Scholarship Recipients

Photo from the 2019 Breakfast of Champions

PhotoFirst NameLast NameScholarshipsStatusYearBio
KarishmaMuthukumarStraussRecipient2020Click to see Karishma's bio

Karishma Muthukumar is a 2nd year undergraduate studying cognitive sciences and biological sciences. In 2018, Karishma was named Young Innovator to Watch at the Consumer Electronics Show. She is the founder of Synapse Connection, a nonprofit organization, and a recipient of the Points of Light Award. Earlier this year, she became a finalist for NSF’s 2026 Idea Machine competition for her idea to promote empathy-based AI systems. Karishma is currently serving as UCI’s 2019-20 Dalai Lama Scholar.
AditiMayerFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2020Click to see Aditi's bio

Aditi Mayer is a 2019 UCI graduate who double majored in Literary Journalism and International Studies. Her career at UC Irvine included serving as a founding student council member and fellow for the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, studying abroad in Mexico, Italy, and Nepal, to starting InSight Magazine, a digital and print publication about poverty in Southern California. She also received multiple awards and scholarships for her journalistic work, including the South Asian Journalist Association, Barnes & Nobles, NPR, and the Asian American Journalist Association, where she served as a board member as Student Representative. Throughout her college career, she maintained her blog, ADIMAY.com, which explored the intersections of sustainability, and social justice within fashion. This blog became the basis of her career today, which spans journalism, thought leadership, and content creation within the sustainability sector. She is committed to using fashion as a vehicle to explore social and environmental justice for communities globally.
AnNguyenFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2020Click to see An's bio

An Thien Nguyen is a fourth-year undergraduate studying Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. Throughout her undergraduate career, An has served as a Scholarship Opportunities Program Student Advisor and Ambassador, mentored incoming first-generation college students, taught over 100 high school students about globalization and international affairs, conducted 3 research projects, and involved in UCI's Model United Nations Program. In her final year, An is studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. There, An interns with the United Nations House Scotland where she will work on the Sustainable Development Goals and engaging the broader community and youth. Building on her previous research projects, An will pursue a local-level study on U.K. and Scottish anti-trafficking prevention strategies in aiding Vietnamese nationals in their political, legal, social, and economic liberation into broader society. Most notably, An has received the Fund for Education Abroad, Gilman Scholarship, and Promise Awards to support her time studying abroad. In the future, An will pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology to further the field of return migration and transnational immigration experiences of Southeast Asians. An intends to enter academia to produce resources, designate institutional spaces, and create leadership development opportunities for graduate students and faculty of color.
AshleyDuongFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2020Click to see Ashley's bio

Ashley is a recent alumna who double majored in literary journalism and philosophy. In her time at UCI, she was heavily involved with the campus paper, The New University, and was able to serve as a writer, copy editor, assistant news editor and managing editor. She also had the opportunity to be a mentor to other students under the Humanities Mentoring Program, as well as the International Student Excellence Program. In her fourth year, Ashley became a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated from UCI with Latin honors. She is currently working as an education beat reporter for the Southeast Iowa Union. In the future, Ashley hopes to continue doing community-based reporting and writing important stories.
ElizaPartikaFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2020Click to see Eliza's bio

Eliza Partika is a fourth-year double major in Literary Journalism and Global Middle East Studies. She currently holds a position writing about student and faculty research at the Office of Strategic Communications & Public Affairs at UCI. She has travelled on experiential education trips to Israel and the Palestinian Territories with the Rose Project’s Fact Finders Learning Mission and the Olive Tree Initiative, where she heard personal experiences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from diplomats, journalists, and citizens on the ground. She is interested in examining and correcting the media's misrepresentation of communities in conflict and publishing narratives that will reveal the realities of these communities. She is also interested in the politics behind transgenerational trauma, as well as the ability of art to heal generational trauma that comes from prolonged and intractable conflicts. Eliza is working towards a career as a foreign correspondent.
William (Liam)BlumeFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2020Click to see Liam's bio

Liam Blume is a journalist and 2019 graduate of UCI’s Literary Journalism program, where he also studied Arabic and Spanish. He reported on political corruption, crime, music, and public health for OC Weekly, Voice of OC, and New University while studying at UCI, and was a member of Saddleback Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. He hopes to study propaganda’s effects on international conflict.
MelissaCruzFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-Finalist2020Click to see Melissa's bio

Melissa Cruz is a recent graduate in English and Spanish with cum laude honors. Prior to transferring to UCI as a Regent’s Scholar, Melissa earned an Associate’s Degree in English at Golden West College, where she participated in the swim team and was named a Student Athlete Academic All Star. She has interned in a bilingual classroom through UCI’s Global Connect secondary school enrichment program and is currently earning her single-subject teaching credential at California State University, Long Beach. Melissa plans to draw upon her bilingual background and awareness of global cultures to enhance support for English language learners in Latinx communities in Southern California.
SarahMahoneyFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2020Click to see Sarah's bio

Sarah Mahoney graduated from UCI in 2019 with a bachelor’s in anthropology. She applied to graduate programs in Anthropology and will be hearing back in the Spring 2020 term. She applied to MA programs in Anthropology at the University of Hawaii and the University of Oslo. For Hawaii, she also applied to the East-West Graduate Fellowship, which fully funds MA degrees at UH. Currently, she works at Rye Goods Bakery and also for a UCI emeritus professor of Anthropology. With the professor, they have been working on an exhibit celebrating his life and visual anthropology work in Lacedonia, Italy. The exhibit will take place at a museum in Rome this coming Spring.
Shih (Mita)HuangFulbright U.S. Student ProgramFinalist2020Click to see Mita's bio

