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4 ASU students awarded Killam Fellowship for study at Canadian universities

October 08, 2020

Four outstanding students in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University are recipients of the Killam Fellowship for undergraduate study in Canada next spring.

The Killam Fellowships Program provides an opportunity for exceptional undergraduate students from universities in Canada and the United States to spend either one semester or a full academic year as an exchange student in the other country. The program is administered by the Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States, also known as Fulbright Canada, a binational, nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization.

The program offers a cash award of $5,000 U.S. per semester, along with an allowance to offset the cost of health insurance.

The program hosts all new Killam Fellows at an orientation in Ottawa each fall and again at a seminar in Washington, D.C., each spring. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, travel will depend on government restrictions and the policies and practices of host universities.

“It is remarkable to have so many of our applicants selected for this award. It’s a testament to Barrett’s commitment to international exchange and service,” said Kyle Mox, Barrett associate dean for national scholarships and director of the Office of National Scholarships Advisement.

It’s also a testament to the attention the students gave to completing their applications, which included having their proposed program of study, personal statement, record of academic achievement and letters of reference judged by a committee charged with nominating students for the fellowship. 

“This is a difficult application, and I couldn’t be prouder of the amount of hard work and effort that these students put into the process,” Mox said, adding that the Killam Fellowship is a first step for many students who apply for other prestigious awards like the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright or NSF Graduate Research Fellowship programs.

Here are the 2020–21 Killam Fellows from ASU:

Julie Kaplan

Julie Kaplan is majoring in finance and global politics with a certificate in cross-sector leadership.

“I am honored to join the Fulbright community of leaders and researchers. I’m looking forward to actively participating in the distinguished Fulbright alumni network in the United States, Canada and around the word,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan is planning to research microfinance and economic empowerment at the University of Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritimes.

She developed an interest in microfinance through her work with Arizona Microcredit Initiative, a nonprofit that assists struggling small-business owners through education, microloans and consulting. Kaplan served as director of AMI from 2017 to 2019, leading a team of 17 that organized 35 hourlong business development workshops teaching lean business, business model canvassing and the value of proposition design.

“It’s been incredible over the past three years helping small-business owners grow and achieve their missions,” Kaplan said.   

“I am looking forward to studying international business at UPEI. I will study and conduct research on how small businesses are run both in Canada and around the world. This will give me a more robust understanding of the global business landscape,” Kaplan said.

“In the future, I would love to work within global microfinance to help lift motivated entrepreneurs out of poverty and afford them opportunities to create businesses and jobs,” she added.

Cate Morenzoni

Catherine Morenzoni is double majoring in sociology and justice studies with a certificate in energy and sustainability.

“I’m still in shock about being chosen for the Killam Fellowship. When I first considered applying for the program, it seemed like such a long shot to be selected. It is really an honor to be chosen and I could not be more excited to begin the fellowship,” she said.

Morenzoni will study at the University of Calgary. She will focus on the oil and gas industry in the province of Alberta, and Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

“I am completing my honors thesis on energy system development on Indigenous lands in the United States and Canada, so I’m excited to use my time at University of Calgary getting a new, up-close perspective on these topics,” she said.

Anusha Natajaran

Anusha Natarajan is majoring in sociology and history with minors in Spanish and certificates in human rights and internal studies.

“I feel so excited and honored. I am grateful to receive this opportunity to be immersed and learn more about Canadian culture and history,” Natarajan said.

Natarajan will study sociology, history, foreign policy and human rights law at Carleton University in Ottawa.

“Human rights has become a recent passion of mine. I did a lot of government and international relations work throughout high school, and I realized how vital human rights are and how more work needs to be done,” she said.

“Figuring out solutions on how to tackle human rights abuses around the world has motivated me to do further research and volunteer work in this field,” she added.

Elizabeth Whiteman

Elizabeth Whiteman is majoring in sustainability with a minor in business and a certificate in socially engaged practices in art and design.

“I am more than thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this program. I have a feeling it is going to be the biggest adventure of my life thus far,” Whiteman said.

Whiteman will study socially engaged art for environmental activism and urban sustainability at York University in Toronto.

“My focus is on how socially engaged art can be used to break down the social and cultural boundaries that are currently prohibiting meaningful conversation about solutions to global climate change,” she said.

“I always knew I wanted to study socially engaged art. From a young age, the power of art to move people, to bring people together, and to create real change in communities really shaped my worldview. As I became more aware of the urgency of the climate crisis, I began to develop a passion for sustainability. And as I learned more about all the ways environmental issues are linked to social issues of economic disparity and systemic racism, I knew I had found the subject that would be my life's work,” she added.

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