Announcing the 2015 Presidential Fellows

The Graduate School at the University of South Carolina is pleased to announce our 2015 Presidential Fellows, recipients of USC’s highest university-wide award for promise of excellence at the graduate level. This year’s 25 new Fellows will bring the total number of USC Presidential Fellow recipients to 135 since the program's inception six years ago.

A Flagship Program

Unique among peer institutions for its reach across disciplines and focus on professional development, the merit-based Presidential Fellowship program was developed in 2010 by The Graduate School to increase USC’s competiveness in recruiting outstanding doctoral and MFA applicants.

All Presidential Fellows enjoy a supplemental stipend—$4,000 per semester—$32,000 for doctoral students and $20,000 for MFA students. This amount is given in addition to teaching and research assistantships Fellows receive from their academic programs.

Comprising a diverse group of emerging scholars, Fellows benefit from an innovative series of seminars. Jessica Elfenbein, Senior Associate Dean of The Graduate School and Professor of History, facilitates the seminars, which are designed to provide professional development and multidisciplinary community building among scholars in a wide range of research areas. The Presidential Fellows seminars include a partnership featuring the Office of Fellowships & Scholar Programs in a targeted effort to support first year Presidential Fellows as applicants for NSF, Fulbright, and Ford Foundation scholarships; innovative work with Career Services and the Office of Research; workshops on communicating research and publishing; discussions of work-life issues; and time with USC’s President, Provost, and Dean of Graduate Studies, in addition to work-in-progress presentations by third year Fellows.

Presidential Fellows are nominated to The Graduate School by graduate directors prior to an applicant’s matriculation at USC. Successful candidates have promising research agendas or creative projects, accomplished academic records, and superior standardized test scores or impressive portfolios.

Meet Our 2015 Fellows

This year's Fellows comprise 23 doctoral students and 1 MFA student, the program’s second largest cohort to date. Incoming Fellows will enroll in 20 different academic programs in six colleges and schools (Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, HRSM, and Public Health). The 2015 Presidential Fellows include students who have earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at a range of institutions, including West Point, Stanford, Middlebury, Duke, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Carnegie Mellon, Kenyon, LSU, China Agricultural, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Manchester Community College, American, and Ohio State. Four of the entering students hold degrees from USC (three undergraduate and one master’s degree). USC’s programs in Statistics, Photography, and Counselor Education will welcome their first ever Presidential Fellows. 

The 2015 Presidential Fellows and their programs are:

Spencer Babb, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Sean Bath, Geography

Seth Brake, Political Science

Casey Cole, Computer Science and Engineering

Nicholas Danne, Philosophy

Jordan Ezell, School Psychology

Jerrod Fussnecker, Political Science

Ennan Gu, Statistics

Alexander Hall, Experimental Psychology

Samantha Hartley, Clinical-Community Psychology

Laura Irei, Creative Writing (MFA)

Owen Jensen, Geological Sciences

Sarah Judge, Business Administration

Adam Lutz, Exercise Science

Kellia Moore, English

Lorelei Phillip, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Katherine Reifurth, Sport and Entertainment Management

Stephen Rosnick, English

Lara Schneider, Epidemiology

Madeline Steiner, History

Malik Tahiyat, Mechanical Engineering

Christine Weber, Experimental Psychology

Joseph Wofford, Counselor Education

Melek Yildiz Spinel, Clinical-Community Psychology