Gilman-McCain Scholarship Recipient Is a First for UConn

Zoey England is one of just 100 students in the country to earn the scholarship this year

Zoey England, a Gilman-McCain scholar, pets Jonathan XIV on May 3, 2022.

Zoey England ’22, UConn’s first Gilman-McCain scholar, pets Jonathan XIV on May 3, 2022. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)


Zoey England ’22 (CLAS) has been named a winner of a Gilman-McCain Scholarship, the first in University history.

The scholarship program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, provides awards of $5,000 for undergraduate child dependents of active duty service members to study or serve an internship abroad. It was developed under the framework of the State Department’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and named after the late Senator John McCain of Arizona.

Continue reading in UConn Today . . . .

UConn Students Earn NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

2022 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Recipients
From left to right: Urvi Kaul, Tony Edgington, Raul Flamenco, Swapna Subramanian. Not pictured: Elyse Schriber (UConn Photo)

Five UConn graduate students and an alumnus have earned National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF-GRFP).

The oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the NSF-GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding students in NSF-supported disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited institutions in the United States. In addition to a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, plus another $12,000 paid to the student’s home institution, fellows have access to a wide range of professional development opportunities over the course of their graduate careers.

The Graduate Research Fellowships are highly competitive, with annual acceptance rates of about 16% from among more than 12,000 applicants.

Read more in UConn Today . . .

Junior Irene Soteriou Named 2022 Truman Scholar

Junior Irene Soteriou ’23 (CLAS) has been named a Truman Scholar, marking the tenth time since 1986 that a UConn student has won the prestigious honor

Irene Soteriou, a Truman Scholar, at the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room
Irene Soteriou, Truman Scholar, at the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room on April 13, 2022. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)


Soteriou represents UConn in a highly select group of 58 new Truman Scholars from around the country. She was picked from 705 candidates nominated by 275 different schools.


Read more in UConn Today . . . .


UConn Junior Katie Hooker Receives Goldwater Scholarship

Katie Hooker Goldwater
Katie Hooker (CLAS ’23) is a 2022 Goldwater Scholar


Katie Hooker (CLAS ’23), a junior molecular & cell biology major from Guilford, has been named a 2022 Goldwater Scholar.  The Goldwater Scholarship is considered the nation’s premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences, and engineering.  Schools can nominate a maximum of four students per year.

Read more in UConn Today

Meet UConn’s 2022 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees

Goldwater Banner

The Goldwater Scholarship awards up to $7,500 to college sophomores and juniors majoring in math, science, engineering, or research psychology (not clinical). Students who are competitive for the award have had significant research experience and have plans for graduate study (aspire to a PhD or MD/PhD) and a career in research.  Students must be nominated by their home institution, and schools are generally allowed to nominate up to four candidates.  Click here to learn more about the scholarship and about UConn’s campus nomination process.


2022 Goldwater Nominees

UConn’s 2022 Goldwater Scholarship Nominees (l to r) Katie Hooker, Abigail Moran, Antonina Wenc, and Joshua Yu 

Katie Hooker (CLAS ’23), from Guilford, CT, is a Nutmeg Scholar majoring in molecular and cell biology. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics and genomics in order to teach and conduct research at a Research 1 institution, studying the genetics underlying cognitive traits such as reading and language ability. Katie’s interest in genetics began in 2018 when completing a capstone project on the history of the FOXP2 gene, situating this understanding into the larger context of what makes humans unique from our genetic ancestors. She has since expanded on this work in Dr. Nicole Landi’s lab, studying the relationship between variation on the FOXP2 gene, reading and language abilities, and brain metrics associated with these traits through the Holster Scholars Program in 2020. Katie’s current research continues to extend this work, more accurately characterizing the complex relationship between FOXP2, reading and language abilities, and the brain through mediation and graph theoretical analyses. Outside of research, Katie is Vice President of the UConn Irish Dance Team, which puts on regular performances both on and off campus, and an Honors Guide for Peer Success. Katie also enjoys working at the Brain Imaging Research Center, helping run child participants through experimental protocols during MRIs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running outside, or getting a cup of coffee with her friends.


Abigail Moran (CLAS ’23) from Trumbull, CT, is an Honors student and University Scholar majoring in physics and applied mathematics with a minor in astrophysics. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in astrophysics in order to conduct research using a combination of observational and computational techniques. She has been with Dr. Mingarelli’s gravitational wave research group since December of 2020 working to improve pulsar astronomy sensitivity to make it possible to detect a continuous gravitational wave, detect dark matter, and test General Relativity. In the summer of 2021 she received a SURF grant to continue this work in conjunction with the Center for Computational Astrophysics, based in the Flatiron Institute in NYC. This project culminated in a formal paper for a journal publication, which is being finalized now. In her final three semesters, she will continue her work in pulsar astronomy, this time to measure the acceleration of the Milky Way galaxy. Outside of academics, Abby is in the sorority Alpha Omicron Pi, plays the trumpet, and is a volunteer math tutor for children whose educations have been adversely affected by the pandemic.