Shih Yuan Huang is a third-year Education and History major. She is working to become a K-12 teacher with a specific focus on History. In Fall 2020, she will begin the Master of Arts in Teaching program at the University of California, Irvine, to receive her teaching credential. As she remains interested in positive cross-cultural exchange and teaching abroad, she plans to reapply to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program as a graduate student.
BryonTjanakaNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2020Click to see Bryon's bio

Bryon Tjanaka is a graduating third-year senior in Computer Science. During his time at UCI, he has worked with Roy Fox and the Intelligent Dynamics Lab on hierarchical reinforcement learning, and with David Mobley, Jessica Maat, and the Mobley Lab on molecular dynamics force fields. In addition to receiving multiple UROP fellowships for his research, Bryon is a Regents' Scholar and an ICS Honors student. In his free time, he has served as Internal Vice President of ACM@UCI and interned at Google twice. This fall, Bryon will be joining the ICAROS Lab at USC as he pursues a Ph.D. in Computer Science under the supervision of Stefanos Nikolaidis.
LucianoGroismanNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2020Click to see Luciano's bio

Luciano Groisman is a transfer student from Pasadena College and Santa Monica City College, and a graduating senior in Biomedical Engineering. Luciano will pursue his PhD in the UCI Bio-Engineering of Advanced Mechanical Systems laboratory to develop diabetes technologies.
JessicaHerreraNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2020Click to see Jessica's bio

Jessica Herrera is a graduating senior majoring in Biomedical Engineering. In the fall, Jessica will be attending the UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco joint Ph.D. program in bioengineering. She plans to become a bioengineering professor and conduct research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. She also wants to continue her work motivating students from underprivileged communities to pursue higher education.
NatalieWu-WoodsNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2020Click to see Natalie's bio

Natalie Wu-Woods is a Regents Scholar and Campuswide Honors Collegium participant, and a graduating senior in materials science engineering. Her research focuses on designing therapeutics and delivery mechanisms for patients with unregulated inflammation. This Fall, she will begin a doctoral program in bioengineering.
RochelleRadzyminiskiNSF Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2019Click to see Rochelle's bio

Rochelle Radzyminski is a senior physics major at UC Irvine and NSF Fellowship Honorable Mention. In the fall, Rochelle will be attending Stanford University to pursue a Ph.D. in physics. She plans to become a physics professor and continue her work promoting equity in STEM education.
Stephanie DoeringNSF Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2019Click to see Stephanie's bio

Stephanie is a graduating senior studying Cognitive Neuroscience and Health Informatics. She received Honorable Mention for the NSF Fellowship. Her collaborative work involving both the Bayesian Cognitive Modeling Lab and the Translational Neurobiology Lab focuses on memory and decision-making processes associated with pattern separation.
ChristianTotoiuNSF Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2019Click to see Christian's bio

Christian Totoiu is a senior with a major in Chemical Engineering who received honorable mention for the NSF Fellowship. In the fall, Christian will begin the Master's in Philosophy in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology program at the University of Cambridge. In the Fall of 2020, he will begin the Chemical Engineering Ph.D. program at Caltech with a focus on Biomolecular Engineering. He hopes to pursue a career as a research professor and entrepreneur.
NoreenGarciaNSF Research FellowshipRecipient2019
KimmaiPhanNSF Research FellowshipRecipient2019Click to see Kimmai's bio

Kimmai is a 5th year Biomedical Engineering major and is also pursuing a minor in Material Science Engineering. Kimmai plans to continue doing research in regenerative medicine as she pursues her Ph.D. in Bio-engineering at Georgia Tech as a NSF Fellow.
BrandonFingerSchwarzmanSemi-Finalist2019Click to see Brandon's bio

Brandon Finger graduated in 2018 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. A Schwarzman Scholars semi-finalist, Brandon is currently working in the defense sector and private consulting and plans to attain an MBA before pursuing a career in technology.
Woojin "Janet"SongStraussRecipient2019Click to see Janet's bio

Janet is a junior majoring in Civil Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. Janet won the Strauss Scholarship for her project implementing the Youth Participatory Action Research model to guide a team of Oakland’s high school juniors and seniors in researching the ways digital inequality has impacted their communities.
MadeleineHartFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2019Click to see Madeleine's bio

Madeleine graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Irvine in 2017 as a Psychology major and German Studies Minor. A recipient of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award in Germany, Madeleine, upon returning to the U.S., will attend University of Virginia School of Law to pursue a career in public interest law.
JoyceNguyFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2019Click to see Joyce's bio

Joyce is a graduating senior majoring in Political Science and Education Sciences and a Fulbright recipient for an English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan. Before pursuing a career as a research professor, Joyce plans to attain a Ph.D. in political science in order to focus on race, ethnicity, and identity politics, especially pertaining to Asian American communities.
LeandraJacksonLeandraJacksonGates CambridgeRecipient2018Click to see Leandra's bio

Leandra is a graduating senior in Public Health, transfer student, and participant in the Campuswide Honors Program. She has conducted research at Yale University School of Medicine and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She has also volunteered at the Mission Hospital Student Auxiliary for seven years and serves on the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation Student Advisory Counsel. Leandra was a recipient of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2017, and, as a 2018-2019 Gates Cambridge Scholar, she will pursue a Masters in Philosophy in Biological Science at Churchill College, where she will study mechanisms influencing the development of cancer.
MaddyCollinsMadelineCollinsFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2018Click to see Madeline's bio

