February 2022: Congratulations to the following BSU seniors (pictured below), who’ve made it to the semi-finalist round for the U.S. Student Fulbright program!


Final decisions about recipients will be made by host country committees and announced later this semester.

· Delaney Fritch (majors in political science and history, minor in Spanish) for an English Teaching Assistantship in Colombia

· Bernadette Harding (major in acting, minor in French) for an English Teaching Assistantship in Luxembourg

· Jess Melvin (major in anthropology, minors in French and fashion) for an English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea

· Emma Mikkelson (teaching major in theatre, minor in technical theatre) for an English Teaching Assistantship in Bulgaria

· Madeleine Mills-Craig (majors in history and public relations, minors in Asian studies and Chinese) for graduate study in Asia-Pacific studies at National Chengchi University in Taiwan

· Madison Pickering (major in theatre, minor in American sign language), for an English Teaching Assistantship in the Slovak Republic


January 2023: First-round decisions have been made for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), and three BSU students have been named semifinalists! They are among more than 5,000 applicants this year whose applications are now underdoing second-round reviews. Recipients, who will spend 8-10 weeks in intensive language and cultural immersion this coming summer, will be announced in March.

Lindsey Hayse is a sophomore in the Honors College and College of Sciences and Humanities, with a major in English education and minors in Spanish and English as a new language. If selected, she will study beginning Chinese (Mandarin) online this summer through the CLS Spark program, a virtual learning option for three selected languages.

Mackenzie Lyseng is a senior art major in the College of Fine Arts, with a concentration in animation. She is a semifinalist for advanced beginning Korean, which would take her to Busan or Gwangju, South Korea, this summer.

Scott Webster is a sophomore in the Honors College and Miller College of Business, with majors in economics and finance and a minor in accounting. Scott received the CLS last year for beginning Turkish, and he is now a semifinalist for intermediate Turkish, which he would study in Ankara, Turkey, this summer.

Chinese, Korean, and Turkish are three of 14 “critical languages” offered through CLS, allowing selected U.S. college and university students to study languages and cultures considered essential to the United States’ engagement with the world. The CLS Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by American Councils for International Education


January 2023: Four BSU undergraduates have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for abroad: Brian Cruz (Spain), Sarah Olsen (France), Caelyn Reese (Costa Rica), and Jayla Thompson (Italy).

The scholarship awards up to $5,000 to support undergraduates who are studying abroad. Upon their return to the U.S., all Gilman Scholarship recipients are required to carry out a follow-on service project that helps promote international education and understanding.

With the support of his Gilman scholarship, Brian Cruz will intern with an architectural firm in Barcelona, Spain, for eight weeks this summer. Brian, who is from Indianapolis, is in the third year of Ball State’s five-year architecture program.

“This experience will allow me to interact with clients and employers in an international context, and it will better prepare me for when similar opportunities arise later in my career,” said Brian. “I will be doing designs for complicated issues and have to rethink every problem in a unique and effective way.”

For his follow-on service project, Brian will document his internship experience with biweekly videos, then share them with BSU architecture students and other audiences via YouTube.

Sarah Olsen, of Indianapolis, is using her Gilman Scholarship to support study in Chambéry, France, during spring semester, at the Université of Savoie Mont Blanc. The Honors College sophomore has majors in political science (international studies) and journalism (news writing), with a minor in French.

“The Gilman Scholarship finally gives me the opportunity to experience what I’ve dreamed of since I was nothing but a wide-eyed, curious, and (only somewhat) overzealous child,” said Sarah. “The incredibly rich and diverse experience is the perfect stepping stone towards becoming a public servant later in life.”

Sarah’s follow-on service project will take her to her former high school’s speech and communications classroom, where she will give an interactive presentation to students that immerses them in the experiences she had in France.

Sophomore Caelyn Reese will spend a month this summer in San José, Costa Rica, where she will study and experience the culture through a homestay. The Alexandria, Ind., native has a major in Spanish and minors in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) and linguistics and global communication.

“Studying abroad will help me to better my Spanish skills and my understanding of Latinx culture,” said Caelyn. “I would like to become an English as a second language teacher, and this opportunity will help me learn how to navigate different countries.”

For her follow-on service project, Caelyn will give an interactive presentation for her BSU residence hall, with Costa Rican food and cultural artifacts from her travels. She also plans to give a presentation in her former high school.

