University of Pittsburgh
April 10, 2005

For the Second Consecutive Year, Pitt Students Win All Three Prestigious National Congressional Commemorative Undergraduate Scholarship Competitions—the Truman, Goldwater, And Udall Scholarships

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PITTSBURGH—For the second consecutive year, University of Pittsburgh students are winners in all three of the prestigious national congressional commemorative undergraduate scholarship competitions—the Harry S. Truman, Barry M. Goldwater, and Morris K. Udall Scholarships—for a total of 10 scholarships in two years. Only two other universities, Yale and Cornell, have had their students win in all three of these commemorative scholarship competitions in both 2004 and 2005, and of all these universities, only Yale received as many combined scholarships as Pitt in all three competition categories during that two-year period—a total of 10 scholarships for each school.

Daniel Armanios, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering and political science, has been named a 2005 Truman Scholar for his outstanding scholarship and leadership; Marion Sikora, a junior with a dual major in geology and planetary science and environmental studies, has been named a 2005 Udall Scholar for exemplary leadership and scholarship toward environmental careers; and Justin Chalker, a junior majoring in chemistry and in the history and philosophy of science, Anna Quider, a sophomore majoring in physics and astronomy and in the history and philosophy of science, and Daliang Li, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, have been named 2005 Goldwater Scholars for their exceptional independent research in science and engineering disciplines.

"Here at Pitt, our most fundamental mission is the development of human potential. We work hard to ensure that all of our students have the chance to be the best that they can be—knowing that some of our best, then, will become among the best that anyone can be. Our Goldwater, Truman and Udall Scholars have attained that level of distinction," said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg.

"Particularly considering that there are some 14 million undergraduate students in this country, our ongoing record of success in these prestigious national competitions is remarkable. That success is, first and foremost, a credit to the talent and commitment of the individual students selected for these special forms of recognition. However, that success also reflects a supportive institutional culture that inspires high achievement and is a real credit to our Honors College," Nordenberg added.

"It is especially gratifying that Pitt students have again won all three of these scholarships," said Alec Stewart, Pitt Honors College dean and faculty representative for the Goldwater, Truman, and Udall scholarships. "These accolades represent comprehensive undergraduate leadership attainment in government and public service through the Truman, in environmental policy though the Udall, and in science and engineering research through the Goldwater."

Congress established the Truman Scholarship in 1975 in memory of the 33rd U.S. president as a highly competitive, merit-based federal award to college juniors who wish to attend graduate or professional school in preparation for careers in government, the nonprofit sector, or elsewhere in public service. The scholarships will benefit the 75 winners this year who will pursue graduate studies in the United States or abroad in a wide variety of fields.

In 1992, Congress established the Udall Scholarship to honor former U.S. Congressman Morris K. Udall of Arizona and recognize students pursuing careers in environmental science and policy and Native Americans studying health care or tribal policy. Each year, a combined 80 undergraduate scholarships are awarded to juniors and seniors in these areas. The Udall is the only commemorative scholarship that expressly honors dedication to environmental policy and science.

Congress established the Goldwater Scholarship in 1986 to honor former Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields and is given in either a student's sophomore or junior year. Pitt students have won a total of 33 Goldwater Scholarships.

Armanios, a Goldwater Scholarship winner last year, is a member of Pitt's Model United Nations and a founder of Session Middle East, a forum for debating the Arab-Israeli conflict. A Pitt Henderson Scholar in engineering, Armanios will be an FBI honors intern this summer for the FBI Criminal Justice Information Service. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree specializing in mechanics of materials and hopes to become a university professor.

Sikora's studies focus on the effects of anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change on local environments. Her goal is to promote ecologically appropriate conservation and social policy based on evolving science. Sikora works with Michael Rosenmeier and Mark Abbott, Pitt assistant professors in the Department of Geology and Planetary Science. She has conducted field research in Mongolia and plans to do further research in Khazakhstan and Greece.

Chalker, an undergraduate teaching assistant in the chemistry department, is the founder of the Pitt Y-Sci Fest, a science research fair for area high school students. He has investigated new synthetic methods to put molecules together under the direction of Pitt Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Theodore Cohen. In addition to his other majors, he is pursuing the Bachelor of Philosophy degree in the Honors College.

Quider, a Chancellor's Scholar, is the science editor of the Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review, the national journal of undergraduate scholarship published by the Honors College. She works on quasars with Pitt Professor David Turnshek and Sandhya Rao, research assistant professor, both with the Quasar Research Group in Pitt's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Li, also a Chancellor's Scholar, has been working on research with Pitt Professor Minguy Sun in the Department of Neurological Surgery in Pitt's School of Medicine. His research involves developing a communication and power delivery channel for miniature implantable devices inside the human body.