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Five alumni and students will join Julia Goldberg, associate dean of scholars programs, in a panel discussion of the application process for national and international fellowships and scholarships 4 p.m. Thursday in Oechsle Hall room 224.

Goldberg will discuss the criteria for candidates and how to be a top contender. Students who have achieved success in the process will discuss their experiences, including neuroscience graduate Susan Bothwell ’05, who minored in healthcare and society; Michael Lestingi ’04, who received a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an A.B. with majors in international studies and Russian and East European studies; Matthew Coughlin ’07 (Boyertown, Pa.), a Trustee Scholar majoring in chemistry; Amanda Lalley ’07 (Brewerton, N.Y.), a double major in international affairs and Africana studies; and mathematics major Jordan Tirrell ’08 (West Grove, Pa.).

Bothwell, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program Scholar, was one of 16 students in the nation selected to receive the award in 2004 among more than 300 applicants. She received her scholarship in part because of her research experience, which began through the neuroscience program’s Lafayette Alumni Research Network, working at Duke University with Kevin LaBar ’90, who studies the cognitive neuroscience of emotional learning and memory. She then studied fear conditioning as an EXCEL Scholar with Gabrielle Britton, assistant professor of psychology. Bothwell’s current research interest is the etiology of Parkinson’s disease. She explored this topic in her senior thesis under the guidance of Elaine Reynolds, associate professor of biology and chair of neuroscience, and was recognized for her work as one of ten students in the nation given a Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Travel Award to the Society for Neuroscience’s 35th Annual Meeting.

Lestingi received a Fulbright Grant to undertake a study of the development of privatization and regulatory policies of Russia’s railroads. He works for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration in the Office of International Policy. As an international transportation specialist, he promotes the trade of U.S. rail products abroad, supports U.S. foreign policy through rail assistance programs, and works on projects to enhance the global mobility of goods and people. While in Moscow on his Fulbright Grant last year, he completed coursework in economics at Russian State University for the Humanities, where he interacted with key academic, corporate, and government leaders involved in the rail restructuring of Russia. He serves on the board of directors of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

Coughlin was among four Lafayette students this year to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. He plans to pursue a doctorate in organic chemistry and would like to conduct research in the development of biologically important molecules. In a project related to nanobiotechnology, he has been looking at the effect of carbon nanotubes on the oligomeric structure of proteins as an EXCEL Scholar with Tina Huang, assistant professor of chemistry. In an earlier project with Huang, Coughlin did research on the presence of glutamate, an amino acid, in enzymes.

Another Goldwater Scholarship recipient, Tirrell conducted EXCEL research last summer with Cliff Reiter, professor of mathematics, on a variant of the perfect cuboid problem. Their co-authored paper, “Pursuing the Perfect Parallelepiped,” was accepted for publication by JP Journal of Algebra, Number Theory, and Applications. He presented his work at the National Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, Texas, this past January. He and Reiter also are conducting EXCEL research this semester on questions that arose during their summer research. Tirrell intends to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics, possibly focusing on number theory and algebra, and wants to become a professor at a college or university that is involved in both research and undergraduate education.

Lalley is a finalist in the 2006 Harry S. Truman Scholarship competition. She was recently named a recipient of the James F. Bryant ’40 Excellence Award. Her experiences working with children of Somali refugees as a volunteer in a Catholic Charities’ program in Syracuse, N.Y., deepened her commitment to assisting refugees. Lalley plans to earn a postgraduate degree in international affairs with a concentration in refugee studies and to strengthen her skills in Swahili and Zulu. She began to learn Zulu while a student at University of KwaZulu Natal last summer. After graduate school, she would like to work for an organization such as International Rescue Committee, whose program for youth in war-torn Burundi uses sports and culture to improve adolescents’ development.

Students unable to attend the meeting, but who are interested in learning more about scholarship and fellowship opportunities, should contact June Thompson, coordinator of pre-professional and scholars programs, at x5521 to make an appointment with Goldberg.

Categorized in: Academic News