UF students win record number of prestigious scholarships

Published: June 7 2006

Category:Announcements, Awards & Honors, InsideUF

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Honors Program announced that UF students have won a strong series of national prestigious scholarships and awards this year. For three of the scholarships, Truman, Goldwater, and National Science Foundation Fellowships, UF had the most winners of these awards in campus history.

The 2005-2006 Beinecke, Truman and Goldwater scholarship winners had to compete at the university level and were then forwarded on to regional or national competition levels. Other scholarships required the students to apply directly to the foundation.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation selected two UF students for the first time: Bruce Haupt and Ashley Bittner won the Truman for students preparing for leadership in public service. Haupt is a political science major from Merritt Island who transferred to UF from Brevard Community College with an associate’s degree in 2004. Bittner is a history and political science major from Naples. The award consists of up to $30,000 for graduate study.

Three UF students won Goldwater Scholarships: Donald Burnette, Lauren Culver and Jeffrey Wong. Burnette is a sophomore majoring in physics, mathematics, and electrical engineering from Sunrise. Culver is a junior majoring in material science and engineering from Merritt Island. Jeffrey Wong, a junior from Weston, is double-majoring in microbiology and cell science and biochemistry. Junior Taylor Gilliland was recognized for honorable mention with Goldwater.

The National Science Foundation provides a stipend of $27,500 and three years of support for advanced study to about 900 outstanding graduate students in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and behavioral and social sciences. UF had 14 winners: Nicolas Alvarez, William Cox, John Harter, Edwin Homan, Michelle Kinahan, Sara Maxwell, Suzanne Moellendorf, Rekha Nair, Michael Perry, James Poe, Havala Taylor, Elizabeth Van Wagner, Nisita Wanakule and Linda Watson. In addition, 24 other students from UF earned an honorable mention from the NSF.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship program selected Justin Bangs, a senior political science major from Orlando, to be one of 40 Gates Cambridge Scholars from the United States to study for an M. Phil degree in Environment, Society, and Development in the department of geography at the University of Cambridge on a full scholarship.

Jessica Ducey, a junior psychology major, was selected for a David L. Boren Scholarship through the National Security Education Program. She will be receiving a scholarship to study in Jordan during spring 2007.

UF was invited to nominate one student for the Beinecke Scholarship in Humanities and Social Sciences beginning in 2003, and had its second winner this year: Jenna Battillo, a double major in classics and anthropology. Battillo was one of 18 winners nationally for the $32,000 scholarship.

UF has also been very successful with the Fulbright Scholarship, which provides funding for graduating seniors and graduate students to spend an academic year in any of 140 countries. Sixteen students from UF have been forwarded by the national screening committee to their respective countries of application, and several have been selected to win a Fulbright for the 2006-2007 academic year. Students who have been notified so far of their selection include Jaclyn Hall, to Tanzania; Sarah Lowe, to Costa Rica; Victoria Heimer-Torres, to Norway; Robert Tucker, to Germany; and Catherine Yeh, to Germany.

The Honors Program coordinates the efforts of UF students who are applying for prestigious scholarships, including convening scholarship selections committees and providing individual awards advising. Other common activities for UF students who were successful in winning these awards include outstanding research and leadership experience.


Jeanna Mastrodicasa, 352-392-1519

Category:Announcements, Awards & Honors, InsideUF