Madeline Collins is a graduating senior with a major in Korean Literature. She has served as President of the UCI Chapter of Liberty in North Korea, an organization through which she has also tutored North Korean students in South Korea. She is currently a Corps Member of Jumpstart in Santa Ana, where she implements curricula in preschool and provides children an individualized learning experience. Madeline completed an honors thesis on problems of cultural assimilation for young North Koreans in South Korea. After completing her 2018-2019 Fulbright Fellowship at Yonsei University, where she will pursue a Master’s Degree in Korean Studies, Madeline plans to share the findings of her thesis at academic conferences in the U.S. before completing an internship at a U.S.-based non-profit serving refugee populations. She plans on eventually returning to Seoul with a non-profit to assist North Korean refugees in their assimilation to South Korea.
LeanneLuponeFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2018Click to see Leanne's bio

Leanne is a graduating senior with a major in Chemistry and a concentration in Education. Leanne has served as a Teaching Fellow at Breakthrough Collaborative in San Juan Capistrano and additionally taught through UCI's Early Academic Outreach Program in Compton for two summers. As a UCDC intern, she completed research for the U.S. Department of Education, and she is working on an honors thesis on STEM pedagogy in lab environments. Currently a student teacher in Costa Mesa, Leanne will soon travel to Uruguay to serve as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. After completing her year as a Fulbright Scholar, Leanne plans to work in a Title I public school, teaching science to low-income California students before pursuing a Master’s in Education.
SarahMahoneySarahMahoneyFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2018Click to see Sarah's bio

Sarah Mahoney is a graduating senior majoring in Anthropology. A 2016 participant in the UC Education Abroad Program, Sarah spent a semester in Kyoto, Japan investigating heritage preservation in her research on kyo-machiya, traditional wooden houses. In 2017, she was awarded a full grant as a National Geographic Young Explorer to continue her research, and she was a visiting researcher at Kyoto University the following summer. Currently, Sarah is actively involved in creating and preserving shodo calligraphy with Beikoku Shodo Kenkyukai and working in production assistance with KPFK 90.7 in Los Angeles.
AngelaRomeaAngelaRomeaFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2018Click to see Angela's bio

Angela Romea is a recent alumna in Anthropology with a minor in Psychology. Angela spent 2016- 2017 as an Honorary UROP Fellow researching how Filipinos living under Rodrigo Duterte formulate political identities and participate in political culture on the Internet. She has also guided students in their academic planning during her work with UCI’s Social Science Academic Mentorship Program as well as led the set crew as a stage manager for The Vagina Monologues. Angela will be pursuing an M.A. in the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, where she will focus on the Philippines and urban anthropology.
ShashankShashankSomasundaramFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2018Click to see Shashank's bio

Shashank is a recent alumni in Biological Sciences. A recipient of multiple UROP and SURP grants during his time at UCI, Shashank received the Excellence in Research award and UC Irvine Chancellor’s Award of Distinction in 2017. He has given talks at several national emergency medicine conferences and co-authored papers on patient empowerment initiatives targeting the opioid epidemic. Shashank has recently served as Team Lead with the Orange County Needle Exchange Program, Peer Academic Advisor with UCI Bio Sci, mentor with the Big Brother Big Sister Program, and Community Relations Chair with Flying Samaritans at UCI. He plans to pursue an M.D./M.P.H. dual degree, with the goal of becoming an emergency medicine physician and clinical researcher in public health policy.
BlaineValenciaBlaineValenciaFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2018Click to see Blaine's bio

Blaine is a recent alumni with a double major in Political Science and Film and Media Studies. A member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and recipient of a 2016 UCI Distinguished Anteater Award, Blaine was a part of the Campuswide Honors Program and did research through both UROP and SURP, presenting a selection of his thesis on “Queer Palestinian Representation in Israeli and Western Cinema” at the 2017 UROP Symposium. Blaine served as a student diplomat with the Olive Tree Initiative and worked as a Coordinator for the Orientation Program at UCI. He plans to pursue a Juris Doctor degree and focus on legal issues pertaining to labor, immigration, and development, after which he plans to work for an NGO providing legal aid and migration advocacy.
BlankAnteaterHeadJuliannaCressmanFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2018Click to see Julianna's bio

Julianna Cressman is a recent alumna who graduated with a major in Dance and a minor in African Dance Studies. A UCI Regents Scholar, Julianna was also nominated for Academic Honors Phi Beta Kappa and received a 2017 Barnes and Noble College Scholarship for which she created the Dance, Drum, and Decolonization Series in order to increase cultural literacy and accessible dance education on campus. Julianna presented her research at both the 2016 and 2017 UROP Research Symposiums, and her work has been published in Dance Major Journal. She founded AwakenArts Social Justice Community Arts Organization. Julianna intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies and is particularly interested in the relationship between concert dance performance and Afrocentric community practices in the Brazilian northeast.
AyaLabaniehAyaLabaniehFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2018Click to see Aya's bio

Aya is a recent alumni who triple-majored in French, Philosophy, and Comparative Literature. She presented her research on the emotional induction and false memories at the UROP Research Symposium in Spring 2016 and on Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy of Self and Other at the Koehn Undergraduate Conference in Critical theory the same year. Aya was also active during her time at UCI as the President of College Democrats, the Senior Editor of UCI’s Undergraduate Creative Writing Magazine, New Forum, and as a Co-Commissioner of ASUCI’s Housing Security Commission in which she worked to end homelessness and housing insecurity among UCI students. Aya will be starting a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Columbia University this fall and where she will focus her research on the political roles on non-Western intellectuals in the decolonization of the Middle East as well as Arab modernity.
PriyaSriTharanPriyaSri-TharanFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2018Click to see Priya's bio