Jayla Thompson, a junior with a major in social work and minor in criminal justice & criminology, will study in Italy for a month this summer. There she’ll take a course in cross-cultural psychology.

“Italy’s culture has always fascinated me. I want to take in everything and bring my memories with me for the rest of my life,” said Jayla. “Having this opportunity is going to teach me so much more about the world and myself, and gaining cultural competence within social work is an important part of the field.”

For her follow-on service project, Jayla intends to write an article for her hometown newspaper, in Elwood, Ind., sharing experiences and photos from her time in Italy. She also hopes to share videos through the newspaper’s website.

The federally-funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students pursuing academic studies abroad, in order to better prepare them to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.


August 2022: Earlier this summer, Sara DeBoer—now an Honors College senior with a major in telecommunications (digital production video) and a minor in film screenwriting—was awarded a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant!

She was one of 125 undergraduates nationwide selected for the grant, which helped support her video production internship in Dublin, Ireland, from May through July. Awardees are selected based on their academic achievement, campus and community service, and relevance of their travel plans to their academic and career goals.

Prior to her departure for Ireland, Sara commented, “My experiences in Dublin will allow me to grow within the film industry, while giving me the opportunity to transcend cultural boundaries.” She plans to use her international experiences in developing her senior Honors thesis, for which she expects to examine the differences between the treatment of women in film industries in the U.S. and Ireland (and, more broadly, Western Europe). After completing her bachelor’s degree in May 2023, the Bloomington, Ind., native plans to go on for graduate study in creative producing.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) is the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society. Ball State established a PKP chapter in 2003.


August 2022: Payton Drefcinski, a May 2022 graduate of Ball State University and the Honors College, has received a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship! Nationwide, 62 fellowships were awarded by Phi Kappa Phi (PKP)—the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society—to members who are entering their first year of graduate or professional study. Each PKP chapter may select one candidate to compete for the national awards.

Payton completed majors in sociology and criminal justice & criminology, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.00 GPA. This fall she will enter the interdisciplinary MA program in Human Development Research and Policy at NYU. Her career goal is to “become a leader in non-profits centering on female victimization and racial discrimination, educating our society on current social inequalities and directing information into action for achieving social justice.”

As a Ball State student, Payton was an accomplished researcher on a diverse range of social justice topics, through two Honors Undergraduate Fellowships. She also served as a leader in several campus organizations and was a frequent volunteer and intern for community organizations. “Through action informed by knowledge, I have found ways to collaborate with communities and advocate for social change and progress,” said the Mason, Ohio, native. That collaboration immersed her in both the Muncie and Detroit communities.

Earlier this year, Payton was awarded the Provost’s Prize, Ball State’s highest honor, given to one senior who has combined high academic excellence with other opportunities to form a unique educational experience.


July 2022: Karleigh Conner, a member of the women’s outdoor track & field, indoor track & field, and cross country teams, has received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship! She was one of only 21 female spring sport athletes nationwide to receive the $10,000 scholarship, recognizing her accomplishments in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and community service.

In spring 2021, Karleigh graduated summa cum laude with an undergraduate major in psychology and minors in Spanish, interpersonal relations, psychology of human development, and autism spectrum disorders. She is now about to begin the second year of Ball State’s combined MA/Specialist in Education in School Psychology program. In her career, Karleigh plans to become a school psychologist, with the eventual goal of becoming director of special education for a school district.

“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a school psychologist,” said the Maineville, Ohio, native. “With the help from the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, I will be able to spend the next two years working toward that goal while being fully invested and committed to becoming the best student advocate I can become. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my education in graduate school and learn all that I can about supporting students with disabilities.”

Outside of her academic and career pursuits, Karleigh has dedicated more than 1,000 hours to serving and leading others through various organizations, including Training U Farther & Faster (T.U.F.F.) Camp, Fellowship of Christian Athletes/Athletes in Action, and Ball State’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, among others. As a long-distance runner, Karleigh holds the fourth-fastest time in Ball State’s record books for the outdoor 800m


July 2022: Congratulations to Taylor Bias, a rising sophomore and Honors College student, who was awarded an ACS (American Chemical Society) Scholarship earlier this summer! Taylor, who has a major in chemistry (with a concentration in biochemistry), is one of 130 scholarship recipients selected nationwide this year.

