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Scholar Profiles


Award Recipients

Sujata Gautam: 2016 Critical Language Scholarship

Sujata Gautam, a civil and environmental engineering major, received a CLS award to study Hindi in Jaipur, India during the summer of 2016. The highly competitive CLS Program is designed to increase the number of Americans with critical language proficiency through a summer-long language and cultural immersion. The experience will help Sujata pursue her research and career goals of improving waste diversion in the United States and abroad, specifically in South Asia. In a campus interview, Sujata explained, "I am very passionate about both environmental and humanitarian issues. I knew that I'd love to combine my two interests [within the CLS experience]." Sujata is also a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar and a member of the Honors College and Houston Scholars program. As an undergraduate, she has conducted field research on various ecological and conservation topics, such as assessing the impact of cattle grazing in the Grand Staircase-Escalante. Upon graduation, Sujata would like to pursue a master’s in environmental science and policy.

Kayla Stewart: 2016-2017 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Indonesia

University of Houston alumna Kayla Stewart was awarded a 2016-2017 Fulbright Indonesia English Teaching Assistantship (ETA). As an ETA, Kayla assists English teachers in Indonesia while also serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States through engagement with her host community. Kayla is co-editor of a blog, Indonesiaful, which documents the experiences of Fulbright ETA grantees based in Indonesia. Kayla graduated from UH in May of 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism and minors in African American Studies and Global and International Studies. As an undergraduate student, Kayla served as a conversationalist for the University’s Language and Culture Center and also served as photo editor and senior news writer for the Daily Cougar. Upon the completion of the Indonesia Fulbright ETA, Kayla will pursue a master’s degree in international relations with a focus in Southeast Asia. Ultimately, Kayla would like to work in media, documenting the lives of people living in regions of conflict.

Victor Yau: 2016-2017 Boren Scholarship, South Korea

Business major Victor Yau can now add Boren Scholar to his growing resume of successful nationally competitive scholarship awards. As a Freshman, Victor was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Korean in South Korea during the summer of 2015. As a recipient of the Boren Scholarship, Victor has returned to Korea for the 2016-2017 academic year to continue his language immersion studies. The Boren Scholarship, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provides funding for U.S. undergraduates to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests through a year-long immersion in the host country. Boren Scholars commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation, which aligns well with Victor's future goal of becoming a Foreign Service Officer. In the meantime, Victor is sharing his love of dance and hip-hop, including connecting with the local Korean hip-hop community to help and empower at-risk Korean youth.

Semi-Finalists

Rawan AlMallahi: 2017 Marshall Scholarship

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering major, Rawan AlMallahi, was a semi-finalist for the 2017-2018 Marshall Scholarship. Named for George Marshall and funded by the British government, the Marshall Scholarship finances high-achieving students to pursue up to two years of postgraduate studies in the U.K. program of their choice, with the aim of nurturing future leaders and strengthening British-American relations. Rawan, a Houston Scholar and Harvard-Amgen Scholar, applied to pursue a 1-year MPhil in Advanced Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge to continue building on her research and interest in the development and advancement of renewable energy technologies, particularly biodegradable composite materials. Rawan will complete a Senior Honors Thesis based on her undergraduate research with Dr. Megan Robertson and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.

Honorable Mentions

Sophia Ewens: 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship

Sophia Ewens is a senior biochemical and biophysical sciences major and member of the Honors College. During her sophomore year, Sophia conducted research on functionalized gold-silver nano shells under the mentorship of Dr. T. Randall Lee in the Department of Chemistry. Sophia also conducted research under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Cooper in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry on genetic mutations and microbial evolution during the fall semester of her senior year. Sophia's long-term research goals center on environmental restoration and protection and are inspired by the summer research she conducted in the lab of Dr. Claudia Schmidt-Dannert at the University of Minnesota. That research focused on bacterial microcompartments and biofuel synthesis. In the spring of 2015, Sophia was recognized as a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention for her commitment to research and will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of California Berkeley this fall.

Kyle Karinshak: 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship

Kyle Karinshak is a University of Houston chemical engineering graduate student and is completing his doctoral research on catalysts in the lab of Dr. William Epling in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Kyle received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma in May 2015. As an undergraduate student, Kyle participated in several Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) programs, including the University of Houston Innovation and Nanotechnology REU program. Kyle has also interned at NASA, where he worked to improve the thermal propagation safety of space suit batteries.

Tam Nguyen: 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Tam Nguyen is a junior mechanical engineering major and member of the Honors College. Tam has been conducting research on the stretchability and ionic conductivity of porous solid polymer electrolytes under the mentorship of Dr. Haleh Ardebili since she transferred to the University of Houston (UH) in the fall of 2014. To broaden her research background, Tam participated in the 2015 UH Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. As a SURF participant, Tam constructed a mathematical model on the initial-condition sensitivity of the chaos theory under the direction of Dr. Ralph Metcalfe. Tam is also a Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship recipient. Ultimately, Tam would like to pursue a research career devoted to the development of high power lithium-ion batteries to increase the utilization of electric vehicles and renewable energy.