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Composite image of the eight fellowship and scholarship winners in order they are presented in the story from left to right, top to bottom.

Students, alumni receive scholarships to study, teach abroad

Eight University of Dayton students and alumni won competitive awards to pursue advanced degrees, study internationally or teach abroad during the 2024-2025 academic year.

The awardees include five Fulbright recipients, one Boren Fellowship, one Gilman Scholarship and one Austrian Ministry of Education recipient.

"This is an exciting year for UD with regards to fellowship wins," said Laura Cotten Howell, director of nationally competitive fellowships and program management in the University's Office of Fellowship Advising. "Each year the fellowships world gets more competitive so these wins are a testament to the students' hard work on their applications, dedication to their studies and their alignment with the goals of the fellowships to which they applied. I'm so proud of each of them."

Fulbright Scholarship

Anh Pham '24 is thrilled to be headed to Vietnam with an English Teaching Assistantship Award as a part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

"I'm most looking forward to exploring my cultural heritage while realizing my dream of teaching to the fullest extent," Pham said. "Fulbright is the culmination of both my professional and personal dreams. In addition, I'm looking forward to being the teacher to my students that so many of my teachers, especially at UD, have been for me."

Pham's parents, who lived in Vietnam until adulthood, are now planning a trip to the country while Pham is there.

"This anticipated trip will be the first time they have gone back to Vietnam since I was born," she said.

The 2024-2025 Fulbright U.S. Student Program recipients also include:

  • Maggie Maloney '16 studied human rights and will be earning an MBA through Fulbright's Spain's Open Study/Research Award.
  • Landry McVicker '24 was an education major and is set to be an English Teaching Assistant in Spain.
  • Siobhan Chawk '24 double majored in biochemistry and German, and will be an English Teaching Assistant in Germany.
  • Kate Sidor '23 studied music and will be teaching English in Poland.

Gilman Scholarship

Heddie Heintzelman, a junior studying political science, received the U.S. Department of State's Gilman Scholarship to intern abroad. Heintzelman is in UD's Army ROTC program and is driven by the desire to help people. She hopes to learn more about human rights issues, refugees and indigenous rights while she's in Australia this summer.

"You realize how small you are when you go abroad," Heintzelman said. "It really teaches you how to empathize with other people and relate in ways you can't imagine. As with going to college, your world gets so much bigger."

She is taking two classes, allowing her to complete her communication minor, and interning with an environmental lawyer on his homestead to learn about policy and sustainable gardening.

"In my environmental policy class, we were talking about the public domain and who defends those areas," Heintzelman said. "Who takes care of the ocean? No one owns it, but obviously there is trash in it, so who takes care of that? It seems like Australia is looking into those answers and I think it will give me perspective to what I can do with environmental law and sustainability in general."

Boren Fellowship

Maria McCarty '22 will study Arabic in Oman for nearly a year starting in January thanks to a Boren Fellowship, which funds research and language studies for U.S. graduate students in world regions critical to the nation's interests.

Boren Awards, housed under the U.S. Department of Defense, aim to increase the number of U.S. federal government workers with language skills and cultural understanding of the identified nations.

This isn't her first trip — McCarty studied in Oman in 2022 for nine weeks with a Boren Scholarship as an undergraduate student.

"I really loved it," McCarty said. "It was my first time learning a language intensively, especially one with a different alphabet. It was a new experience and culture. I studied with probably about 10 other people from the same scholarship and we studied with other diplomats from other countries at our institute, too."

McCarty is set to attend George Washington University's master's program in public health in the fall, and hopes to connect her education and Arabic through research while in Oman. Additionally she hopes to find opportunities to volunteer and shadow in healthcare settings.

"I am hopeful this experience will widen my perspectives and knowledge on global health, equipping me with an experience that will enable me to become a more capable and well-rounded leader in my future career, either in international public health work as a federal employee or as a physician in a civilian capacity," McCarty said.

Austrian Ministry of Education assistantship

A chance meeting with a fellow UD graduate led Dominic Ortenzo '21 to an English teaching assistantship in Austria.

Ortenzo, who graduated with a degree in international studies with a business concentration and a minor in German, initially struggled to launch a career amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He started substitute teaching in his native Pittsburgh and quickly found his vocation in education.

He also started playing music and joined a band that included two 2020 UD graduates. At an outing with his bandmates, Ortenzo met UD alumna Rachel Carr '20, who was a 2020 Fulbright English teaching assistant in the Netherlands.

"It all started with one anecdotal conversation, ‘What did I study in school,'" he said.

Carr connected him with Cotten Howell and the Office of Fellowship Advising. He was awarded a contractual fellowship with the Austrian Ministry of Education and will work with high school-age students from October through May 2025 as a Fremdsprachenassistent — German for "foreign language assistant."

Ortenzo hopes to acquire a higher level of fluency in German and perhaps pursue a career or further his education in an international setting.

"I didn't expect UD to help me in such a way, but it definitely did," he said. "I'm happy that I took the opportunity and followed up on that anecdote."


News and Communications Staff