Recent UD Scholarship and Fellowship Recipient and Finalists
2020 Barry Goldwater Scholar
Luisa Velasco (Physics, '22) was named a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholar. The Goldwater
Scholarship is awarded by the Goldwater Foundation to college sophomores and juniors
pursuing research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, and
recognizes students in those fields who have already shown a real commitment to scientific
research. Velasco has participated in research experiences with Assistant Professor
of Physics Jacob Moldenhauer, Ph.D., and off-campus at Jefferson Labs, a national laboratory in Virginia for two
summers. She presented her work on "Improving the Particle Multiplicity Generator
Model for the Empirically Trained Hadronic Event Regenerator" from Jefferson Labs
at the Texas Section of the American Physical Society in the Fall 2019. Velasco plans
to go on to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear or particle physics and conduct research.
2020 NSF Graduate Fellowship & Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration
Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE NNSA SSGF)
Sophia Andoloro (Physics, '19) has been awarded two prestigious fellowships in her first year in
graduate school at Rice University. Through the NNSA program, she is one of five graduate
students working in a range of physics fields, as well as materials science. The NNSA fellowship in particular looks at the pillars of the “stewardship of science”
mission, which encompass understanding how our nuclear stockpiles can be safely monitored;
this monitoring includes not only U.S. stockpiles but also those on a global level
in an attempt to keep everything in check. Nuclear disarmament is a side mission related
to Andaloro’s research, and the fellowship’s focus on nuclear monitoring also fits
into the understanding of xenon as a nuclear detector material.
2019 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship (Germany)
Alexandra Koch graduated with a BA in German in May 2019. Her extensive travel and
interest in German language and culture have prepared her well for a Fulbright Teaching
Assistantship. During her time at UD, she was very active as a founding member and
President of the German Club, Vice President of the Alexander Hamilton Society, and
Student Government Senator. She also completed internships with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
and Texas House Representative Jeff Leach. Alexandra’s studies of German civilization,
poetry, and literature at UD have given her a deep appreciation for the richness of
the country’s past and culture, and have motivated her to improve her German language
2019 Harry S. Truman Scholarship Finalist
Madeleine Nerio is UD's first ever Truman Scholarship finalist and graduated in December
2019 with a BA in Politics. For the past seven years, Madeleine Nerio served as a
community advocate in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. She served in the Tier 1
Neighborhood Coalition as a research intern, Texas Senate Distrct 26 as a legislative
and constituent services intern, the city of San Antonio as an ambassador for the
city, and as a legal intern for Advocates for Community Transformation in Dallas.
Currently Madeleine is serving as a congressional intern for Texas’ 33rd congressional
district in Dallas resolving casework regarding immigration processing, citizenship
and Social Security. Madeleine was also awarded the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation scholarship,
due to her dedication to civic responsibility, leadership, and academic excellence.
2019 Two Barry Goldwater Scholars
Paul Devlin (Computer Science, '20) and Sarah 'Ana' Henriquez (Biology, '20) were
awarded the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship for 2019. Goldwater Scholars are
selected for their outstanding academic achievements and their potential to make an
impact on the scientific community in the future. Paul and Ana both intend to apply
for Ph.D. programs after graduating next spring. According to the American Physical
Society, this is the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship given in the natural
sciences, engineering and mathematics. It is awarded annually to about 300 college
sophomores and juniors nationwide. While UD students have received Goldwater Scholarships
in the past, this is the first time, at least in several decades, that two students
have received these awards in the same year.
2019 National Science Foundation Grant - Honorable Mention
Sophia Andaloro graduated in May 2019 with a BS in Physics and has received a variety
of accolades during her career at the University of Dallas. Most recently, she received
the Robert S. Hyer Award from American Physical Society for her summer, 2017 research
project in quantum optics at the University of Arkansas. Sophia also conducted research
in machine learning and signal discrimination at the Texas A&M Cyclotron Institute.
As a cofounder of the University of Dallas’ Women in STEM Club, she secured funding
from the American Association of University Women to bring prominent women to campus
to inspire female students to pursue leadership roles in the STEM fields. Sophia also
serves as a teaching assistant at UD and tutors students from local high schools and
colleges in Physics, Chemistry and Calculus.
2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship
Mackenzie Warrens earned her BS in Physics in 2017. During her UD years, Mackenzie
completed a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Texas A&M University in
nuclear physics and a second REU at UCLA for her senior thesis research. She was a
Clare Boothe Luce Scholar for two years and a leader in launching the Women in STEM
Club at the University of Dallas. The three-year NSF Fellowship allows Mackenzie to
study at Rice University to earn her Ph.D. in Experimental Atomic Physics.
