Gemstone Honors Program

News - Spring 2010


April 27, 2010

The Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarships are among the best known and most prestigious scholarship opportunities open to rising seniors, graduating seniors and recent graduates of the University of Maryland, College Park. Each provides full support for graduate study either in the UK or Ireland. Among the leading qualities these scholarship programs look for are:

  1. An outstanding record of academic and intellectual achievement
  2. Strong public service and leadership experiences on or off-campus
  3. Serious interests in graduate study
  4. 4. A clear, focused ambition to make a difference in the world

If you believe you have these strengths, and would like to compete for chance a to spend 1-3 years studying at Oxford or other universities in the United Kingdom or Ireland, the National Scholarships Office (NSO) provides a full range of information and advice to students interested in learning about and applying for these scholarships. Brief descriptions are provided below. To learn more plan to attend our Rhodes/Marshall/Mitchell scholarship information workshop:

Friday, April 30 at 3:30 pm ? at the Maryland Room, Lower Level of Marie Mount Hall ? Please RSVP to if you plan to attend. If you are interested but unable to attend please send an email to the same address ?

ELIGIBILITY: US Citizens; Current Juniors, Graduating Seniors and Recent Grads (interested sophomores are encouraged to inquire as well); Min. GPA of 3.7

ROLLING DEADLINE: Applications for nomination to the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarship competitions may be submitted to the National Scholarships Office beginning May 1, 2010. Applications should be received no later than July 31, 2010. Preparing a strong application takes time and planning, so it pays to apply for nomination as early as possible. For an outline of nomination application requirements and procedures please contact the NSO at



A Rhodes scholarship offers the opportunity to study at Oxford University for one or two years, with all tuition fees paid and a living allowance provided. Thirty-two American Rhodes Scholars are selected from all over the nation to pursue a course of study of their own choosing at Oxford; students may work toward a master's degree or other advanced degree. Intellectual and academic achievement of a high standard is the first quality required of applicants, but they will also be expected to demonstrate integrity of character, interest in and respect for their fellow beings, the ability to lead, and the energy to use their talents to the full. For further information, visit the Rhodes website at

Marshall Scholarships support young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to forty Scholars are selected each year to study for two years either at graduate or occasionally undergraduate level at an UK institution in any field of study. The award allows the Scholars, who are the potential leaders, opinion-formers and decision-makers in their own country, to gain an understanding and appreciation of British values and the British way of life. It also establishes long-lasting ties between the peoples of Britain and the United States. In appointing scholars the selectors will look for distinction of intellect and character as evidenced both by their scholastic attainments and by their other activities and achievements. Selectors will also look for strong motivation and seriousness of purpose, and for candidates who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society. For further information, visit the Marshall website at

The George J. Mitchell Scholarships, named in honor of the former Senator's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, are intended to familiarize and engage the next generation of America's leaders with the island of Ireland. Mitchell Scholars may study any academic discipline offered in a degree or certificate program at an institution of higher learning in Ireland or Northern Ireland. The Selection Committee's overriding interest is the applicant's record of academic excellence, leadership, and community service. These Scholarships allow Americans to pursue one year of post-graduate study in any discipline offered at institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Mitchell Scholarship provides tuition and housing for one year along with international travel and a living expenses stipend. For further information, visit the Mitchell website at

If you are interested in learning about the Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell scholarships please contact the NSO at to schedule an appointment.

Goldwater Scholarship

April 12, 2010

Learn about the Goldwater Scholarship, the nation?s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship for students in science, math or engineering!!


The National Scholarships Office is holding information sessions over the next two weeks about the Goldwater Scholarship. If you are now a FRESHMAN or SOPHOMORE, you will be eligible to compete for nomination this coming fall 2010. Learn more by attending one of our upcoming sessions:

Friday, April 9 at 12 noon in 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to
Friday, April 9 at 4 pm in 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to
Monday, April 12 at 4 pm in 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to
Wednesday, April 14 at 12 noon in 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to
Thursday, April 15 at 12 noon in 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to

Please let us know by email to which session you plan to attend. If these times are not possible for you, but you are interested in learning more, please let us know at the same address.)

The deadline to apply for University of Maryland nomination for the Goldwater Scholarship will be Friday, November 12, 2010. For more information, read the description below and contact us at


Visit the Goldwater website at:

WHO CAN APPLY: US Citizens or Permanent Residents. Sophomores and Juniors, GPA of 3.7 or higher strongly recommended. Majors in Science, Math and Engineering fields


IMPORTANT: All candidates for Goldwater Scholarships must be nominated by their college or university.

CONTACT THE NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS OFFICE AT to learn more and for assistance with the application process. Dr. Robert Infantino is Maryland's faculty representative for the Goldwater Scholarship.

Description: The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering and to foster excellence in those fields. The awards will be made on the basis of merit to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue graduate study (usually a Ph.D.) in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. Up to 300 Goldwater Scholarships are awarded annually.

(Important note for pre-med students: Students who plan to study medicine are eligible for a Goldwater Scholarship ONLY if they plan a research career rather than a career as a medical doctor in a private practice.)

Award: Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually. Scholarship monies not used during one academic year are not transferable to the succeeding academic year. Junior-level scholarship recipients are eligible for a maximum of two years of scholarship support, and senior-level scholarship recipients are eligible for a maximum of one year of scholarship support.

UMCP Campus Deadline: Friday, November 12, 2010 ? This is the deadline for Maryland students applying for Goldwater nomination by the University of Maryland, College Park.

Fulbright Fellowship Program!

