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Merrill Presidential Scholars Program

The 2011-2012 Merrill Presidential Scholars

View Images from the 2011 Luncheon

Diane Peng
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Nkemka Anyiwo
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Bryan Holler
College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

Morgan Gibson
Philip Merrill School of Journalism

Kayleen Kulesza
School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

Justine Dombroski
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Maria Santa Mangione
College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

Christopher Day
School of Public Health

Raha Behnam
College of Arts and Humanities

Paul Moon
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Adina Schwartz
College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

Kelly Protzko
School of Public Health

Ellie Farr
College of Arts and Humanities

Kevin Cencula
Robert H. Smith School of Business

Kim Davison
College of Education

Manka Banda
Undergraduate Studies

Kiara Tinch
College of Arts and Humanities

Emily Pearson
Robert H. Smith School of Business

Kathleen Hendrick
A. James Clark School of Engineering


Wenfei Zhou
College of Arts and Humanities

Chelsea Riedel
Robert H. Smith School of Business

Saara A. Khan
A. James Clark School of Engineering


Sarah Alio
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Holman Gao
College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

Phillip Sandborn
A. James Clark School of Engineering



Past Merrill Presidential Scholars

The 2011-2012 Merrill Scholars (Pictures and Statements)
View Images from the 2011 Luncheon

The 2010-2011 Merrill Scholars (Pictures and Statements)
View Images from the 2010 Luncheon

The 2009-2010 Merrill Scholars (Pictures and Statements)
View Images from the 2009 Luncheon

The 2008-2009 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and Statements and Luncheon Slideshow

For a print version of the Scholars' statement and pictures.

View an image slideshow from the 2008 Merrill Presidential Scholars Luncheon
The Merrill Presidential Scholars were joined by high school teachers and university faculty at a luncheon honoring the students and their teachers.

The 2007-2008 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and statements.  

For a print version of the 2007-2008 Merrill Presidential Scholars

Pictures from the 2007 Merrill Presidential Scholars Luncheon
The Merrill Presidential Scholars were joined by high school teachers and university faculty at a luncheon honoring the students and their teachers.

The 2006-2007 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and statements.  
Pictures from the 2006 Merrill Presidential Scholars Luncheon
The Merrill Presidential Scholars were joined by high school teachers and university faculty at a luncheon honoring the students and their teachers.

The 2005-2006 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and statements.
Pictures from the 2005 Merrill Presidential Scholars Luncheon

The Merrill Presidential Scholars were joined by high school teachers and university faculty at a luncheon honoring the students and their teachers. Here are two slideshows of images from the event for you to view.

The 2004-2005 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and statements.

The 2011-2012 Merrill Presidential Scholars

Diane PengDiane Peng
I learn best in a laid-back, humorous setting. Mr. Dale Harriman, my high school Calculus AB and BC teacher, taught me that math doesn't always have to be dry and boring. Derivatives, integrals, and functions were supplemented with numerous jokes, impeccable stick figure drawings, and dessert Fridays. I was always entertained in class and looked forward to what Mr. Harriman would talk about that day.  Calculus, usually one of the most hated subjects in high school, was a favorite of many people at my high school. At the University of Maryland, Dr. Andrew Baldwin has been a truly engaging and amusing lab director. Since starting in his Wetlands Ecology and Engineering Lab two years ago, I have gained a new outlook on fieldwork and research. From working with Professor Baldwin and the graduate students in the lab, I have learned that you can take your research seriously and still be able to have fun getting completely covered in mud in the wetlands. I have been blessed to have these two people enliven my education and hope that I will come across more people like them after college.


