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Fordham Scholars Reap Prestigious Awards


Fordham marks 2012 as another successful year for reaping prestigious awards: Among this year’s crop of student awards are 8 Fulbright awards, 4 Boren awards, a Cambridge scholarship and the University’s first Lilly Graduate Fellowship in Humanities and the Arts.

Caitlin Meyer, FCRH ’12, is the recipient of a Cambridge Overseas Trust Scholarship to attend the University of Cambridge. Meyer, who was a Truman Scholarship finalist in 2011, will have the opportunity to obtain an M.Phil. in politics through the rigorous 10-month program.

A political science major, Meyer is passionate about civic engagement. She has participated in student government associations every year since the second grade, culminating in her service this year as president of Fordham’s United Student Government.

For Meyer, the Cambridge Scholarship is a chance to pursue this passion and lead others to become engaged as well.

“Young people are becoming more and more disillusioned with government and government processes,” she said. “Some statistics say that you’ve got less than 5 percent of U.S. citizens who say they trust the government.

“I’m interested in finding ways to reengage citizens—not just here, but also abroad.”

She has already worked several internships in her hometown of Oakland, Cali., including an internship with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Ultimately, she said, she hopes to attend law school.

Gabrielle Hovendon, FCRH ’11, is one of 16 graduate students chosen nationally to join this year’s cohort of Lilly Fellows. The three-year program brings together humanities students who are interested in teaching at church-related colleges and universities.

Hovendon, who was an English major, will use the scholarship to begin a master’s in fine arts program in creative writing at Bowling Green State University in the fall.

“I was interested in being part of a community of like-minded graduate students and faculty,” said Hovendon, a native of Watertown, N.Y. “I also have a strong sense of social justice, and I believe that teaching at a church-related college would provide an excellent environment for me to incorporate my social concerns into my writing and my teaching philosophy.”

As a Lilly Fellow, Hovendon will receive a yearly financial award and will interact regularly with other Lilly Fellows at conferences and a distance colloquium, which will foster discussions among the group. She will also work with two Lilly faculty mentors on both her research and teaching goals.

As of May 15, Fordham’s Fulbright winners include:  Sarah Borsody, LAW ’11, to Mexico; Gina Ciliberto, FCRH ’12, to Malaysia; Alexandra DeBlock, FCRH ’11, to Thailand; Juan Duran, FCLC ’11, to Spain; Maria Christina Leano, FCLC ’08, to Turkey; Sean O’Connor, GSB ’12, to Sri Lanka; Mateusz Plaza, FCRH ’12, to Poland; and Elizabeth Scheib, FCRH ’12, to Germany. Three students—Allison Chandler, LAW ’11, Emily Groene, GSAS ’12, and Colleen Taylor, FCRH ’12—are Fulbright alternates for Sierra Leone, Niger, and Ireland, respectively.

Mateusz Plaza, a senior philosophy and history double-major, will travel to Krakow, Poland for the year on a Fulbright Fellowship. There, he will research Polish philosopher Jozef Tischner at the Jozef Tischner Institute and Ignatianum University.

Mateusz Plaza, FCRH ’12, will travel to Poland on a
Fulbright Fellowship.

“My research focus will be on Tischner and his philosophical work known as the ethics of solidarity,” said the Long Valley, N.J. native. “I am particularly interested in how this philosophy can form the ideological basis of a political community that is separate from the common socialist and capitalist tendencies in politics today.”

Plaza will interview residents and scholars of Krakow, many of whom knew Tischner personally. The fellowship, he said, will bolster his plan to study continental philosophy on the graduate level.

As of May 15, winners of the Boren Fellowships for International Study went to GSAS students Jonathan Clay, to Brazil, and Batya Rotter, to Israel. The Boren Scholarships for International Study went to Amanda Angri, FCLC ’12, to the United Arab Emirates, and to Rose Hill sophomore Mary Hamilton, to China. In addition, FCHR junior Lucas Bifera is an alternate for a Boren Scholarship to China, and GSAS student Emily MacGruder, GSAS, is an alternate for a Boren Fellowship to Tanzania.

In all Fordham students have to date earned 154 national and international awards through the University’s Campion Institute, said Director John Kezel, Ph.D. “As an independent, University-wide office, we continue to mentor all students who meet eligibility requirements for major scholarships.”


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