May 17, 2016

This year, 21 Amherst students and faculty received prestigious national awards to continue their work in the arts, humanities and sciences. Learn more about the 2016 recipients below.

Each year, students and faculty from across the country are honored with top fellowships and scholarships. This year, Amherst College stood out, with 21 students and faculty receiving seven prestigious national awards. The Amherst recipients were chosen from among 18,000 applicants for honors that ranged from funding for academic and artistic projects, to grants to study and teach abroad. 

Beinecke Scholarship Program

Yvonne Green ’17 was one of 20 juniors selected out of 125 nominations for the Beinecke Scholarship, which offers graduate school funding for students “courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences.” Green plans to use her scholarship to pursue her goal of becoming a history professor.

Guggenheim Fellowship

Visiting Writer Amity Gaige was among 178 scholars, artists and scientists chosen from 3,000 applicants to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship this year. The acclaimed novelist was chosen in the fiction category. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation program selected fellows from 50 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields. Gaige will use her fellowship period to work on a new novel. 

Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship

Professor Lisa Brooks was one of eight scholars awarded a Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship, which provides $40,000 to fund six consecutive months of leave for work on an ambitious, public-facing humanities project. An additional stipend of up to $10,000 is available to cover project costs, such as travel, collaboration, technology and training. Brooks will use her fellowship to build a website for educators and students about King Philip’s War from 1675 to 1676. 

Watson Public Engagement Fellowship

Aleksandra Burshteyn ’16 and Benjamin Walker ’16 are among 40 fellows hailing from eight countries and 21 states to receive 2016 Thomas J. Watson Fellowships. The Watson Foundation selected them from 152 finalists, and this year almost 700 candidates at 40 select private liberal arts colleges and universities submitted proposals. Fellows receive $30,000 for 12 months of travel, college loan assistance and a health insurance allowance. This year’s fellows are traveling to 67 countries. 

Burshteyn will spend her Watson year visiting the Czech Republic, South Africa, Northern Ireland and Mongolia to study cultural transitions. Walker plans to visit communities displaced by the effects of climate change in Kiribati, Fiji, India, South Africa and Bolivia. 

Andrew Carnegie Fellowships

Lawrence Douglas, the James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, and Katharine Sims, assistant professor of economics, were named two of only 33 Andrew Carnegie Fellows selected by the The Carnegie Corporation of New York from over 200 applicants.Each Carnegie fellowship carries with it up to $200,000 in funding and typically results in the publication of a book or major study. 

Douglas will use his fellowship to continue his groundbreaking exploration of the law and human rights, while Sims will use hers to better understand the intersection of economic and environmental policies in four countries.

Schwarzman Scholarships

Carlos Gonzalez Sierra ’14, Richard Altieri ’15 and Servet Bayimli ’16 were selected from over 3,000 applicants to study in Beijing as part of a new, highly selective fellowship program. The Schwarzman Scholars program includes cultural immersion, leadership training and graduate study on the campus of the newly built Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing. 

Sierra will use his scholarship to foster interdisciplinary research and increase cultural, political and economic ties between China and Latin America. Alteri will interview comedians and industry executives; perform comedy; and study the management, administration and marketing of arts festivals worldwide. Bayimli plans to pursue degrees in public policy and law with the aim of strengthening child welfare practices worldwide.

Fulbright Student Fellowships

Six of Amherst’s Fulbright recipients will pursue English teaching assistantships in countries around the world. Johnathan Appel ’16 will teach in Taiwan, Claire Castellano ’16 in Malaysia, Jesse Chou ’15 in Rwanda, Jennifer Cullen ’16 in Germany, Eugene Lee ’16 in South Korea and Caroline Rose ’16 in Indonesia.

Thomas Sommers ’16 will use his Fulbright Fellowship for research in biology in Norway, and Olivia Truax ’16 will undertake geological research in New Zealand.

Three students were offered Fulbright Fellowships but have decided to pursue other options. Michael Harmon ’16 declined a research grant to Israel  to attend the University of Cambridge for a master’s degree in the history and philosophy of science and medicine. Noah Lerner ’16 declined a research grant to China to accept a fellowship from the Princeton in Asia program. Omar Pineda ’16 declined an English teaching assistantship to South Korea to accept an Amherst-Doshisha Fellowship for one year at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan.

Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced that Amherst College is the 2016 recipient of the $1 million Cooke Prize, which will be used to fund programs and services for low-income students. The Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence is awarded each year to a selective college or university with an excellent record of admitting, supporting and graduating outstanding low-income students.