Priya is a graduating senior with a major in Criminology, Law and Society and dual minors in Political Science and Management. During her UCEAP internship in Scotland, she worked with the UN in the field of International Relations and helped coordinate seminars and events, as well as serving as a representative in Scottish Parliamentary meetings. She is a Campus Ambassador and board member with the UCI Anteater Ambassadors Network. Priya is a campus-wide recipient of the Barnes & Noble College Scholarship for 2017-2018 and created a research proposal to address literacy among incarcerated members. She has also been selected for the 2018 Chancellor's Award of Distinction. Priya plans to pursue a J.D./M.B.A. dual degree and aims to focus on negotiation and conflict resolution in diplomacy and international affairs, with an ultimate goal to work in the UN.
AaronChauAaronChauGoldwaterHonorable Mention2018Click to see Aaron's bio

Aaron Chau is a junior with a major in Public Health Sciences. A recipient of the UC Irvine Regents’ Scholarship, Aaron is also involved with UCI’s Ski & Snowboard and Rock Climbing Teams. In his research, Aaron is working with the WellSpace Health nonprofit clinic in Sacramento to investigate and assess breast cancer risks. At UCI, he is working on an interdisciplinary research project with the Department of Physics and Astronomy to develop a custom deep neural network AI to model the complex physical processes that shape dark matter. He will be authoring a paper in Oxford’s Monthly Notices Journal detailing their novel approach to interpreting raw data. Aaron plans to pursue an M.D.-Ph.D. in neurosurgery, so he can help research neuronal pathways in the brain to enable a brain-computer connection and implement new technologies in a clinical setting.
ChristianTotoiuChristianTototiuGoldwaterHonorable Mention2018Click to see Christian's bio

Christian Totoiu is a junior with a major in Chemical Engineering. Active in UCI’s Campuswide Honors Program, Christian is also a member of numerous engineering and academic honor societies and has received multiple UROP and SURP grants in pursuance of his research and has presented posters at symposia. Christian has done research on DNA recovery from museum-archived specimens, and he has also worked on engineering a real-time insulin biosensor for monitoring type-1 diabetes in patients. Christian plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a focus in materials science and chemical biology.
AnneMarieLeibyAnne-MarieLeibyStraussAlternate2018Click to see Anne-Marie's bio

Anne-Marie is a junior double-majoring in Biological Sciences and Dance. Currently a volunteer and team member at the Inpatient Rehabilitation Clinic at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Anne-Marie has worked for three years in the lab under the mentorship of Dance Science researcher Dr. Kelli Sharp, who is the Co-Director of iMove at UCI’s Stem Cell Research Center. Anne-Marie has researched the benefits of ballet for those with cerebral palsy. A dance instructor in ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical styles, she is also the co-founder of Limitless Leaps, an outreach program providing free dance classes for students with Down syndrome in collaboration with the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orange County. In further pursuing studies at the intersection of dance, human physiology, and health, Anne-Marie aspires to a career as a physical therapist and dance educator.
KennyHuynhKennyHuynhNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2018Click to see Kenny's bio

Kenny Huynh is a materials science major at the University of California, Irvine. As an aspiring researcher in the field of alternative energy and materials science, he seeks to contribute to the fight against global warming. His short-term goals include obtaining his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at UCLA. In the long-term, he hopes to continue to advocate for diversity in higher education and act as a mentor to underrepresented students.
ElenaThomasElenaThomasNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2018Click to see Elena's bio

Elena is interested in using spectroscopy to further investigate the chemical properties of molecules, and using that information to further learn more about the world. Previously, she interned at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a physical chemistry lab using Raman and IR spectroscopy on compounds relevant to the surfaces of planetary objects in our solar system, specifically Enceladus, Europa, and Ceres. She wrote and published two scientific papers with her mentors during her year as an intern at JPL, the second of which was published this past December. After transferring to UCI, she joined the organic synthesis laboratory of Elizabeth Jarvo. Beginning this July, Elena will be starting a Ph.D. program in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Washington, where she plans to use Stimulated-Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy on bioorganic molecules and apply these techniques to study cellular processes in cells.
BlankAnteaterHeadWyethGibsonNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2018Click to see Wyeth's bio

Wyeth is a graduating senior with a major in Chemistry with honors and researches under Professor Jenny Yang. The Orange County Chapter of American Chemical Society named him Outstanding Chemistry Student of the Year Award. In 2017, he received the Michael E. Gebel Award as well as the American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry award in 2017.
DevanNissonDevanNissonNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2018Click to see Devan's bio

Devan Nisson is a graduating senior with a major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Devan is a Biological Sciences Peer Tutor for Molecular Biology and works in the public relations division of the Biological Sciences Student Council. She is also an active participant in UCI’s Astronomy Club. She received a UROP grant to complete an independent project researching the adaptive potential of desert microbes to respond to sudden moisture availability, and she is the recipient of the Rose Hills Undergraduate Science and Engineering Scholarship. Devan will pursue a Ph.D. in order to expand her interests in microbial ecology and the study of extremophile microorganisms.
AlexanderAlvaraAlexanderAlvaraNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2018Click to see Alexander's bio

