aspires to one day improve healthcare opportunities in disadvantaged communities across the country. Despite coming from an underprivileged background first in China, then England, and finally in the U.S., Cao achieved a wide range of academic success as an undergraduate studying physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland, College Park. It was through these accomplishments that he developed a strong moral obligation to give back to other impoverished communities. His efforts began as an undergraduate when he established and managed two tutoring programs for low-income high school students in his area. In addition, he volunteered at a local free medical clinic, seeing firsthand how inexpensive community-based health care is an important option for low-income persons. Cao has been accepted at Harvard Medical School and will defer his medical school training until 2017 as he studies as a 2015 Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
Nicholas Derr has set his sights on making an impact through scientific advancements, most specifically in the field of astrophysics. As a double major in applied math, engineering & physics and astronomy-physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he was the recipient of a number of notable academic honors and awards. In addition to remarkable academic achievements, Derr worked with NASA Goddard to create the first high-spectral resolution observations of lunar exospheric potassium—in short, a new way of looking at the Moon’s atmosphere. But he made an impact in his community, too, serving as a camp leader for the Camp Badger Exploring Engineering Program. The program provides an opportunity for low-income children to learn about
engineering and physics concepts. As a Marcus L. Urann Fellow, Derr is pursuing a master’s in applied mathematics and theoretical physics during a one-year intensive program at Cambridge University followed directly by a Ph.D. in mathematics at Harvard University.
Brian E. Emmert, Jr. is pursuing a career in geriatric medicine, a long-term goal that was spurred by his volunteer work with the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation after his sophomore year in high school. His interest in neuroscience applications of brain research continued as an undergraduate studying biology and psychology at Villanova University. While at Villanova, Emmert made an impact on campus both through academics and service. He served as a tutor for chemistry, biology and physics classes and as an annual medical staff volunteer for the Villanova Special Olympics. When not engaged in on-campus activities, he completed extensive hours of volunteer work with other Alzheimer’s related medical facilities in the Long Island area. In addition, he has made numerous presentations of his undergraduate research at professional meetings related to brain functions and memory. Using the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship, he will pursue an M.D. at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University.
Stephen Wenceslao Evans used his own personal experience while serving as the sole medical specialist in an Army combat engineer unit to help define his education and career path. As a medic he was responsible for the health of every soldier—including his own. While deployed in Iraq in 2009, Evans suffered devastating injuries when an explosion struck his vehicle during a route clearance mission. Suffering brain damage and extensive leg injuries were enough of a feat to combat, but Evans made the most of his situation. While working through recovery, he developed a curiosity for the brain and sensory perception. It was this interest, and his studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio, that led him toward a career path combining engineering with neuroscience. Most specifically, he plans to study how the brain transforms sensory data to produce motor outputs with hopes of developing a fully integrated brain-interface device. Evans is pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience at Stanford University.
Braden Hancock was selected as the Alice and Russell True Foundation Fellow9, which is awarded to a Marcus L. Urann Fellow pursuing a graduate education in the sciences. Hancock’s outstanding record of academic achievements, leadership and service activities came as an undergraduate studying mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University. While in high school, he engaged in summer research with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Then as an undergraduate, he enhanced his academic pursuits through summer research experiences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University. It was through these opportunities that he learned he wanted to tailor his education toward technology. From smart phones to smart cars and a smart power grid, he aims to play a part in the cyber world of optimization. Using the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship, he will pursue a graduate degree in electrical engineering with a focus on cyber security at Stanford University.
Ivón Padilla-Rodríguez, born to undocumented Mexican immigrants, grew up serving as a self-described translator, secretary, and accountant for her parents, who have since become naturalized U.S. citizens. While majoring in history and philosophy of ethics, law and politics at the University of Nevada, Reno, she discovered theater and became convinced of its power to encourage low-income students to pursue their passions. Using her passion for the arts, Padilla-Rodríguez co-founded a theatre company to help serve underprivileged youth. In addition, she conducted research on immigration reform at the UNR Latino Research Center, which she later presented to the U.S. Congress. Her academic studies coupled with her desire to serve have helped shape her career aspirations of becoming a legal advocate to improve the lives of low-income, undocumented Latino immigrants in the U.S. As a Marcus L. Urann Fellow, Padilla-Rodríguez is pursuing a joint Ph.D.-J.D. from Columbia University.
