Rising sophomore selected for UK Fulbright Summer Institute
Landscape architecture student wins three scholarships
Landscape architecture major wins two national scholarships

Three Ball State students win Fulbright Awards
Biology major wins Goldwater Scholarship
Architecture major wins Gilman Scholarship for summer study abroad

Eleven students & alumni named Fulbright semi-finalists
Japanese major wins Gilman Scholarship to Japan
May 2019 grad wins NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship
Three May 2019 graduates head to Japan with JET

June 2020:  Zander Lichosik, a rising sophomore, has been selected for the 2021 UK Fulbright Summer Institute in Scotland!  Nationwide, only 16 freshmen and sophomores, out ofLichosik nearly 900 applicants, have been awarded spots in four summer institutes, which are fully funded by the US-UK Fulbright Commission.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, awardees of this year’s Summer Institute competition will have their awards deferred for a year.

Zander, an exercise science major and Honors College student, will spend three weeks in the Fulbright Scotland Summer Institute on Technology, Innovation and Creativity.  There he looks forward to taking coursework in biomedical science and exploring the culture and history of Glasgow, Scotland, and the greater United Kingdom.

“I want to continue learning, and this program provides me with another opportunity to do so,” said Zander, a resident of Grafton, Wisc. “To improve, I need to be open to new ideas and experiences, and I believe I can accomplish this by interacting with the people and culture that await me in Scotland.”

An avid runner, Zander is an active member of the Ball State Runners Association and Exercise Science Club, and he serves as a sports medicine aide to the university’s athletic training staff.

One of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating worldwide, UK Fulbright Summer Institutes are a program of the US-UK Fulbright Commission. Institute participants are selected as future leaders who will support the “special relationship” between the USA and UK.  The Scotland Institute is co-hosted by the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde.


May 2020Tanner Prewitt, a rising fifth-year student in landscape architecture, has received three national and regional scholarships:  the National Garden Clubs Scholarship, the Katharine M. Grosscup Scholarship in Horticulture, and the Frits Loonsten Memorial Scholarship!  Together, they recognize his accomplishments and commitment to protecting the Earth through sustainable design and policies.

Tanner, who is also in the Honors College and has a minor in history, has been extremely active in both the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning and the Honors College.  In the former he has served as Marketing Coordinator and now as President of the Student prewittChapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and as a member of both the Editorial Team and Outreach Team for Glue (the college’s student-run journal).  In the latter he has served in several roles on the Student Honors Council, currently as President-elect for 2020-2021 academic year.

After completing the BLA (Bachelor of Landscape Architecture) program, the Seymour, Indiana, native plans to enter the profession at a landscape architecture firm, with the goal of eventually opening his own multi-disciplinary firm.  He also aspires to serve in local government, in order to initiate legislation that promotes “civic beautification, proper development, and the protection of our natural environment through native plants.”

In all that he does, Tanner operates on the belief that “we can change our practice of using the land to a practice of living with the land.”

About the scholarships:

The National Garden Clubs, Inc., has awarded 43 scholarships nationwide this year to outstanding students pursuing careers related to gardening, landscape design, environmental issues, floral design or horticulture.  http://gardenclub.org

The Katharine M. Grosscup Scholarship in Horticulture, a program of the Garden Club of America, typically awards at least six scholarships annually to students studying horticulture or related fields at institutions in selected states.   https://www.gcamerica.org

Each year, the Indiana Landscape Association awards one or two Frits Loonsten Memorial Scholarships to students in landscape architecture or related fields at selected Indiana institutions.  Recipients must be “well rounded, honest, hardworking” and “demonstrate dedication to their school and their major.”   https://www.indylandscape.com



May 2020Courtney Helmlinger, a fourth-year landscape architecture student, has received both the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Council of Fellows Scholarship—a $5,000 scholarship awarded to four outstanding undergraduates in landscape architecture nationwide each year—and the Rain Bird Intelligent Use of Water Scholarship—a $2,500 scholarship that recognizes one outstanding landscape architecture, horticulture or irrigation science student annually!helminger

Courtney, who also has minors in social and environmental justice and in strategic communications, is the first Ball State student ever to win either of these scholarships.  After graduating from Ball State in May 2021, she plans to pursue a career in community development, with a focus on regional planning, promotion of sustainable solutions, and advocacy for equitable design.

