NFP Alumni Newsletter

Winter 2023


From the NFP and Scholars & Fellows Programs

We hope you've had a good summer and fall and are staying healthy and warm this winter!


It's been heartening to see student life return fully to in-person mode this year. Fellowship interviews and NFP's advising sessions have continued to be virtual or hybrid, taking advantage of the convenience of Zoom, but NFP's partner programs in Scholars & Fellows, Kessler Scholars and Cummings Scholars (formerly Baltimore Scholars & DC Scholars - more on that below), have leaned in to in-person programming and community-building.


We've welcomed a new staff member, said farewell one or our Program Coordinators, and continued to support students and alumni in applying to a range of fellowships. Please read on for details of our staff news, fall fellowships data and success stories, some new awards open to recent graduates to fund graduate school, and reminders about the evolving resources we offer.


Do you have news to share? Please let us know by emailing us or connecting with us on social media. We're continuing to build out our presence on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We particularly encourage you to join our LinkedIn group!

All best wishes,

Kathleen M. Barry

Associate Director, Scholars & Fellows Programs

NFP/Scholars & Fellows Staff News

We are delighted to share that Chelsey Jones has joined us as Assistant Director in Scholars & Fellows and Director of the new Cummings Scholars Program. Named to honor the late U.S. Representative from Baltimore, Elijah Cummings, Cummings Scholars is the successor to the long-standing Baltimore Scholars Program and the recently created DC Scholars Program, which extended unique financial and programming support to high-achieving students from Baltimore and Washington, DC public schools. Under the new Cummings Scholars Program, students from these districts will continue to receive generous scholarships but with even greater enrichment opportunities through summer grants, peer and faculty mentoring, career networking, connections with alumni, and other benefits.


Chelsey will lead Cummings Scholars in this exciting transition while also serving as a fellowships advisor for NFP. She joins us from The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, where for five years she managed the Pickering Fellowship, the Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship, and just launched the Clarke Diplomatic Security Fellowship on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. She has nearly a decade of experience in education, working in residence life at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, copywriting charter school assessments for the KIPP Wheatley portfolio, analyzing data for advocacy organizations like The Education Trust, and disbursing scholarships at a community college-oriented start-up. Chelsey grew up in central Virginia, has a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia, an MS in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University, and an MA in Education Policy and Social Analysis from Teachers College at Columbia University. Welcome, Chelsey - we're so grateful you're here!


We have good news about our other Assistant Director of Scholars & Fellows, too: Brent Fujioka has been named the Director of the Kessler Scholars Program, recognizing all his contributions since joining us in 2021 to build out the JHU Kessler Scholars Program. The program provides intensive support to high-achieving, service-minded students who are among the first in their family to attend college and choose to major in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.


We've also recently said a fond farewell to Program Coordinator Thera Naiman. We first got to know Thera as a PhD candidate in French history applying for a Fulbright. After completing her Fulbright grant in France, she joined us in mid-2020 as a Program Coordinator, helping advise applicants on Fulbright and other awards and contributing to outreach and many other projects. Thera has defended her dissertation and joined Census Open Innovation Labs as a Project Manager. Though we'll miss her, we thank her and wish her all the best!

Recent Finalists and Winners

Reaching the semi-final or final round for a highly competitive award is a huge accomplishment. A big congratulations to the following applicants who advanced in some of the most competitive fellowship selection processes out there!

Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Sam Martin ’23 (BS/MS, Neuroscience) – Finalist

Sam’s diverse experiences in neuroscience research at Hopkins have motivated him to pursue a career as a physician-scientist dedicated to better understanding of the dysfunction underlying many neuropsychiatric conditions. He has researched ophthalmic conditions and surgical treatments, misperception of visual features in peripheral vision, among other topics, and for his MS thesis, he is currently exploring the neural circuits that underlie spatial attention in barn owls in the Mysore lab. Sam is a captain of the men’s soccer team at JHU, has founded a scholarship program for Baltimore City high school athletes to encourage them to pursue STEM degrees in college, co-leads the JHU chapter of the service organization Circle K, and volunteers as a digital crisis counselor for the Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth. 

