Author: vgm07001

2017 Holster Scholars Present Research

2017 Holster Scholars with Robert Holster (’68) on September 25, 2017. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

The 2017 class of Holster Scholars presented their summer research projects at the Holster Scholar Summer Research Project symposium on Monday, September 25, in the Dodd Center’s Konover Auditorium.  Eight sophomore Honors students presented  original  work on topics  ranging from refugee integration to cancer to plastics to aging.

Read Ellen Yang’s feature story on the event over on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences website.

The Holster Scholars First Year Project is a highly selective enrichment opportunity for curious first-year Honors students that supports a small number of motivated students interested in independent research the summer following their first year. Holster projects are in-depth, individualized learning experiences.  Beyond some basic requirements, projects are self-designed.  The Holster Scholars Program is made possible by a generous gift from Robert (’68) and Carlotta (’68) Holster.

The deadline to apply for the 2018 class of Holster Scholars is November 7, 2017 at 4:00pm.  For more information on the Holster Scholar Program, visit the website or contact Holster Scholars Program Coordinator Vin Moscardelli at

UConn Junior Tyler Daddio Named 2017 Goldwater Scholar

(Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Tyler Daddio ’18 (ENG, CLAS), from Beacon Falls, Conn., has been named a 2017 Goldwater Scholar.  The Goldwater Scholarship is considered the nation’s premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences, and engineering. It was established by Congress to honor the late U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, for the purpose of identifying students of outstanding ability and promise, and encouraging them to pursue advanced study and research careers.

Daddio, pictured above, is a STEM scholar pursuing a BS in mathematics and dual BSE/MS degrees in computer science and engineering. He plans to earn a Ph.D. in computer science after he graduates from UConn.  He is joined by fellow UConn students Vincent Pistritto ’18 (CLAS, SFA) and Nick Russo ’18 (CLAS), who each received Honorable Mention in this year’s competition.  With this award, Tyler becomes the sixth UConn undergraduate to earn a Goldwater Scholarship since 2014.

Meet UConn’s 2017 Udall Scholarship Nominee

Each year, on behalf of the University of Connecticut, the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships nominates students to compete nationally for the prestigious Udall Scholarship.  Named for Representative Morris K. Udall and his brother, Secretary Stewart L. Udall, this $5,000 undergraduate scholarship is awarded to high-achieving students from any discipline who are either passionate about the environment or  are Native American students committed to tribal healthcare or tribal policy, following legacy of the Udalls, who supported legislation to protect both the environment and Native American interests.  Recipients are also invited into a strong network of committed environmentalists and Native American advocates.  If you are a UConn student and want more information about the scholarship and how to seek nomination, start here.


Nicholas Russo (CLAS ’18) is an Honors Student and STEM scholar majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in ecology, with a focus on ornithology and forest community ecology. Since his freshman year, Nick has been working in the lab of Dr. Morgan Tingley, conducting research on the potential for birds to disperse hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that devastates eastern hemlock forests. Nick received an IDEA Grant in summer 2016 to monitor adelgid carrying rates of birds in hemlock forests, and presented this research, and his Holster Scholar research, at the national Wilson Ornithological Society meeting in March, 2017, where he received the Nancy Klamm Best Undergraduate Student Oral Paper Award. In November 2016, the results of his Holster Scholar research on adelgid transfer rates between hemlock branches and birds were published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Entomology.  As president of the UConn Birding Club and a representative of ECOalition, Nick takes a strong interest in citizen science and environmental awareness. As part of these organizations, he is working to implement a university general education requirement in environmental literacy and sustainability, and undertake a Connecticut Ornithological Society-funded project to ensure continued management of the Mansfield Community Garden for migratory birds. A University Scholar for 2017-18, Nick received the Stewart L. and Morris K. Udall Scholarship in 2016, and received Honorable Mention for this award in 2017. Nick works at the Writing Center, and in his spare time, he likes to bird, run, swim, and speak French.