In her applications, Courtney wrote about her deep commitment to becoming “a catalyst for the improvement of under-represented communities through empathy-based design inclusive of all” and to creating designs that “preserve the priceless resource of water for future generations.” Her ultimate goal, she said, is “building resilient, sustainable land systems that combat climate change.”

At Ball State, Courtney has been a teaching assistant in a landscape engineering course, has been involved in Global Brigades’ Water Brigade, and has worked with the National Park Service on landscape architecture studio projects.  The St. Marys, Ohio, native has also interned with Pond & Company, a top-ranked architecture and planning firm, in Atlanta.  During the upcoming winter break, she intends to study in Iceland.

ASLA is the professional association for landscape architects in the United States, with a mission of advancing landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship and an overarching value of sustainability.   Courtney will accept her scholarship at the ASLA annual conference in Miami in October.

The Rain Bird Scholarship is sponsored by the Rain Bird Corporation, a leading global manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services, with “the Intelligent Use of Water” as its guiding philosophy. Both scholarships are facilitated through the Landscape Architecture Foundation.


April 2020:  A graduating senior and two graduate students have received Fulbright U.S. Student Awards to support study or English teaching opportunities abroad during the coming academic year!  Of the eight other finalists from Ball State, three are currently alternates.

BradshawimageNatalie Bradshaw is an Honors College senior who will graduate in May with majors in history and social studies teaching and a minor in German.  She has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany, where she also wants to become involved with a Wandertag hiking club and volunteer opportunities in her community.

At Ball State, Natalie has been very active in College Mentors for Kids, the campus orchestra, and Alpha Mu Gamma Honors Foreign Language Society, serving in leadership roles for all three organizations.  Her career goals are focused on earning a PhD in Central European history, then teaching at the university level. 

“Teaching, both inside and outside of the traditional classroom setting, has always been my life passion,” said the East Peoria, Ill., resident, who was a student teacher at a US Air Force base in Germany for the first half of spring semester 2020.  “My goals in teaching are to tear down the boundaries that divide and marginalize people and to promote compassion through education.”

Mylie Brennan, who is about to complete a master’s degree in communication studies, will head to the United Kingdom, specifically Northern Ireland, with a Fulbright.  There she will undertake a PhD in Global Peace, Security, and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast, with a focus on the political identities of young people who were born after “The Troubles” but were too young to vote on the Brexit referendum.brennanphoto

Mylie, who completed a bachelor’s degree in communication studies at Taylor University in 2016, has extensive experience studying and conducting research in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, particularly for her master’s thesis on “Northern Irish Women, the Peace Process, and Brexit.”

Professionally, the Winchester, Ind., native intends to work for a non-profit organization that promotes peace, whether locally or globally, and to become a professor of conflict studies, with the goal of serving as a liaison between academia and peace organizations.

weingart“A Fulbright grant will allow me to promote peace and cross-community relations in Northern Ireland,” said Mylie, “and will further equip me to listen, empathize, and be a force of peace and compassion in the world.”

Valerie Weingart will be an English Teaching Assistant in Poland, where she also plans to perform voice recitals and join local choirs. “I’m excited to immerse myself in Polish culture and to engage with members of the Polish community, while also teaching English and sharing information about American culture,” she commented.

As a BSU Honors College student, Valerie completed bachelor’s degrees in English and music in 2018 and is about to complete a master’s degree in English, with a creating writing concentration.  She has been active in a wide range of activities in both music and writing, including her roles as managing editor of Beautiful Things (a journal of nonfiction narrative) and as a vocalist with the First Presbyterian Church, Muncie Masterworks Chorale, and other organizations.

“Being selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant is especially meaningful because it will allow me to pursue my passions for teaching, singing, writing, and being involved with my community in Poland, which is where my mother’s family is from,” said Valerie.  The Salem, Ohio, native intends to teach in higher education or work in an international student relations office.

BSU’s alternates are:

Christine Hatfield, an Honors College senior with majors in journalism and telecommunications.  She applied for the MSc program  in Media, Power, and Public Affairs at Royal Holloway altsUniversity in the UK.

