Benjamin Chin, Mike Alvarez, Matthew Cortland, David Kolchmeyer and Natalie Jesionka


Clockwise from the top left: Benjamin Chin received a Luce Scholarship; Mike Alvarez was named a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans; Matthew Cortland earned the Mitchell Scholarship; David Kolchmeyer was awarded a Churchill Scholarship; and Natalie Jesionka was named a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans.

Nick Romanenko; Don Hammerman; Benjamin Cleaves

The Office of Distinguished Fellowships at Rutgers, under the direction of Arthur Casciato, has become quite the talent agency. This year, Rutgers was the only university nationwide to have students and alumni receive the Churchill, Luce, and Mitchell scholarships as well as the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.

David Kolchmeyer was awarded a Churchill Scholarship, an invitation to pursue a master of advanced study degree in applied mathematics and theoretical physics at Churchill College, part of the University of Cambridge in England. Kolchmeyer SAS’14 is one of 14 students nationwide chosen by the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States.

Kolchmeyer is Rutgers’ third Churchill Scholar and one of two Rutgers students to receive a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2013 for excellence in mathematics, science, and engineering. This year, the honor was bestowed on Kaiser Loell, Alina Rashid, and Asher Wasserman, who, as juniors in the School of Arts and Sciences, were among 283 undergraduates selected by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Rutgers’ four previous Goldwater scholars eventually earned Gates Cambridge Scholarships or Churchill Scholarships in their senior years.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Chin was named a Luce Scholar, a highly regarded program that sends students or recent graduates to Asia to work in settings related to their career aspirations. Chin SAS’14, a former alcohol and substance abuser, plans to work in a drug-treatment facility in Bandung, Indonesia. Last year, Chin was the ninth Rutgers student to receive a Truman Scholarship, which funds graduate study for students committed to careers in public service. Chin is also Rutgers’ second Luce Scholar, the first being Matthew Cortland, who this year received the Mitchell Scholarship, which entitles Cortland SAS’11 to a year of graduate study in Ireland or Northern Ireland before he enrolls in the Dublin Institute of Technology to study web-application design next year.

Two 2007 graduates—Natalie Jesionka and Mike Alvarez—who are committed to addressing societal needs, will be able to further pursue their passions thanks to graduate study underwritten by the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. They are two of 30 students chosen nationwide for the honor, which funds graduate study at a U.S. university for children of, or immigrants who have become, naturalized citizens. Jesionka DC’07, GSN’09, who teaches human rights at Rutgers University–Newark, raises awareness about human trafficking through her teaching, writing, and filmmaking. Alvarez RC’07 wants to advance the understanding of mental illness and suicide, and those suffering from depression and other psychiatric disorders. He was a Henry Rutgers Scholar and received the Charles F. Flaherty Award for the best senior thesis, about the lives of three artists who had committed suicide.