Pacific News

Student Scholars: Three Pacificans Receive Prestigious Fulbright, Goldwater Scholarships

Randall Gee

(l-r) Emma Luther ’13, a mathematical economics major, has been awarded a Fulbright Study Grant; Sarah Ann Wong ’14, a pre-dentistry and biological sciences major, and Brittany Klemm ’14, majoring in geology, each have received Goldwater Scholarships.

Keith MichaudApr 19, 2013
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Three Pacific students now have more than enough proof that they are among the brightest of their generation. Each recently won highly sought-after awards that will allow them to travel abroad to study economics or continue their study in science fields here.

Emma Luther '13, a mathematical economics major, has been awarded a Fulbright Study Grant that will fund a year of her master's program while studying in Germany. Brittany Klemm '14, majoring in geology, and Sarah Ann Wong '14, a pre-dentistry and biological sciences major, each have received Goldwater Scholarships that are given to the nation's top mathematics, science and engineering undergraduates.

"Pacific's strong showing in the Goldwater and Fulbright competitions once again this year is testimony to a culture that enables undergraduate research as early as freshman year, as well as close collaboration and intellectual exchange between students and faculty"
Susan Weiner
Pacific fellowship adviser





In May, it was learned that Caitlin Denton had won the prestigious Boren Scholarship to study this summer and travel to Ghana.  

Luther, Klemm, Wong and Denton are not the only members of the Pacific community making a fellowship splash in the world of fellowships.

Danielle Procope '14, majoring in English and philosophy with minors in ethnic studies, gender studies and sociology, was accepted to the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) at both Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley. The SROP provides mentorship at major research universities over the summer for promising students considering a career in academia. Procope will spend part of her summer at Northwestern.

Minh "Mindy" Duong '09, who studied international relations and global studies, is a finalist for the Pickering Graduate Fellowship in Foreign Affairs.

And Shannon Chapman '14, a double major in development and cultural change and economics, was Pacific's first-ever finalist for a Truman Scholarship. While she did not receive the award, selection as a finalist is a great honor in itself.

Emma Luther: Fulbright allows her to study economics in Germany

Emma Luther, 20, of Chico, is graduating in May and has a particular interest in microeconomics.

"My Fulbright award will fund a year of my master's program at the Universität Konstanz in Germany this fall," said Luther, a member of Phi Kappa Phi honors society and Omicron Delta Epsilon, an economics honors society.

 "I couldn't believe it," Luther said when she learned of the award. "I was very excited and extremely shocked. Academically, this is an amazing opportunity to participate in an excellent master's program and improve my German skills."

Luther said she her relationships with her Pacific professors helped her garner recommendation letters. They also showed interest in her academic plans and checked in often to learn of her progress with her Fulbright application.

"When I came to Pacific, I never dreamt I would be applying for the Fulbright, but the Economics Department has been very supportive of me and Dr. Weiner was encouraging and helpful," she said.

The Fulbright program is primarily funded by a congressional appropriation to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with participating governments and organizations in the United State and abroad providing some support. Fulbright grant recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Brittany Klemm: Goldwater award helps her continue geologic research

Brittany Klemm, 21, of Turlock, received one of 271 Goldwater Scholarships given to sophomores and juniors in the United States from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science and engineering students nominated by college and university faculty. The one- and two-year scholarships cover up to $7,500 in tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

"I am beyond ecstatic to receive this award," said Klemm, a junior. "I submitted my application into a pool of very qualified students who have conducted impressive undergraduate work, so I am honored to be a recipient."

Klemm, majoring in geology with a minor in religious studies, has racked up her own impressive set of undergraduate work. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lamda Delta, and Sigma Gamma Epsilon, and is an honors student at Pacific. She has earned the Irving Pasternak Endowed Memorial Scholarship (2011-12, 2012-13); Delbert H. Brown Award (2012); Regents' Scholarship (2010-2013); Undergraduate Research Award (Spring 2012); Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, Pacific (2012); Undergraduate Research Conference Travel Grant, Pacific (Fall 2012); and College Conference Travel Award, Pacific (Fall 2012).