Matt Hinkleman, who has a majors in political science and philosophy.  He applied for the English Teaching Assistant program in  Germany.

Faye Steele, a May 2019 graduate in economics.  She applied for a special Fulbright program for earning a master’s degree in  educational policy in Australia.

The Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and is intended to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of more than 140 countries. This year, Fulbright is awarding approximately 2,100 grants to U.S. students and recent graduates.  Factors in the selection of awardees include the quality and feasibility of the proposed host country activities, academic record, personal qualifications (including communication skills for ETA applicants), and potential to serve as effective cultural ambassadors.


March 2020: Siara Sandwith has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, considered the nation's most prestigious scholarship for undergraduates planning to pursue research-focused careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) fields.

sandwith newsSiara, a junior and Honors College student, is completing a major in biology, with a concentration in cellular and molecular biology, as well as the professional certificate program in biotechnology. After earning a Ph.D. in biomedical science, she plans to launch a career with a biomedical company, researching neurodegenerative diseases.

At Ball State, Siara has been working in the cell biology lab of Dr. Philip Smaldino since her freshman year, helping conduct research on the association between a specific gene mutation and ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

As a sophomore, she was named the Biology Department’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Lab Sciences, an honor normally given to seniors. She was recently selected to participate in the Neuroscience Undergraduate Research Opportunity (NURO) program at the University of Michigan.

“Receiving this scholarship has helped boost my confidence as a scientist,” said the Evansville, Ind., native. “It makes me feel that I am capable of producing valuable and sound science, and, more importantly, I can write and communicate to others the research I love doing. I believe this scholarship will open many doors for me as I continue in my career path.”

Siara is the twelfth Ball State student to receive the Goldwater Scholarship, along with nine others who have received honorable mention. She was one of 396 sophomores and juniors selected this year, from a pool of 1,343 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 goldwater.scholarsapply.org.


February 2020:  Jenny Gercilus, a fourth-year architecture major, has been awarded a Gilman International Scholarship, to support a five-week study program in Italy and Morocco this coming summer.  The program, offered through Ball State’s Department of Architecture, will focus on workshops and special projects in architecture.

“As an architecture student, I think it is important to learn by experience,” said Jenny. “I want to make a difference and be more receptive to nJenny Gercilus news imageew ideas, thoughts, and creativity, and apply this in my profession. This scholarship gives me the chance to create new connections.”

The Muncie resident will complete Ball State’s five-year Bachelor of Architecture program in May 2021, as well as a minor in social and environmental justice.  

Upon their return to the U.S., Gilman Scholarship recipients are required to carry out a follow-on project that helps promote international understanding.  Jenny intends to write an article about her experiences abroad for the BSU publication Glue, which showcases the work of architecture, landscape, and urban planning students and professionals.

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.


February 2020:  Congratulations to the following BSU students and alumni (pictured below, L-R), who’ve made it to the semi-finalist round for the U.S. Student Fulbright program!

  • Natalie Bradshaw, senior, history and social studies education majors, for an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany
  • Mylie Brennan, MA student, communication studies major, for doctoral study and research in the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
  • Lauren Dailey, Dec. 2019 graduate, Spanish and pre-physician’s assistant majors, for an English Teaching Assistantship in Mexico& 
  • Ella Donovan, senior, dance and Spanish majors, for an English Teaching Assistantship in Peru
  • Christine Hatfield, senior, journalism and telecommunication majors, for graduate study in the United Kingdom (England)
  • Matt Hinkleman, senior, political science and philosophy majors, for an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany
  • Harriet Legan, senior, French and speech language pathology majors, for graduate study in Canada
  • Xanna Shepard, Dec. 2019 graduate, elementary education/special education & exceptional needs major, for an English Teaching Assistantship in Mexico
  • Kalee Snorden, senior, biology major (wildlife biology and conservation), for graduate study in the United Kingdom (England)
  • Faye Steele, May 2019 graduate, economics major, for graduate study in Australia
  • Valerie Weingart, MA student, English major (creative writing), for an English Teaching Assistantship in Poland

Semi-finalist applications are now being considered by review committees in their host countries.  Final decisions about recipients will be made and announced in the spring.



September 2019:  Ball State junior Shelby Johnson has been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which is about to take her to Japan for 10 months!

