Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program Honors Top Students and Their Mentors

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Nov. 30, 2021 – Some of University of Maryland’s outstanding graduating seniors worked to address climate change, education gaps, and diversity, equity and inclusion. One senior wrote a textbook. Another has already been admitted to Harvard Law School, but first will serve in the Teach for America Corps in D.C.

However, the Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars program does more than recognize these seniors for their accomplishments, prestigious internships and impressive GPAs. It honors faculty and K-12 teachers who helped mentor them.

Each of the 19 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars being honored this week credits grade school and high school teachers and UMD faculty who helped guide, inspire, coach, tutor and challenge them in both big and small ways.

“Programs like these are critical to our students’ success,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “They celebrate invaluable mentorship that will have a long lasting impact on the lives of our students, while on campus and beyond. We are incredibly grateful for the individuals who have been instrumental to our students’ progress during their academic journeys.”

The late Philip Merrill, friend of the University and long-time Washington area publisher, created the Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program in 2004 to build a community of scholars, faculty members and K-12 teachers who recognize the importance of teaching and mentoring the next generation. The Scholars are selected by the academic colleges and schools with undergraduate major programs. The program provides $1,000 scholarships, which are awarded in the K-12 teacher’s name to another student from that school district who will attend UMD in the fall of 2022.

“The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program is creating an important legacy,” said William A. Cohen, Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies. “In recognizing that mentorship is at the heart of academic and personal achievement, these scholarships honor the K-12 teachers and UMD undergraduate faculty who support student success through academic guidance, encouragement, and support.”

A reception will be held on Dec. 3 at University House. The teachers also attend a workshop with Maryland faculty designed to strengthen collaboration between the University and K-12 schools.

The Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars for 2021-22 are:

    School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation

  • Duong Le
    Teacher Mentor: Jonathan Jeanes, Longwood High School, Middle Island, NY
    Faculty Mentor: Michael Abrams, School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation

  • College of Arts & Humanities

  • Marjorie Antonio
    American Studies, History
    Teacher Mentor: Jenny Pagliarini, Eastern Technical High School, Essex, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Katarina Keane, Department of History

  • Eunice Braimoh
    Teacher Mentor: Paula Roberts, Howard High School, Ellicott City, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Justin Lohr, Department of English

  • Daisy Yu
    Communication, Chemistry
    Teacher Mentor: Matthew Yates, DuFief Elementary School, Gaithersburg, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Brooke Fisher Liu, Department of Communication

  • College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

  • Kayleigh Hasson
    Criminology and Criminal Justice, Economics
    Teacher Mentor: Kristin Shoresman, Formerly of Centennial High School, Ellicott City, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Danielle Pafe, Teaching & Learning Transformation Center

  • Crystina Martinez
    Teacher Mentor: Elise Heil, Sacred Heart School, Washington, D.C.
    Faculty Mentor: Nazish Salahuddin, Department of Psychology

  • Imani Nokuri
    Government and Politics
    Teacher Mentor: Bill McCauley, Retired from Folly Quarter Middle School, Ellicott City, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Marshal Washington, Department of African American Studies

  • Robert H. Smith School of Business

  • Steven Ioannidis
    Supply Chain Management
    Teacher Mentor: Sean Moran, South Carroll High School, Sykesville, MD
    Faculty Mentor: David Kirsch, Department of Management & Organization

  • Genna Knoll
    Supply Chain Management, Information Systems
    Teacher Mentor: Catherine Tortoso, Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, Plainview, NY
    Faculty Mentor: Leland Gardner, Department of Logistics, Business and Public Policy

  • Ally Merwitz
    Operations Management and Business Analytics, Mathematics
    Teacher Mentor: Lynette Burns, Atholton High School, Columbia, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Joseph Bailey, Department of Decision, Operations and Information Technology

    College of Computer, Mathematical, & Natural Sciences

  • Simone Evans
    Biological Sciences
    Teacher Mentor: Carlo Echiverri, South River High School, Edgewater, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Karen Carleton, Department of Biology

  • Naveen Raman
    Computer Science, Mathematics
    Teacher Mentor: Heather Hennis, Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, MD
    Faculty Mentor: John Dickerson, Department of Computer Science

  • Sam Varga
    Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
    Teacher Mentor: Jessica Bosse, George Washington Carver Elementary School, Lexington Park, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Tim Canty, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

  • A. James Clark School of Engineering

  • Zachary Breit
    Computer Engineering
    Teacher Mentor: Jackie Gerstein, Middlesex High School, Middlesex, NJ
    Faculty Mentor: Fawzi Emad, Department of Computer Science

  • William Gerst
    Mechanical Engineering
    Teacher Mentor: Samuel Polack, Rockburn Elementary School, Elkridge, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Michael Galczynski, Keystone Program

  • Benjamin Wu
    Teacher Mentor: Matthew Davis, The Episcopal Academy, Newtown Square, PA
    Faculty Mentor: Yang Tao, Fischell Department of Bioengineering

  • Philip Merrill College of Journalism

  • Rina Torchinsky
    Journalism, Information Science
    Teacher Mentor: Thomas Worden, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Rockville, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Marissa Lang, College of Journalism

  • School of Public Health

  • Selena Cen
    Public Health Science, Spanish
    Teacher Mentor: Jennifer Street, Atholton High School, Columbia, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Saúl Sosnowski, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

  • Cali Platt
    Community Health, Public Policy
    Teacher Mentor: Laurel Barrett, Franklin High School, Reisterstown, MD
    Faculty Mentor: Donna Howard, Department of Behavioral and Community Health