Alexander is a recent alumni who triple-majored in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Materials Science Engineering and minored in Biomedical Engineering and Business. His research includes development of a carbon fiber unmanned drone, a user-controlled prosthetic hand, a mobile phone compatible spectrometer, and an “exosuit” for shoulder and bicep rehabilitation. Alexander was a mentor for the Office of Access and Inclusion and is now a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering researching condensed matter physics, high-energy nanotechnologies, and space systems. Alexander is also a recipient of the National GEM Consortium Ph.D. Fellowship, NSF CRFP Honorable Mention, and the Berkeley Chancellors Fellowship. In 2017, Alexander received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to research medical robotics and develop pediatric surgical robots for bone biopsy and neurosurgery applications at the University of Toronto in collaboration with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Engineering Services Inc., a precision robotics company.
DanielaEstradaDanielaEstradaFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2017Click to see Daniela's bio

Daniela is a graduating senior in Political Science and a Student Achievement Guided by Experience (SAGE) Scholar. She has interned at the ASUCI Legal Clinic Commission and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and volunteered as a teaching assistant for the Saturday Academy of Law. Last year, Daniela won the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship. She will travel to Colombia as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. After Fulbright, she plans to earn a degree in law and serve as a public defender.
AlexanderAlvaraAlexanderAlvaraFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2017Click to see Alexander's bio

Alexander is a recent alumni who triple-majored in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Materials Science Engineering and minored in Biomedical Engineering and Business. His research includes development of a carbon fiber unmanned drone, a user-controlled prosthetic hand, a mobile phone compatible spectrometer, and an “exosuit” for shoulder and bicep rehabilitation. Alexander was a mentor for the Office of Access and Inclusion and is now a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering researching condensed matter physics, high-energy nanotechnologies, and space systems. Alexander is also a recipient of the National GEM Consortium Ph.D. Fellowship, NSF CRFP Honorable Mention, and the Berkeley Chancellors Fellowship. In 2017, Alexander received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to research medical robotics and develop pediatric surgical robots for bone biopsy and neurosurgery applications at the University of Toronto in collaboration with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Engineering Services Inc., a precision robotics company.
AmyHeFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2017Click to see Amy's bio

Amy He is a recent alumna in Sociology and Education Sciences, was selected for Phi Beta Kappa, and received the Dan and Jean Aldrich award for top juniors. She previously taught 7th grade pre-algebra and served as the Dean of Students at Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano. She has also planned activities for international students through her position as Programs Intern with UCI International Center. She currently works with low-income high school students at SEO Scholars San Francisco and will soon travel to Taiwan to serve as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. She eventually plans to earn a Master’s degree and Single-Subject Teaching Credential in mathematics.
JoshuaCookFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2017Click to see Joshua's bio

Joshua is a graduating senior double-majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Chemistry and a participant in the Campuswide Honors Program. His research focuses on the interactions between the Toxoplasma gondii parasite and the human immune system. Last year, Joshua won the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Biology at Harvard University and become a professor at a major university, researching prevalent diseases.
Tulou (Tala)PirouzianFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-Finalist2017Click to see Tala's bio

Tala is a recent alumna in English and a semi-finalist for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey. She previously won this award in 2016, but the Turkey program was cancelled for both 2016 and 2017 due to safety concerns. She has previously performed research at California State University, Fullerton on incorporating multilingualism and English dialects in pedagogy. Tala is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Elementary & Secondary Education to support her career in education policy.
TiffanyThompsonFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-Finalist2017Click to see Tiffany's bio

Tiffany is a high-performing recent graduate in History and a member of Phi Alpha Theta. She presented her research at two undergraduate history conferences and served as a research intern at the Nixon Presidential Library. Her research interests include the role of Luxembourg in Cold War politics and the foundations of transnational organizations such as NATO, the European Economic Community, and the European Union. She intends to become a professor with a focus on modern Europe, national identity, and public memory.
Cassie (Chen)ZhangSchwarzmanAlternate2017Click to see Cassie's bio

Cassie is an international student from China and double major in Economics and International Studies. She worked as a Peer Academic Advisor, Study Abroad Peer Mentor, LGBTRC Programs Intern and International Center Programs Intern, where she designed multiple outreach programs. She also conducted research on the One Child Policy’s Affects on the Chinese Economy while studying abroad in Hong Kong. In 2015, she received the Dynamic Women of UC Irvine Spotlight Award and she received Chancellor's Award of Distinction in 2017.
StellaLiuSchwarzmanFinalist2017Click to see Stella's bio

Stella is a recent alumna, and recipient of Chancellor’s Award of Distinction, the Order of Merit from the School of Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa Awardee and the Outstanding Honors Thesis Award from the Campuswide Honors Program. She is a founder of OneSeed, a subscription-based organic herb gardening business; a co-founder of A Mile for Nepal; and Associate Product Manager for IBM Watson Internet of Things. Stella is currently on an educational leave of absence to pursue the Fulbright Research Grant in Singapore with the Nanyang Technological University.
LeandraJacksonGoldwaterRecipient2017Click to see Leandra's bio

Leandra is a graduating senior in Public Health, transfer student, and participant in the Campuswide Honors Program. She has conducted research at Yale University School of Medicine and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She has also volunteered at the Mission Hospital Student Auxiliary for seven years and serves on the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation Student Advisory Counsel. Leandra was a recipient of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2017, and, as a 2018-2019 Gates Cambridge Scholar, she will pursue a Masters in Philosophy in Biological Science at Churchill College, where she will study mechanisms influencing the development of cancer.
JordanEdmundsGoldwaterHonorable Mention2017Click to see Jordan's bio

Jordan is a high-performing junior double-majoring in Electrical Engineering and Biological Sciences. His research interests include Brain-Computer Interfaces, neuroprosthetic devices that may assist with memory and cognition, and the epigenetic mechanisms of memory formation. He plans to earn a Ph.D. in Molecular Neuroscience and become a research professor.
BhaveshPatelStraussRecipient2017Click to see Bhavesh's bio