Marshall Scholarship

Nathan Mudrak ’22 (BS/MS, Molecular & Cellular Biology) – **2023 Marshall Scholar**

Nathan started college at 15 years old at Kent State University, completing a BS before attending Johns Hopkins. He has completed seven consecutive years of research, primarily on cell volume regulation and most recently for his master’s work in the Casadevell lab on melanization in the fungus Candida auris. His research has been shared in four peer-reviewed publications. Nathan served all four years at Johns Hopkins in student government, the latter three as class president, and spoke at the 2022 commencement ceremony. He was also a volunteer and peer mentor for Hopkins Community Connection, and has recently become a volunteer counselor for the Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth. As a Marshall Scholar, Nathan will pursue a DPhil in Paediatrics at the University of Oxford and then will pursue an MD after returning to the US. You can read more about Nathan in the Hub.

Anson Zhou ’23 (BS, Biomedical Engineering) – 2023 Marshall Alternate

While at Hopkins Anson has focused on gaining skills and experience in the design and translation of biotechnologies. With multiple design experiences and ventures beginning his first year tackling nerve regeneration after surgery, improving on pediatric feeding tubes, and other biomedical challenges, Anson has excelled in moving projects from the design stage to testing and commercialization. As a sophomore, he joined Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) as their youngest “Commercialization Fellow.” He has helped his projects secure more than $200,000 in grant funding, and is mentoring other rising entrepreneurs at HopStone Capital, a student-run venture capital firm that provides non-dilutive grants for startups founded by Johns Hopkins affiliates. Anson also works on the Access and Diversity Committee at the JHU Admissions Office and organizes mentoring initiatives for incoming biomedical engineering students.

Rhodes Scholarship

*All four Hopkins applicants were invited to interview this year.*

Sam Martin ’23 (BS/MS, Neuroscience, Psychology) – Finalist

Please see bio above

Nathan Mudrak ’22 (BS/MS, Molecular & Cellular Biology) – Finalist

Please see bio above

Holly Nelson ’23 (BA, English, History, Medicine, Science & the Humanities) – Finalist

Holly’s diverse artistic, literary, and historical interests have come together in research focused on Black theatre and dance and its connection to modernist literature. Her research earned her the Milton B. Strizever Award for the best Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship project in 2022. She has published portions of that work as well as her study of “shared sisterhood” among indigenous and settler women in the work of 19th-century Canadian author Anna Brownell Jameson. Holly is also an exceptionally energetic practitioner of the arts as a dancer, choreographer, and actor. She is president of the JHU Modern Dance Company and produces and choreographs for the JHU Ballet Company; she acts, directs, and produces with the Barnstormers and the John Astin Theatre (she has participated in more than thirty productions at Hopkins); and pursues vocal training. She also is president of the English Club and serves as a First-Year Mentor, among other commitments. 

Jerry Zhang ’22 (BS, Biomedical Engineering) – Finalist

While completing his bachelor's in three years at Hopkins, Jerry's passion for engineering blossomed into an affinity for leading design projects. He headed teams that developed a low-cost microscope to perform white blood cell count estimates for HIV patients in under-resourced settings, and a novel reusable, adaptable face mask to mitigate COVID-19 spread (a project that involved collaboration with more than twenty designers on multiple continents). Currently, Jerry is co-leader of the EquinOx team, which seeks to address the poor performance of pulse oximeters with patients of darker skin tones. Jerry’s teams have earned multiple large grants and prizes and, in a remarkable act of generosity, Jerry decided to dedicate his share of a $250,000 design innovation award, more than $50,000, to establish a new award for JHU peers, the Catalyst Award, which will fund early-stage undergraduate projects in STEM and the social sciences advancing human health (he is now working to raise an additional $50,000 to endow the award). Jerry has also committed deeply to supporting Thread, through grant writing and recruiting volunteer mentors. 

