Current Scholars

ARCS Foundation Utah is honored to present awards to these outstanding scholars chosen by the scholar selection committees

at the University of Utah College of Enginering and the Moran Eye Center. The ARCS Foundation Scholar Award is a one year

award of $15,000 that qualifies the scholar for other support during the remainder of their PhD program for a value of up to

$27,00 per year. 

2015 Scholars

 
Aniqua Baset
  • Computer Science, School of Computing, College of Engineering, University of Utah

  • Aniqua completed her MS in computer science and engineering at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. In her MS thesis, Aniqua explored the security and privacy threats to smart home systems. Her keen interest in computer security and privacy research brought her to University of Utah, where she will be involved in the study of human aspects in computer security. Born in Boston, MA and raised in Bangladesh. Aniqua is acquainted with the diverse range of tech-user experience and expectations across cultures. She derives inspiration from that and aspires to become an expert in the field and to have a meaningful impact in transforming the way security issues are dealt with.
     

Aniqua received the ARCS Foundation Utah Chapter Scholar Award. 

Amanda Reynolds

  • Bioengineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Amanda completed a BS in biochemistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville. As an honors undergraduate, Amanda worked as a research assistant in the Materials Science Department and Veterans Affairs Hospital. As a graduate student in Bioengineering, Amanda is interested in applying materials research in a biological environment, and in creating new materials and devices for the medical field. She aspires to an academic research career as a professor of bioengineering.
  •  

Amanda received second year funding as the Roche/ARCS Foundation Scholar Award in Life Sciences

 

Dr Nikko Ronquillo

  • Opthalmology, Moran Eye Center, University of Utah Medical Center
  • Nikko graduated summa cum laude from the University of Toledo with a BS in biology and chemistry, and received his MD/PhD at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Since 2010, he has worked as an MD/PhD researcher at Moran, working alongside world-renowned biochemist and genetic researcher, Wolfgang B. Baehr, PhD. During this time, Dr. Ronquillo became the acknowledged expert on Senior-Loken Syndrome (SLS), a rare inherited disease caused by a genetic mutation. As the first MD/PhD student to receive an F31 grant from the National Institutes of Health, he was able to fund his proposal to create a new animal model to delve deeper into SLS. He has since created a gene-therapy model and is collaborating with the National Eye Institute and an SLS family carrying the genetic mutation to research stem-cell therapy.

 

Nikko received the Randy Olsen Scholar Award

Jocelyn Todd

  • Bioengineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah 
  • Orthopaedics
  • graduated from the University of Iowa with a BSE in biomedical engineering with Highest Distinction. She developed an interest in orthopaedic biomechanics research, stemming from her experience as a cross country and track athlete and internship experiences at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, University of Iowa Orthopaedic Biomechanics Research Laboratory, and the University of Leipzig in Germany. She co-authored two papers studying biomechanics of surgical shoulder repair techniques with the Steadman Philippon Institute and completed an independent honors thesis project using finite element analysis to evaluate a total ankle replacement. Jocelyn was selected as a 2015 NSF Graduate Research Fellow and is conducting her graduate research in the Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory, where she is advised by Dr. Jeff Weiss. Her project utilizes finite element analysis to study the effects of cartilage defects in the hip.
     

Jocelyn received the 2015 ARCS Foundation Scholar Award

 

2014 Scholars

 

Philip Erickson
  • Computer Science, School of Computing, College of Engineering, University of Utah

  • Philip is a graduate ofBYU with a BS in electrical engineering and minors in computer science and mathematics. After working as a software engineer at L-3 Communications in Salt Lake City, Philip is returning to college to complete his PhD in Computer Science. At L-3, Philip was a team member on a multi-million dollar military communication system contract. As a graduate student, Philip hopes to master the knowledge and skills he needs to make a significant contribution to industry.

Philip received the ARCS Foundation Utah Chapter Scholar Award. 

Amanda Reynolds

  • Bioengineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Amanda completed a BS in biochemistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville. As an honors undergraduate, Amanda worked as a research assistant in the Materials Science Department and Veterans Affairs Hospital. As a graduate student in Bioengineering, Amanda is interested in applying materials research in a biological environment, and in creating new materials and devices for the medical field. She aspires to an academic research career as a professor of bioengineering.

Amanda received the Roche/ARCS Foundation Scholar Award in Life Sciences

 

Alex Szendrei

  • Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Alex graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern Maine with BS degrees in biology and chemistry. Most recently, he has been working as a chemist at Alere, a healthcare diagnostics and services company. As part of an NSF and UROP grant, he worked on solid state
    physics and nonlinear electrical components. As a graduate student Alex hopes to find a research focus in electrochemistry and electrical materials. 

Alex received the 2015 Dr. Stacy K. Firth Scholar Award given by Dr. Cecelia H. Foxley

 

Dr. Eileen Hwang

  • Ophthalmology, Moran Eye Center, University of Utah Medical Center
  • Eileen began her training in the MD/PhD program at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, where she was the beneficiary of an NIH F30 fellowship to study hereditary diseases of collagen. Upon graduation, she joined the prestigious ophthalmology residency program at the University of Utah Moran Eye Center. As a first-year resident, she has already made use of the ARCS Foundation support to investigate the role of
    genetic risk factors and serum biomarkers for age-related macular degeneration.

