Honors abound for graduating students at UAB

Here’s a look at the many fellowships, scholarships, honors and awards earned by the talented 2015 spring graduates at UAB.

UAB trophy graphic 492x369Earning a college degree is one of the defining moments of accomplishment in life. For some among the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s graduating class this spring, that success was sweetened with the added honors of awards, fellowships and scholarships.

Ameen Barghi, who graduates with degrees in neuroscience and an individually designed major in translational research in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, is a 2015 Rhodes Scholar. He is one of 32 outstanding U.S. students who will start their all-expenses-paid, graduate educations at Oxford University this fall. He is the third UAB student since 2000 named as a Rhodes scholar. He is a member of the UAB Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program, the Collat School of Business Honors Program, and Early Medical School Acceptance Program

Bliss Chang, graduating with degrees in biochemistry and biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, was awarded a 2015 Fulbright scholarship to conduct research in Germany for a year. Chang, a member of the Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program, is the 17th UAB student to receive this honor since 1993. Chang also received a DAAD Graduate Scholarship and a Golden Key International Honors Society Undergraduate Scholarship.

Ophelia Johnson was named to the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Johnson, graduating with a degree in biomedical engineering, was one of two UAB students, along with Chang, to receive Barry Goldwater Scholarship Awards for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Yoonhee Ryder, graduating with degrees in biology and anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences, was a finalist for the Marshall and Rhodes scholarships. Ryder is one of UAB’s Outstanding Women for 2015, selected by the UAB Commission on the Status of Women. She has been awarded prestigious scholarships and educational opportunities, including the Clinton Scholarship to study in the Middle East and the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Institute to further study Korean.

Sadhvi Batra is one of only 40 winners nationwide for the Humanity in Action Fellowship, which supports original research concerning intolerance and democratic values. Batra recently graduated from UAB with a degree in neuroscience and philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences. She was a member of the Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program and is completing her master’s degree in the School of Public Health’s fifth-year fast-track program. Batra will graduate with a master’s degree in public health. The fellowship begins May 25 in Washington, D.C., where the winners will begin orientation with the Council on Foreign Relations and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

Tori Gandy, Yamani Bhat and Adelaide Beckman have been invited to join the 2015 Teach for America Corps. They will spend the next two years teaching in low-income areas throughout America. Gandy is graduating with a mathematics degree from the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematics, with a minor in economics. Bhat, a member of the Honors College’s University Honors Program, is graduating with a degree in international studies. Beckman, graduating with a degree in communication studies, is a recipient of the CAS Department of Communication Studies’ James E. Mills Scholarship and the Dean’s Leadership Scholarship. She also is a member of the Honors College’s University Honors Program. After graduating, the three TFA volunteers will attend an intensive five-week training program to prepare them for their teaching experience and familiarize them with their regions and school districts. They will begin teaching in August.

Sara Liaghati-Mobarhan, Ali Massoud, Nicole Ogle, Shejuti Paul and Andrew Milstead were selected for the Clinton Global Initiative University, held March 6-8 at the University of Miami. Liaghati-Mobarhan is graduating with a degree in biomedical engineering; Massoud, an Honors College University Honors Program student, is graduating with a degree in international studies. Ogle and Paul are students in the College of Arts and Sciences, where Ogle is an Experiential Learning Scholar graduating with a degree in sociology and Paul, a UHP student, is graduating with a degree in neuroscience in the Early Medical School Acceptance Program. Business Honors student Milstead is graduating with a degree in finance from the UAB Collat School of Business.

Tyler Furgerson, Razaq Kadri, James Cody, Tierra Andrews, Rebecca Egeland, Sarah L. Smith and Jeanette Vasquez were honored with gold and silver student ADDY awards. The students, all in the CAS’ Digital Media program, are graduating with degrees in accounting and information systems, art, music technology, psychology, and public relations, were honored at the 2015 Birmingham American Advertising Awards in February. Upon graduation, Vasquez has a paid internship with BBDO Minneapolis advertising agency.

Seniors Barghi, Brynna Paulukaitis and Kevin Shrestha, all honors students on the UAB Intercollegiate Bioethics Bowl team, won the 2015 Bioethics Bowl on April 11 in Tallahassee, Florida. UAB beat out teams from universities including Dartmouth, UCLA, Georgetown, Rutgers and Samford for the national title.

Leah Berkebile, who will graduate with degrees in biology and an individually designed major in the College of Arts and Sciences and is an honors student, is a national finalist for the Fulbright Scholarship to Jordan, and is awaiting final word from the host country.

“This is an exciting time of year for the UAB community as we celebrate the hard work and many accomplishments of all our graduates,” UAB President Ray L. Watts said. “I want to recognize the commitment of our faculty and staff to our students’ academic success as we all join in congratulating each graduate and extending our very best wishes to them all.”

The UAB Office of National and International Fellowship and Scholarships assists students in identifying and applying to programs of interest.