Schmid College saw its current students and alumni alike receive prestigious distinctions for the 2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Of over 16,000 applicants vying for grants to fund their research, only 2,000 received awards. 

This year was especially successful for Schmid College; among the students and alumni who applied, five received honorable mentions and one was bestowed the coveted grant. These six students represent nearly half of Schmid College’s total awardees dating back all the way to 2002.

According to Dr. Chris Kim, the sudden surge in Schmid College representation among NSF Fellowship applications and recognition can be traced back to the opportunities the college offers its students. Kim, Associate Dean of Academic Programs at Schmid College and head of the Kim Environmental Geochemistry Lab, gave high praise for the programs Schmid College offers.

“Schmid College majors have a great advantage over students at both smaller and larger institutions because they get to conduct research directly with faculty members and actually do science, not just learn about it.” Kim said.

Elizabeth Marie Berrigan ’14, who double-majored in biochemistry and physics at Schmid College, was the only affiliate awarded the fellowship in 2015. Berrigan attributes much of her success to Schmid College’s research opportunities, including researching entanglement at the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University.

“I learned how to be a scientist there.” Berrigan said.

For Tyler Anthony ’14 and Jenny Bowen, receiving honorable mentions was particularly impressive given that neither are enrolled in a graduate program as of yet. Bowen still attends Schmid College as an environmental science and policy major and Anthony just recently graduated.

Both Bowen and Anthony were aware of their positions entering the competition.

Anthony said, “I definitely felt like an underdog going against graduate students that were likely already part of a well-established research group with specific research goals in mind.”

Bowen shared Anthony’s view, but both felt prepared due to Schmid College’s research opportunities for undergraduates.

“[These opportunities] are resources that not every student utilizes throughout their time at Chapman,” Bowen said. “Schmid provides amazing opportunities for undergraduates to be involved with research, an opportunity that is rarely available at other universities.”

Other 2015 Schmid College honorable mentions not aforementioned include Thomas Clayton, Gretchen Saunders and Kristin Marie Blacklock. Previous year honors went to the following Chapman University alumni:

  • 2014 Fellowship: Paige Kuuipo Aiona ’12, Geosciences – Atmospheric Chemistry at UC Irvine
  • 2012 Fellowship: Carina Suzanne Minardi ’10, Chemistry – Chemical Measurement and Imaging at Georgetown University
  • 2010 Fellowship: Nadia Nicole Ono, Life Sciences – Microbiology at UC Davis
  • 2009 Fellowship: Christopher James Lentini ’06, Geosciences – Geochemistry at Harvard University
  • 2006 Fellowship: Amy S Chung ’04, Engineering – Bioengineering and Biomedical at University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • 2003 Honorable Mention: Liannea Puanani Litz ’02, Ocean Chemistry at University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • 2002 Honorable Mention: Jimena Varon ’01, Immunology at UC Center for Health Science, Los Angeles