At OWU, students benefit from a commitment to the highest academic achievement, close attention from faculty mentors, and life-changing OWU Connection opportunities. For many, that is the perfect background that prepares them for the most prestigious fellowships and awards in the nation.

In recent years, OWU students have been named Goldwater Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows, NCAA Postgraduate Scholars, Gilman International Scholars, and semifinalists in the Rhodes Scholarship competition.

National Fellowship Recipients

Delanie Baker '19

Award: American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Major: Microbiology
OWU Connection Experiences: Participated in the Summer Science Research Program, exploring genes involved in drug resistance with researchers at The Ohio State University. Earned a Travel-Learning Grant to support a month-long research experience in Iceland.
Next: Will use the $4,000 research stipend from her microbiology fellowship and her OWU Theory-to-Practice Grant to travel to Iceland to study megaviruses from diverse habitats and, in the fall, to conduct followup research on campus using OWU's scanning transmission electron microscope.

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Jenna Chambers '18

Award: Boren Award (National Security Education Program)
Majors: International Studies and German
OWU Connection Experience: Spent a semester studying semester in Freiburg, Germany. During this time, she traveled to Croatia, where she realized she wanted to learn more about its language and culture.
Next: Will use the $20,000 Boren Scholarship to support a yearlong study of Croatian at the University of Zagreb’s Croaticum – Centre for Croatian as Foreign and Second Language.

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Mark Mandych ’16

Award: Fulbright Scholars Grant
Major: English Literature and German Studies
OWU Connection Experience: Spent a semester studying at the University of Salzburg in Austria
After OWU: Taught English in Germany for 10 months

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Madeline Vroom ’16

Award: American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Major: Microbiology
OWU Connection Experience: Research to examine whether the thickness of a protective preening oil found on songbird feathers affects the ability of disease-causing bacteria to damage the plumage.
After OWU: Graduate research assistant in the Ph.D. program in microbiology at the University of Florida

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Alexandra Webb ’15

Award: Boren Award
Major: Politics & Government
OWU Connection Experiences: Travel-Learning Courses to China and Taiwan; semester at National Taiwan University.
After OWU: Year of civilian service with the U.S. Air Force

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Breane Budaitis ’14

Award: National Science Foundation Fellowship
Majors: Chemistry and Genetics
OWU Connection Experience: Research with Prof. Wolverton to design a genetic screen to better understand how plants sense and respond to gravity
After OWU: Ph.D. program in cellular & molecular biology at the University of Michigan

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Brad Turnwald ’13

Award: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
Major: Biochemistry
OWU Connection Experiences: Connection Grant to complete a summer internship at European Molecular Biology Laboratories in Heidelberg, Germany, conducting research in the field of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay; off-campus research under the direction of 1961 OWU alumnus Herbert L. DuPont, M.D., director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas School of Public Health.
After OWU: Ph.D. student in psychology at Stanford University

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Kristen Lear '11

Awards: Fulbright Award and NSF Fellowship
Major: Zoology
OWU Connection Experience: Connection Grant to study the design of bat houses in Texas to better sustain bat populations. She spent two summers on the project, which resulted in her senior thesis.
After OWU: Ph.D. program at University of Georgia
Kristen says: “The summer research experiences I have had over the past several years have allowed me to develop my passion for bats, and the Fulbright is like a culmination of these experiences.”

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Meredith Palmer '11

Award: Fulbright Award, Goldwater Scholar Award, NSF Postdoc Fellowship
Major: Zoology
OWU Connection Experience: Connection Grant to study habitat restoration and alternative sources of income of indigenous people in Borneo.
After OWU: Earned Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior at University of Minnesota. Her discovery that a bird species spends its nights in the “armpits” of giraffes was published in National Geographic in 2018.
Meredith says: “The opportunities provided at OWU have definitely paved the way for me, allowing me to make the most of my graduate career and my other research positions.”

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Sean Williams '11

Award: NSF Fellowship
Major: Zoology
OWU Connection Experiences: Connection Grant to study tropical rainforest ecology in Belize and Costa Rica. Published research on tropical birds with Prof. Jed Burtt.
After OWU: Ph.D. program at Michigan State University
Sean says: “I attribute every opportunity to the encouragement and guidance from the Zoology Department and the University as a whole. I am confident that I could not have achieved more at any other university in the country.”

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