Kayleen KuleszaKayleen Kulesza
It is never possible to achieve success without the help of mentors. I attribute my greatest academic successes to the influence of Mr. Jeffrey Hollenbach and Dr. Robert Lindley Vann.  As my 10th grade pre-calculus teacher, Mr. Hollenbach had an early impact on my chosen academic paths. His passion for teaching and his interest in his students' successes allowed me to push myself to be the best student I was able to be. Mathematics made logical sense and clicked for me then and throughout the rest of my academic career. His influence led me to marry my artistic talents with my logical abilities to pursue a career in architecture. At the University of Maryland, Dr. Robert Lindley Vann has been one of the most influential mentors in my academic career. I have been fortunate to take four classes in architectural history and archaeology and study abroad in Italy with Dr. Vann, as well as embark on individual research in ancient Roman domestic architecture under his guidance. Dr. Vann's passion for history and his expertise in the field have provided me with fruitful research and learning opportunities that have driven my interests in domestic architecture.
Professor Vann was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2006-2007 and a 2009-2010 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

Raha BenhamRaha Behnam
The most profoundly influential people in my life have always been teachers and mentors who modeled and embodied the type of person I hope to become. My eleventh grade English teacher, Ms. Maria-Nunez Gaylor, was a strong, commanding and compassionate instructor. She listened to my opinions and ideas with care but also encouraged me to push myself and challenge my own limits. In her class, I felt that I could rise to the occasion and take on projects that seemed difficult and overwhelming. During my time at the University of Maryland, I have had the opportunity to learn from a variety of incredible teachers. Professor Sharon Mansur's guidance has been especially important. From her, I have learned not to take anything at face value, to be open to ambiguity and unexpected occurrences, and to appreciate my own questions and uncertainties about the world. Under her guidance, I have felt that I could truly explore my own perspectives in dance and in life.


Ellie FarrEllie Farr
I have been very lucky to have two Spanish mentors who were deeply invested in my education:  my high school Spanish teacher Mrs. Marla Chernick, and my study abroad professor, advisor, and travel guide Dr. Regina Harrison. Mrs. Chernick was always an integral part of my Spanish education and helped me fall in love with the language, the literature and the culture of Spain. Dr. Harrison helped me bring that multifaceted Spanish education full circle as I studied in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. She motivates me to get the most intense education I can while abroad and supports me as a student as I work through difficult literature and conversational moments. Dr. Harrison has been a wonderful source of information as well and has exposed me to a wide variety of Spanish culture that I would not have found on my own.  Both of my teachers have made Spanish classes a joy to take; they are the reason I continue to study this wonderful language!

Kiara TinchKiara Tinch
The performing arts create a special relationship between the classroom and stage when explored in an educational setting. My educational experience has been defined by this relationship under the guidance of mentors. During my secondary education, Ms. Carolyn Buck exposed me to the possibility of merging my academic interests into the creative arts. As both a teacher and director, she explored the importance of making classics relevant both on and off the stage. Throughout my collegiate experience Professor Leslie Felbain has cultivated my developing curiosity for ways to engage the classroom and stage in conversation during my study of theatre performance. Under her guidance, I have been encouraged to take risks in approaching the performing arts with work that is a relevant commentary on current issues. Both of my mentors have made the world my classroom through their encouragement of intellectual approaches to the performing arts.
Professor Felbain was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2007-2008 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.


Wenfei ZhouWenfei Zhou
Mr. Nelson was one of those quirky English teachers who not only taught you how to diagram a sentence but also how to think according to Socrates, Plato, Nietzsche, and Hegel. His mentorship and belief in the value of liberal arts education inspired my choice of college major and sparked my intellectual curiosity about to the ability of language to carry thoughts. Mr. Nelson presented his students with paradigms, methods, and creative problem-solving skills, surpassing the rote memorization and five-paragraph essays often associated with English classes. He challenged my world view and cultivated my passion for humanistic inquiry.  At the University, I met Professor Jonathan Auerbach through his celebrated American Literature course. His lectures captivated me. His close readings and renderings of contemporary thoughts changed the way I approached knowledge. I found my passions in intellectual history, 19th century literature, and science fiction.  Dr. Auerbach's career guidance helped me navigate the jungles of academia and graduate school. His supportive comments and frank presentation of academic job markets, as well as my intellectual weaknesses, reassured me in my dream to become a professor.  Currently, I am doing my honor thesis under his guidance. His support and helpful feedback exemplify the value of mentorship with a critical twist.


