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Fourteen Seniors Receive National Fellowships and Scholarships

Author: Arts and Letters


The Fulbright U.S. Student Program and other national and international organizations have awarded postgraduate scholarships and fellowships to 14 members of the University of Notre Dame’s Class of 2014, including 11 who majored in the College of Arts and Letters.

In addition, three Arts and Letters graduates from earlier classes received prestigious awards this year, including a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and a George Mitchell Scholarship.

Melissa Guinan ’12 Melissa Guinan

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program this year recognized six graduating seniors and one recent graduate from the College. Through these awards, Fulbright seeks to build international cooperation and increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries.

Sylvia Yong ’14, a French and biochemistry major from Gainesville, Florida, received a Fulbright study/research grant to France. Melissa Guinan ’12 was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research in multiple European Union countries. At Notre Dame, Guinan majored in political science with a minor in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service.

Grace Meikle ’14, a Chinese and physics major in the Glynn Family Honors Program, was awarded a Fulbright research/study grant to China, but she declined the offer, as did Lauren Schmitt ’14, an anthropology and environmental sciences major who was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Laos.

The three Arts and Letters graduates who accepted 2014 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships were:

  • Natalie Boll ’14, an international economics major from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, who will head to Luxembourg;
  • Deanna Kolberg ’14, a political science and Chinese major from South Bend, Indiana, who will go to South Korea; and
  • Marcus Liddell ’14, a German major from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who will travel to Germany.

Liddell also received an Austrian Teaching Assistantship, which provides prospective teachers of German and/or graduates in Austrian studies with opportunities to work at secondary schools throughout Austria, but he declined it in order to accept the Fulbright.

Anne Marie Blieszner ’14, an English and French major from Denver, received a French Government Teaching Assistantship to teach English conversation classes in France. French and biological sciences major Alexandra Below ’14 was also offered a French Government Teaching Assistantship, but declined the award.

Leo Hall Leo Hall

Leo Hall ’14, a German and Arts and Letters Pre-Health major from Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, received a DAAD Study Scholarship, which provides funding for graduating seniors with a well-defined study or research project that makes study at universities in Germany essential.

Columbus, Ohio, native Alex Coccia ’14, an Africana studies and peace studies major in the Glynn Family Honors Program, was named a 2013 Truman Scholar. Established in 1975 as a “living memorial” to President Harry S. Truman, the prestigious scholarship includes graduate study funds, priority admission and supplemental financial aid at select institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government.

Mary Prokop ’14, an English and Italian major from Cleveland, was awarded a 2013 Beinecke Scholarship in her junior year. The scholarship supports graduate study for students who show “exceptional promise” to become leading scholars in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Additionally, political science and Glynn Family Honors Program alumnus Adam Cowden ’12 received a 2014 Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which supports a full graduate degree at the University of Cambridge for individuals with outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential, and a commitment to improving the lives of others.

Molly Hayes Molly Hayes

Molly Hayes ’08 won a 2014 George Mitchell Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in postcolonial and world literatures at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Hayes majored in Arabic and English at Notre Dame.

Matthew Cook ’14, of Burr Ridge, Illinois, received a Luce Scholarship, which supports a one-year professional placement and cultural immersion experience in Asia for individuals who have limited experience of Asia and a record of high academic achievement, leadership ability and clearly defined interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. Cook majored in architecture with a minor in Italian.

Charles Cong Yang Xu ’14, from Wuhan, People’s Republic of China, received a full scholarship for the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology (MEME), which is a two-year, research-oriented master program for talented and motivated students who are interested in understanding evolution in all its facets. It is a joint project between four European universities and Harvard University. Xu complemented his biological sciences major with a minor in Chinese.

Rebecca Marton ’14, a biological sciences major from Andover, Massachusetts, received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which provides funding for research-based study leading to a master’s or doctoral degree in science (including social sciences), technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Most of the award-winning students studied abroad during their time at Notre Dame, and those experiences helped make their fellowship and scholarship applications more competitive, said Jeffrey Thibert, assistant director of national fellowships at the University’s Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE).

CUSE helps guide Notre Dame students and alumni through the national fellowship application process, emphasizing the value of the process itself while furthering their intellectual growth and propelling them to greater post-graduate excellence. For more information, please visit

The center also provides students across the University with opportunities for research, scholarship, and creative projects—and assists them in finding faculty mentors, funding, and venues for the publication or presentation of their work. Learn more at

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at