UConn’s 2015 Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell Nominees

Good Luck to UConn’s Nominees for the Rhodes, Marshall & Mitchell Scholarships

Alexandra Ball (CLAS: ENGL/POLS ’15), graduated from the University of Connecticut as an Honors Scholar in May 2015 and is now living in Brighton, MA working for Bridge International Academies where she is creating science content and lesson plans for Bridge schools in Uganda. Dedicated to international education reform, Allie (as she is known) spent time during a 2013 study abroad experience in Cape Town, South Africa coordinating the “Books for Nyanga” drive to build a library at a township school.  She later led an effort through the student organization UConn Empower, to deliver direct service to a school in Rishikesh, India.  In the U.S., she has been a teaching intern at both Greens Farms Academy, a private school in Westport, and Tomlinson Middle School, a public school in Fairfield, her hometown.  While at UConn, Allie served as an intern for the UNESCO Chair & Institute on Comparative Human Rights and Vice President for the UConn chapter of Lawyers Without Borders.  Her honors thesis, supervised by Dr. Shareen Hertel, examined institutionalized racism plaguing education reform efforts in South Africa.  Among her many additional activities, Allie participated on an Alternative Spring Break to the Southern Appalachian Labor School in West Virginia, volunteered for America Reads and worked at The Daily Campus.  She also spent a summer as a counselor at Teton Valley Ranch Camp in Wyoming, where she honed her backcountry skills.  In addition to spending time outdoors, Allie enjoys writing and amateur astronomy.  She has been nominate for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships and is also applying to the University of Cambridge and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study global education policies.

Antonio Campelli (FNAR: Art ’15), from Tolland, CT, graduated from the University of Connecticut in May 2015. An assistant cataloger at the William Benton Museum, Antonio is planning to move this fall to New York City where he will pursue an art career and further develop his curating skills.  Renowned in the School of Fine Arts not only for his talent as an artist, but also for his commitment to the arts community, Antonio was a founding member of Everbody Arts, a student organization dedicated to arts outreach on campus and at local schools.  He served on the UConn School of Fine Arts Student Advisory Council and curated his senior class show, which included fundraising for lighting and other vital materials.  Before entering UConn to earn his BFA, Antonio was homeschooled and attended Manchester Community College at a young age.  He has excelled in numerous subjects across the liberal arts and sciences and has even amassed technical and trade skills, spending time each summer building houses with his church community for the poor.  He has also owned his own landscaping and horticultural propagation business, Bella Fiore, and is a gymnast and parkour enthusiast. In 2010, he participated in the highly selective Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop Summer Program, and while at UConn received SURF and IDEA grants to study experimental book formats and installation art.  Under the guidance of Ray DiCapua, he completed a University Scholar thesis project and has exhibited his work at numerous galleries.  One of his paintings, done in collaboration with another UConn student, is on permanent display at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.  Antonio is a nominee for the Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships and hopes to study at Goldsmiths, University of London or the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford.

Brendan Costello (CLAS: ECON/POLS ’16) is a honors student from Cromwell, CT, a two-time New England Scholar and recipient of the Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize in economics.  Last summer, he was a research intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland where he co-authored publications on regional labor markets and P/E ratios while assisting researchers and coding economic models.  Particularly interested in the quantitative-side of economics, Brendan is also completing a minor in mathematics.  He has been a recipient of a UConn SHARE (Social Science, Humanities and Arts Research Experience) grant with Dr. Talia Bar in the Department of Economics, for whom he has been a research assistant since August 2014. After a near-perfect score on his LSAT exam, Brendan plans to attend law school and serve the public interest in government, armed with an advanced knowledge of economics (having already enrolled in several graduate economics courses).  He has been President of the UConn Law Society since 2013, reviving the group and serving as a dedicated role model for his peers.  As a member of the Mock Trial Team, he received the Outstanding Attorney Award from the American Mock Trial Association last winter at a regional competition at Yale.  This fall, he was appointed to lead UConn’s College Fed Challenge Team.  In addition, Brendan has worked as a legal and compliance intern at Virtus Investment Partners, Inc. in Hartford.  He is a nominee for the Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships and hopes to earn a master’s degree in economics in the U.K. before returning to the U.S. for his law degree.