Sarah Alio
Mr. Henning forced his students to be on top of current events and to understand what was happening in the real world. His exams required the application of knowledge instead of memorization and rehash of class notes; he prepared us for college. During Saturday morning mock trial rehearsals, Mr. Henning fostered my ability to defend an argument. During direct and cross-examination, he inquired about facts, poked holes in my testimony, and even provoked rage in the character I portrayed on the stand. He taught me to have emotion, but to keep my composure. The skill of forming an argument backed by credible evidence proved most valuable when I entered the University.  After completing an entry-level statistics course, I told the instructor how much I enjoyed it. Professor Paternoster was shocked to find me so passionate about statistics. He offered to supplement my newly established skill set with an independent study.  He helped to improve my methodological approach to research, and my explanatory skills.  He suggested beneficial courses, potential internships, and career possibilities. The statistical tools I learned with Dr. Paternoster made me a standout candidate for an internship with the National Consortium for The Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism and prepared me for the Criminal Justice Honors Program.  Professor Paternoster continued to guide me through challenging coursework and helped pave the path for my future.  


Nkemka AnyiwoNkemka Anyiwo
Mr. Otis Harris was one of my most influential teachers. He ran a program called Kings and Queens at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. The information and guidance I received in that program inspired me to excel in life. I learned about college admission processes and how to prepare myself for admission to the school of my choice. Exposure to African American history gave me pride in the accomplishments of my people. Mr. Harris constantly reminded us that we were kings and queens and that he expected the best from us. Mr. Harris's guidance gave me the extra push to excel academically in middle school and beyond.  When I entered the University of Maryland, I knew that I must do well to get into a graduate school for psychology, but I wasn't clear on other requirements. Professor Nickerson's guidance helped me determine what area of psychology I was interested in and what I needed to do in order to be competitive for graduate studies. He helped me connect with faculty members doing research in a subject that I was passionate about. Professor Nickerson continues to provide me with information on programs related to my field and to remind me to stay focused and motivated in order to succeed with my career ambitions.

Justine DombrowskiJustine Dombroski
There have been many wonderful teachers in my life who have helped me develop into the student I am today. Mrs. Joyce was my biology teacher during freshman year of high school.  Her class was very enjoyable and she sparked my interest in the sciences.  Senior year I was lucky to have her as a teacher for AP Environmental Sciences.  I learned a great deal about pertinent issues in our world and scored well on the exam.  Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Joyce runs an Italian Exchange program.  Under her supervision, I was able to travel outside the country for the first time.  This trip was one of the most memorable and educational experiences of my life.  At Maryland, I have been fortunate to have Dr. Newman as a mentor.  Ever since I became an undergraduate assistant in her laboratory, Dr. Newman has been a major influence in my academic life.  Through her guidance and support I chose to start my own research and eventually complete an undergraduate thesis.  Dr. Newman has also given me the opportunity to learn outside the classroom and gain experience that will be pivotal to my success in graduate school.  Both of my mentors have challenged me to become a better student and have inspired me with their hard work and strong dedication to their fields.


Paul MoonPaul Moon
I have been blessed to know many caring and knowledgeable mentors who inspired me to be the best I can be. They have helped me overcome hardships and difficult times in my life with kind words of encouragement and gestures of understanding. Mr. Peter Julius, one of my high school teachers, was one such mentor. He constantly challenged me to apply what I learned in school to real life. In his public policy class, he expected us to keep up with current events and to question government policies, opening my mind to world events and making me socially conscious. He was a dedicated teacher who taught the material thoroughly and helped us build character. Mr. Peter Julius inspired me to pursue sociology and become more involved in the community.  Dr. Linda Moghadam has been one of my most significant mentors in college.  She always makes herself available to speak to me and is genuinely interested in my academic studies and personal aspirations. She encourages me to improve myself and introduced me to the Sociology Honors Program. Without these two extraordinary mentors, I would not be where I am today.
Professor Moghadam was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2009-2010 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

