ARCS Scholar Awards

The Metropolitan Washington Chapter of the ARCS Foundation has played a vital role in sustaining and enhancing scientific study at the university through its generous support of graduate education and research in the STEM fields since 1973. Beginning in 2012, the Chapter began awarding scholarships to Georgetown undergraduates, a move which further highlighted the central place of science in a liberal arts education. A steadfast partner to Georgetown, the Metropolitan Washington Chapter was inducted into the 1789 Society in 2015 for having exceeded $1 million in philanthropic giving to the University. The Chapter was formally recognized with an award and citation at the Spring Faculty Convocation Ceremony on March 31, 2015.

ARCS Scholar Awards provide $15,000 per year to doctoral students engaged in rigorous scientific study leading to completion of a research-based dissertation. Funds may be applied toward stipend, tuition, or research costs during the academic year of award. A listing of our current and past graduate fellows is provided below.

2020 Scholars and Fellows

Chapter Scholar
Megan Barefoot, M.D./Ph.D. Candidate in Tumor Biology

Dissertation research: Optimizing liquid biopsy technology to trace the origins of cell-free DNA using tissue- and cell-type specific methylation patterns. How to use these advancements to better understand disease and toxicities at a cellular level, specifically to determine the onset and time course of liver damage from reperfusion injury after liver transplant.

Mentor: Dr. Anton Wellstein

Awarded for academic year 2020-2021.

Endowment Fellow
Daniel O’Brien, Ph.D. candidate in Physics

Dissertation research: Utilizing micro-scale fabrication techniques to design and develop novel medical devices for biomarker sensing in non-invasively sampled human interstitial fluid.

Mentor: Dr. Mak Paranjape

Awarded for academic year 2020-2021 (Endowment Fellow) and 2019-20 (Chapter Scholar).

Endowment Fellow
Nicole Wagner, Ph.D. candidate in Biology

Dissertation research: Using a combination of wet-lab work and bioinformatics to study the survival mechanisms of primitive microbial life in a perennially frozen, methane-rich Antarctic lake, which serves as an analog for the icy moons in the outer reaches of our solar system.

Mentor: Dr. Sarah Stewart Johnson

Awarded for academic year 2020-21.

ARCS Scholars, 2008-2019:

Chapter Scholar
Andrew Kelly, Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry

Dissertation research: Using supramolecular chemistry to investigate binding interactions involving halogens and organometallic synthesis, as well as researching catalysis for the synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant compounds.

Mentor: Dr. Timothy Warren

Awarded for academic year 2019-20.

Chapter Scholar
Alyssa King, Ph.D. candidate in Biology

Dissertation research: Using genetic tools to determine the role of non-coding, regulatory RNA, RsaD in Staphylococcus aureas virulence, specifically how RsaD contributes to the development of multicellular communities during infection.

Mentor: Dr. Shaun Brinsmade

Awarded for academic year 2019-20.

Endowment Fellow
Sean MacAvaney, Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science

Dissertation research: Using modern machine-learning techniques to improve information-retrieval systems, including those that answer complex questions; systems that find relevant medical literature to support physicians; and systems that can identify those suffering from mental illnesses, by analyzing social media activity to provide early support.

Mentor: Dr. Nazli Goharian

Awarded for academic year 2019-20.

Forster Family Foundation Scholar
Adam Caccavano, Ph.D. candidate in Neuroscience

Dissertation research: How hypocampal activity, which is critical for memory consolidation, is impaired in Alzheimer’s disease. Investigating the neuronal microcircuitry with the tools of electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and computational modeling.

Mentor: Dr. Stefano Vicini

Awarded for academic year 2018-19.

Chapter Scholar
Matthew Hansen, Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry

Dissertation research: The use of Raman spectroscopy to investigate the fundamental properties of zinc oxide nanorods (ZnO) to better understand now the structure of ZnO nanomaterials influences its physical properties, and to study facet-specific reactivity of the material. 

Mentor: Dr. Jong-In Hahm

Awarded for academic year 2018-19.

Gladi Mathews Memorial Scholar
Evan Gardner, Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry

Dissertation research: The development of novel catalytic systems for the sustainable production of ammonia from abundant dinitrogen as well as electrocatalytic ammonia oxidation systems for efficient fuel cells in energy applications.

Mentor: Dr. Timothy Warren

Awarded for academic year 2017-18.

Forster Family Foundation Scholar,  Danaher Corporation Scholar & Chapter Scholar
Marina Solomos, Ph.D. (Chemistry, 2018)

Dissertation: Phase Control of Diphenylureas Through Co-Crystallization and Template-Directed Methods

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Swift

Awarded for academic years 2015-16 (Forster Scholar), 2016-17 (Danaher Corporation Scholar), and 2017-18 (Chapter Scholar).