2018 SMART Scholarship
Steven Block received his BS in Physics in 2018, and he is in the first cohort of
University of Dallas students completing the dual-degree in Physics (UD) and Electrical
Engineering (UTA). The SMART Scholarship, awarded by the Department of Defense, completely
funds Steven's fifth year of the 5-year program. While at UD, Steven conducted research
in nuclear physics with Dr. Hicks, completed a Naval Research Enterprise Internship
at the Naval Research Laboratories, conducted research with Dr. Flanagan at Fermi
National Laboratory, and had an internship at Raytheon. On top all of this, Steven
was awarded a Fermi Laboratory Neutrino Center Physics Research Fellowship.
2018 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship (Czech Republic)
Catherine Blume earned a BA in English with a French concentration in 2018 and was
the valedictorian for the Class of 2018. Her intention is to go on to graduate school after this year for a master’s degree
in Slavic languages and literatures, which she hopes will inspire and inform a career
teaching high school in the U.S.
2018 Study Intercultural Training Experience (SITE) Program
Diana Hassink earned her BS in Biology in 2018. In September of 2018, she kicked off
her year as an English-language teaching assistant at Liceo Scientifico Galileo Ferraris
in Varese, Italy, just north of Milan and south of the Italian Alps. The best part
of the SITE program is that Diana has the opportunity to teach the subjects that she
studied at UD including biology and chemistry. This paid SITE internship opportunity
for English-speaking teaching assistants in the region of Lombardy, Italy allows for
graduates from American universities to obtain a better understanding of the Italian
language and culture, while assisting local teachers and receiving professional training
on teaching methods.
2017 Schweitzer Fellowship
Sean Mixon (MA Philosophy, anticipated 2020) was announced one of 12 Albert Schweitzer
Fellows in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 2017-18, and one of approximately 240 fellows
working around the United States. Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service
projects to address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities,
while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Sean established a summer writing
program at the Elsie Robertson Lancaster Middle School in southern Dallas County.
The first UD recipient of the prestigious Schweitzer Fellowship, Sean will continue
developing the literacy skills of Lancaster middle schoolers who fall below their
grade level throughout the following year, while also learning how to effectively
address the lower socioeconomic factors that can negatively affect one’s health.
2017 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship (Germany)
Emily Collins is a 2017 graduate with a double major in English and Economics and
German concentration. She worked as a marketing and communications intern at the Dallas Goethe Center,
where she interacted with other staff members in German. She also gained classroom
experience while at UD by teaching German to third graders at Holy Family of Nazareth
Catholic school. Collins believes this combination of experience made her Fulbright application competitive.
2017 Fulbright Research Award (Spain)
Phillip Wozniak (BA Biology, 2015) was awarded a Fulbright Research Award to conduct
medical research in Spain. He conducted a pre-clinical trial that focused on finding
an alternative treatment for preventing severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV),
an infection that can be deadly to premature and immunocompromised infants. His research
focused on the use of medical nanotechnology to develop the treatment. Wozniak was a Clinical Research Coordinator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the
pediatric teaching hospital associated with Ohio State University. He believes his
Fulbright application was particularly strong because of his relationship with a pioneer
in the medical nanotechnology field, Dr. Maria Angeles Muñoz-Fernández. “Many applicants
come up with a research idea and the beg around for someone to mentor them,” Wozniak
said. “But I worked closely with my mentor to develop a research proposal that already
had the support of a leader in the field.” Phil deferred medical school for a year
to complete his Fulbright. He is currently an M.D. candidate at Ohio State University College of Medicine.
2017 NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow
Nicholas Terranova graduated with a BS in Physics in 2018. The summer after his junior
year, Nick spent 11 weeks running and processing magnetic simulations at the National
Institute for Standards in Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD, as part of his Summer
Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) internship. The findings of the simulation
data will help further research on nanoparticles, which could inform a possible solution
to the problem of temperature measurement of matter inside a large volume, current
methods for which are impractical. To culminate his 11 weeks in the program, Terranova
gave a presentation on this topic as it pertains to his research dealing with these
magnetic thin films, winning the award for the best talk in the Physical Measurement
Laboratory’s Physics Lab. Nick is now attending St. John’s Seminary in Boston, MA.
2017 Lilly Graduate Fellowship - Elisa Torres (PhD Philosophy Candidate)
Elisa Torres is an M.A. student in Philosophy at the University of Dallas where she plans to earn
her PhD through the University’s Institute of Philosophic Studies. Graduating Belmont
Abbey College in 2017 with a B.A. in English and Theology, she also completed minors
in Christianity & Culture, Medieval Studies, and Political Philosophy. Torres was
a member of the St. Thomas More Scholarship program, and in her senior year was given
the “Outstanding St. Thomas More Scholar” award. Torres was also the English Department’s
"Student of the Year," and wrote her senior thesis on the concept of “pietas” in Vergil’s Aeneid.