The Elkhart resident participated in Ball State’s Teacher-Scholars program as a freshman, assisting with research in the lab of Dr. Mary Konkle, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. This summer, Taylor continued that research with support from the Indiana STEM LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) program.

“I’m thankful for the undergraduate research experiences in chemistry I am having at Ball State and am thrilled about the skills I’m gaining in order to be competitive nationally,” said Taylor. After completing graduate studies in biochemistry, she intends to enter a career in drug discovery. “This career will always have new challenges for me, allowing me to be creative, problem solve, and grow on a daily basis,” she added.


June 2022: Five BSU undergraduates were selected for Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships for study abroad this summer and fall! The scholarship awards up to $5,000 to support undergraduates who are studying abroad. Upon their return to the U.S., all Gilman Scholarship recipients are required to carry out a follow-on service project that helps promote international education and understanding.

Two of the selected students have accepted the scholarship. Unfortunately, three others were forced to decline the award because their study abroad plans were cancelled, due to COVID.

Accepting the Gilman Scholarship are the following:

Brittany Arendt, a rising senior from Fishers, Ind., will spend fall semester in Grenoble, France, taking courses in language, literature, theatre, and culture. As a French education major (with a minor in Chinese), Brittany wants to use the experience to build her language and cultural expertise, as she prepares for a career as a French teacher.

“Being in an authentic setting and practicing French every day has been the dream for me for the past few years, and I’m ecstatic for it to become reality,” said Brittany. “I plan to spend my free time exploring as much of the country as possible, making friends, and enjoying the culture in the Alps. I am dedicated to making this experience as educational and transformative as possible, to prepare myself for my teaching career.”

For her follow-on service project, Brittany plans to collaborate with Ball State’s chapter of Alpha Mu Gamma (a national foreign language honor society), to create a newsletter and deliver an information session about her experiences in France. Her goal will be to help other foreign language students at Ball State navigate the process of finding and applying for study abroad programs.

Emma Mikkelson, who has a major in theatre education and a minor in technical theatre, is completing a five-week summer program in Cuenca, Ecuador. There, for an Oral Interpretation and Storytelling course, she is interviewing locals, creating stories based on the history of Ecuador, and performing the stories she creates to her classmates.

Emma, who is a rising senior from Indianapolis, said of her study abroad plans, “This experience will help me to better learn how to interpret and create my own stories and perform them. This is part of what I will teach to my future students, so having more practice in this will strengthen my skills.” She added, “The thought of making new friends in a different part of the world really excites me. This experience will force me a bit outside my comfort zone, which will help me to learn more about myself, and it will help me to become more culturally sensitive when I am teaching.”

For her follow-on service project, Emma plans to return to her high school and give a presentation on the benefits of studying abroad while also dispelling stereotypes that others might hold about U.S. citizens.

Declining the Gilman Scholarship, because of COVID-related cancellations, are the following:

Kayla Garmon, who will graduate from Ball State in December with a major in Japanese and minors in art history and studio art, had planned to study in Japan this summer. After graduating, the Indianapolis resident plans to complete certification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and pursue a career as an ESL teacher for high school or college students in Japan.

Tomiya Hamer, a rising junior and Honors College student from Gary, Ind., had hoped to study in Spain this summer; she now plans to reapply for the Gilman Scholarship next year. With majors in political science and public relations, along with a minor in Spanish, Tomiya intends to pursue a career in political communications.

Brittany Slack, who has a major in telecommunications (digital production video) and a minor in entrepreneurial management, had planned to study in Italy this summer. The July 2022 graduate and Indianapolis native intends to work for a news station as a reporter and eventually producer.


The federally-funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students pursuing academic studies abroad, in order to better prepare them to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.


June 2022: Alexa McDonald, a May 2022 graduate and member of the women’s swimming and diving team, has received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship! She was one of only 21 female winter sport athletes nationwide to receive the $10,000 scholarship, recognizing her accomplishments in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and community service.

Alexa completed a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry, graduating summa cum laude from Ball State and the Honors College in May with a 3.98 GPA. This fall she will enter the D.V.M. (doctor of veterinary medicine) program at Colorado State University, with the eventual goal of opening her own veterinary hospital and conducting animal research.

