May 8, 2016

Fellowship Reception Honors Cornellians Who Earned National and International Awards

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Over 50 students, family and faculty members attended a fellowship reception on Friday, which recognized decorated undergraduates for their work in and out of the classroom.

“These are the people I’ll see when I open up The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal some day,” said Prof. Thomas Ruttledge, chemistry and chemical biology, while introducing a fellowship recipient.

All students received nationally and internationally distinguished awards, and were introduced by a faculty member who had mentored them.

Ruttledge highlighted the importance of generosity in a scholarship recipient, expressing his admiration for students who “give up [their] immense talents because there are people who need those immense talents.”

He used Shivansh Chawla ’17 — a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, who offered to TA one of Ruttledge’s classes for free — as an example of one such student.

“Everything [Chawla] has he gives to other people, and I’d like to think that the people in here who will be leaders one day will not forget that lesson,” Ruttledge said.

Charles Wan ’17 — also a Goldwater Scholar — added that in a chemical engineering class, he heard from many accomplished students who said they owe their success to mentorship from professors or alumni.

“A common thread in the talks is that they found a mentor who has supported them throughout their career,” Wan said.

Agreeing with Wan, Benjamin Van Doren ’16 — who received the Marshall Scholarship, which funds two years of study at any university in the United Kingdom — expressed his gratitude for his research supervisor, Prof. Irby Lovette, ecology and evolutionary biology.

“Professor Lovette helped me with not only the [scholarship] application, but also to understand what I want to do in the short and long term,” Van Doren said.

Lovette said Van Doren has a passion for ornithology and is “a joy to work with.”

“He’s embedded within this institution in so many ways,” Lovette said.

Marcos Moreno ’17, who was awarded the Morris K. Udall Scholarship — which recognizes a hard-working Native American or Alaskan native student — also credited his mentors with contributing to his success at Cornell.

“The Udall Fellowship is something that is just as much a recognition of my mentors and supporters as it is a recognition of myself,” Moreno said.

Juliana Batista ’16, who was named a Schwarzman Scholar, said the scholarship will fund her studies of women in the Beijing workforce, which she would not have been able to explore otherwise.

“I didn’t think I’d ever get an opportunity like this to pursue my passions,” Batista said.

Another Schwarzman Scholar, Andrew Schoen ’12, praised his experience at Cornell and the bonds he has made.

“I think that at Cornell there’s a unique ability to stick together and form these bond that last a long time,” Schoen said. “Coming back here after four years, I realized just how special this place is.”

Three students received awards in absentia, and dozens of others were recognized as scholarship finalists or contenders.