Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble ’82

Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble ’82 speaks at the Celebration of Student Awardees hosted by the Office of Fellowship Advising.

'Celebration of Student Awardees' Recognizes Nationally Competitive Fellowship, Scholarship Winners

More than 40 students will now pursue further educational opportunities such as study abroad, foreign language study, academic research and graduate study.

Photography by

Emily Groff

On May 9, the Office of Fellowship Advising (OFA) hosted a Celebration of Student Awardees to recognize students who have won nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships. This year, a record 44 students and recent alumni received 47 awards such as Boren, Gilman, Critical Language, Fulbright, NSF-REU and others.

These scholarships are highly competitive, and awardees are students who excel academically as well as outside the classroom. The funding will enable them to pursue further educational opportunities such as study abroad or international internships, foreign language study, academic research and graduate study.

For example:

John Kershner

John Kershner, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. (Christa Neu)

  • John Kershner is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. He is researching owl-inspired aeroacoustics to design mechanisms that may one day help planes fly more quietly. As an undergraduate at York College of Pennsylvania, he studied German and completed a co-op with the German company Krones AG. He received a Fulbright scholarship to return to Germany and continue his research.

Salma Elboute ’22

Salma Elboute ’22, Lehigh’s second student Fulbright recipient this year. (Christa Neu)

  • Salma Elboute ’22 is Lehigh’s second student Fulbright recipient this year. A management major with a concentration in entrepreneurship, Elboute will travel to the United Arab Emirates to conduct research on small, women-owned businesses and their barriers to success.

Giavanna Gast ’24

Giavanna Gast ’24 received a DAAD RISE Germany award and an NSF-REU award to support undergraduate research at the University of Maine. (Christa Neu)

  • Giavanna Gast ’24 is one of three students who won two awards this year. She is in the IDEAS program, completing an integrated degree in product engineering, materials physics, sustainable development. She received a DAAD RISE Germany award and an NSF-REU award to support undergraduate research at the University of Maine. The timing overlaps, and Gast has chosen to go to Germany, where she will complete an internship in Freiburg working on a materials science additive manufacturing project.

In addition to celebrating the students, the event recognized faculty and staff who encourage students to apply for funding and guide them through multi-step application processes that can entail several months of advising, self-reflection and preparation.

Bill Hunter, director of fellowship advising and UN programs, congratulated the students on their hard work. “Now you have the means to go and do something amazing in the world,” he said.

“You are living the full visualization of what the Lehigh education can do,” said Cheryl Matherly, vice president and vice provost for international affairs.

Lehigh’s president, Joseph J. Helble ’82 thanked the offices and programs at Lehigh that prepare students to embark on these additional experiences and noted that in the five years that the Office of Fellowship Advising has been part of the Office of International Affairs, more than 100 students have received competitive awards, for more than $1 million to support their academic endeavors. Speaking to students about to embark on exciting experiences around the world, Helble offered a piece of advice:

“Embrace this opportunity and make the most of it.”

The following students and alumni received competitive scholarships and fellowships in 2021-2022.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

This grant program from the U.S. Department of State enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad.

  • Georgia Becker ’24, Spain
  • Amber Bierly ’25, France
  • Samantha Cardenas ’23, Netherlands
  • Alexa Couto ’25, United Kingdom
  • Alejandro Del Valle Valdez ’23, Switzerland
  • Grace Enriquez ’22, Switzerland
  • Bryce Erdman ’18, Germany
  • Ishan Gauro ’24, Spain
  • Delaney Gemmel ’24, Spain
  • Erik Glasthal ’19, Ireland
  • Rachelle Huh ’23, South Korea
  • Sumin Lim ’23, South Korea
  • Jennifer Liu ’23, Belgium
  • Daisy Lopez ’24, Spain
  • Zena Meighan ’24, Japan
  • Rehan Naeem ’23, Spain
  • Amelie Pankov ’24, France
  • Annie Seong ’24, Germany
  • Michael Stevanovich ’23, Colombia
  • Sabrina Trabish ’23, Netherlands
  • Cindy Tran ’24, South Korea
  • Jingwen Wei ’23, Japan
  • John Whitall ’24, Argentina
  • Joshua Yang ’22, South Korea
  • Ada Zheng ’25, Japan
  • Tiffany Zhu ’24, Italy

Boren Awards

This initiative of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office provides funding for U.S. students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests.

  • Hiwot Demelash ’22, Ethiopia
  • Dan Rudiak ’23, Morocco*
  • Emma Santini ’22, Indonesia

Critical Language Scholarship

This program is part of the U.S. government’s efforts to increase the number of Americans who study languages essential to America’s engagement with the world.

  • Nicholas Masri ’23, Chinese


Sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service, or DAAD, RISE Germany offers summer research internships in Germany for undergraduate students from North America, Great Britain and Ireland.

  • Nina Cialone ’24
  • Muhammed Delen ’24
  • Giavanna Gast ’24*
  • Lauryn Holgado ’24
  • Josie Koelsch ’23

FAIT Fellowship

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Foreign Affairs IT (FAIT) Fellowship helps individuals pursue a career in the Foreign Service by providing funding for an IT-related degree and additional education and professional development.

  • Andy Wu ’20

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program enables graduating college seniors, graduate students and young professionals to pursue graduate study, conduct research or teach English abroad, with the goal of improving intercultural relations and cultural diplomacy between the United States and other countries.

  • Salma Elboute ’22, United Arab Emirates, Research
  • John Kershner (Ph.D. candidate), Germany, Research

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU)

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation.

  • Giavanna Gast ’24*, University of Maine
  • Cameron MacMahon ’22, Michigan State University
  • Eva Wolfe ’23, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Will Yaeger ’24, Bigelow Lab for Ocean Sciences, Maine

Project GO

“Project Global Officer” is an initiative sponsored by the Defense Language and National Security Education Office that provides full scholarships for ROTC cadets to study critical languages.

  • Maura Campbell ’24*, Morocco (Arabic)
  • Sacha Joseph ’25, Jordan (Arabic)

Ruhr Fellowship

Ruhr Fellows participate in an intercultural and language immersion program in the Ruhr Valley region of Germany, followed by an internship.

  • Maura Campbell ’24*
  • Xinyi Cui ’18, G’22

* — Students who received multiple awards in 2021-2022.

Story by Emily Groff

Photography by

Emily Groff

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