P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

Once again, NFP is delighted to have worked with a JHU affiliate who interviewed as a finalist for the P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Each year, 77 are named finalists from anywhere from 1,800 to 2,500 applicants and 30 fellowships are awarded. We look forward to sharing more details in our next newsletter...

Fall Applications

By the numbers

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

For this year’s application cycle, NFP tried out some changes to our advising process to create greater flexibility for applicants and increase inclusivity. What we didn’t know going in was that interest in Fulbright across the country fell significantly (about 20% fewer applicants than the previous year), a phenomenon we felt at Hopkins. Nonetheless, we were delighted to support another stellar group of applicants, who submitted 39 applications total: 13 English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) applications to 11 countries, and 26 study/research grant applications to 19 countries. We look forward to sharing Fulbright results in our next newsletter.


UK/Ireland Scholarships

The members of this year's cohort submitted applications for the Churchill Scholarship (1), Gates Cambridge Scholarship (3), Marshall Scholarship (5), and Rhodes Scholarship (4). Please see above to learn more about our finalists, alternate, and winner!


DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Scholarships & Grants – 2 applicants for one-year research grants to Germany.


Emerson National Hunger Fellowship – 2 applicants to spend a year immersed in anti-hunger/anti-poverty work at the community and national level.


Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship – 1 applicant for this three-year award to fund early-stage PhD work.


Gaither Junior Fellows Program – 2 applicants and 1 nominee for this research internship at the Carnegie International Endowment for Peace.


Hertz Fellowship – 1 applicant for this five-year award to fully fund a STEM PhD.


Luce Scholars Program – 3 applicants for this exchange program that provides a customized year-long internship in Asia.


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship – 34 applicants for this three-year graduate fellowship in STEM fields.


P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans – 6 applicants for this award that provides two years of funding for graduate study to “New Americans” (immigrants and children of immigrants).


Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute – 1 applicant for this summer study program and graduate school scholarship for juniors committed to a career in public affairs.


Princeton in Asia – 1 applicant (and finalist) for this one-year service placement in Asia.


Congratulations to all of our Fall 2022 applicants!

Changing Fellowships Landscape

Occasionally, we cheer news of new awards or lament the disappearance of others. This past year we did both.


First the good news. Last year saw the debut of three new opportunities to fund graduate study:

  • The Quad Fellowship is awarded each year to 100 exceptional American, Japanese, Australian, and Indian master’s and doctoral students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to study in the U.S. Five current JHU PhD students plus NFP alum Maya Foster ’20, 2020 Luce Scholar and current Yale PhD student, were part of the inaugural cohort of Quad Fellows. You can read more in the Hub.
  • The Samvid Scholars program selects about 20 students or recent graduates who are preparing to begin a fulltime MD, MBA, JD, MPP, MPH, EdD, or MS/MA in the social sciences or STEM and aspire to be changemakers.
  • McCall MacBain Scholarships are now open to US applicants to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University, while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program.


Additionally, the Obama Foundation launched a new award for rising juniors, the Voyager Scholarship, which provides undergraduate funding and very generous allocations for summer and post-graduation travel.


We were sorry to learn that the following well-known awards to fund graduate study and dissertation research have ended, however.

  • The Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship ended (though we’re delighted to say that JHU history PhD candidate Faisal Abualhassan won an award in the last funding cycle for the SSRC IDRF!).
  • The Ford Foundation announced that it will be retiring the predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships that for decades have been an essential funding source for promoting diversity in the US academy.  

Did you know that NFP has...

Expanded our weekly fellowships announcements to cover a much broader range of awards? We feature lots of postgraduate service and professional experiences open to alumni, some for several years after graduation, as well as various options to fund graduate school. You can sign up here for our weekly newsletter.

Increased the fellowship, scholarship and grant listings on our website to more than 100 awards? Please explore our awards directory if you haven't already. We also have a handy guide to other resources at Hopkins and beyond where else you can look to find awards that may suit your goals.

And you can follow us on social media, too!

LinkedIn  Twitter  Instagram