UC Irvine is celebrating its first-ever Rhodes Scholar, former Associated Students President Megan Braun ’10. She will join an elite group of fellow winners – 31 Americans and 80 international students – at the University of Oxford this fall. It was Braun’s second bid for a Rhodes Scholarship; she was a finalist last year.

The award funds two years of study – with the possibility of a third year – at the British university. Recipients must have outstanding academic and extracurricular records, be leaders in their university and larger communities, show an inclination to serve others, and display “physical vigor.” Thirty-two U.S. scholars are selected annually.

Braun, who earned a bachelor’s in history, is interested in the use of law as a weapon of war and the efficacy of combat policies incorporating ethical standards. She will enroll in Oxford’s master’s program in international relations. Her selected thematic focus, the changing character of war, will connect Braun to leaders in the academic analysis of just-war theory: professors David Rodin, Henry Shue and Sir Adam Roberts. Her hometown is Coronado, Calif.

Fulbright Program
UCI has three Fulbright grant winners and three finalists this year. Sponsored by the State Department, Fulbright is the largest international exchange program in the U.S. It funds one year of graduate study, research or teaching in more than 155 countries. Congress established the program after World War II to promote global understanding.

Winner: Liane Grant ’11
Major: French
Hometown: Livermore, Calif.
Grant received one of 50 English teaching assistantships awarded directly through the French Ministry of Education. She will be placed in the Academie de Nancy-Metz.

Winner: Kristine Fuangtharnthip ’11
Major: English
Hometown: Roseville, Calif.
Fuangtharnthip was one of seven recipients of an English teaching assistantship in Macau but declined in favor of attending graduate school. She will begin Emerson College’s master’s program in publishing and writing this fall.

Winner: Boris Wong ’11
Double major: Mathematics and quantitative economics
Hometown: Fountain Valley, Calif.
Wong won one of 70 grants (out of 227 university-endorsed applications) for research/study in China but has opted instead to attend graduate school. In the fall, he will enter UC San Diego’s doctoral program in economics, one of the top five such programs in the country. His ultimate career goal is to become a professor at a major research university.

Finalist: Curt Brown ’11
Double major: Political science and philosophy
Hometown: Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Brown received UCI endorsement of his application and was selected at the national level to advance to the final round of competition but did not win. He will attend UCLA Law School, where he plans to continue his research on elections and study law and philosophy.

Finalist: Emily Tsay ’08
Double major: Sociology and psychology
Hometown: Upland, Calif.
Tsay received UCI endorsement of her application and was selected at the national level to advance to the final round of competition but did not win. She will continue teaching and working in economically disadvantaged schools. Tsay was awarded a yoga scholarship and will teach the discipline to her students on a volunteer basis. She hopes to someday start a nonprofit organization to help indigenous Taiwanese people.

Finalist: Jenna Otter ’09
Double major: Dance and biological sciences
Hometown: Escondido, Calif.
Otter received UCI endorsement of her application and was selected at the national level to advance to the final round of competition but did not win. Currently living in New York, she is pursuing a professional dance career. Her ultimate goal is to become a doctor.

Merage Institute for the American Dream Fellowship
The award offers high-achieving seniors $20,000 in two stipends for education, travel, internships or mentoring. Established by Iranian-born entrepreneur Paul Merage, the institute seeks to honor hardworking immigrant student leaders in the U.S.

Finalist: Yao Yao Zhang ’11
Major: Public health sciences
Hometown: Westminster, Calif.
Zhang received UCI endorsement of his application and was selected at the national level to advance to the final round of competition but did not win. He plans to continue his research on adolescent smokeless tobacco risk assessment and will apply to graduate school in November. Zhang hopes to become a public health consultant or professor.

Coro Foundation Fellowship in Public Affairs
Participants in this intensive, nine-month postgraduate training program work with high-level decision-makers; carry out a series of individually tailored field assignments with government, business, labor, media, political and community organizations; and are active in weekly seminars. Founded in 1942, the program is funded through private, corporate and individual donations.

Finalist: Elaine Cartas ’10
Double major: Psychology and sociology
Hometown: Montclair, Calif.
Cartas is still waiting to learn whether she has been selected for the program.

Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship
This $10,000 award is bestowed annually on 10 to 15 college juniors to fund public service projects during their senior year. Recipients are chosen from eligible institutions of higher education in California for their leadership potential and commitment to public service. This year, 11 students earned scholarships.