Alexa, who is from Hilliard, Ohio, served as Vice-President and then President of Ball State’s Pre-Vet & Animal Welfare Society Club, initiating a wide range of activities, both on and off campus, to help members become well-prepared to enter their future professions. She also served as a research assistant in an animal behavior lab at Ball State and gained many hundreds of hours’ experience in veterinary hospitals and clinics, in both Indiana and Ohio.

As a swimmer, Alexa specialized in the breaststroke, earning a place as the all-time second best BSU women’s breaststroker in the 100 and setting Ball State records in the 200 and 400 free relays. She placed first in three different regional meets for the 100 breaststroke, and she was invited to the National Invitation Championship Meet for three of the past four years.

“I cannot thank the NCAA and those who have helped me along the way enough for this wonderful opportunity,” said Alexa. “With their support, I am able to close out an incredibly fun and rewarding swimming career and take on a new lifelong career, as a veterinarian.”


May 2022: Four graduating seniors—Brianna Lopez, Alexis Pitchford, Riley Sigler, and Jess Walls—will be spending the coming academic year abroad, as recipients of Fulbright U.S. Student Awards! All four have been selected for English Teaching Assistantships (ETAs), to help students in their host countries develop English language skills and to serve as cultural ambassadors between nations. Another recent graduate, Jessie Russett, was offered a Fulbright ETA to Poland but opted to decline it.

Brianna Lopez, who just completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with minors in philosophy and women’s & gender studies, will be an ETA for high school students in Bulgaria. At Ball State, she was a teaching assistant in two psychology courses, a peer mentor for Honors College freshmen, associate editor for Ball State’s international undergraduate philosophy journal, and co-founder of a new undergraduate psychology journal.

“I absolutely loved my experience as a teaching assistant at Ball State University and knew when it ended that I wanted to teach professionally,” said the Noblesville, Ind., resident and Honors College graduate. In her career, Brianna wants to teach social psychology at the university level.

“Being able to teach English in Bulgaria will allow me to hone my teaching skills,” she added. “I have also always hoped to spend an extended amount of time abroad to broaden my perspective of the world and get to know another culture in depth. This scholarship provides the perfect opportunity for me to do just that.”

Alexis Pitchford has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship to Greece, where she’ll help teach English at a K-12 school in Athens. She’ll also help facilitate the school’s forensics club and serve as a counselor at an English language summer camp.

In December, Alexis completed a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, along with a minor in psychology of human development, and she’s now a master’s-degree student in educational psychology. At Ball State, she has been a tutor and an executive board member of both Make-A-Wish and Hillel. In 2021, the Carmel, Ind., native was also awarded a Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship.

“This experience will increase my scope as an educator. I will build my understanding of diversity, global citizenship, and literacy,” said Alexis, whose ultimate career plans are in both teaching and school administration. “I will bring what I will learn in Greece about educating the whole child, relating with ESL students, and teaching reading and writing back to the American school system.”

Riley Sigler, who just completed a major in theatre (acting) and minor in Spanish, has received an English Teaching Assistantship to Spain. There she will help elementary or high school students develop listening and speaking skills in English, and outside of the classroom she intends to build an after-school theatre program and create a devised theatre program in her community.

“My time in Spain will help me strengthen my skills as both a theatre artist and a teacher,” said Riley, who is from Torrance, Calif. “I see language as the most crucial tool in human self-expression. I feel called to teach language because, as an actor, I understand the power that words hold and the care that must be taken when wielding them.”

Riley’s experiences during the past four years included acting, directing shows with young children through Performing Arts Workshops, producing and hosting a podcast, and serving as a Teaching Assistant. In her career, Riley intends to act and teach acting, eventually at the university level.

Jess Walls, who just completed a teaching major in English and minor in Chinese, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan. There, in addition to helping teach English, Jess plans to start a poetry writing club at her school, building upon her experience as a writing intern for the Indiana Writers Center's summer camp classes. “I can’t wait to immerse myself in Taiwanese culture,” said the Brookville, Ind., native.

After completing her Fulbright year, Jess plans to complete a post-baccalaureate certification in teaching Mandarin as a foreign language and teach English language arts and Mandarin in Indiana schools. At Ball State, Jess was active in the Future Educators Peer Mentoring Program, Cardinal Teacher Corps, and Chinese Club.

