WUSTL students win coveted national, international awards

Washington University in St. Louis students continue to rake in prestigious national awards. This spring, those awards include the Carnegie Junior Fellowship, the Beinecke Scholarship, the Newman Civic Fellows Award and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

“To win in these extremely selective honors is a testament to the capacity of excellence in our students as well as to the devotion and commitment of our faculty who mentor them,” said Joy Kiefer, PhD, associate dean in Arts & Sciences and director of undergraduate research. “These students will represent our institution very well on the national stage as they exemplify some of our finest student scholars.”

Mahroh Jahangiri, a senior majoring in international and area studies/sustainable development, with a minor in political science, has been awarded a Carnegie Junior Fellowship. She will spend her fellowship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington as part of the Democracy and Rule of Law Program, which examines the global state of democracy and the rule of law and international efforts to support their advance. The fellowship begins Aug. 1.

This highly competitive award offers approximately 10 to 12 one-year fellowships to graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated during the past academic year. They are selected from a pool of nominees from close to 400 participating colleges.

Carnegie Junior Fellows work as research assistants to the endowment’s senior associates. Fellows have the opportunity to conduct research for books, co-author journal articles and policy papers, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony and organize briefings attended by scholars, journalists and government officials. Jahangiri’s work will touch on multiple areas but will focus on Egypt.

Jahangiri, a John B. Ervin Scholar, received a social change grant from WUSTL’s Gephardt Institute for Public Service in 2012 and spent that summer in Cairo establishing a program at the Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt to help child cancer patients continue their education while hospitalized. She co-founded the student group WUSTL Foreign Policy Engagement. Jahangiri has conducted research on gender violence in Tahrir Square in Cairo, and she has worked at the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She also was a finalist in 2013 for a Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Read more about the Carnegie Junior Fellowship.

Lauren Henley, a junior majoring in history and African and African-American studies, won the Beinecke Scholarship, which will support her graduate education in history after she graduates in 2015.

Henley intends to broadly study the institutionalization of young African-American women, particularly as it relates to criminalization in the first half of the 20th century.

The Beinecke Scholarship program encourages highly motivated students to pursue a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.

Each year, approximately 125 colleges and universities are invited to nominate a student for a Beinecke Scholarship, and 20 new scholarships were awarded in 2014.

A WUSTL student has not won this award since 2008, Kiefer said.

Henley, a John B. Ervin Scholar and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, is co-editor-in-chief of Gateway Journal, a publication of the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society. She also was a Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program Fellow and a Ralph Bunche Award winner. In 2013, Henley took second place with “Asthmatic and Alone: How Books Became My World” in the Neureuther Student Book Collection Essay Competition sponsored by Washington University Libraries.

Read more about the Beinecke Scholarship program here.

Seiko Shastri, a junior double-majoring in international and area studies/development and Spanish, has won the Newman Civic Fellows Award, which honors college student leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to finding solutions to social problems. Candidates are recommended by college and university presidents.

Shastri was selected as a Newman Civic Fellow for her commitment to issues of diversity, inclusion and social justice at Washington University and beyond. She is director of the campus Social Justice Center, and she contributed to the development of a center for diversity and inclusion at WUSTL as a Mosaic Project task force co-chair last fall. Shastri is a Gephardt Institute for Public Service Civic Scholar, and she will be spending this summer in Bolivia learning Quechua and working with community members to address the social impact of migration in the city of Cochabamba.

Shastri spent the summer of 2013 working with Youth Leadership St. Louis, a program run by the nonprofit FOCUS St. Louis, where she developed a participatory research action project for 160 students from 30 schools across the St. Louis region. Shastri is dedicated to pursuing a career as an activist academic, and she hopes to produce research on the connections between identity, community and intercultural communication to inform the creation of more inclusive communities.

The Newman Civic Fellows Award is awarded by Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents — representing some 6 million students — who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.

The award is named after Frank Newman, PhD, a founder of Campus Compact who had an impact on American education and its role in the development of citizens who are eager and prepared to make a difference. He dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform.

Read more about the Newman Civic Fellows Award here.

Brooke Husic, a 2013 WUSTL graduate who majored in chemistry and mathematics and minored in Germanic languages and literatures, has been awarded the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, a highly competitive scholarship awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the United Kingdom to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

The selection criteria include outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential, a commitment to improving the lives of others and a good fit between the applicant’s qualifications and the postgraduate program at Cambridge for which he or she is applying.

Husic plans to earn a master’s of philosophy degree with the Wales Group at the University of Cambridge, where she will apply energy landscape theory to protein folding.

While an undergraduate at WUSTL, Husic participated in the Lock & Chain and Thurtene honor societies, helped organize Thurtene, studied abroad in Germany, served as a residential adviser and held several academic mentoring positions. She currently is conducting research on protein structure prediction in the computational chemistry laboratory of Jay Ponder, PhD, associate professor at WUSTL.

Washington University has had one previous Gates Cambridge Scholar.

Read more about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.