Students, Alumni Honored with National Scholarships, College Awards

Recent award winners

Clockwise: Kyrstyn Ong ’18, Gareth Fowler ’17, Jasmin Rodriguez-Schroeder ’17, Daniel Block '16, and Feng Lin ’17.

Daniel Block ’16 fretted about the Luce Scholarship selection process — until Paul Shortell ’13 assured him it was “designed for Swatties.”

“It rewards people who think critically about their disciplines and subject interests,” says Block, an Honors political science and history major and Ivy Award recipient while at Swarthmore. “And the foundation wants scholars who are intellectually curious.”

Even better, his Honors oral examinations prepped him for the selection interview.

“They require talking in detail about the topics you love in a way that is genuine and compelling,” Block says. “Swarthmore trains you to do exactly that.”

One of four Swarthmore alumni and one student to recently earn national and College honors, Block embarks on a year of travel and work in India. The journalist will work for The Caravan, a politics and culture magazine based in New Delhi, through a program aimed at building awareness of Asia among potential U.S. leaders.

“The experience of living and studying somewhere unfamiliar will give me fresh perspectives,” Block says, “and, thus, new angles and ideas for future story pitches or research projects.”

Also building an understanding of international affairs are Feng Lin ’17 and Gareth Fowler ’17, through the Gaither Junior Fellows Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Chosen from a competitive pool of applicants planning careers in international affairs, Gaither-Carnegie Fellows work as research assistants to Carnegie’s senior scholars.

“I plan to take this opportunity to learn more about China’s role in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the world, and deepen my understanding of U.S.-China-Japan trilateral relations in a broader context,” says Lin, an Honors political science and economics major while at Swarthmore, who credits the College for encouraging him to think from different perspectives.

“In the future, I hope to become a scholar,” he adds, “to contribute to the making of better policy that leads to friendlier relations among countries.”

Fowler, an Honors political science major while at Swarthmore, is most excited to meet new people in the field and study democratic processes and transitions across the globe.

“A lot of my favorite memories at Swat involve hours spent in a library or at my desk, reading through materials, and attempting to gain some understanding of a complex topic,” he says. “I’m hoping for a similar experience at this posting.”

Another national institution, the Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, bestowed an honorable mention upon Kyrstyn Ong ’18, an engineering major from Williams Bay, Wis.

The honor follows Ong’s first-place-winning poster at the Emerging Researchers National Conference, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Washington, D.C., in March.

“I outlined an an interest in pursuing materials engineering at the graduate level, due to my work experience,” says Ong, who also plans on conducting nanomaterials research and teaching at the university level. “For the final chapter of my time at Swarthmore, I look forward to working hard, learning a lot, and continuing to work in [the lab of Visiting Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry Kyle Wagner].”

The most recently honored Swattie is Jasmin Rodriguez-Schroeder ’17, the seventh annual recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and Swarthmore College Edgar ['56] and Jean Camper Cahn ['57] Law and Social Justice Award. Bestowed at commencement, the award goes to the student who contributed the most to the Chester City Youth Court program.

It’s a rewarding capstone for Rodriguez-Schroeder, who chose Swarthmore because of its commitment to social justice in and out of the classroom.

“Youth Court has allowed me to apply and expand upon the values that Swarthmore encourages us to develop, and connect what I was learning in the classroom to real community work,” says Rodriguez-Schroeder, who majored in art history at Swarthmore.

The program also led her to the field of museum education, which she will explore this summer as an intern with the education department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

“Through museum education, I hope to create the same sort of environment fostered in Youth Courts,” says Rodriguez-Schroeder. “One in which every individual, regardless of their age, is heard and respected, and in which everyone works together to find new and restorative approaches to conflict.”