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Success Stories

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 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 skills. 

2019 Harry S. Truman Scholarship Finalist

Madeleine NerioMadeleine 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

Ana and PaulPaul 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 Physics 2019Sophia 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 warrensMackenzie 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

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 blumeCatherine 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 HassinkDiana 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 MixonSean 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 collinsEmily 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) 

phil wozniakPhillip 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 

 nick terranovaNicholas 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 TorresElisa 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)

bridget safranekIn 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 KerstingAnthony 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 ChaveyWill 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

Aaron French2015 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 ScofieldSebastian 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 State University.


2013 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship (Germany)

Michaela SobrakMichaela 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 VenableJennifer 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 University.


2012 NSF Graduate Fellowship Recipient and 2011 Goldwater Scholarship

AnnaMarie ChristensonAnna 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, KY. 



2012 NSF Graduate Fellowship Recipient

Monica LacyMonica (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 2017. 



2009 NSF Graduate Fellowship Recipient

David SolisDavid 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)

Will SpearmanAfter 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.