Patricia Smith Memorial Scholar & Chapter Scholar 
Teresa Duncan, Ph.D. (Chemistry, 2017) 

Dissertation: Hydrogels and Organogels from Partially Hydrolyzed Poly(vinyl acetates) and Boron-based Crosslinkers: Development, Characterization, and Application to the Conservation of Art

Mentor: Dr. Richard Weiss

Awarded for academic years 2014-15 (Chapter Scholar), 2015-16 (Chapter Scholar) and 2016-17 (Patricia Smith Memorial Scholar).

Laytham Scholar
Erika Raven, Ph.D. (Neuroscience, 2017)

Dissertation: Reproducibility and Use of Myelin Imaging Methods for the Study of Adolescent Brain Development

Mentor: Dr. John VanMeter / Dr. Jeff Duyn (NIH)

Awarded for academic year 2016-17. 

Noama Wheeler Scholar
Laura C. Erickson, Ph.D. (Neuroscience, 2016)

Dissertation: Examinations of Audiovisual Speech Processes, the McGurk Effect and the Heteromodal Superior Temporal Sulcus in the Human Brain Across Numerous Approaches

Mentors: Dr. Josef Rauschecker and Dr. Peter Turkeltaub

Awarded for academic year 2015-16.

Chapter Scholar
Kyle Shattuck, Ph.D. (Neuroscience, 2016)

Dissertation: Investigating the Cholinergic Regulation of Human Learning and Memory using Functional Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Mentor: Dr. John W. VanMeter

Awarded for academic year 2015-16.

Chapter Scholar
Bryce Yoshimura, Ph.D. (Physics, 2016)

Dissertation: Theoretical studies for experimental implementation of quantum computing with trapped ions

Mentor: Dr. James Freerick

Awarded for academic years 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16.

General Dynamics Scholar & Chapter Scholar
Marguerite Brown, M.S. (Physics, 2015)

Studied liquid crystalline ordering under confinement, using microtubules as a model liquid crystal within microfluidic chambers to provide insight into how liquid crystals order within geometries smaller than their persistence length. 

Mentor: Dr. Daniel L. Blair

Awarded for academic years 2012-13 (General Dynamics) and 2013-14 (Chapter). 

Chapter Scholar
Patrick Cox, Ph.D. (Neuroscience, 2017) 

Dissertation: The Effects of Extensive Single Task and Dual Task Training on the Neural Bases of Visual Objec Categorization: Escaping the Frontal Bottleneck 

Mentor: Dr. Maximilian Riesenhuber

Awarded for academic year 2014-15.

Chapter Scholar
Ilana Grace Goldberg, Ph.D. (Chemistry, 2011)

Dissertation: Directed Crystal Growth and Solid-State Analysis of the Secondary Explosives RDX and HMX

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer A. Swift

Awarded for academic years 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11.

Chapter Scholar
Augusta (Hofstead-Duffy) Levendorf, Ph.D. (Chemistry, 2013)

Dissertation: Exploring the Structure-Activity Relationship of Platinum and Platinum-based Electro-catalysts for the Methanol Electro-oxidation

Mentor: Dr. YuYe Tong

Awarded for academic year 2012-13.

Chapter Scholar
Monique Koppel, Ph.D. (Chemistry, 2014)

Dissertation: Metal and Non-Metal Catalyzed Beta-Alkylation of Secondary Alcohols: Scope and Mechanism

Mentor: Dr. Bahram Moasser

Awarded for academic years 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12.

Chapter Scholar
Eric Patterson, Ph.D. (Biology, 2012)

Dissertation: Ecological and Life History Factors Influence Habitat and Tool Use in Wild Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops sp.)

Mentor: Dr. Janet Mann

Awarded for academic years 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12.

Chapter Scholar
Katy Sherlach, Ph.D. (Chemistry, 2014)

Dissertation: Assessing Antimalarial Cidality in Plasmodium falciparum Parasites

Mentor: Dr. Paul D. Roepe

Awarded for academic year, 2011-12.

Chapter Scholar
Casey Shuptrine, Ph.D. (Tumor Biology, 2015)

Dissertation: The Molecular Determinants of Tumor Cell Modulation of Immune Selection

Mentors: Dr. Louis M. Weiner and Dr. Anton Wellstein

Awarded for academic year 2014-15.

Chapter Scholar
Steven Spangenberg, M.S. (Chemistry, 2015)

Conducted research in solid state organic chemistry to elucidate the dehydration mechanism(s) of crystalline hydrates, and how doping effects can be used to rationally tailor the physical properties of these materials. 

Mentor: Dr. Jennifer A. Swift 

Awarded for academic year 2014-15.