Kevin CenculaKevin Cencula
My mentors have had an important impact on my life. Ms. Genevieve Kelley, my calculus teacher at Magruder High School, is one of those mentors.  She is one of the most inspiring people that I have ever met.  I enjoyed her class, but more importantly, I appreciated the passion with which she taught the subject.  Ms. Kelley showed me the importance of finding my own passion in life; because of her, I have discovered something that I truly love in supply chain management.  Dr. Philip Evers, one of my supply chain professors, is another individual whom I really admire.  In addition to being a fantastic lecturer, he demonstrates a great deal of care and respect for his students.  On every trip or site visit with the Supply Chain Fellows Program, he encourages students to immerse themselves in the world of supply chain management and take advantage of each and every opportunity.  Dr. Evers has helped me grow into a more confident professional; thanks to him, I feel ready to take on the challenges of the real world.  I do not know where I would be today without the help of these two irreplaceable mentors.


Emily PearsonEmily Pearson
Commitment, hard work, and teamwork are traits I possess. They are also the characteristics that Mr. Shipley, my high school crew coach, and Dr. Bailey, my QUEST professor, have helped me develop. Mr. Shipley introduced me to rowing as well as teamwork and dedication. He showed me that it takes more than one individual's hard work for a team to excel; it takes the team's commitment to a common goal. Stressing the importance of trust and respect between team members, Mr. Shipley showed me how to cope with the outcomes whether those traits are present or absent. Dr. Bailey expanded my skills as a strong team member, working to translate what I learned about teamwork on a sports team to a business setting. He exemplifies the notion that if you work hard and are passionate about something, there is no limit to what you can do. His past experiences, side jobs, and work within QUEST show how far commitment and passion can carry you. Both Mr. Shipley and Dr. Bailey have shown me the importance of figuring out what I want to do, committing to it, working with others to push it forward, and never limiting myself in what I think I can achieve.

Chelsea RiedelChelsea Riedel
Over the course of my education, I have been blessed with two invaluable mentors. As the Principal of Trinity School, Sister Catherine Phelps played a vital role in the development of my personal character. Her steadfast belief that each of us has been created to serve a unique purpose still inspires me to achieve to my fullest capacity as both a student and a member of my community. My current mentor, Patricia Cleveland, Associate Dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business, has empowered me to realize my potential as an effective leader.  Her unwavering passion motivates me for every challenge. The opportunities that Dean Cleveland has helped me obtain over the past three years have proved integral in my professional growth. I am truly grateful for the lasting impressions that both of my mentors have made on my intellectual and personal development.
Professor Cleveland was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2004-2005 and a 2010-2011 Philip Merril Presidential Scholar.


Holman GaoHolman Gao
I find it remarkable that my high school physics teacher, Mr. James Schafer, still influences me.  From day one, he had a genuine interest in getting to know his students, and having his students know him.  He would always bring to class the rare combination of patience and enthusiasm, which together made it easy for anyone to learn.  The qualities that made him a great teacher also made him great to be around, which is why I continue to look to him as a role model. In college, Dr. Lawrence Washington has been very helpful to me as a career advisor.  On numerous occasions, he has taken the time to have long chats with me about the uncertainty I have about my future. Because he knows the field of applied mathematics well, he has provided useful insight on the different career paths; this has helped me make the right call on several tough decisions.  His guidance has been invaluable in my pursuit to find the optimal career path. I am extremely grateful to both of these teachers for their positive impact on my life beyond the scope of teaching.
Professor Washington was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2008-2009 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.
Mr. Schafer was named a Teacher Mentor by a 2006-2007 Philip Merril Presidential Scholar.