Bhavesh Patel is a third year Biological Sciences major with a minor in Medical Anthropology. His experiences in clinical research at UCI Medical Center and volunteering in rural India and Mexico have inspired him to attend medical school to become a physician after his undergraduate studies. Bhavesh will use the Strauss funding to travel to rural India to design and implement a tobacco abuse prevention project in his senior year. The goal is to create a model intervention at one public health center that can be disseminated to additional centers.
NikolaiVoglerNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2017Click to see Nikolai's bio

Nikolai is a graduating senior focused on natural language processing research. He was previously awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Program fellowship for his honors thesis entitled “Automatic Detection of Deceptive Opinions Using Automatically Identified Specific Details.” He will pursue graduate studies at the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
BlankAnteaterHeadManuelTorresNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2017Click to see Manuel's bio

Manuel is a double-major in Computer Science and Mathematics with an interest in research in graph algorithms and combinatorial optimization. In 2016, he received the Chancellor's Award For Excellence in Undergraduate Research. He is also a mentor for the California Alliance for Minority Participation which assists underrepresented students in STEM.
BlankAnteaterHeadAraceliSerranoNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2017Click to see Araceli's bio

Araceli is a graduating senior in Earth System Science with specializations in Oceanography and Hydrology & Terrestrial Ecosystems. Over the past year she has been working under Professor Katherine Mackey for her research on “Evaluating the effects of phytoplankton size and community structure on mercury bioaccumulation in a Southern California coastal lagoon system.” She will be pursuing a PhD in Earth Sciences at UC Santa Cruz under advisor Andrew Fisher with the support of the NSF and Cota Robles fellowships.
BlankAnteaterHeadRebeccaCombsNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2017Click to see Rebecca's bio

Rebecca is a graduating senior in Chemistry and a transfer student. She performed her undergraduate research in Professor Jenny Yang’s laboratory and received the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Award in 2016.
BlankAnteaterHeadMichelleHerreraNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2017Click to see Michelle's bio

Michelle is a graduating senior in Biological Sciences. Her ambitions are inspired by her grandparents and mother, who immigrated from the Philippines. She will continue her research on prickleback transcriptomics and digestive biochemistry as a Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Dr. Donovan German in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department.
BlankAnteaterHeadAshleeDavisNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2017Click to see Ashlee's bio

Ashlee is a recent alumni in Chemistry and recipient of the UCI Undergraduate Research Award in Organic Chemistry in 2016. Her research with Professor Suzanne Blum on borylative heterocyclizations produced publications in both the Journal of the American Chemical Society and Angewdante Chemie. She also worked as a research associate in research & development for Zymo Research, a biotechnology company. She plans to earn a graduate degree to study organometallic chemistry and become a professor.
PaulineHoNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2017Click to see Pauline's bio

Pauline is a graduating senior double-majoring in Education Sciences and Social Policy & Public Service, as well as a research assistant in Dr. Mark Warschauer’s Digital Learning Lab. Her honors thesis research focused on the effects of Learning Assistants on English Language Learner writing skills in lower-division composition. She received the “Best Undergraduate Poster Award” at the UCI Data Sciences Initiative Spring Symposium in 2016. Recently, she presented her findings at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. She also is one of the recipients of the Chancellor's Award of Distinction. She will pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Educational Psychology this coming Fall.
BlankAnteaterHeadJasonYuNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2017Click to see Jason's bio

Jason is a graduating senior in Chemistry and received the Physical Sciences Undergraduate Achievement Award in 2016. His research focuses on using the computational software Turbomole to evaluate bioluminescent probes for disease detection. He will pursue his graduate degree at California Institute of Technology.
ShiakiMinamiNSF Graduate Research FellowshipHonorable Mention2017Click to see Shiaki's bio

Shiaki is a graduating senior whose interest in chemical and energy production brought him to the field of chemical engineering, in which he currently researches metabolic engineering for bio-sustainable polyketide production. He intends to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering for a research & development position in industry, and hopes to facilitate the development of Third World countries through his work.
emmaEmma AustinFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2016Click to see Emma's bio

Emma is a cum laude graduate and Campuswide Honors Program alumna who has been writing creatively since the age of 8. As a winner of the Fulbright Uversity Master’s in Creative Process grant to Ireland, Emma designed her own master’s degree plan to support her novel writing with coursework in Creative Writing and Irish Literature at University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology.
JordanEdmundsJordanEdmundsGoldwaterHonorable Mention2016Click to see Jordan's bio

Jordan is a high-performing junior majoring in Electrical Engineering. His research interests include Brain-Computer Interfaces, neuroprosthetic devices that may assist with memory and cognition, and the epigenetic mechanisms of memory formation. He plans to earn a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.
DanielaEstradaDaniela EstradaTrumanRecipient2016Click to see Daniela's bio

Daniela is a high-performing junior in Political Science and a Student Achievement Guided by Experience (SAGE) Scholar. Her research focuses on police brutality and community relationships, including the 1992 Rodney King beating. She has interned at the ASUCI Legal Clinic Commission, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and is currently interning for the Lou Correa for Congress Campaign. She plans to earn a degree in law and serve as a public defender.
chelseaChelseaAnormaNSF Graduate Research Fellowship2016
SaraArellanoFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2016Click to see Sara's bio