“I helped kids develop their own comprehension skills and saw them, too, connecting with others through discussion, giving me immense satisfaction and affirming my choice of career,” said Jess, who plans to employ those same approaches in Taiwan.

Another finalist selected for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, in Poland, was Jessie Russett, a 2009 BSU graduate with a BA in history and 2012 graduate with an MA in anthropology. While Jessie ultimately decided to decline the award, she was one of 14 semi-finalists from Ball State in this year’s Fulbright competition. One of those semi-finalists withdrew from the competition at an early stage, and another, Lauren Kamykowski, was named an alternate to Luxembourg.

The U.S. Student Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and is aimed at increasing mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of more than 140 countries. This year, approximately 2,100 applicants nationwide were selected, based on the quality and feasibility of their proposals, their academic and professional qualifications, and their potential to serve as effective cultural ambassadors.


May 2022Rebecca Parnell has been selected for the Fulbright Scotland Summer Institute on Technology, Innovation, and Creativity!  In mid-July she’ll depart for Glasgow, where she’ll spend three weeks attending university lectures and seminars and participating in cultural excursions around Scotland. 

Rebecca, an Honors College student from Lawrenceburg, Ind., has just completed her freshman year, with majors in biology and pre-medical preparation and a minor in chemistry.  In Scotland, she hopes to learn about global approaches to medicine.  “I’m excited to grow in my understanding of other cultures and to learn more about other approaches to science and medicine,” she said. 

This institute is part of the larger U.K. Fulbright Summer Institute Program, which offers freshmen and sophomores from U.S. colleges and universities fully-funded opportunities to explore the culture, heritage, and history of the United Kingdom while experiencing higher education at a U.K. university.  In 2022, the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission expected to select a total of 27 students for four different institutes. 

Rebecca will be joined in Glasgow by fellow Honors College student Zander Lichosik, a rising senior who has a major in exercise science.  Zander was awarded a spot at the Scotland Summer Institute in 2020, but COVID forced cancellation of all Summer Institute programs in both 2020 and 2021.


May 2022: Steve Doll—a junior with a major in wildlife biology and conservation and minor in natural resources—has been named a 2022 Udall Scholarship recipient! Krista Walterbusch—a fourth-year landscape architecture major, with a minor in studio art—was awarded honorable mention. These honors recognize their leadership, service, and commitment to addressing environmental issues in their respective careers.

The Udall is considered the nation’s most important scholarship for undergraduates committed to environmental or Native American tribal issues. This year, the Udall Foundation is awarding scholarships to 55 sophomores and juniors across the country, with approximately two-thirds in the environmental category, and honorable mention to 55 other students.

Steve, an Honors College student from Sunman, Ind., is Vice President and now President-elect of Ball State’s student chapter of The Wildlife Society. His volunteer activities include invasive species removal and ecological restoration on Red-tail Land Conservancy properties, and he also works for the Land Manager of Ball State's Field Station, helping maintain Christy Woods’ 17 acres.

In addition to the $7,000 scholarship, Steve will spend a week this summer at Scholar Orientation, in Tucson, Ariz. There he’ll get to know the other Udall Scholars and learn about the work of national environmental and tribal leaders and organizations.

Steve plans to pursue a career in land management and restoration ecology, with a focus on community engagement and equity for Native American groups. “This scholarship gives me the opportunity to take my first big steps in learning more about working with tribal groups,” Steve said. “I’m also looking forward to meeting other students from across the country as passionate as I am about environmental issues.”

Krista, who is from Coldwater, Ohio, has served as both Vice President and President of Ball State’s Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, leading a wide range of activities to serve the Muncie community and engage Ball State students with the work of landscape architecture.

In her career, Krista wants to bring more green spaces to urban areas and to remediate problems like flooding, urban heat island effect, deforestation, and air, water and soil pollution. “I want to improve the environment and communities, to make the world we live in more sustainable, beautiful, and healthy,” she said. “As part of a collaborative team, I’m passionate about creating sustainable green spaces in urban settings.”

Since 2005, 14 Ball State students have received Udall Scholarships, and eight have received honorable mention.

The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. It honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall. Learn more at udall.gov.


