University of Arkansas Announces 2013 Sturgis Fellows

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences has selected four incoming freshman to receive the University of Arkansas Sturgis Fellowship. The 2013 Sturgis Fellows, all from Arkansas, are Arhita Dasgupta of Little Rock, Kassidy Joyner of Rogers, Will Pohlman of Prairie Grove, and Thomas Selig of Hot Springs.

 “The Sturgis Fellowship is one of the most prestigious academic awards we offer,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “These students have been recognized at the state and national level for their academic achievement and commitment to community service, and we expect them to continue these high standards at the University of Arkansas.”

The university’s oldest fellowship is made possible by the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust and awards each fellow $15,000 per year for four years. The scholarship covers tuition, room and board and provides support for educational tools such as computer hardware and software, high-quality musical instruments, professional journals and participation at educational conferences. Sturgis Fellows must pursue a major within Fulbright College, complete an intensive academic program and graduate with honors.

“The Sturgis Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for our most talented students to join a tradition that is over two decades old already,” said Sidney Burris, director of the Fulbright College honors studies program and chair of the selection committee. “All of the recipients are exceptionally talented and have already demonstrated extraordinary academic performance.”

2013 Sturgis Fellows:

Arhita Dasgupta

Arhita Dasgupta graduated from Central High School. She has received several awards competing in international, national, state and regional science fairs as well as awards from the Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers’ Association for Spanish in extemporaneous speaking, trivia and poetry recitation. Her leadership experience includes serving as president of National Honor Society. Her volunteer activities include tutoring elementary school students at the Boys and Girls Club of Little Rock. Dasgupta plans to major in biochemistry and Spanish. Her parents are Shree and Tonmoy Dasgupta.

Kassidy Joyner

Kassidy Joyner graduated from Rogers Heritage High School where she was an active member of French Club, Future Business Leaders of America and Health Occupations Students of America. Her leadership experience includes serving as president of German Club and vice president of National Honor Society. She has received awards from the Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers’ Association for French and German. She is a National Merit Scholar and an Advance Placement scholar with distinction. Joyner plans to study biology and Japanese. Her parents are Jennifer and Clay Joyner.

Will Pohlman

Will Pohlman graduated from Prairie Grove High School. He was an active member of band, Future Business Leaders of America, the National FFA Organization, National Honor Society and Quiz Bowl. His leadership experience includes serving as a state officer for 4-H and state president of the Arkansas Junior Angus Association. He was chosen as a 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholar and Governor’s Distinguished Scholar. His volunteer activities include leading a countywide collection for items needed by local homeless shelters and humane societies and shampoo and soap collections for soldiers serving overseas. Pohlman plans to major in biochemistry and animal science. His parents are Tami and Fred Pohlman.

Thomas Selig

Thomas Selig graduated from Lakeside High School. He is a National Merit Scholar, Advanced Placement scholar with distinction and Arkansas Times Academic All Star. His leadership experience includes serving as a delegate to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program, secretary of state for Arkansas Boys State, National Honor Society president and Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica national Spanish honors society vice president. He has volunteered at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and as a mathematics and chemistry tutor. Selig plans to study political science, business economics and Spanish. His parents are Mary Jo and Paul Selig.

A committee of Fulbright College faculty and staff members chose the recipients based on a rigorous application that included an academic resume, essays, book lists, letters of recommendation, high school transcripts and interviews.

“This selection process is always difficult because we receive applications from so many impressive and varied students,” said Burris. “Every year the committee members marvel at the early accomplishments and future aspirations of these young scholars.”

The Sturgis Fellowship has brought remarkable students to Fulbright College for more than 20 years and helps its recipients to compete for top national awards and gain admission into prominent graduate and professional schools. Previous Sturgis Fellows have won Fulbright, Gates Cambridge, Goldwater, Marshall, Rhodes and Truman Scholarships. Fellows have studied abroad in India, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, China, Russia, Italy, Germany, Austria, Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Spain and Bulgaria.


Sidney Burris, director, Fulbright College Honors Program
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law

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