Eileen received the 2015 ARCS Foundation Scholar Award

 

2013 Scholars

 

Matthew Hamilton

  • Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests:  Reducing CO2 in the atmosphere as part of the combustion process. 
  • Matt received his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Utah.  He would like to teach at the university level and pursue research that will help minimize the human impact n the environment.  

Matt received the Stacy K. Firth Scholar Award donated by Dr. Cecelia H. Foxley

Michelle Hromatka

  • Computer Science, School of Computing, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Computer graphics and animation
  • Michelle graduated with a BA degree in computer science from the College of St. Benedict/St, John’s University in St. Joseph, Minnesota.  Michelle aspires to an academic career as a professor of computer science.

Michelle recieved the Utah Chapter Scholar Award

 

Megan Walsh, PE, CFM

  • Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Effects of urbanization on restoring water streams in Utah and other semi-arid regions.
  • Megan received her BS in Civil Engineering and MS degree in Environmental Pollution control from Pennsylvania State University.  Megan hopes to develop tools and training that will help watershed managers develop successful stream restoration. 

Megan was awarded the Founder's Award honoring Dr. Cece Foxley, ARCS Utah Founding President, made possible by donations from Dr. Anne Erickson, Ruth Novak, and anonymous ARCS Utah Chapter Members.

 

Dr. Brian Stagg

  • Ophthalmology, Moran Eye Center, University of Utah Medical Center
  • Research interests: Corneal Neovascularization, cataract surgery safety and efficiency and improvement of eye care delivered to indigent populations.  Brian graduated from the University of Utah School of Medicine in May 2012.  He is joining the Eye Moran Center as an ophthalmology resident. 
  • Dr. Stagg views research as a opportunity to improve patient care and have an impact on the future.

Brian received the Judith and Cliff Miller Scholar Award donated by Stanley Gold.

 

2012 Scholars

Jennifer Monski Bauer

  • Bioengineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Biomedical instrumentation and fluid dynamics of biological systems.
  • Jennifer received her BS in Biomedical Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.  She is determined to use engineering to improve the quality of medicine. She would like to develop new medical devices for use in point-of-care and diagnostic environments.

Katherine Lambert

  • Bioengineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Electrical stimulation for the treatment of neurological disorders.
  • Katherine earned her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Marquette University.

Megan Campbell Prestgard

  • Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Rare-earth oxides and the devices that can be fabricated from them.
  • Megan is the MSE NSF Outreach Team leader and is a member of the MSE Undergraduate Student Advisory Committee.

Dr. Brian E. Zaugg

  • MD degree, University of Utah
  • Research Interests:  Ophthamology
  • He became interested in medicine and ophthamology early in his under-graduate studies whil talking with an eighty you old patient whose site had been restored with cataract surgery.

2011 Scholars

Daman Bareiss

  • The Dr. Stracy K. Firth Scholar Award given by Dr. Cecelia H. Foxley
  • Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Robotics and controls
  • Daman received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University.  He has a three-year-old son and is looking forward to raising him in Salt Lake City.

Andrew N. Fisher

  • The James Lee Sorenson Award given by Mrs. Beverley T. Sorenson
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests:  Computers, mocrowaves and electromagnetics
  • Andrew erned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Florida in 2010.

Shannon K. Reynolds

  • Utah Chapter Award
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Water resources, sewer and storm water management, and gree infrastructure development.
  • Shannon earned an MS from the University of Utah in 2006 and has worked for five years as a project engineer for Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc. in Philadelphia.

2010 Scholars

Shannon Hanson

  • Utah Chapter Award
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Concrete materials and structures
  • Shannon has studied, worked/volunteered or presented papers in Hungary, Germany, Peru and Argentina

Nicholas Nolta

  • The James Lee Sorenson Award given by Mrs. Beverely T. Sorenson
  • Bioengineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Advanced neural interfaces
  • Nicholas has a passion for writing and has developed a student publication entitled The Sponge.

Joshua Sewell

  • The Dr. Stacy K. Firth Award given by Dr. Cecelia H. Foxley
  • Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah
  • Research Interests: Energy recovery and usage
  • Joshua and his wife, Sara, have a two-year-old daughter, Oakley Rae.

 

Shannon Hanson, Scholar Award 2010

“Being an ARCS scholar allowed me to choose my own project instead of taking on whatever project had funding, so I chose to continue working towards creating a more sustainable concrete infrastructure."

Dr. Siam Oottamasathien, Scholar Alum

“ARCS was truly significant to me because it was a strong catalyst for pursuing my basis science interests. The money and recognition was a tremendous stepping-stone. I am committed to basic science research as part of my future.”

Joshua Sewell, Dr. Stacy K. Firth Award 2010

“I am grateful to the ARCS program for the motivation that it has given me to achieve my goals.  I have always been a motivated person in all that I do, but being an ARCS scholar has made me strive harder, and study harder to achieve my goals. I believe that the advancement of science and engineering in our country is so important ,and I hope to make contributions to that advancement in the future.”