Sara is a graduating senior, participant in the UCDC program and Summer Undergraduate Research Program, and winner of the Fulbright Study/Research grant to Colombia. She is a transfer student and has lobbied state representatives as a Legislative Intern for ASUCI. She plans to conduct research on victims of domestic violence in Medellin. After Fulbright, she plans to earn a Master’s in Public Policy or Juris Doctorate and enter a government career.
SunnyLiuFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2016Click to see Sunny’s bio

Sunny is a recent magna cum laude graduate, recipient of the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction, and a triple major. She is currently serving in the Peace Corps in Fiji. Her research interests include immunology, epidemiology, disaster medicine, and the emergency response to Ebola. She plans to earn a doctorate in Global Health.
Tulou (Tala)PirouzianFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient - Deferred2016Click to see Tala's bio

Tala is a recent alumna in English and a semi-finalist for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey. She previously won this award in 2016, but the Turkey program was cancelled for both 2016 and 2017 due to safety concerns. She has previously performed research at California State University, Fullerton on incorporating multilingualism and English dialects in pedagogy. Tala is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Elementary & Secondary Education to support her career in education policy.
StellaLiuFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2016Click to see Stella's bio

Stella is a recent alumna, and recipient of Chancellor’s Award of Distinction, the Order of Merit from the School of Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa Awardee and the Outstanding Honors Thesis Award from the Campuswide Honors Program. She is a founder of OneSeed, a subscription-based organic herb gardening business; a co-founder of A Mile for Nepal; and Associate Product Manager for IBM Watson Internet of Things. Stella is currently on an educational leave of absence to pursue the Fulbright Research Grant in Singapore with the Nanyang Technological University.
MedhaAsthanaFulbright U.S. Student ProgramAlternate2016Click to see Medha’s bio

Medha is a graduating senior, participant in the Anthropology Honors Program, and recipient of the UCI Distinguished Anteater Award. Her research interests include the political participation and engagement of rural South Americans. In the future, she hopes to work on community development for non-governmental organizations, the United Nations, or the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean.
ChrisGaleanoFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2016Click to see Chris’s bio

Chris is a recent alumnus and triple major who currently serves as a Senate Fellow in the California Capital Fellows program. His research focuses on Southern Mexico-US relations and the experiences of child migrants in this region. He plans to continue work with nonprofits focusing on immigrant rights and youth empowerment and to attend graduate school to study International Migration Studies and Urban Planning.
RosemaryGomezFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2016Click to see Rosemary’s bio

Rosemary Gomez is a graduating senior, recipient of the Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship, and a Student Achievement Guided by Experience (SAGE) Scholar. Her research interests include public policy impacts on deportees and local organizations in Mexico that serve deportees. She plans to earn graduate degrees in Public Policy and Law.
BrennanLagmanFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2016Click to see Brennan’s bio

Brennan is a graduating senior and previously studied abroad in Ghana and the United Kingdom. He plans to earn a graduate degree in Community Development and study how Black Community Organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom mobilize and empower their members. He plans to teach college or found a community educational center.
RicardoLightFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2016Click to see Ricardo’s bio

Ricardo is a transfer student and graduating senior, participant in the Social Ecology Honors Program, and research intern in the FloodRISE program. His research interests include active transportation, sustainability, and the urban environment. After receiving his B.A. in Urban Studies this June, Ricardo plans graduate study in the Urban and Regional Planning program here at UCI.
PaulLowoodFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2016Click to see Paul’s bio

Paul is a recent alumnus and participant in both the Campuswide Honors Program and the Economics Honors Program. His research interests include the history and history of economic unions such as the Zollverein in Germany. He plans to become a professor of Economics with a focus on Europe.
NayiriPartamianFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2016Click to see Nayiri’s bio

Nayiri is a recent alumna, participant in the International Studies Honors Program, and co-founded Students For Global Peacebuilding. She is strongly interested in fostering peace and communicating about genocide through engagement and fundraising with nonprofits and museums. Nayiri speaks five languages and plans to become a Foreign Service Officer.
JoshuaCookGoldwaterRecipient2016Click to see Josh’s bio

Joshua is a high-performing junior double-majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Chemistry and a participant in the Campuswide Honors Program. His research focuses on the interactions between the Toxoplasma gondii parasite and the human immune system. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology or Bioinformatics and become a professor at a major university, researching prevalent diseases.
JulianBugarinTrumanFinalist2016Click to see Julian’s bio

Julian is a high-performing junior in the Political Science Honors Program and History with a concentration in Latin American Studies. He previously won the Nicholas Aeberhard Outstanding Freshman Award and serves as the Labor Liaison Commissioner for ASUCI. He plans to earn a joint JD/PhD in Criminology, Law & Society and become a legislator to reform the criminal justice system.
LouaiLabaniehNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2016Click to see Louai’s bio

Louai is a transfer student and graduating senior majoring in Biomedical Engineering. His research focuses on developing cutting-edge diagnostic technologies for early disease detection, resulting in 4 peer-reviewed publications (one as first author) and 2 patents. He plans to earn a PhD in Bioengineering at Stanford University and has been awarded a Stanford Graduate Fellowship and a Stanford EDGE Fellowship. His goal is to become a research professor.
RommelSantosNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2016Click to see Rommel’s bio

Rommel Santos is a recent alumnus in Neurobiology and first-year graduate student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Graduate Program. His research interests involves exploring a dynamic world of neuronal circuits forming real-time in the central nervous system. Aside from his fascination with the brain, Rommel is passionate about teaching. He plans on pursuing a career in academia where he can combine his love for teaching and research.
ChrisGaleanoFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2015Click to see Chris’s bio

