Campus News

Three University of Georgia undergraduates receive 2010 mid-term Foundation Fellowships

Three University of Georgia undergraduates receive 2010 mid-term Foundation Fellowships

Athens, Ga. – Three University of Georgia students have been awarded 2010 mid-term Foundation Fellowships.The Fellowship is the university’s premier undergraduate scholarship and provides academic enrichment opportunities, including travel-study, internships and research.


The mid-term Foundation Fellows are: Matthew Sellers of Perry, who is pursuing a joint bachelor’s and master’s degree in English with a minor in chemistry; Jacob Rooney of Roswell, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in Spanish; and Victoria Akin of Macon, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Matt, Jacob, and Tori to the Foundation Fellowship,” said David S. Williams, director of the Honors Program and Foundation Fellowship. “Individually, their passion for learning, leadership and service is obvious, and as a group they are sure to enrich the community of Fellows.”

University Honors students in their third semester at UGA with a minimum cumulative 3.70 GPA are eligible to apply for the Fellowship.Selected recipients have tuition and student fees covered during their two remaining years of study, along with other benefits of the program.

Sellers, a Ramsey Honors Scholar, participated as a 2009 summer research fellow through the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities.He focused on the poetry of Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Penn Warren under the guidance of English professor Hugh Ruppersburg, who also serves as senior associate dean in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“It’s a surreal feeling to receive such a tremendous honor and realize that you have taken the first steps toward achieving your dreams,” said Sellers, who graduated from Perry High School.“The Fellowship affords me the chance to connect with an engaging community of scholars and activists.”

Sellers volunteers at AIDS Athens, a non-profit organization that provides supportive services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS.After earning his UGA degrees, Sellers would like to pursue a career in activism, focused on diversity issues related to gender.

Rooney, a National Merit Scholarship recipient, is currently a participant in a knot theory math research group led by UGA mathematics professor Jason Cantarella.These research teams are made up of UGA faculty and students who collaborate on a single topic throughout the year.He also has been involved with the high school math tournament at UGA and with MATHCOUNTS, an enrichment club and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement.

“I feel honored to have been awarded a mid-term Foundation Fellowship,” said Rooney, a graduate of Lassiter High School.“I hope to use the opportunities to study abroad to expand my horizons and experience new cultures and ways of thinking.”

Rooney, who plays the violin, has tutored students in courses that focus on music, Spanish and applied sciences.He would like to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics and work in academia.

Akin, a Ramsey Honors Scholar, conducts research under the guidance of epidemiologist and biostatistician Andreas Handel in the UGA College of Public Health.She created a computer program that simulates the progression of influenza, gathering data to support more efficient production of antiviral drugs.

“Being selected as a Foundation Fellow is both a great honor and a great opportunity,” said Akin, a graduate of Mount de Sales Academy.“It means joining a network of some of the most brilliant and driven people I know and offers the opportunity for me to make an impact in my communities.”

Akin teaches math concepts weekly to middle school children through the MATHCOUNTS outreach program and has been a volunteer during the UGA Math Club’s annual high school math tournament.She also plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics for a teaching and research career in higher education.

The Foundation Fellows Program was established in 1972 by the trustees of the University of Georgia Foundation to provide an enhanced educational experience for academically outstanding undergraduate students. For more information, see and click on Foundation Fellows.