April 2022: A significant BSU milestone was reached this spring when two Ball State applicants—McKenna Kaczanowski and Leslie Remache—were awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships! Honorable Mention was also awarded to two current students—Sam Turk and Kelsey Woodruff—as well as two recent graduates—Alex Quillin and Ally Swank.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is the premier scholarship for graduate students in STEM fields (including social sciences), awarding up to $138,000 to recipients and their graduate institutions over the course of three years. This was Ball State’s first year ever to have more than one Fellowship recipient.

McKenna Kaczanowski graduated summa cum laude from Ball State in December 2021, with a major in mathematical sciences and minors in computer science, music voice, and music theory; she also completed the Honors College curriculum. McKenna had wide-ranging mathematics research experience at Ball State and at IUPUI, through the NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program last summer. Through these experiences, she said, “I learned the excitement of proving new results and exploring questions to which the answers are not yet known.”

This fall, the Elkhart, Ind., native will enter the Ph.D. program in mathematics at Indiana University, with the eventual goal of becoming a mathematics professor: “I want to conduct research in frame theory and possibly other areas of analysis, while sharing my love of math with students, helping them improve their math skills and incite their own passion for math research.”

At Ball State, McKenna was a math tutor and teaching assistant, while also pursuing her interests in music composition and songwriting.

Leslie Remache is completing a dual master’s degree program in social psychology and quantitative psychology. In the fall, she’ll begin the Ph.D. program in social psychology at Stanford University. In her career, Leslie aspires to become a leading scholar in social-cultural psychology at a research-intensive institution, studying the impact of generational status on students' experiences in STEM fields. “Through my scholarly work, I hope to change the landscape of accessibility in STEM education for first-generation college students,” she said.

During her time at Ball State, Leslie has conducted extensive research on first-generation STEM students’ ability to navigate institutional norms in higher education, working with faculty at Ball State, UC Santa Cruz, and Cal State LA.

Leslie, who is originally from Ecuador, came to Ball State from East Windsor, N.J., after completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Arcadia University (Penn.). Her extensive work in mentoring students has included her current role in Ball State’s Office of Student Life, where she oversees the Asian Student Union and the Black Student Association.

Honorable Mention was awarded to these current Ball State students:

Sam Turk completed her bachelor’s degree in biology, pre-medical preparation, and the Honors curriculum in 2020 and is now in her second year of M.S. studies in biology. For six years, as both an undergraduate and graduate student, she has conducted research in a cell biology lab. This fall she’ll begin Ph.D. studies in biomedical science at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with the career goal of becoming a pediatric cancer researcher.

While at Ball State, Sam has spent several years volunteering at Ross Community Center, where she initiated a “Science Saturday” program aimed at young girls. The St. Joseph, Mich., native commented, “Getting Honorable Mention in the NSF GRFP is a high honor, and the experience in applying for the grant provides a solid foundation for my future career as a scientist. I am incredibly lucky to have such wonderful mentors and support.

Kelsey Woodruff is a graduating senior and Honors College student in biochemistry and pre-medical preparation. She has conducted research in a cell biology lab at Ball State for three years and also last summer at the University of Michigan, through an REU program. She has been a Teaching Assistant at Ball State and also produced a video for Indiana high school students interested in science. She serves as Executive Director of Cardinal Kitchen, a student-run food pantry.

In the fall, Kelsey will enter the Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Washington, with the goal of eventually teaching and conducting research at the university level. “I am especially interested in the molecular components underlying diseases like cancer, and I envision focusing my career on investigating those principles and empowering students in the same way that research has empowered me,” said the Richmond, Ind., resident.

Two recent graduates (who applied through their graduate institutions) were awarded Honorable Mention:

Alex Quillin is a 2020 BSU graduate in chemistry and 2019 recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship. Alex is currently a Ph.D. student in chemistry at Emory University. There her research focuses on creating new methods to better characterize RNA editing and seeks to further repurpose naturally occurring biomolecules. In her career, Alex, who is from Greenfield, Ind., hopes to promote the integration of molecular biology and organic chemistry, while also making science more accessible to non-scientists.

Ally Swank, who graduated from Ball State’s biology program and Honors College in Dec. 2020, is now an M.S. student in biology at Auburn University. There she is conducting research on coral reef damselflies, to better understand the consequences of coral bleaching. A native of Crawfordsville, Ind., Ally plans to pursue a career in marine ecology and evolution research. She is especially interested in the impact of climate change on species’ acclimation to unpredictable and rapidly changing environments.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. For more information, visit www.nsfgrfp.org.