SJohnsonAs an exchange student at Tokyo Gakugei University, Shelby will take culture and language courses, conduct research on rakugo, a traditional form of Japanese storytelling entertainment, and learn kyūdō, Japanese archery.

In addition to the core Gilman Scholarship, Shelby—who has a major in Japanese and a minor in Asian studies—received a supplementary Critical Need Language Award.  Altogether, she received $8,000, the maximum amount possible.

Upon their return to the U.S., all Gilman Scholarship recipients are required to carry out a project that helps promote international education and understanding.  For her project, Shelby will create a video that shows what day-to-day life is like as an exchange student at Tokyo Gakugei University. When she returns to Ball State for her senior year, she’ll show this video to prospective study abroad students in the Japanese Conversation Club.

In her career, Shelby plans to work as a translator in Japan.  “This scholarship will help me reach my goal of fluency in Japanese, by allowing me to immerse myself in the language and culture,” said the Westfield, Ind., resident.

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


Parker Swartz

September 2019:  Over the summer, Parker Swartz, a May 2019 graduate of Ball State and the Honors College, received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, recognizing his excellence in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and community service.   

Parker, who was a middle attacker on the men’s volleyball team, graduated summa cum laude with an undergraduate major in advertising and minors in marketing and foundations of business.  In the spring he was selected, out of all BSU intercollegiate athletes, to receive Ball State Athletics’ Scholar-Athlete Award.

In 2018 he was one of 96 athletes nationwide to be named to Team USA, which traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to compete in the first-ever International University Sports Federation America Games.

On Ball State’s campus, Parker was a key leader of Awaken, a new campus ministry, dedicating hundreds of hours to its success.

The Glen Ellyn, Ill., native is now pursuing an M.A. in Emerging Media Design and Development at Ball State. The program will not only help him develop cutting-edge skills in advertising media, but it also will allow him to gain hands-on experience with grassroots organizations, as preparation for a career in advertising, specifically for global non-profits. “I love giving back to the world community,” said Parker, “and I think great advertising could have a profound effect on a lot of amazing organizations.”

A total of 126 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships are awarded each year, with 21 male and 21 female athletes selected for each sports season.   The $10,000 scholarship must be used to support postgraduate studies.



August 2019  Emma Hartman, Keli MacDonald, and Olivia Peterson—all May 2019 BSU graduates—have been awarded positions with the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program for the 2019-2020 academic year!  They departed for Japan in July and have each begun their year (or longer) as an Assistant Language Teacher in one or more schools, while also assisting with extracurricular and international exchange activities.

Emma HartmanAt Ball State, Emma Hartman completed majors in Japanese and English and a minor in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), as well as the Honors College curriculum.

“I am passionate about language, and the JET Program allows me to teach my students the power of English to make international connections and open up job opportunities,” said the Muncie native.  “I want to help Japanese students experience the same life-changing benefits from studying English that I have enjoyed from studying Japanese.”

Emma, who studied in Japan for a year, eventually intends to teach English education at the university level in Japan.

Keli MacDonald

Keli MacDonald, whose hometown is Zionsville, Ind., likewise had majors in Japanese and English and a minor in TESL.  She studied in Japan for part of the summer of 2018 and credits her family, friends, and Ball State faculty for their support in her being selected to serve with JET.

“My late mother, Jodi, was the most incredible, widely-loved teacher I have ever known, and it means so much to me that I have the opportunity to continue what she started,” said Keli. “All I want to do in Japan is to help others grow while I myself grow alongside them.”

Olivia PetersonOlivia Peterson, a graduate of the Honors College, majored in art (animation), with minors in Japanese and Spanish at Ball State.  As a JET participant, she looks forward to “giving back to students a love for language and culture.”

The Kokomo, Ind., native also hopes to implement some aspects of her animation expertise into her teaching, perhaps making a stop-motion film with her students. “I know that a whole new world of people and places are opening up to me in Japan, and I am ready and willing to take on this adventure,” said Olivia.

These three BSU alumnae are among more than 1,000 U.S. participants selected for the JET program this year.  JET is sponsored by a coalition of Japanese government agencies and has sent nearly 36,000 U.S. citizens to Japan, to serve as teachers and public servants since its founding in 1987.