Torres hopes to continue the interdisciplinary approach of her undergraduate work
during her time at the University of Dallas. While focusing on such topics as anamnesis,
piety, convention/nature, and the art of dialectic, Torres plans to maintain a deeply
literary and political engagement with such philosophical ideas.
2017 Lilly Graduate Fellowship - Bridget Safranek (BA Philosophy, '17)
In the fall of 2017, Bridget began the MA/PhD program in philosophy at the Catholic
University of America as a fellow at the Institute for Human Ecology at CUA. She plans
to focus on ethics and metaphysics as the fundamental foundations for bioethics, and
is also interested in virtue ethics and natural law theory.
2015 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship (Germany)
Anthony Kersting, a 2015 Physics graduate with a German concentration, was awarded
a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship for the 2015-16 academic year. Anthony completed
research in observational astronomy where he investigated dwarf nova ASASSN-14cv.
He was also a member of lyric theater and Collegium Cantorum while at UD. As of 2018,
Anthony is a seminarian for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin.
2015 Rhodes Scholarship Finalist
Will Chavey, a 2015 Economics and Finance graduate with a concentration in Applied
Mathematics, was a 2015 Rhodes Scholar Finalist in the Houston Region. To make it
to the Finalist stage is quite an accomplishment, as the Rhodes Scholarship is a highly
competitive award with only 30 grants awarded nationwide. As a UD undergraduate Will
had an internship at Goldman Sachs, served in House Speaker John Boehner's office,
helped start the University of Dallas Investment Club and the Alexander Hamilton Society,
and he was President of Student Government, in addition to many other accomplishments,
service, and intellectual achievements. As of 2019, Will is currently an MBA candidate
at Harvard Business School.
2014 DOE Undergraduate Nuclear Energy Scholarship
2015 Chemistry graduate Aaron French was awarded a Department of Energy Undergraduate
Nuclear Energy Scholarship. These $5,000 scholarships are awarded to only 70 students
nationwide and have been given to students at only 63 other universities. Aaron is
projected to earn his PhD in Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University in 2020.
2014 Fulbright Research Assistantship (England) & 2013 Goldwater Scholarship
Sebastian Scofield, 2014 Biology graduate, was given a Fulbright Student Award for
the 2014-2015 academic year to study and complete research at the University of East
Anglia in England. As a junior, Sebastian was a 2013 Goldwater Scholar. Sebastian
obtained a master’s degree in Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of
East Anglia, working under Professor Andrew Bourke, a leading research scientist in
the field. As of 2017, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Evolutionary Biology at Arizona
2013 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship (Germany)
Michaela Sobrak-Seaton, Philosophy graduate with a German concentration (2013) was
awarded a German Pdagogischer Austauschdienst, which is to say a Fulbright Teaching
Assistantship, for the 2013-14 academic year. As of 2019, she is currently a doctoral
candidate at Boston College in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.
2012 Madison Memorial Fellowship Recipient
Jennifer Venable won a Madison Memorial Fellowship in 2012. Jennifer earned a Master
of American Studies at the University of Dallas in 2013. She teaches AP government
at Waxahachie High School and dual credit government at Navarro College. Jennifer
found the required application process to be challenging, but well worth the effort.
She particularly enjoyed the required one-month period of summer study at Georgetown
2012 NSF Graduate Fellowship Recipient and 2011 Goldwater Scholarship
Anna Marie (DeLaRosa) Christianson graduated from the University of Dallas with a
BS in Chemistry in 2012. She earned her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at Texas A&M and
as of 2017 is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Bellarmine University in Louisville,
2012 NSF Graduate Fellowship Recipient
Monica (Lacy) Bennett graduated from the University of Dallas in 2010 with a B.S.
in Physics. Monica received the NSF Graduate Fellowship to conduct research in biophotonics
at Vanderbilt University. She earned a PhD in Physics from Vanderbilt University in
2009 NSF Graduate Fellowship Recipient
David Solis graduated from UD in 2008 with a BS in Physics and a BA in Mathematics.
David received his PhD in Applied Physics from Rice University in 2013. On the day
he successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis, David was told he had also won the Robert
Lowry Patten Award for his service to the graduate student community and for his achievements.
As of February 2019, David is a Medical Physicist for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
in Baton Rouge, LA.
2008 Fulbright Recipient (Switzerland)
After graduating BS in Physics and a BA in Mathematics in 2008, Will Spearman went
to Geneva, Switzerland on a Fulbright Scholarship in order to conduct research at
CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). Will earned an MS and PhD in
Physics at Harvard University and was a co-author on the Higgs discovery paper. As
of 2018, he is the Lead Data Scientist for the Liverpool Football Club.
A more complete list of UD Fulbright recipients can be found here.