Students to Perform Research and Service in the U.S. and Abroad as Part of Elite National Programs


MACON – During the recent spring semester, Mercer University students garnered the attention – and funding ­– of several organizations that offer some of the most prestigious fellowships, scholarships and similar opportunities for meaningful research and service, both in the U.S. and abroad.

“Mercer is exceptionally proud of these students' accomplishments. They are a testament to the students' abilities, to the impact of powerful mentoring relationships, and to the quality of Mercer's undergraduate programs. Their success indicates that Mercer students can compete with the best students in the country,” said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships and associate professor of English.

“These awards will allow Mercer students to have exceptional learning experiences abroad, to perform sustained research in laboratories, and change other people's lives for the better. As a result, these students will grow and develop, building on the firm foundation of a Mercer education.”

These recent student awards include the following:

Goldwater Scholarship

Kaydren Orcutt, a rising junior from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, earned Mercer's fourth-ever Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and the University's third in three years.

The Goldwater Scholarship, the nation's most prestigious scholarship awarded to undergraduate mathematics, science and engineering students is presented to sophomores and juniors covering the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Amgen Scholarship

Kelsey Cotto, a rising senior from Tifton, earned an Amgen Scholarship and will be one of 20 scholars who spend 10 weeks this summer conducting research at Washington University in St. Louis.

The Amgen Scholarship is awarded to 200 U.S. undergraduates each year who participate in research at one of 10 world-class institutions and then gather for a symposium to share their research and hear from leading scientists working in industry and academia.

Fulbright U.S. Student Award

Thornton Brewer, a recent graduate from Houston, Texas, was the fourth Mercer alum in two years to earn a Fulbright U.S. Student Award and will teach in Germany for a year.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the government's flagship international educational exchange program, selects students based upon academic merit and leadership potential to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Boren Scholarship

Timothy Walker, a recent graduate from Biloxi, Mississippi, earned a David L. Boren Scholarship and will study French and Arabic at Al Alakhawayn University in Morocco during the spring of 2016.

Boren Awards provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the U.S. In exchange for funding, recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

Robertson Fellowship

Adriel Taslim, a 2014 graduate from Redding, California, earned a Robertson Fellowship to pursue a Master of Pacific International Affairs (MPIA) degree at the University of California, San Diego.

The Robertson Fellows program awards full scholarships and internship stipends to graduate students who intend to pursue federal government careers in foreign policy, national security and international affairs. In return, these students agree to work for the federal government for a minimum of three of their first seven years after graduation.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Kasie Knapper, a 2013 graduate from Fayetteville and current Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, earned a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

DAAD RISE Internship

Stephen Williams, a rising junior from Covington, earned a summer internship with the German Academic Exchange Service's (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program.

RISE interns work with research groups at top research institutions across Germany for two to three months during the summer. They are matched with doctoral students whom they assist and who serve as their mentors. The internship includes a stipend to cover living expenses, and partner institutions provide housing assistance.

SMART Scholarship

John Morgan Ramirez, a rising junior from Simpsonville, South Carolina, earned a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

As a SMART Scholar, he will receive full tuition, room and board, an annual stipend and additional allowances while at Mercer for each year that he commits to work for the DoD following graduation. He will also be able to participate in summer internships at DoD laboratories.

Peace Corps

Recent graduates Janique Hosier, from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Christie Hutchison, from Senoia, were accepted into the Peace Corps to serve in Burkina Faso and Mali, respectively.

The Peace Corps is a volunteer program administered by the U.S. government to send the best and brightest Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world.

Teach For America

Lindsey Hancock, a recent graduate from Thompson's Station, Tennessee, was accepted into Teach For America and will spend the next two years teaching secondary English in Mississippi.

Teach For America recruits, trains and supports top college graduates and professionals who make an initial commitment to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.

NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates

Ten current Mercer students were selected to participate in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

This program supports active research participation by undergraduates in any of the areas of research funded by the NSF. These students will be involved in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program.

About the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships

Mercer University's Office of Fellowships and Scholarships assists students applying for nationally and internationally competitive merit scholarship programs that support study, research or internship experiences in the U.S. or abroad. For more information, visit