"My ability to conduct undergraduate research is a direct result of the monetary support that Pacific has provided through awards and grants," she said.

Klemm plans on pursuing a doctorate in structural geology so that one day she can teach at a university and conduct field research.

"However, I also enjoy investigating how cultures have used science and religion to attempt to answer fundamental questions about life," she said.

Klemm said the Goldwater Scholarship will help her continue her research projects, which include geologic mapping in the Sierra Nevada and micorscale strain analysis of the portion of the Appalachian Mountains in New York. She learned of her award after a full day of geologic mapping in Rainbow Basin near Barstow with her field methods class taught by her research adviser, Kurtis Burmeister.

 "Research has been a major component to my undergraduate experience," Klemm said. "Receiving the Goldwater scholarship at Pacific is a rewarding capstone I will always value with a sense of pride and fulfillment."

Sarah Ann Wong:  Goldwater award will help Wong teach and continue dental research

Powell Scholar Sarah Ann Wong, 20, of Modesto, has been given a "wonderful springboard for the future" with the Goldwater Scholarship.

Wong is a pre-dentistry, biological sciences major with three primary academic interests - dentistry in clinical application; dental research, particularly using dental stem cells for regenerative therapy; and neuroscience biomedical research, specifically repairing damage to the central nervous system and preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

"This scholarship is particularly beneficial as I hope to pursue a DDS/PhD degree in order to teach and perform dental research in the future," said Wong, a junior.

Weiner first told Wong she had won, but she wanted to be absolutely certain before celebrating.

"She (Weiner) then sent me the link to the Goldwater website and I saw my name printed among those who received the award," Wong said. "I was overjoyed. I immediately snatched up my phone, called my parents and sister, and emailed the professors who have been so supportive of my application."

Wong has been working toward earning a Goldwater Scholarship since she heard of the award during her freshman year.

"For me, one of the greatest things the Goldwater has done is to affirm me in my career choice. ... The Goldwater has shown me that my research ideas are strong and that I have potential as a principal investigator someday."

Wong is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, and Alpha Lambda Delta her freshman year in addition to being a prestigious Powell Scholar. She has also received Pacific's Summer Research Fellowship. She said that being at Pacific helped her garner the Goldwater prize and that professors encouraged her along the way

"In all honesty, I don't think I would have received the Goldwater if I had been at any other university," she said. "Where else are students so blessed with small class sizes, professors who care about them and know them by name, and ready access to resources that will let them reach their full potential?"
Sarah Ann Wong
Pre-dentistry, biological sciences major
Goldwater Scholar

Update: Caitlin Denton: Boren Award will broaden understanding of people, culture in Ghana

Caitlin Denton '15, of Stockton will be able to learn more about the language, people and customs of a country in West Africa thanks to a Boren Scholarship that will help pay for study this summer and her research abroad.

"I feel extremely excited to have this opportunity - and am nervous and excited for the summer program, studying abroad and most importantly the work and internship I will be doing while there," said Denton. "I am extremely passionate about combating human trafficking because it impacts both children and adults internationally. This will help me with learning the language and view point on the issue from the local Ghanaians through partnership."

Denton received the $10,000 scholarship to help pay for her semester work and a $7,400 summer award to fund her attendance at the African Language Initiative Program at University of Washington this summer to study Twi, the language spoken in Ghana. She will be studying abroad at University of Ghana in Accra.

"I'll be with a (non-government organization) that combats human trafficking and helps with the rehabilitation of victims," said Denton.

Denton attended school in the Linden Unified School District. She is the justice coordinator for Pacific Christian Fellowship and dances with the Pacific Dance ensemble.

Boren Scholarships, funded by the National Security Education Program, provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa.