Occidental Students Win Academic, Community-Service and Leadership Fellowships

Originally posted: May 25, 2012

Three new Occidental College graduates and one student have been awarded national academic, community-service and public affairs fellowships or grants.

Gold River native Jennifer Griffin ’12 has received a prestigious National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship. Another recent graduate, Joseph Michael Statwick ’10, received an honorable mention in NSF’s 2012 graduate research fellowship program. Griffin is the 27th Occidental student to receive an NSF fellowship.

The fellowship includes a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 allowance for graduate school tuition and fees, and opportunities for international research and professional development. Griffin, who just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, will attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a Ph.D in inorganic chemistry.

“I am incredibly honored and appreciative to be awarded such a prestigious and generous fellowship so early in my career,” Griffin said. “I am most looking forward to working with the faculty at UIUC, who are committed to encouraging creative intellect and truly appreciate a genuine work ethic.”

Juan German ’12 has won a yearlong fellowship for study and work in Germany. The diplomacy and world affairs graduate from Providence, R.I., is one of 75 participants from throughout the United States who were invited to take part in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. German has also been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach in Turkey [link to Fulbright news release]. He must now decide between the two.

In the Congress-Bundestag program, he would attend a two-month intensive German language course, study at a German university or professional school for four months, and complete a five-month internship with a German company. The U.S. State Department funds the Congress-Bundestag program, which is supported by Congress and the German Parliament, or Bundestag.

The fellowship would expose him to skills such as community organizing, canvassing, and policy analysis, German said. “A particular interest of mine is Turkish integration into German society, so I will hopefully work for an organization that analyzes integration policy,” he added. “This fellowship will bring me one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming an ambassador.”

The Newport Beach-based Donald A. Strauss Foundation has awarded Shelby King ’13 a $10,000 grant to fund Tucson Summer Music, her nonprofit organization that gives low-income children free music lessons and provides instruments. The lessons are taught by students from the University of Arizona and Pima Community College. King, an economics major and Tucson resident, started the program in 2009 with 13 students. This year, she hopes to double the number of music students in the program.

The Strauss Foundation grant will help pay for instrument repairs and purchases, advertising, sheet music, and a $1,500 scholarship to the program’s most promising musician, she said.

“I am absolutely thrilled and honored,” King added. “This funding will enable Tucson Summer Music to be a sustained program within the community. The students are simply wonderful and have a passion and enthusiasm for music that I have not seen anywhere else.”

Nolan Borgman ’12 has been named a Los Angeles Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. Coro is a leadership-training organization based in San Francisco, and the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs is a rigorous nine-month, graduate-level experiential program that prepares talented and committed individuals for leadership in the public affairs arena. Borgman, from Philadelphia, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in urban and environmental policy. He is one of 64 Coro fellows who were chosen this year through a highly competitive selection process.

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