March 2022: Junior Isabelle Behrman has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s most prestigious scholarship for undergraduates planning to pursue research-focused careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) fields.

Isabelle has majors in chemistry (with the American Chemical Society concentration) and Spanish. After earning a Ph.D. in molecular engineering or material science and engineering, she plans to launch a research career aimed at creating environmentally friendly and biodegradable materials. In particular, she hopes to work on development of new packaging materials to address problems of plastic creation and waste.

At Ball State, Isabelle has been working in the lab of Dr. Robert Sammelson since the end of her freshman year, helping conduct research on a newly developed acid. She is also a member of the Women’s Tennis Team and serves as a Supplemental Instructor in organic chemistry. The Muncie native is a graduate of the Indiana Academy and will be completing her undergraduate degree in only three years.

Isabelle’s love of chemistry was first piqued at Michigan State University’s summer engineering camp for high school students, where she was exposed to material science. During her first year at Ball State, in an organic chemistry course, Isabelle explains, “I knew I had found the areas of chemistry that I could pursue in a research career dedicated to my other great passion—helping protect the environment.”

Isabelle is the thirteenth Ball State student to receive the Goldwater Scholarship, along with nine others who have received honorable mention. She was one of 417 sophomores and juniors selected this year, from a pool of 1,242 students nominated by colleges and universities nationwide.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater. By providing scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in STEM fields, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the nation needs in these critical fields. For more information, visit goldwaterscholarship.gov.


March 2022Scott Webster has been awarded a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), which will provide two months of beginning Turkish study in Ankara, Turkey, this summer!   

Scott is a freshman in the Honors College, with majors in economics and finance and a minor in accounting. He immigrated to the U.S. at age 11 and now lives in Fishers, Ind. His language study and cultural immersion in Turkey with CLS will be the first step toward Scott’s goal of becoming fluent in Turkish. Ultimately, he intends to pursue a career with the U.S. State Department or other government agency.  

 “By building Turkish language skills, I can be of service in a crucial region that affects national interests of the U.S.,” Scott said. “The ability to converse and read in Turkish will enable me to have greater access to and understanding of Turkey’s political, social, and economic issues.” 

The Critical Language Scholarship is a State Department program that facilitates two months of intensive summer language study in 15 languages considered critical to U.S. national security.  More than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students nationwide applied for the scholarship this year. 

Scott is the eighth Ball State awardee of a Critical Language Scholarship.  He will begin his studies at the TÖMER Institute in Ankara in mid-June.


February 2022: Emily Cole—a legal studies/pre-law student with a minor in women’s and gender studies—has been named a finalist for the Truman Scholarship! One of the nation’s most prestigious scholarships, the Truman is awarded to juniors who will be the nation’s future change-makers.

At Ball State, Emily founded a chapter of Students Demand Action, leading fellow students in activism to end gun violence in our nation, and at national rallies and protests she shares her story as a Survivor Fellow through the Everytown Survivor Network.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in December 2022, Emily will enroll in a JD program in law and public policy, in order to pursue a career dedicated to creating policy changes that protect victims of violence and abuse. Her focus in such policy changes is on women who are subjected to violence by domestic partners, especially violence involving firearms. After establishing her career as an attorney, lobbyist, and victim advocate, Emily eventually plans to run for public office.

The Truman Scholarship is awarded to juniors who intend to pursue careers in public service and who want to create systemic change. They must possess extensive records of leadership and demonstrated commitment to public service. Emily and other finalists for the Chicago region will be interviewed on March 23. Approximately 60 recipients will be announced in mid-April, at www.truman.gov.


February 2022: Congratulations to three BSU undergraduates who have been named semi-finalists for the SMART (Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation) Scholarship program!

· Leah Casey is a sophomore with a computer science major.

· Conor Dailey, a junior, has an environmental stewardship major (through the Honors College’s Medallion Scholars program) and music major, along with a minor in leadership studies.

· Gavin Neal, a sophomore in the Honors College, has a major in computer science and minor in Spanish.

SMART Scholarships are funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in any one of 21 different STEM disciplines. The program aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories.

Selected candidates receive the following: full tuition & an annual living stipend, for up to five years; a summer internship at a DoD site; and guaranteed civilian employment with the DoD after graduation.

Award recipients will be notified in late spring.