to go to medical school, pursue a career as a pediatrician, and integrate Eastern and Western approaches to medicine. She has been involved in Reach Out and Read, a program which combines shadowing doctors and reading to pediatric patients.

Charles Tyer, a junior majoring in international business management and working toward a career as an international business leader, will study abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica. He will be studying Spanish language and Latin American culture with the USF Costa Rica Language program. Tyer is a member of the Latin American Student Association and the Club de Español.

Zachary Tomlinson, an Honors College junior majoring in international studies, will study abroad in Rabat, Morocco. He will be studying the Arabic language and doing community service with SIT Study Abroad. Tomlinson hopes to go on to a career involving diplomacy, promoting human rights and music. He is an honors graduate from St. Petersburg College and is an affiliate at The Venture Compound, an artistic nonprofit collective. He has been involved in homelessness outreach with Project Downtown and Daystar Life Center as well as Model UN conferences.

Tamara Sine, a senior double majoring in English and music education, will study abroad in Moscow. She will be studying Russian language and culture with the USF in Russia program as well as doing independent research in music education. She hopes to go on to a career in music or English education and plans to incorporate critical languages into her teaching. Sine was also awarded the Genshaft/Greenbaum Passport Scholarship and a travel grant from the USF Office of Undergraduate Research. She is a collegiate member of the National Association for Music Education, the Tau Sigma National Honor Society, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and has served as the USF Russian Club’s vice-president.

Lazaro Silva, an Honors College junior double majoring in criminology and sociology, heads to the United Kingdom. He will be studying international law at the University of Exeter. Silva hopes to go to law school and work as a lawyer and human rights advocate. While at USF he has been involved in research about juvenile justice. He has also been a resident assistant, a student mentor and university ambassador.

Jalina Pittman, a junior majoring in elementary education, will study abroad in Accra, Ghana, focusing on culture as well as volunteering in an orphanage with USF’s Service-Learning program. She hopes to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher after graduation. Pittman currently holds the title of “Miss Uhuru,” which gives women the opportunity to represent issues of importance and act as a role model to younger women. She is also on the executive board of the Black Student Union.

Camille Mourant, a junior majoring in environmental science and minoring in geology and geography, will study abroad in Florianopolis, Brazil. She will be studying sustainability with the University Studies Abroad Consortium.  Mourant plans to obtain graduate degrees in global sustainability and business administration. She is involved in undergraduate research on foraminifera (single-celled amoeboid microorganisms) and is a member of the Student Environmental Association.

Grace Jean-Pierre, a junior double majoring in English and behavioral healthcare, will study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She will be studying Spanish language and Argentine literature with the USF Imagining Argentina program. She hopes to pursue a career as both a literature teacher and a psychotherapist after serving in the Peace Corps in a Latin American country. Jean-Pierre is currently a tutor for K-12 students in the Urban Scholars Outreach Program.

Clifton Garrison, a senior majoring in mathematics and minoring in Chinese, will study abroad and intern in China. He will be studying Chinese language and culture with USF’s Chinese Learning in the Culture Tier 2 program. He hopes to go to law school after graduation and work on issues in international law. Garrison has been abroad to China before on USF’s Chinese Learning in the Culture Tier 1 program, and has volunteered with Bulls Service Breaks and the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas County.

Elloni Ellick, a sophomore majoring in international business and minoring in economics and Chinese, will study abroad in Beijing and Qingdao, China. She will be studying Chinese language and culture with USF’s Chinese Learning in the Culture Tier 1 program. Ellick hopes to pursue a career as an international trade specialist. She is a student wellness advisor, a volleyball instructor and a volunteer at the Tampa Bay Humane Society. She plans to join the Peace Corps after graduation.

Adely Castaneda, senior majoring in International Business, will study and intern in China. She will be studying Chinese language and culture with USF’s Chinese Learning in the Culture Tier 2 program. She hopes to become fluent in Mandarin and start a career in a business working with China. Castaneda has held several leadership roles with Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity, and has worked as a USF INTO conversational leader.

Emily Baillie, a sophomore double majoring in biomedical sciences and international business, and minoring in Chinese, will study abroad in Beijing and Qingdao, China. She will be studying Chinese language and culture with USF’s Chinese Learning in the Culture Tier 1 program. Baillie hopes to go to medical school and pursue a career as a nephrologist. She is a Reach peer educator at USF, was a street team leader for New Student Connections and is an active member of the Chinese Culture Club. Baillie has been awarded the History of Achievement and the Scholars Award from USF.

Fall Semester:

Timothy Roberts, a senior majoring in international business and marketing, will be studying Japanese language and culture at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata, Japan during the fall 2013 semester. He hopes to teach Japanese before pursuing a career as a translator in business or government. He is involved in the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity and the Korean American Student Association.

Sanite Ermat, an Honors College senior majoring in political science and communication, will be studying international relations and economics at the EWHA Woman's University in South Korea for the fall semester. Ermat plans a career as a university professor. She also plans to create and manage a non-profit supporting the educational systems of developing countries. She is a member of the Korean American Student Association (KASA).

Boren Scholarship – The Boren Awards for International Study Program awards funding to study abroad in exchange for a commitment to seek work in the federal government.

Shaza Hussein, an Honors College junior, double major in environmental science and policy and chemistry, will study Arabic in Oman. She is a first-generation American now living in Bradenton, FL. USF’s first Udall Scholar, Hussein is also a Hollings Scholarship recipient. She is on the Dean’s List, is a Presidential Scholar, a College of Arts and Sciences Honor Society, National Weather Service intern and a Southern Energy Network Power Vote Fellow. Hussein is also a member of the Student Environmental Association and the American Meteorological Society.

Hiram Rios (see Gilman Scholarship above). He will use the Boren Scholarship to study Chinese.

Florida Gubernatorial Fellows Program – A nine-month non-partisan program that immerses students from public and private universities in key areas of state government.

Emily Colon is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration focusing on the multidisciplinary study of government with concentrations in the local, state, and federal agencies. In 2010, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Business from USF. Emily is currently interning for Senator Marco Rubio in the regional office located in Tampa and working full-time in USF’s Office of Admissions.

Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.