By Breanne Smith
Two Ohio University students have landed highly competitive awards from U.S. government-sponsored programs that provide scholarships and fellowships for individuals pursuing degrees in sought-after fields.
Ryan O'Donnell, an Honors Tutorial College sophomore majoring in chemistry, has earned the Department of Homeland Security Undergraduate Scholarship, while Nick Engerer, a senior geography/meteorology major, has been named Ohio University's first-ever National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow.
Among the more competitive scholarships available to undergraduates, the Department of Homeland Security Undergraduate Scholarship last year went to 15 students out of 262 who applied. The two-year award provides full tuition, a $1,000 per month stipend for two years and a $5,000 paid summer internship with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or an affiliated facility.
The DHS Scholarship and Fellowship Program serves students interested in pursuing basic science and technology innovations that can provide a critical advantage in the development and implementation of counter-terrorist measures and other DHS objectives.
O'Donnell also was named a Goldwater Scholar this year, an award covering the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year for highly qualified students in science, mathematics or engineering fields. He plans to seek a doctorate in toxicology and conduct toxicological and analytical chemistry research with real-world applications.
"Ryan's terrific," said Lauren McMills, assistant chair and HTC director of studies for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "I've had him for (an) honors tutorial and in class. He's consistently been at the top of the class and has written excellent papers. He's just an excellent student."
Meanwhile, Engerer is one of 200 fellows selected from a field of approximately 3,000 applicants for the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. He will receive a full tuition grant and a stipend of $92,000 over three years for graduate study.
The fellowships are sponsored by the Department of Defense and support the education of future scientists and engineers in a variety of disciplines. The department offers the fellowships as a means of increasing the number of U.S. citizens trained in science and engineering disciplines of military importance.
Engerer is a former Hollings Scholar, which allowed him to spend last summer studying storm environments for the National Severe Storms Laboratory. He previously worked as both a weather coordinator for WOUB-TV in Athens and as a forecaster for Scalia Laboratory, where he serves as the weather systems administrator. He plans to pursue graduate studies in severe storms and mesoscale meteorological phenomena.
"Nick's a self-motivated learner who doesn't stand around waiting for you to tell him what to do," said Ron Isaac, meteorology program founder and former director. "He goes ahead and does it. I think he's going to make a fundamental contribution to the field of meteorology."
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This story was updated at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, May 1, to correct the amount of Nick Engerer's award.