National Scholarships Top the 100 Mark at Puget Sound

April 25, 2012

Young scholars have captured 118 prestigious scholarships since 2000

Students pursue research, language study, travel, and growth

TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound students have taken their excellent track record of winning prestigious national fellowships past the century mark, winning 118 awards in just a dozen years.

This year students secured 22 national scholarships, amid tough competition from across the country. These include two Fulbright Scholarships, six French Government Teaching Assistantships, four North American Language and Culture Assistantships in Spain, two Princeton-in-Asia Fellowships, a Critical Language Scholarship, a Udall Scholarship, a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Fellowship, three Goldwater Scholarships, and a National Science Foundation scholarship.

The numbers are impressive for a liberal arts college competing against hundreds of far larger universities. This year three Puget Sound students won the Goldwater, the top undergraduate science award, out of just 300 available. Peter Russell '12 was awarded Puget Sound's  first Critical Language Scholarship, and Maggie Shanahan ’13 won both a Udall and a Goldwater. In addition Rachel Hood ’09, who is now in graduate school, landed a National Science Foundation scholarship for her work in microbiology.

 “Graduation is always a time of mixed feelings for all of us, as so many students move on from the world of academic learning to the enormity of the world outside of campus,” said Sharon Chambers-Gordon, director of the Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Fellowships. “However, seeing these scholarship winners move on toward their goals, with these accolades in hand, is always a moment of joy—for the professors, advisors, families, friends, and staff who have worked with them. We wish them all an enriching experience.”

The recent national awards include: 

Fulbright Scholarship
Laura Lasswell ’12 – Germany
Kat Schmidt ’12 Germany

French Government Teaching Assistantship
Emily Strichartz ’12
Serena Berkowitz ’12
Emily Swisher ’12
Elizabeth Hughes ’12
Charlotte Cronin ’12
Molly Gibson ’11

Cultural Ambassadors: North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain
Sarah Evert ’12
Daniel Pendleton ’11
Sarah Rittenhouse ’09
Daniel Watson ’12

Max Honch ’12 – Thailand
Max Heston ’12 – China

Critical Language Scholarship
Peter Russell ’12 – Arabic advanced beginning

Udall Scholarship
Maggie Shanahan ’13

Goldwater Scholarship
Kevin Halasz ’12
Maggie Shanahan ’13
Vienna Saccomanno ’13

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Fellowship
Jon Prentice '12
Westrey Page '12

National Science Foundation Scholarship
Rachel Hood ’09 (University of California, Berkeley) –  Life Sciences, microbiology

The students’ success was facilitated by the support of Puget Sound faculty and staff. The Graduate Fellowships Advisory Committee conducts campus interviews and provides rigorous vetting of candidates’ applications.

Members of the committee include fellowships director Sharon Chambers-Gordon; committee chair David Tinsley, in foreign languages and literature; Alyce DeMarais, associate dean, biology; Patrick O’Neil in politics and government; Greta Austin in religion; and Jeff Grinstead in chemistry. Other faculty members who worked with the scholarship winners include Diane Kelley and Michel Rocchi, both in foreign languages and literature.

In addition many faculty on and off campus provided indispensible assistance by acting as research advisors and mentors, or by writing letters of recommendation on the students’ behalf.

Puget Sound's fellowships office coordinates the application, interview, evaluation, and nomination process for qualified Puget Sound students. For more information contact Sharon Chambers-Gordon at 253.879.3329 or

Photos on page: Top right: Vienna Saccomanno presents research at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City. Top above: (Back row, from left) Laura Lasswell, Emily Strichartz, Max Honch, Peter Russell, Kat Schmidt, Vienna Saccomanno; (Front row, from left) Charlotte Cronin, Serena Berkowitz, Max Heston, Emily Swisher. Photo by Ross Mulhausen. Above right: Kevin Halasz, Goldwater Scholar; Above right: Maggie Shanahan, winner of both the Goldwater and Udall scholarships.

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