Four UGA undergraduates named 2008 Foundation Fellows

Four University of Georgia undergraduates named 2008 mid-term Foundation Fellows

Athens, Ga. – Four University of Georgia students enrolled in the Honors Program have been awarded mid-term Foundation Fellowships, the university’s premier undergraduate scholarship that offers travel, research and internship opportunities. Mid-term fellowships are awarded to academically outstanding sophomores.

The mid-term Foundation Fellows are: David Howcroft, a linguistic and mathematics double major from Longwood, Fla.; Connor McCarthy, an international affairs and economics double major from Mobile, Ala.; Sharon McCoy, an international affairs and Spanish double major from Evans; and Cleveland Piggott, a biology and psychology double major from Suwanee.

“We are so pleased to welcome to the Foundation Fellowship a stellar group of young scholars,” said David S. Williams, director of the Honors Program and the Foundation Fellowship. “Their diverse array of interests and talents will enrich the community of Fellows.”

Candidates for the mid-term Foundation Fellowships must have minimum cumulative 3.70 GPAs and two more years of study remaining. The fellowships provide funding for the last two years of academic study, including tuition and student fees, as well as a variety of educational enrichment opportunities.

Howcroft is not only learning to speak French, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Korean, but he also is interested in studying the natural processes of how people learn a language. Under the guidance of English and linguistics professor William Kretzschmar Jr., Howcroft has analyzed electronic corporate communications using specialized software. He also has individually worked on a multi-language study system that he hopes to test and further develop.

“It’s truly an honor,” said Howcroft. “I’m incredibly excited by the prospect of entering this great academic community and by all the opportunities that come with it.”

Howcroft plans to spend six weeks each in France and Japan this summer for further language study. He would like to study abroad after graduation, possibly as a foreign language teacher, before pursuing a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence or international affairs.

McCarthy plans to study in Tanzania this summer through the Institute for Leadership Advancement in UGA’s Terry College of Business. With his interest in public policy development, McCarthy founded the Open Policy Symposium at UGA, a student-run organization that networks UGA students with leaders at Washington-based public policy think tanks to discuss current national and foreign issues.

“The opportunities made immediately available to me are unmatched by any other offering on campus or through other programs across the nation,” said McCarthy. “I have been truly blessed by the graciousness of the UGA Foundation and am flattered to be part of a program of such prestige.”

McCarthy is the current president of UGA’s Student Government Association and is a member of the Blue Key Honor Society, Dean Tate Honor Society and Beta Theta Pi fraternity. His career aspirations include pursuing a law degree and/or a master’s in public policy and working in the public sector.

Through the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO) apprentice program, McCoy is conducting Spanish sociolinguistic research with Chad Howe, a professor in Romance languages and linguistics. She also tutors Hispanic children at Chase Street Elementary School and at the residential community of Oasis Católico de Santa Rafaela.

“When I think about being named a mid-term Foundation Fellow, my feelings can be summed up in one word, gratitude,” said McCoy. “I will use this extraordinary blessing to the fullest.”

McCoy’s travels have included a mission trip to Jamaica with the Wesley Foundation and a study abroad trip to Spain with additional trips scheduled for Ecuador and Chile. After earning a law degree and learning Portuguese and French, the other two primary languages of Latin America, McCoy would like to work for the U.S. Foreign Service and serve as U.S. ambassador to Latin America.

Piggott says he knew he wanted to attend UGA after he was invited to the undergraduate research symposium sponsored by CURO during his senior year in high school. Through a CURO apprenticeship and summer research fellowship, Piggott has been working with cellular biologists Marcus Fechheimer and Ruth Furukawa. He has studied the formation and degradation of Hirano bodies, intracellular structures usually associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease-from which his grandfather suffers.

“I still can’t believe that I’ve won a Foundation Fellowship,” said Piggott. “I look forward to using this opportunity to better understand the world around us and making a difference.”

In addition to his campus research activities, Piggott has trips planned this summer to Costa Rica and Panama to explore his interests in international medicine and public health. He also is a member of the UGA Ballroom Performance Group and volunteers in the children’s ministry at Athens Church. After earning his UGA degrees, Piggott would like to attend medical school to become either a neurologist or cardiologist.

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 www.uga.edu/honors/fellows.