Chris is a recent alumnus and triple major who currently serves as a Senate Fellow in the California Capital Fellows program. His research focuses on Southern Mexico-US relations and the experiences of child migrants in this region. He plans to continue work with nonprofits focusing on immigrant rights and youth empowerment and to attend graduate school to study International Migration Studies and Urban Planning.
JennaHamzaFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2015Click to see Jenna’s bio

Jenna is a recent alumna who majored in Biological Sciences and was also highly accomplished in the field of Dance. She is interested in researching dance-related injuries with experts in the United Kingdom and in a career in orthopedic medicine, working with dancers and athletes. She plans to study Naturopathic Medicine in graduate school.
SanaaKhanFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2015Click to see this winner’s bio

Sanaa is a graduating senior majoring in Political Science and International Studies. She is interested in researching youth political participation in Switzerland and in LGBT and minority rights. She plans to obtain a Master’s in Public Policy and implement innovative elections policies in the US as a policymaker.

FahiyaRashidFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2015Click to see this winner’s bio

ahiya is a recent alumna who majored in International Studies. She is interested in the involvement of women in governmental political institutions and non-government organizations in Middle Eastern and North African countries such as Jordan. She plans to obtain a graduate degree in Arab Studies and work as a Foreign Service Officer.

FelipeHernandezMarshallRecipient2015Click to see this winner’s bio

Felipe Hernandez plans to earn two master’s degrees while in the United Kingdom: Educational Leadership, Policy and Development at the University of Bristol and Comparative Social Policy at the University of Oxford. Under the guidance of renowned experts at these universities, such as Professors Leon Tikly and Mary Daly, he hopes to learn how policy can be used to reduce barriers to success for first- and second-generation immigrant students and to research the effects of policy strategy on socioeconomic mobility.

AnnaTranStraussRecipient2015Click to see this winner’s bio

Anna majors in Biological Sciences and is a SAGE Scholar. She designed a community engagement project called “Pay It Forward” which matches undergraduate pre-medical interns with seniors living in senior apartments to improve seniors’ health and fitness education, teaches them to use technology to stay connected to friends and family and access health information, and reduces social isolation through one-on-one and group activities. After she graduates, Anna would like to attend medical school and become a primary care physician.
SeanFengNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2015
MohamadAbediPaul & Daisy SorosRecipient2015Click to see this winner’s bio

At UC Irvine, Mohamad worked on building diagnostic devices for rural areas by designing computers that run on air instead of electricity. Later, he investigatedthe robustness of bacterial genetic circuits with respect to noise. Recently, Mohamad received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, recognizing him as one of the future leaders in his field.
DavidCaoDavidCaoNSF Graduate Research Fellowship2014
ElizaCollisonFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2014Click to see this winner’s bio

Eliza will study young adult civic engagement and voter participation in Nicaragua. She hopes to shed light on why half of Nicaraguan adults under age 26 lack a national identification card, and to learn whether factors such as gender, employment status, and location impact young voter participation.


KennethLaiFulbright U.S. Student ProgramRecipient2014Click to see this winner’s bio

Kenneth is a graduating senior majoring in English and Classics. With the support of the Fulbright, he will undertake a master’s degree at the University of Helsinki, Finland, study religious texts in Ancient Greek and Latin, and complete a thesis on Gnostic thought and self-discovery in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
SarahAmarragyFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2014Click to see this winner’s bio

Sarah is a recent graduate who majored in Political Science. She is interested in research on the connections between contemporary Arab political thought and recent political events in Egypt during the “Arab Spring,” with attention to civil liberties, democratic transitions, and the non-traditional histories of minority groups and women. She plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Anthropology or Near Eastern Studies.


JennyMogiFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2014Click to see this winner’s bio

Jenny majored in Public Health and International Studies and previously received a Gilman Scholarship from the US Department of State. She is interested in researching the need for anti-tobacco education programs for Indonesian youth, who have a higher rate of tobacco use than neighborhood countries. Jenny plans to study for a Master’s in Public Health.

JackieRodriguezFulbright U.S. Student ProgramSemi-finalist2014Click to see this winner’s bio

Jackie is a graduating senior majoring in Sociology and Chicano and Latino Studies. She enjoys working with unrepresented youth and is interested in teaching English in Venezuela. After graduation, she plans to obtain a master’s in Education Policy and a doctorate in Sociology.
KennethLaiMarshallFinalist2014Click to see this winner’s bio

Kenneth is a graduating senior majoring in English and Classics. With the support of the Fulbright, he will undertake a master’s degree at the University of Helsinki, Finland, study religious texts in Ancient Greek and Latin, and complete a thesis on Gnostic thought and self-discovery in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
ChristinePhamStraussRecipient2014Click to see this winner’s bio

Christine majors in Biological Sciences and minors in Conflict Resolution. She plans to create an afterschool program called “My Healthy Start” to educate Santa Ana elementary school students and their parents on nutrition and exercise habits to address obesity. After she graduates, she would like to attend medical school and work in a community clinic.
SanaaKhanTrumanFinalist2014Click to see this winner’s bio

Sanaa is majoring in Political Science and International Studies. Her interests include advocating for increasing access and diversity in higher education, especially in STEM disciplines. After she graduates in 2015, she plans to pursue a Masters in Public Policy and aspires to a career in the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or the US Department of Education.
MohamadAbediNSF Graduate Research FellowshipRecipient2014
SorayaAzzawiSorayaAzzawiFulbright U.S. Student Program2013
abedAbedAlnaifNSF Graduate Research Fellowship2011
gavinBascomGavin BascomNSF Graduate Research Fellowship2011