Bryan HollerBryan Holler
As a second grade student, I was obsessed with learning the capitals of every state. In third grade, I wanted to win the State Stomp, a competition that took place on a map of the United States painted on the blacktop outside the elementary school. My second grade teacher, Ms. Joyce Peaco, was my trainer for the competition. Every day at recess she would yell out capitals and I would run and stomp on the respective states. With her help I was able to win the State Stomp in record time! I still remember all the state capitals and how Ms. Peaco helped me learn them. Dr. Cole Miller accepted me as an undergraduate research assistant last semester on a project that could change the world (of astronomy). In his characteristic style he has guided me through the fundamentals of C programming and the science of neutron stars. I have come to believe that his motto for learning is "No pain, no gain." In our discussions, he allows me to tread paths of incorrect reasoning until I realize where I have gone wrong; at which point, he smiles mischievously and guides me towards a correct line of thought.


Maria Santa MangioneMaria Santa Mangione
Without Mr. Peri's enthusiasm, I don't know if I would be majoring in cell biology and genetics today.  Not only did he teach me the basics of biology, but he showed me that it is okay to embrace my love for science even when some of my peers dread it!  By encouraging me to strengthen my problem solving skills and explore new scientific fields both inside and outside of the classroom, he prepared me for the academics at the University of Maryland.  At the University of Maryland, I have encountered many faculty members such as Dr. El-Sayed who are equally encouraging.  His willingness to explain new concepts keeps me asking questions, and his patience as I answer challenging questions allows me to strengthen my critical thinking skills.  Without the help of teachers like Mr. Peri and Dr. El-Sayed, I would not have accomplished everything that I have thus far, and I would not have the confidence to continue with a career in the sciences.

Adine SchwartzAdina Schwartz
I have been fortunate to have some wonderful teachers. However, only a few are mentors who have helped shape the person I am today. Mrs. Linda Benish was my history and English teacher in middle school. She introduced me to a world of learning that was beyond the classroom and textbooks. Mrs. Benish was also a mentor, guiding me through difficult years and helping me develop into a mature and confident person. Mrs. Benish taught me to yearn for knowledge and to take pride in who I am and in my accomplishments. At the University of Maryland, Dr. Daphne Soares has fostered my love for science by providing me with a fun and creative environment in her lab. Through the study of fish, I have learned how to see science in a new way – the intricacies and details that create the foundation for understanding the bigger picture. Dr. Soares has helped me develop research skills and to strive for the best. Through her guidance, I have been able to get a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship to fund further studies and hopefully to make a new discovery in the field of neuroscience. Both Mrs. Benish and Dr. Soares have helped me grow into the successful student I am today. 

Kim DavisonKim Davison
My teachers have had a significant impact on the type of person I am today.  Two of the most influential have been Mrs. Tawney Smith and Mr. James DeGeorge. Mrs. Smith taught me 9th grade English at Frederick High School and guided me through completing my senior project. Her lessons about writing essays resonate with me as I complete essays for my Early Childhood classes. Her high expectations and support helped me to develop a love for writing and to reach my full potential as a writer. Mrs. Smith taught me that teachers have to initiate the process of getting to know their students as individuals and of letting their students get to know them. I still cherish the relationship we built. In my freshman year at Maryland, I met my mentor, Mr. James DeGeorge, through the College Park Scholars Advocates for Children Program. I studied abroad with Mr. DeGeorge in the winter of 2009. His passion for working with and helping children has inspired me to treat every child as an individual and to push myself further to assist children in need. Even though I no longer have classes with Mr. DeGeorge, I know I can still depend on him to be there for me. When I become a teacher, I hope to possess the same dedication and passion that Mrs. Smith and Mr. DeGeorge have demonstrated.


