Students Earn Top Honors, Awards

Last spring, several Lewis & Clark undergraduates garnered national awards for their academic achievements, winning a Goldwater Scholarship and four Fulbright grants to further their education and research.

Goldwater Scholar

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships are awarded annually to undergraduate students who have done excellent academic research in mathematics, science, or engineering, and intend to pursue a career in these fields. The $7,500 scholarships were awarded to just 278 students nationally in spring 2009.

Marie Lafortune CAS ‘10  conducts computational chemistry research with James Duncan, professor of chemistry. She says her experience at Lewis & Clark has afforded her valuable opportunities to explore scientific research that will benefit her postgraduate pursuits. Lafortune, a chemistry major, is interested in pursuing science and medicine, especially cancer research.

“The welcoming, student-focused atmosphere of Lewis & Clark has afforded me the opportunity to develop close relationships with faculty members, which have been both personally and academically rewarding,” says Lafortune. “Their interest in my success has been very encouraging and has been central to the sustenance of my academic motivation and ambition.”

Fulbright Winners

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program awards grants to students and professionals for the opportunity to do graduate study, conduct research, or teach at the elementary to the university level in countries all around the world.

Mary Davis BA ‘09,  a foreign languages major, will teach migrant students in Frankfurt, Germany, next year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant.

Originally from Maribel, Wisconsin, Davis is no stranger to travel, having studied abroad in Munich, Germany, and Santiago, Dominican Republic, to enrich her coursework in German and Spanish at Lewis & Clark.

“Lewis & Clark has given me not only the opportunity to study two different languages under one major,” Davis says, “but also the chance to study abroad for three semesters in two different countries.”

Davis lived in Munich for two years of high school before attending Lewis & Clark. As a Third Culture Kid, Davis joined Lewis & Clark’s diverse and active international student community.

“The support of both the International Student Office staff and my language professors has been integral in contributing to my growth as a global citizen,” she says. 

During her year in Germany, she plans to apply to doctoral programs for German literature with the hope of eventually becoming a professor at a U.S. college or university.

Nick Kaufmann BA ‘09,  inspired by an overseas study program in Tokyo, applied for and received a prestigious Fulbright Research Fellowship to study in Japan for the 2009-10 academic year.

“Lewis & Clark exposed me to an incredible range of ideas and ways of understanding the world,” Kaufmann says. “I think our cross-disciplinary, multibackground international community is a great model of global dialogue and cooperation, and I hope to keep some of that spirit in my research and work in the future.”

Kaufmann, a sociology/anthropology major, will study participatory urban planning and nonprofit and grassroots groups with his Fulbright grant.

Looking ahead, the Portland, Maine, native says he isn’t sure what steps he will take after his Fulbright experience.

“I don’t know exactly where my research will take me, but I want to keep studying the social ramifications of globalism and urbanization, either in graduate programs or in my career,” he says. “I’m really excited about my Fulbright as a chance to dig into these themes and test my academic chops.”

Peter Seilheimer BA ‘09  has earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Austria.

Seilheimer, a native of Houston, will teach in Weiz, Austria, during the 2009-10 academic year. A foreign languages major, he has studied both German and Russian at Lewis & Clark.

Seilheimer describes his participation in Lewis & Clark’s Munich program during his junior year as one of the best times of his life. He says the experience helped prepare him to live and work abroad the following year.

“The support and encouragement available to Lewis & Clark students who want to go adventuring around the world is astounding!” Seilheimer says. “Studying abroad really pushes you out of your comfort zone to live life to the fullest and experience new things every single day. It was wonderful meeting and connecting with people from all over the world.”

After his Fulbright experience, Seilheimer says he may remain in the education field.

“I have been volunteering at the German American School of Portland, which has made me really think about becoming a teacher,” he says. “I plan to enjoy my time in Austria, look at graduate schools, and decide if teaching is the path I want to follow.

Katie Walter BA ‘09,  an international affairs major, has earned a Fulbright to pursue her academic interests in India. She plans to conduct research to assess the salience of religious and economic themes in advocating environmental stewardship in Vrindavan.

“My first trip to India as part of Lewis & Clark’s overseas study program in fall 2007 allowed me to become personally involved in several local, national, and international efforts designed to improve life there,” says Walter. She returned to India in summer 2008 to serve as an intern and volunteer, which she says gave her the experiences and contacts necessary to win both a Fulbright Research Fellowship and a Kathryn Wasserman-Davis 100 Projects for Peace grant. The latter will support her work in creating an artisan collective for impoverished women in Vrindavan.

“I am pursuing both of these grants with the intention of improving the lives of Indians living in and near Vrindavan and, hopefully, beyond,” she says.

After completing her Fulbright research, Walter plans to pursue a graduate degree in South Asian studies at the University of Washington.