Tight shot of a globe.

Fourteen Miami students, alumni named semifinalists in Fulbright competition

Michael Rariden in a lab surrounded by equipment.
A senior majoring in bioengineering, Michael Rariden is one of fourteen Miami University students to be named as a semifinalist in the 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S. Student competition. Rariden is also a Goldwater Scholar.

Fourteen Miami University students and alumni are semifinalists in the 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S. Student competition.

Fulbright, the largest U.S. exchange program, provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English teaching assistant programs outside of the United States.

Nine Miami seniors, two graduate students and three alumni have been recommended by the U.S. National Screening Committees for further consideration by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in the countries to which they applied. They will learn this spring whether they will receive the Fulbright grants.

The Miami semifinalists

Lulu Abdun — graduated in 2018, psychology and black world studies double major and linguistics minor, English teaching assistant in Rwanda.

Sarah Berg — senior, English literature major with minors in art/architecture history, creative writing and Asian/Asian-American studies, English teaching assistant in South Korea.

Madison Cook — senior, diplomacy and global politics and psychology double major, English teaching assistant in Ecuador.

Emily Erdmann — senior, French and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies double major and rhetoric/writing minor, English teaching assistant in Russia.

Alexandra Fair — graduate student in history, Fulbright/University of Reading Award to pursue graduate work in the United Kingdom.

Cyrus Green — graduated in 2018, international studies major with Spanish minor, English teaching assistant in Argentina.

Samuel Hunter — graduate student in English, Fulbright/University of East Anglia Award to pursue graduate work in the United Kingdom.

Michael Rariden — senior, bioengineering major, open study/research in Ireland.

Katelyn Scheive — senior, integrated social studies education and psychology double major and history minor, English teaching assistant in Rwanda.

Alaina Swope — senior, psychology and English literature double major and German minor, open study/research in Germany.

Emily Tatum — senior, political science, international studies and Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean studies triple major and Spanish minor, English teaching assistant in Colombia.

Lauren Voegtle — senior, international studies and Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean studies double major, English teaching assistant in Brazil.

Jessica Weaver — senior, integrated social studies education major, English teaching assistant in Belgium.

Austin Young — graduated in 2017, integrated social studies education and marketing double major and history minor, English teaching assistant (Roma student initiative) in Hungary.


Written by Margo Kissell, University News and  Communications. Originally appeared as a “Top Story” on Miami University’s News and Events website.

Globe photo via Picryl, public domain/CC0 license. Photo of Michael Rariden by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

A student researcher looks into a microscope.

Miami University students honored with national fellowships and awards

Portrait of Lisa Velkoff.
Elizabeth “Lisa” Velkoff has been named a Graduate Research Fellow by the National Science Foundation.

A number of undergraduate and graduate students from Miami University have been honored with prestigious national fellowships and awards this spring.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

Elizabeth “Lisa” Velkoff, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology who is being advised by Dr. April Smith has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  NSF’s 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 United States institutions.”

Addison Kimmel, who did her undergraduate work at Miami, also received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program in support of research she is doing as a graduate student at the University of Iowa.

Goldwater Foundation Scholarship Program

The following students have been named Goldwater Scholars:

  • Hannah Devens, a junior double majoring in botany and zoology with an environmental science co-major and double minoring in rhetoric/writing and global perspectives on sustainability;
  • Blake Rasor, a junior double majoring in biology and microbiology and double minoring in molecular biology and bioinformatics;
  • Cameron Williams, a junior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in mathematics.

Avnika Bali, a sophomore, double majoring in biochemistry and biological physics and double minoring in mathematics and neuroscience received an Honorable Mention.

The Goldwater Foundation Scholarship Program encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. It is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

The following students and former students have been named English Teaching Assistants through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program:

  • Matthew Armelli, who majored in German before graduating from this past December, will serve in Germany.
  • Rebekah Harper, a senior majoring in integrated English language arts education and minoring in rhetoric/writing, will serve in Turkey.
  • Jonathan Meyer, who double majored in international studies and German before graduating this past December, will serve in Germany.
  • Emily Paxson, a senior majoring in international studies and minoring in German, will service in Bulgaria.
  • William Smeal, a senior double majoring in Spanish and linguistics and minoring in Latin American studies and Lusophone studies, will serve in Bulgaria.

The Fulbright U.S. Student English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program “places students in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S.”


Photo of Lisa Velkoff by David Katko, Miami University Photo Services. Photo of Blake Rasor by Jeff Sabo, Miami University Photo Services.