Antonina Wenc (CLAS ’23) from Waterford, CT, is a first generation molecular and cell biology student. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry after finishing her bachelor’s degree. Antonina has been conducting research alongside graduate students in the Angeles-Boza lab of the chemistry department since her freshman year. Here, she has been helping study the antibacterial efficacy of antimicrobial peptides. Over the last two years, Antonina has studied synergy between metal ions and antimicrobial peptides, as well as the structure and mechanism of a specific group of tunicate peptides, called the Clavanins. She has gained significant proficiency in peptide synthesis, chromatographic separations, and minimum inhibitory concentration assays. When research was shut down due to COVID-19 in the spring and summer of 2020, Antonina joined a lab journal club to participate in extensive discussion of the antimicrobial peptide and synergy literature. This research proved to be extremely useful a year later, when Antonina was helping create a book chapter on synergy for Methods in Enzymology, where she was named second author. Outside of the lab, Antonina is a peer mentor for other undergraduate female students in STEM at the Women’s Center at UCONN. She is extremely passionate about advocating for women in STEM and hopes to continue mentoring female students as she pursues her Ph.D. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, going to spin class at the rec center, and spending time with friends.


Joshua Yu, (CLAS ’23) from Frederick, MD, is an honors student studying molecular and cell biology. He plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences focusing on the enhancement of nanoscale platforms through radiotherapy for treatment of cancer. His research career began in high school at the National Cancer Institute, where he studied chemokine receptor derived self-assembling peptide nanoparticles for cancer drug delivery. This work was published in Methods in Molecular Biology. Enamored by the prospects of nanomedicine and the complexities of cancer treatment, he pursued research in Dr. Lu’s lab in the Pharmaceutical Sciences department. Named a Holster Scholar in 2020, his summer research project reviewed the effects of nanoparticle properties on internalization, intracellular distribution, and cytotoxicity to cancerous and healthy cells. Moving forward, Joshua will be conducting studies on nanoparticle-mediated inhibition of acute myeloid leukemia as a University Scholar. Alongside his interest in medicine and research, he is also a passionate tubist who has participated in county and state level bands throughout Maryland.  At UConn, Joshua is a dedicated member of Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program, the Symphonic Band, and the Peer Allies through Honors program.


To learn more about these and other nationally-competitive scholarship and fellowship opportunities, visit the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships and click “Talk to an Advisor.”

Sage Phillips ’22 (CLAS) is unearthing more of UConn’s origin story (UConn Magazine)

UConn Magazine


This Land

Sage Phillips ’22 (CLAS) is unearthing more of UConn’s origin story

Sage Phillips

Phillips in her regalia in the UConn Forest.

A “sage” is a mature person who is wise through reflection and experience. It also happens to be the name of the founding president of NAISA, the Native American and Indigenous Students Association, and newly named Truman Scholar and Udall Scholar —Sage Phillips.


Continue reading in in the Summer ’21 issue of UConn Magazine . . . .





Six UConn Students Receive Fulbright Program Grants

UConn had an all-time high of 17 semifinalists for the Fulbright Student Program award, which includes the six finalists and three alternates.

Six winners of Fulbright Program Grants
Top Row: Elizabeth Clifton, Karli Golembeski and Chloe Murphy. Bottom Row: Simran Sehgal, Jessica Stargardter and Candace Tang.


Six UConn students have been selected as recipients of a grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2021-22 academic year. The program provides grants for individually-designed study and research projects or for English teaching assistantships around the world. Students meet, work, live with, and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences.

UConn had an all-time high of 17 semifinalists for the Fulbright Student Program award, which includes the six finalists and three alternates. A total of 40 UConn students completed UConn’s campus application process for the 2021-22 Fulbright round.

“In what has been a truly challenging year for all students, and one which witnessed an 11.9% increase overall in applications to the Fulbright Student program, our UConn applicants demonstrated outstanding qualities and their commitment to fostering mutual understanding by engaging with the world,” says LuAnn Saunders-Kanabay, Assistant Director in the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships at UConn and the University’s Fulbright Program Advisor. Together with the campus Fulbright committee, she mentors Fulbright applicants through the months-long application and selection process.


Continue reading on UConn Today . . . .

UConn Scholars Earn Gilman and CLS Scholarships

The scholarships demonstrate the inclusive opportunities available for every UConn student to develop intercultural competencies

Navigating the challenges of the pandemic over the last academic year did not discourage University of Connecticut students from imagining international study possibilities. Despite border closings and travel restrictions, students sought opportunities to engage with the world by applying for the Gilman and Critical Language Scholarships (CLS). A record number of UConn students were selected this spring as recipients for both scholarships.

“We had a total of fourteen applicants for the 2021 Critical Language Scholarship and four were selected as recipients,” says LuAnn Saunders-Kanabay, Assistant Director in the Office of National Scholarships and CLS Program Advisor.

They will participate in intensive language study in a virtual format this summer, but it has not dampened their enthusiasm for developing proficiency in their chosen languages.

Continue reading in UConn Today . . . .

Michael Hernández (CLAS ’22) named Key Into Public Service Scholar by Phi Beta Kappa

UConn Student Honored By Phi Beta Kappa With Public Service Award

‘Public service is about giving back,’ says Michael Hernández ’22 (CLAS)

a man

Michael Hernández ’22 (CLAS), a rising senior at UConn, has been named one of 20 students nationally to be selected as a Key into Public Service Scholar by Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society.

Continue reading in UConn Today . . . .

Junior Sage Phillips (CLAS ’22) Named 2021 Udall Scholar


UConn Junior Sage Phillips (CLAS ’22) Named 2021 Udall Scholar

Phillips becomes UConn’s 8th Udall Scholarship Recipient

May 7, 2021


Storrs, Connecticut – UConn junior Sage Phillips (CLAS ’22), a political science and human rights double major from Old Town, Maine, has received a 2021 Udall Scholarship.  The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. The Udall Scholarship honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on Native American self-governance, health care, and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources.

Continue reading in UConn Today . . . .