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Three Students Honored by National Organizations

Samantha Gray '17, Mario Sanchez '16, and George Abraham '17

From left to right: Samantha Gray '17 received a Beinecke Scholarship, Mario Sanchez '16 a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and George Abraham '17 honorable mention from The Goldwater Foundation, in recognition of their outstanding potential in their fields.

Three Swarthmore students have been honored for their outstanding potential in their fields by national organizations, rising to the top of vast application pools.

Samantha Gray ’17 is one of just 20 students from around the country to receive this year’s Beinecke Scholarships, which provide “students of exceptional promise” $34,000 for graduate studies in the arts, humanities, and social science.

“I reacted with surprise and joy, and celebrated with lots of chocolate,” says Gray, an Honors linguistics major from Green Cove Springs, Fla.

Gray is the fifth Swarthmore student to join the ranks of the Beinecke Scholars since 2010. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in linguistics.

“This scholarship will take a lot of financial pressure off of that, but there’s also value in the support it shows others have for my enthusiasm,” says Gray. “It’s amazing to know there are people other than myself and close friends or family who believe my goals are worthwhile and are willing to help me reach them.”

Mario Sanchez ’16, an Honors mathematics and computer science major from Pomona, Calif., has been chosen for a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. He is one of 2,000 students across all fields of study to be chosen from 17,000 applicants.

“He has outstanding potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise,” says Joan Ferrini-Mundy, assistant director for education and human resources for the NSF, in a letter to President Valerie Smith. “The ranks of NSF Fellows include numerous individuals who have made transformative breakthrough discoveries in science and engineering, become leaders in their chosen careers, and who have been honored as Nobel laureates.”

The fellowship provides three years of financial support, which Sanchez can use it for the graduate program of his choice.

Also nationally recognized for outstanding potential in his field is George Abraham ’17, who received an honorable mention from The Goldwater Foundation. The organization bestows such recognition on outstanding sophomores and juniors planning on careers in math, science, and engineering.

Abraham, an Honors engineering and mathematics major from Jacksonville, Fla, says it was “a great honor” to be recognized for his efforts in math and engineering. He takes his leadership potential in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields seriously, citing “the immense amount of privilege it took to get me even here.”

“With the current public education system in America, many students (especially in low income, predominantly minority communities) do not have access to this type of education,” he says.

Abraham intends to research nonlinear control theory and advocate for a more inclusive STEM community.

“I consider accessibility for minorities in STEM my highest concern,” he says, “in equal priority with the research I do.” 

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