Emily Kaufman (CLAS: HR/COGSCI ’16), from Portsmouth, RI, is an honors student double majoring in human rights and cognitive science. An Executive Board member of the CLAS Student Leadership Board, she is serving as chair of the Student and Alumni Relations Task Force. She is also a UNESCO Student Ambassador of Human Rights and leader of the Visualizing Human Rights at UConn Project, which is gathering visual interpretations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from faculty and students for an exhibit in spring 2015.  She spent spring of her sophomore year studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa where she was also an intern for Treatment Action Campaign, a non-profit dedicated to campaigning for access to HIV/AIDS and TB treatment.  Funded by a U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, Emily was also selected among Gilman recipients to be a travel correspondent, submitting weekly articles and photos for a classroom in the U.S. Emily has also traveled to Sydney, Australia to represent UConn at the 2014 Universitas 21 Conference on the “Shaping of Future Cities.”  In 2013, she participated in the Universitas 21 Conference on human rights hosted by the University of Connecticut.  Since October 2013, she has served as Student Assistant for Programs at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, assisting with a variety of research projects and events. During summer 2015, she interned for the Business and Human Rights Resources Centre, a watchdog organization dedicated to researching the role of business in human rights abuses.  She plans to earn a master’s in human rights with particular interests in corporate social responsibility and climate policy.  Ultimately, she aspires to work for an organization that advocates for human rights and policy reforms that influence the practices of multinational corporations.  Emily has received the Study Abroad Global Citizenship Award, is a recipient of funding from UConn’s Human Rights Institute and was recently selected as part of UConn’s 2015 Leadership Legacy cohort. She was a Finalist in the 2015 Truman competition.  Drawn to acclaimed human rights programs in Galway, Ireland and Essex in the UK, she is a nominee this fall for the Mitchell and Marshall Scholarships.

Brendan Michael Smalec (FNAR/CLAS: MCB ’16) from Cheshire, CT, is a dual degree honors student majoring in molecular and cell biology and art history. Brendan plans to earn a PhD in genetics, expanding on his growing knowledge of the role epigenetics in cancer susceptibility and progression.  During his freshman year at UConn, he was chosen to participate in the highly-selective Holster Scholars program to work with PhD student Brianna Flynn in the laboratory of Dr. Rachel O’Neill on a project titled, “Genomic Instability and Karyotypic Rearrangements in the Development of Harderian Gland Adenocarcinoma in Peromyscus leucopus.” Basically, he is studying abnormalities at the genetic, genomic and epigenetic level associated with cancer in mice, has twice presented this research and is currently working on two papers for future publication.  During summer 2014, Brendan worked in the laboratory of Dr. Brenton Graveley, from the Department of Developmental Biology and Genetics at the University of Connecticut Health Center, studying the regulation of alternative splicing and small RNA function as part of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project.  He presented this work at the 2014 Fall Frontiers poster session. A recipient of a UConn SURF Grant, IDEA Grant and a UConn Translational Research Grant, he also serves as an Office of Undergraduate Research Peer Research Ambassador was selected to be a University Scholar, with his research in the O’Neill lab as the basis for his thesis.  He is a member of the UConn Pre-Medical Society, Medical Humanitarian Society and Bioethics Club and participated in an Alternative Spring Break involving environmental restoration in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2013.  A current member of the UConn Swim Club, Brendan was, in high school, a recipient of the Connecticut Swimming Three Year Scholar Athlete Award and the Connecticut Association of Schools Scholar Athlete Award.  At UConn, he has received numerous awards, including a Fine Arts Talent Scholarship and the Marion and Marjorie Case Art History Scholarship in recognition of his abilities in art history. Last spring, Brendan was named an Honorable Mention in the Goldwater Scholarship competition.  He is a nominee for the Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships and is applying to the University of Cambridge and for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship and NIH-Oxford/Cambridge Scholarship, ideally to earn his PhD in the UK and collaborate with top researchers at the NIH in Bethesda, MD.

Mary Rockett (CLAS: POLS ’15), widely known as “Molly,” graduated in May 2015 as a political science major, honors student, two-time New England Scholar and University Scholar from Somers, CT. A 2014 Truman Scholar, she is currently living in Washington DC, where as a Truman-Albright Fellow she is working for FairVote: The Center for Voting and Democracy. Deeply committed to political engagement, Molly led UConn’s College Democrats to an impressive showing in an off-year election cycle in her sophomore year.  She has been an intern for both Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative Joe Courtney in Washington DC, and served as a Nominator at Courtney’s Nominating Convention.  Despite her national exposure, Molly believes strongly that political engagement starts at the local level, and she was elected in 2013 to the Somers Board of Education.  In high school, she organized a Youth Issues Assembly with Rep. Courtney for her school and, as President of the Somers Gay/Straight Alliance, was an active leader in support of the LGBT community.  At the college level, Molly has been a research assistant for Dr. Matthew Singer, examining voting behavior in Latin America, and was awarded a Roper Award for Research Experience (RARE) grant with Dr. Virginia Hettinger for a project titled, “Public Perception and Judicial Legitimacy,” which became the basis for her University Scholar thesis.  As a sophomore, she was invited to participate in UConn’s Leadership Legacy program and in other opportunities for emerging leaders, including the National Education for Women (NEW) Leadership New England Conference and “Elect Her”: Women in Politics Training Conference.  A recipient of the Donald McCullough Leadership Award and the Robert F. and Margaret Dodge Belden Scholarship, she was a 2014 nominee for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships and a Finalist in both competitions.  This year, she is re-applying to the Marshall Scholarship to study election policy at Royal Holloway, University of London in the UK.