Winner: Rahaf Baker
Major: Biological sciences
Class year: Senior
Hometown: Sunnyvale, Calif.
Baker’s Strauss proposal is to continue and expand a public service project she has already created: the Shifa Student-Run Free Clinic, which addresses health problems in underserved areas of Orange County, particularly Garden Grove. Baker will use the scholarship funds to transition the clinic from a screening/referral role to a diagnostic/treatment role, enabling it to provide care for conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship
The world’s largest privately sponsored international scholarship program for university-level studies, it aims to further global understanding. Rotary Scholars represent the U.S. as “ambassadors of good will” in foreign countries.

Finalist: Chelsea Brown ’11
Double major: Political science and international studies
Hometown: Roseville, Calif.
Brown received UCI endorsement of her application and, after being interviewed by the Newport-Irvine Rotary Club, was selected to advance to the final round of competition (district interviews). She should learn within the next month whether she has won a scholarship. Brown would like to study international relations, preferably with an emphasis on humanitarianism, in Sweden.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
UCI has 13 winners this year for the fellowship that funds three years of graduate study – at $40,500 a year – toward a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in science, engineering or social science in the U.S. or abroad. Alumni may be enrolled in graduate school at UCI or another institution.

Winner: Mayra Carrillo ’10
Major: Biological sciences
Hometown: Lake View Terrace, Calif.

Winner: Starlynn Clarke ’09
Major: Genetics
Hometown: Riverside, Calif.

Winner: Clara Druzgalski ’10
Double major: Materials science engineering and mechanical engineering
Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.

Winner: Sen Hirano ’09 (current UCI grad student)
Major: Information & computer science
Hometown: Irvine, Calif.

Winner: Jacob Kanady ’09
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Redlands, Calif.

Winner: Katherine Mackenzie ’09
Double major: Biological sciences and chemistry
Hometown: Berkeley, Calif.

Winner: Stephanie Maltas ’07
Major: Biological sciences
Hometown: Saugus, Calif.

Winner: William Nguyen ’09
Double major: Biological sciences and chemistry
Hometown: Walnut, Calif.

Winner: Blanca Rincon ’09
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Azusa, Calif.

Winner: Olivia Ryder ’08
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Mission Viejo, Calif.

Winner: Carl Vondrick ’11
Major: Computer science
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.

Winner: Grant Vousden-Dishington ’11
Triple major: Philosophy, engineering and computer science
Hometown: Carmel Valley, Calif.

Winner: James Wo ’10 (current UCI grad student)
Major: Criminology, law & society
Hometown: Irvine, Calif.

Carpe Diem
This award, which finances up to four years of undergraduate tuition, room/board and books for freshmen, sophomores and juniors committed to community service and leadership, is on hold until funding can be resumed.

Finalist: Digo Takahashi
Double major: Political science and international studies
Class year: Senior (applied as a junior)
Hometown: Gardena, Calif.

Semifinalist (Humanitarian Award): Karen Zhou
Major: Business administration
Class year: Junior (applied as a sophomore)
Hometown: Mission Viejo, Calif.

Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women
Glamour looks for dynamic young women with leadership experience, excellent grades and inspiring goals. The magazine awards one grand prize of $20,000 and nine $3,000 prizes. All winners receive a trip to New York City and recognition in Glamour.

Finalist: Rahaf Baker
Major: Biological sciences
Class year: Senior
Hometown: Sunnyvale, Calif.
Baker advanced to the competition’s national level and was interviewed by Glamour representatives. She is still awaiting news of the outcome.

National Security Education Program David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarship
This funds up to a year of language and political/cultural studies abroad in regions deemed critical to U.S. national security (including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East) in exchange for a commitment to seek work in the federal government.

Alternate: Kristie Dinh
Major: International studies
Class year: Junior
Hometown: Westminster, Calif.
Of 940 university-endorsed applications nationally, the funding agency selected 151 winners and 59 alternates. As an alternate, Dinh may be offered a scholarship if a primary candidate declines.

About the Scholarship Opportunities Program: Launched 21 years ago to help UC Irvine undergraduate students win prestigious scholarships, the Scholarship Opportunities Program provides bright and dedicated undergraduates with the writing, editing, public speaking and interviewing skills needed to compete successfully. As of 2011, 326 UCI undergraduates and recent graduates have received nationally competitive fellowships or scholarships – 44 of them Fulbrights.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

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