Back to top
Several of Phi Kappa Phi's Fellowships have been endowed by generous donors. Below is a list that details the Society's named fellowships and the contributors who made them possible:
1 Walter and Adelheid Hohenstein Fellows - Both Dr. Walter and Adelheid Hohenstein were initiated into Phi Kappa Phi at the University of Maryland. Dr. Hohenstein was actively involved with Phi Kappa Phi for more than three decades. In 2004, the first Hohenstein Fellow is awarded to a top ranking nominee in each of the 5 regions: Northeast, Southeast, North Central, South Central, Western and one recipient from the University of Maryland when applicable. If there is no appropriate recipient from the University of Maryland, then a Hohenstein Fellow should be selected on the basis of distinguished research or service.
2 Alfred M. Wolfe Fellow is awarded in his memory to a top ranking nominee majoring in Agriculture, Classical Latin/Ancient Greek, or English.
3 Yoerger Presidential Fellow - This fellowship, established in 2001 as a result of the generosity of Past National President Roger Yoerger is awarded each year to a student in one of the basic science disciplines (i.e., engineering, agriculture) rather than law or medicine.
4 Slater Fellow - In 1985, on his 95th birthday, Dr. James R. Slater, emeritus professor of biology at the University of Puget Sound, became the first member of the Society to make a special contribution to have a fellowship bear his name. In awarding the Slater Fellow, preference is given to the top scorer whose undergraduate field is in the biological sciences.
5 The Deborah and John Yeakel Fellow - Dr. John A. Yeakel and his wife Deborah Yeakel established the fellowship in 2011 to support graduate education for student nominees from the state of New Mexico. In the event that there are no nominees from a New Mexico chapter, the award will be given to any nominee pursuing graduate education in the fields of international relations, peace studies or conflict resolution. In the event that an individual meeting either criteria is not available, the award will be given to any nominee pursuing graduate education in any field other than law.
6 Marjorie Schoch Fellow is awarded to a top ranking nominee. Mrs. Schoch earned a B.A. from Butler University and a Master of Library Science from the University of Illinois. She also enjoyed photography and travel. She was a lifelong supporter of her local chapter and Phi Kappa Phi Foundation for which The Society has established a named fellowship in her memory.
7 Ruth E. Brasher Fellow - In recognition of years of dedicated services and in appreciation for her providing a planned gift to endow a fellowship, the Phi Kappa Phi Board of Directors created a named fellowship in honor of Dr. Ruth E. Brasher. The fellowship is awarded to the nominee from Chapter #058 at Brigham Young University should that nominee be chosen as a Fellowship recipient. If there is no fellowship recipient from this chapter, preference will be given to a recipient whose record of service is exceptional and/or whose undergraduate major is domestic and family science, should there be one.
8 Kathleen Greey Fellow - The Greey Fellowship was crested in 2001 to honor the memory of the late Kathleen Greey, a longtime chapter officer at Portland State University, who provided funds for this purpose in her estate plan. Preference will be given to one of the top-ranking nominee whose undergraduate field is other than the basic sciences.
9 The Alice and Russell True Foundation Fellow - Established in 2012, this distinction is awarded to a Marcus L. Urann Fellowship recipient pursuing graduate education in any science field.
10 The Agatha Huepenbecker Burnet Fellow - Established in 2015, this fellowship honors the memory of Agatha Huepenbecker Burnet, a dedicated chapter officer who served the Society in leadership roles at the national, regional and chapter levels. Burnet taught textiles and clothing at Iowa State University from 1956 until her retirement in 1993. The fellowship is awarded to a top-ranking nominee in any discipline.
Back to top