March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 30 at 12 noon at 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to
Wednesday, March 31 at 12 noon at 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to
Friday, April 2 at 3:00 pm at 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to

Wednesday, March 31 at 4:30 pm at 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to
Thursday, April 1 at 12 noon at 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to
Friday, April 2 at 12 noon at 2403 Marie Mount Hall. RSVP to

Who Can Apply: US Citizens. Current Juniors and Seniors, Recent Grads. All Majors, GPA of 3.4 or higher recommended. Campus Deadline: September 3, 2010

Fulbright Academic Research Grant: Opportunities to conduct research are available in over 150 countries. Students design their own study/research projects. These grants generally provide round-trip transportation; book and research allowances; living costs for the academic year, based on living costs in the host country; supplemental health and accident insurance; tuition, in some cases; and language or orientation courses, where appropriate.

Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships: Opportunities to teach English language and conversation classes are currently available in the following countries (the list is regularly updated and enlarged): France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Belgium, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Andorra; Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Venezuela; Egypt, Jordan, Turkey; Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Macau, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam; South Africa, Cameroon, Madagascar. A stipend is provided based on living costs in the host country. The Fulbright award covers round-trip international travel, health and accident insurance, and orientation costs.

Award Amounts: In general, Fulbright grants for study and teaching cover the following costs: Round-trip transportation to the host country; Maintenance for the academic year, based on living costs in the host country; Medical Insurance; and orientation programs, in some cases. Fulbright study grants may also provide: Book and research allowances; Full or partial tuition, in most cases.

Duration: Approximately one academic year; length and timing of awards varies by individual country and/or region.

UMCP Campus Deadline: September 3, 2010. Contact us at for details.

CAMPUS CONTACT: Francis DuVinage, Ph.D., Director, National Scholarships Office and Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research
2403 Marie Mount Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: (301) 314-9458
Fax: (301) 314-0085

Gems Camp Leader 2010!

February 18, 2010

Enthusiastic and dedicated Camp Leaders are vital to the success of Gems Camp! These Camp Leaders serve not only as mentors to the newest group of Gemstone students, but also as friends and role models.

Thoughts From A Gemstone Section Leader

February 2, 2010

Among the many unique opportunities within the Gemstone Program, one of the greatest is that of becoming a Section Leader (SL) for a Gems class. As a SL, upperclassman students get the chance to work with their younger peers to help guide them through the Gemstone experience. This semester I was lucky enough to be selected as an SL for GEMS100, and had such a chance to help freshman students make that big adjustment to life here in college.

Within the program, we all know and love GEMS100 for being the class where students play with Play-Doh, go on service field trips, and carry out a small-scale research project. It's a great time for students to really get to know each other, make some strong friendships, and get acclimated to the University of Maryland. What isn't so well-known about GEMS100, however, is how much work goes into planning and leading the class to make it a successful experience for all involved.

Thankfully Gemstone doesn't expect GEMS100 SLs to handle this load alone. Everyone gets a "co," who will serve as an equal partner in the teaching process. I was lucky enough to be matched with a close friend of mine who I've known since high school. When we found out we were going to be teaching together, we were ecstatic. We spent our whole summer planning lessons and activities to make our class the most fun ever! (This was our actual goal.) We created discussion questions for our class book, we made arrangements for University President Dan Mote to speak to our class for "guest speaker day", and we drafted a syllabus to hand to our students on Day One. Nothing, however, would prepare us for the experience of working with thirteen amazing freshmen.

We first met our students at the Freshman Welcome ceremony on the first day of class, and from that moment we knew we had something special on our hands. Some of the students were shy at first, but others certainly were not. It was immediately apparent that we had a great blend of personalities: some loud and some quiet, some engineering students and some government students, some from Maryland and some from out of state. It truly represented the diversity of the Gemstone program. For our first class we went straight to every Gemstone students' favorite activity: icebreakers! Within 90 minutes, it was easy to see new friendships being formed among these people who were just beginning their transition to college.

And the good times kept rolling all semester long. Our field trip to serve breakfast at a DC homeless shelter was one of the most poignant experiences; not only did we enjoy a great 5 am sing along session during the car ride into the city, but everyone said that they learned a lot about themselves by interacting with the people at the shelter. During classes we would go on to have in-depth discussion on topics like art, diversity, and liberal education. Most importantly to me, however, was when students would tell me first hand that they've gotten so much out of their GEMS100 class, which means more than anything to me as an SL.

Watching these students grow and form friendships is one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had, and I'm going to cherish the memories I've made as an SL for years to come. I'm already looking forward to next year's class!

The Sarah Gingrich Firebaugh Memorial Scholarship- By Anna Rammelkamp

February 2, 2010

The Gemstone community is excited to congratulate this year?s recipient of the Sarah Gingrich Firebaugh Memorial Scholarship, senior Gemstone student Jojo Entsuah. Each year, this scholarship is awarded to one exceptionally academically talented and well-rounded Gemstone student, majoring in engineering or science.

Sarah?s parents, Betsy and Frank Gingrich, her sister, Rachel Gingrich, and her husband, Joel Firebaugh, created a scholarship in her memory after she was killed in an automobile accident in 2007. Sarah was a member of the first Gemstone graduating class where she participated in research on nutrient management in the Chesapeake Bay. Aside from being an active member of the Gemstone community, Sarah was also a talented athlete and student, graduating in the top 5 percent of her class with a degree in chemistry. After graduating from Maryland, Sarah pursued her Masters in environmental engineering at Pennsylvania State University and went on to work for an environmental firm in Wyoming.

As a Mathematics and Economics double major and a member of the senior Gemstone team, Team Fun Implementation of Technology for New Exercise and Sport Styles (F.I.T.N.E.S.S.), Jojo certainly stands out as an academically gifted, versatile and hard-working student. The Gemstone community congratulates Jojo on his well-deserved recognition for a job well done and wishes him luck during the coming semester and life after graduation.