Eight Students Win Major Fellowships

Recent preparation efforts showing results

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Boston College made another strong showing this year in the nation's leading fellowship programs, with eight students having obtained prestigious awards as of last week.

Five members of the Class of 1997 and a doctoral student were named Fulbright Scholars, while two undergraduates received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and a National Security Education Program fellowship.

Faculty said the gains are particularly impressive in the federally supported Fulbright program, which provides grants for post-graduate study abroad. Last year, three of eight undergraduate applicants were finalists and one received funding. In 1995, three students were awarded Fulbrights.

This year also saw more than twice as many BC Fulbright applicants - 18 - than last, noted Prof. Donald Hafner (Political Science), chairman of the Fellowships Committee, which coordinates faculty and student participation in major research award programs. This trend is indicative of BC fellowship applicants in general and is a factor in the University's growing success rate, Hafner said.

As an example, he pointed to Boston College's recent progress in the Rhodes Scholarship program: Last year, two students applied and one was invited to state interviews - a level that about a third of all Rhodes applicants reach; this year, a record eight BC applicants in five states competed for the fellowships, and three were invited for interviews at the state level.

This year's student fellowship winners include, clockwise from left: Cathleen Coyle, Christopher Ahearn, Emily Hack, Jennifer Lanigan and Christopher Boudreau. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"Each of the students who competes - winner or not - carries the banner of Boston College before the fellowship sponsors, increases national awareness of our academic strength, and serves as encouragement to the next generation of BC students," said Hafner, who praised the efforts of faculty in advising and sponsoring fellowship candidates.

The University's 1997 Fulbright Scholars reflect the diverse talents, interests and abilities of its student body, faculty say. Christopher Ahearn, who majored in Germanic studies and philosophy, will use his Fulbright for study in Germany, where he will research 18th-century writer and philosopher Friedrich Schiller's involvement in liberal political movements.

Jennifer Lanigan, a School of Education graduate who earned a degree in elementary education and French, will work as a teaching assistant at a high school in France. Lanigan attended BC as a Presidential Scholar and was this year's Finnegan Award winner.

Another Presidential Scholar, Matthew Monnig, who earned a combined bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in philosophy, will travel to Poland to research the influence of Pope John Paul II on the Solidarity movement.

Also, College of Arts and Sciences graduate Christopher Boudreau will enhance his degree in computer science by travelling to Japan to study high-technology breakthroughs in "virtual reality," and Cathleen Coyle, who earned her degree in history and French, will work as a teaching assistant in Belgium.

Melinda Alison Arnett, a doctoral student in philosophy, will go to Munich to research the German-born American political philosopher Hannah Arendt to help complete her dissertation.

In addition, James Hebbeler, who earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy, was named to the list of Fulbright Scholar alternates. At press time, two other graduating seniors were still awaiting word on their Fulbright applications.

Another fellowship award winner is Kefryn Block, '99, a romance languages major who will travel to Argentina on a grant from the National Security Education Program, which provides funding to American students who seek to acquire language skills or perform research in non-Western countries. Block will spend the summer in Buenos Aires perfecting her Spanish and studying international marketing.

Presidential Scholar Emily Hack, '99, a biochemistry major, won a Goldwater Scholarship, which is awarded by the Excellence in Education Foundation to students who demonstrate talent in mathematics or the natural sciences. The scholarship provides college juniors and seniors up to $7,000 per year toward tuition, books and other school expenses.

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