Five MSU students nominated for major international awards

Five Michigan State University Honors College students with an array of majors have been nominated for prestigious scholarship awards – the Marshall Scholarship, Mitchell Scholarship and Rhodes Scholarship.

If awarded, the students can pursue their graduate studies at prestigious universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland. All five have chosen unique fields of study, including engineering, computational biology, environmental and sustainable development, and international relations.

The students nominated for the Marshall Scholarship are environmental geoscience and interdisciplinary studies in social science senior Kevin Adams; chemical engineering senior Mario Gutierrez; biochemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology senior Irina Pushel, and international relations, comparative cultures and politics, and Russian senior Paul Rose.

Pushel has also been nominated for the Mitchell Scholarship.

Gutierrez and electrical engineering senior David Zoltowski, both pursuing degrees from the College of Engineering, have been nominated for the Rhodes Scholarship.

“The UK scholarships are some of the most prestigious international awards, and we are pleased to nominate these exceptional students from Michigan State University,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “The combination of the students’ talents and the dedication of the MSU faculty have prepared each for an exciting set of possibilities.”

MSU has produced 16 Marshall Scholars, one Mitchell Scholar and 16 Rhodes Scholars.

Gutierrez is from Powell, Wyoming. He graduated from Powell High School and worked alongside his uncle as a migrant farmer since the age of 10. 

“As a first generation Mexican American, raised by an early-widowed mother, I always had a dream to improve my life and the life of others,” he said.

A recipient of the MSU STARR Charitable Foundation Scholarship, Gutierrez has participated as a research assistant on campus and held internships with Dow Chemical Company and General Electric. He is a student representative in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and is active with International Engagement Volunteers.

Gutierrez hopes to study chemical and process engineering.

“As a future researcher, I want to apply my knowledge and my work’s effort towards engineering a more sustainable future,” he said.

Adams, a member of the 2014-15 Homecoming Court, is from Washington, Michigan and graduated from Stoney Creek High School.

Adams has worked as a research assistant on campus and at the University of College London while seeking degrees from Lyman Briggs College and College of Social Science. He serves as student coordinator for Residential Initiative for Study of the Environment (RISE), and volunteers through Honors Students Actively Recruiting (H-STAR) and on the student organic farm.

Adams is the recipient of the Honors College STATE Scholarship, Andrew Undergraduate Fellowship, and College of Social Science Dean’s Assistantship. He also earned a first place award at the University Undergraduate Research & Arts Forum (UURAF).

He plans to study environmental and sustainable development.

“Through academic research, community engagement, and teaching, I hope to change the way people and planet come together,” Adams said.

Pushel immigrated to the United States from Belarus and calls Naperville, Illinois her hometown, having graduated from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

While a student in the College of Natural Science, she has participated in extensive research experiences, including work as a research assistant and winning a first place award at UURAF. Pushel is a Phi Kappa Phi member and volunteers at Illinois and Michigan Science Olympiads.

She is a recipient of MSU Alumni Distinguished Scholarship, the Hymen and Miriam Stein Scholarship, and the Fowler Undergraduate Scholarship. She plans to study computational biology.

“I am interested in pursuing a career in research,” she said. “I want to do cutting-edge interdisciplinary work and take new computational approaches to solving biological problems.”

Rose is pursuing degrees from James Madison College and the College of Arts and Letters. He is from Fenton, Michigan and graduated from Hartland High School.

During his time at MSU, Rose has worked as a research assistant and served as a student representative for the university at the G20 Youth Summit. He is the recipient of the Office of Study Abroad Award for Academic Excellence.

Rose plans to pursue political science and international studies.

“My academic experiences are the greatest gift I have received, a gift that I aspire to provide others,” he said. “After receiving my higher education degree (s) I seek to become an academic at a European or Russian university and pursue research in international relations.”

Zoltowski hails from West Lafayette, Indiana, graduating from West Lafayette High School. He is captain of the MSU Varsity Swimming and Diving team, a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten.

One of last year’s Goldwater Scholars, Zoltowski has also earned the MSU Honors College National Scholarship, Walter R. Yates Memorial Scholarship and Arthur J. Harris Memorial Scholarship.

Zoltowski is a research assistant, member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu and an Honors Times Two mentor.

His graduate school plans involve studying engineering science.

“My ultimate goal is to become a professor doing research studying the brain from an engineering perspective,” he said. “A long-term goal of mine is to apply my analysis techniques to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. I draw motivation for this goal from my triplet, autistic brother.”

The Marshall Commission provides support to approximately 40 of the most outstanding undergraduates in the country to study at any university in the United Kingdom.

The US-Ireland Alliance established the George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program, which allows future American leaders to pursue a year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The Rhodes Trust, the oldest of the major international competitive award foundations, provides 32 of the most outstanding undergraduates in the country an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England.

The National and International Fellowship and Scholarship (NIFS) office at Michigan State University, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes. The Honors College serves academically talented, committed students who wish to pursue and achieve academic excellence.