Meet UConn’s 2017 Portz Scholarship Nominee

The National Collegiate Honors Council’s John and Edythe Portz Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship provides students in good standing in honors programs of NCHC member institutions support to conduct creative and innovative research that crosses boundaries. The fellowship program invites applications from individuals who wish to undertake cross-disciplinary research or from a team of two students from different disciplines who propose a single collaborative project. The project will be funded for a period of up to 18 months with the expectation that upon its completion the Fellowship recipient will make a presentation of the research at the annual NCHC conference.  UConn’s NCHC Portz Nominee is chosen each spring from the pool of University Scholars.


Rebecca Hill (’18 CLAS) is a junior Honors student and University Scholar from Middlebury, CT.  She is double majoring in English and Economics and she aspires to be a novelist.  A former Holster Scholar, Rebecca currently serves as the co-Fiction Editor of the Long River Review, UConn’s award-winning literary magazine. Her University Scholar project, The Western Madwoman:  A Feminist History and Economic Study in Novel Form, conducted under the direction of English Professor Ellen Litman, combines her diverse scholarly and intellectual interests into a novel that examines two feminine literary archetypes of mental illness, anorexia and hysteria, and the socio-economic contexts in which they exist. In the spring of 2016, Rebecca won the Jennie Hackman Memorial Prize for Fiction, which is awarded each year by the UConn English Department. Outside of her literary interests, Rebecca’s commitment to social justice has led her to participate in a wide range of community outreach alternative service breaks in locations ranging from Birmingham, AL to New York City.  In recognition of these and other efforts, she will be representing the Honors Program at the NEW Leadership New England program at St. Anselm’s College in Vermont this summer.  When she is not busy writing or trying to change the world, she enjoys rock climbing.

Meet UConn’s 2017 Truman Scholarship Nominees

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is awarded for graduate study towards careers in public service to approximately 55 students nationally based on their academic achievement, leadership, and public service records. Students must apply in their junior year.  Each year, universities may nominate up to four juniors for this competition.  For more information about UConn’s nomination process and the scholarship itself, click HERE.  Nominees are selected for their strong academic records, demonstrated commitment to public service and exceptional leadership skills.   Also vital is the support of faculty mentors and professionals in their chosen fields.  This year’s nominees submitted their applications to the national competition in February.  Congratulations to these outstanding students on their nominations!

Elizabeth Charash (’18 CLAS) is a history major at UConn. She is an avid reader, consumer of political satire and tea connoisseur. She is from Newtown, CT, where she was involved with gun violence prevention advocacy following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary her junior year in high school. She has studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa where she worked with community members in an area with high levels of gun violence. Her time in Cape Town in combination with her high school activism have shaped the research she is currently conducting on the differences in urban and suburban gun violence prevention policy and activism. Elizabeth has interned in the offices of Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senator Chris Murphy. She is also founder and president of UConn Against Gun Violence, where she seeks to inform her community about the complexities of gun violence.  Winner of the 2016 Newman Civic Fellowship, Elizabeth is also the recipient of an IDEA grant to continue her ongoing research on “Faces of the Gun Violence Prevention Movement in Connecticut” with Sociology Professor Mary Bernstein.  Upon graduation, she plans to continue to address the inequities presented by gun violence with a JD and masters or Ph.D continuing her current research.

Rebecca Kaufman (CLAS ’18), from Mansfield, CT, is an honors student double majoring in political science and human rights who aspires one day to lead legal efforts on behalf of the victims of environmental injustice.  An avid runner, Rebecca has interned for U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, worked with local leaders in rural Guatemala through the Social Entrepreneurship Corps, and studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa where she interned at the Economic Justice Network. As a spring 2016 IDEA Grant recipient, Rebecca used her funding to analyze the policy outcomes and increased female empowerment promulgated by women in local government in the Asia-Pacific region. In spring 2017, she was awarded the Augusta H. Gerberich Scholarship, which is given annually to a junior or senior majoring in political science whose special field of interest is international relations.  She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received an Alan R. Bennett Research Assistantship in fall 2014.  In the spring of 2016, Rebecca and three other students co-founded the Student Coalition for Social Justice, which conducts sustained, intersectional social justice campaigns in order to incite positive social change on the UConn campus and beyond.