Mars Foundation Scholar & Chapter Scholar
Theodore (Trey) Picou III, Ph.D. (Biology, 2017)

Dissertation: The Hydrodynamic Model of Giardia lamblia Attachment

Mentor: Dr. Heidi Elmendorf

Awarded for academic years 2012-13 (Mars Foundation) and 2013-14 (Chapter).

Chapter Scholar
Amanda Zirzow, Ph.D. candidate in Biology (Withdrawn, 2013)

Dissertation research: The use of a high-throughput genetic screen to study cellular and sub-cellular mechanics of pathogenic yeast to target genes for potent therapeutics.

Mentor: Dr. Anne G. Rosenwald

Awarded for academic year 2013-14.

ARCS Scholar Awardees, 1975-2007:

ARCS Scholar Awardees, 1975-2007
Scholar Degree Academic Year of Award(s)
Brendan L. Brelsford, Ph.D. Physics, 2011 2007-08, 2008-09
Leah B. Casabianca, Ph.D. Chemistry, 2008 2006-07, 2007-08
Kristen P. Bloschock, Ph.D. Physics, 2007 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07
Scott T. Mough, Ph.D. Chemistry, 2011 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06
Amanda M. Munson, Ph.D. Biology, 2005 2002-03, 2003-04
Ryan E. Sours, Ph.D. Chemistry, 2004 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03
Catherine T. Santal   2000-01
Dianne M. Snow   1999-00
Hugh D. Moulding, Ph.D. Neuroscience, 2002 1999-00
David J. Abdallah, Ph.D. Chemistry, 2000 1999-00
Marie L. Sandrock, Ph.D. Chemistry, 2000 1998-99
Eric M. Hernandez, Ph.D. Neuroscience, 2004 1998-99
Kristopher J. Bough, Ph.D. Biology, 1999 1998-99
Michael J. Pishvaian, Ph.D. Anatomy, 2001 1997-98
Petra S. Buc, M.S. Biology, 1991 1997-98
Jordan D. Stockton, Ph.D. Chemistry, 2001 1996-97
Jason W. Allen, Ph.D. Neuroscience, 2000 1996-97
Richard E. Frye, Ph.D. Physics, 1998 1995-96
Brian T. Rasley, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1998 1995-96
Kenneth R. McGaffin, Ph.D. Tumor Biology, 1999 1995-96
Michael A. Hickey, M.S. Biology, 1997 1995-96
Michael G. Espey, Ph.D. Biology, 1995 1994-95
Lilee Cuff, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1995 1994-95
Anthony C. Tradico   1993-94
James J. Doherty, Ph.D. Biology, 1994 1993-94
Kent C. New, Ph.D. Microbiology, 1998 1992-93, 1993-94
Diana C. Glick, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1995 1992-93
Julianne C. Clifford, Ph.D. Biology, 1994 1992-93
Rita A. Ward, Ph.D. Biology, 1993 1991-92
Thomas C. Waidner, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1992 1991-92
Jonathan Kil   1991-92
Brent T. Harris, Ph.D. Pharmacology, 1995 1990-91
Stephen J. Gaudet, Ph.D. Biology, 1991 1990-91
Eefei Chen, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1993 1990-91
Ann M. McDermott, Ph.D. Biology, 1991 1989-90
James F. Kirby, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1993 1989-90
Constance Knauer, Ph.D. Chemistry, 2000 1988-89
Sunita V. Cooke, Ph.D. Biology, 1991 1988-89
Wendy I. White, Ph.D. Biology, 1989 1987-88
David M. Northrop, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1991 1987-88
Nancy L. Morris, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1989 1986-87
Mary E. Hooker, Ph.D. Biology, 1987 1986-87
Richard J. Cohen, M.S. Physics, 1986 1985-86
Bruce J. Acken, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1987 1983-84
John W. Wolf, Ph.D. Physics, 1988 1984-85
Jeri A. Boose, Ph.D. Biology, 1986 1984-85
James A. Warshaw, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1987 1983-84
Christopher E. Killian, Ph.D. Biology, 1985 1983-84
Geraldine M. Franklin   1982-83
Stephen C. Chalberg, Ph.D. Chemistry, 1983 1981-82
John A. Ives-Halperin, Ph.D. Biology, 1985 1980-81
Francis J. Hornicek, Ph.D. Physics, 1983 1980-81, 1982-83
John M. Hackney, Ph.D. Biology, 1984 1979-80
Michael M. Kornbluth   1978-79
Andrea C. Hall, Ph.D. Biology, 1981 1978-79
James R. Waterman, M.S. Physics, 1980 1977-78
Suzanne E. Ziska, Ph.D. Biology, 1984 1977-78
James F. Garvey   1977-78
Elizabeth Hepler   1975-76