Three University of Georgia Honors students named 2007 Mid-Term Foundation Fellows

Three University of Georgia Honors students named 2007 Mid-Term Foundation Fellows

Athens, Ga. – Three University of Georgia sophomores have been awarded mid-term Foundation Fellowships, UGA’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship for academically outstanding students.

Sana Hashmi, a triple major in biology, religion and microbiology from Martinez; Clare Hatfield, a double major in international affairs and Romance languages from Alpharetta; and Nithya Natrajan, a double major in genetics and microbiology also from Martinez, are the 2007 Mid-Term Foundation Fellows.

“I am very pleased to welcome these outstanding students to the Foundation Fellowship,” said David S. Williams, director of UGA’s Honors Program. “They have remarkable academic records and potential, and we are confident that they will make great contributions to the Fellowship, the campus and the community.”

Students enrolled in the third semester of the Honors Program with a minimum cumulative 3.70 GPA and two years of study remaining are eligible for the mid-term Foundation Fellowship. The fellowships provide funding for the last two years of academic study, including the full estimated cost of attendance, as well as study abroad, undergraduate research and conference grants, and a variety of other educational enrichment opportunities.

Hashmi, a Henry King Stanford Scholar, has participated in cancer research since her first semester through UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO). She has worked as a research apprentice and a summer fellow in the laboratory of Lance Wells, a protein biochemist at UGA, who is also a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar. Since then, Hashmi has presented at many conferences, including being the youngest presenter at the International Glycobiology Meeting in Nov. Along with UGA graduate student Stephanie Hammond, Hashmi first identified and located the important structures on the protein alphadystroglycan (aDG), which plays a key role in cancer metastasis. She hopes to publish the findings as a co-first author in a national peer-reviewed journal.

Among her leadership roles on campus, Hashmi serves as president of UGA Rotaract Club and the UGA chapter of the Association of Women in Science. As a freshman, Hashmi received a Top 12 Award given by the Athens Rotary Club, recognizing outstanding students from each UGA school and college for their academic and extracurricular achievements. Hashmi also has played on the UGA rugby team, which competed in a national tournament as one of the top eight teams in the country last year.

“When I first found out about the Fellowship, I couldn’t believe it,” said Hashmi, who plans to pursue a career in research and clinical medicine. “I am really excited that I have a chance to engage in some amazing opportunities. To me, the fellowship is like a treasure box-you never know what opportunities you can get, but all of them are priceless.”

Hatfield received the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Undergraduate Fellowship on Terrorism last summer and traveled to Israel and Washington, D.C. to study counterterrorism methods and policies. She currently participates in undergraduate research, studying under faculty mentor Stephen Shellman, an assistant professor of international affairs.

Hatfield focuses her research on the dynamic relationships between government-dissident interactions and terrorist attacks in southeast Asian countries as part of Project Civil Strife and will conduct more international affairs research this summer with a CURO summer fellowship. As a member of UGA’s club equestrian team, she recently placed second in her division in a national-level competition.

“I will definitely use the fellowship as my opportunity to conduct research and study abroad,” said Hatfield, who plans to earn both a master’s degree in security studies and a law degree, specializing in international law. “The best classrooms are not really classrooms at all, but rather those environments that offer first-hand experiences in different cultures and ways of life which can lead you to discover so much more about your own life.”

Natrajan, recently named a 2007 Goldwater Scholar, conducts research in the laboratory of geneticist Mary Bedell as a participant in the CURO research apprentice program at UGA. She is investigating how a growth factor, Kit ligand, is processed in mammalian cells using a mouse model. She presented her results at the CURO undergraduate research symposium held on campus this week. Natrajan also will participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Among her extracurricular activities, Natrajan is involved with Advocating Safe Alternatives for Peers (ASAP), promoting healthy lifestyle choices for students. She also serves on the executive board for UGA’s chapter of the Association of Women in Science and is a member of the Demosthenian Literary Society and the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children. Natrajan was inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars last spring and most recently was accepted into Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Medical Honor Society.

“I feel very honored to be named a Mid-Term Foundation Fellow,” said Natrajan, who plans to become an oncologist and conduct cancer research. “I am excited about all the opportunities that this program offers and I look forward to traveling and getting to know everyone in the program.”

“These are truly exceptional students,” said Steve Elliott-Gower, associate director of UGA’s Honors Program. “They hit the ground running when they arrived at UGA, taking advantage of research and mentoring opportunities through the Honors Program. Clearly, they will take advantage of the further opportunities available to them as Foundation Fellows to achieve their longer term academic and professional goals. It’s exciting to watch these students.”

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, visit www.uga.edu/honors/fellows.