Kathleen HendrickKathleen Hendrick
Throughout my four years at Rumson Fair-Haven Regional High School, Ms. Okeson always encouraged me to question who and where I was, and think about whom and where I wanted to be.  She was someone I looked up to for her ability to think creativity and to inspire people, and she was a friend, very aware of me as a person. I credit her for teaching me to constantly remind myself to be an individual and establish what defines me as a person. Dr. David Lovell has been a mentor to me for the past three years through my involvement with Engineers Without Borders.  He has taught me more about engineering than any textbook could, and most importantly, how to think like an engineer.  He has pushed me beyond all limits I have ever set for myself and has provided the crucial guidance that I have needed to successfully lead a project team.  His door is always open to students seeking advice, expertise, or just a good laugh. 




Saara KhanSaara A. Khan
I am extraordinarily grateful to all the mentors I have had in my academic career. In high school, I remember being very unsure of what I wanted to do in college and I often felt somewhat unmotivated towards my schoolwork.  My attitude and outlook changed drastically when I took Honors Physics with Mr. Richards.  His passion and talent for teaching instantly engaged me in studying engineering and physics.  Through his class I became involved in the Physics Olympics at the University of Maryland and Montgomery County's Final Frontiers competitions.  I fell in love with engineering and decided to pursue Electrical Engineering at Maryland.  At the University I have been in the presence of many great professors and in particular I would like to thank Professor Lawson for his continued dedication to his students.  I have been fortunate to have had Professor Lawson for Circuit Theory and Engineering Ethics.  Professor Lawson's interactive teaching style and availability to students allowed me to learn the fundamentals of circuit theory and engineering ethics extremely well.  Being a teaching fellow has further showed me the importance of having outstanding professors and mentors.  I would like to thank Mr. Richards, Professor Lawson, and all of my professors for helping me to build a strong engineering foundation that I will have for the rest of my life. 

Phillip SandbornPhillip Sandborn
I had many great teachers in high school, but Ms. Betsy Fetchko stands out as one of the best and most inspiring. Ms. Fetchko taught my 11th grade American literature course, where I read and digested novels, poems, and speeches, getting to the root of why they were written and what they meant to me.  She was the first teacher who challenged me to step outside the boundaries of the class and to think critically about the world around me.  I believe that Ms. Fetchko lit a spark of creativity inside me – creativity that has enabled me to achieve great things in my academic career.  Dr. Gilmer Blankenship has a knack for inspiring students to solve impossible problems.  He introduced me to topics in electrical engineering in a sophomore-level class; I quickly understood his passion for helping students become great engineers.  He has inspired me to aim high and always to look for opportunities to learn something new.  Dr. Blankenship's example motivates me to pursue an academic career, imparting knowledge to students while continually learning.  I am extremely grateful to have been taught and mentored by Ms. Fetchko and Dr. Blankenship; I value them most for their efforts to encourage me to do great things.
Professor Blakenship was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2007-2008 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.  

Morgan GibsonMorgan Gibson
Ms. Marian Rosse inspired me academically and intellectually, but that's not why her guidance and counsel as my 8th grade English teacher meant so much. I left middle school with honed writing skills and a knack for writing papers, but, because of Ms. Rosse, I also went into high school with a sense of pride in my accomplishments, with confidence and charisma. Ms. Rosse taught me the importance of dreaming big and chasing those dreams. She taught me that no goal is ever too big or too out-of-reach to accomplish. Her belief in me allowed me to believe in myself.  I would have quit journalism if it wasn't for Ms. Penny Bender Fuchs. The major was too difficult, and it felt like there were all these requirements and outside work that sounded incredibly unappealing. Ms. Fuchs knocked the public relations or communications career tracks right out of my head. Sure, I got a handful of F's in her Fast Track News Writing and Reporting course (as everyone did), but she brought to journalism something I had forgotten about: that digging up stories, interviewing sources and landing an amazing story with your byline on it is fun. Journalism is a blast. If you log the hours and put in 150%, you're going to be exhausted, but you'll be in love with your career. She taught me the fundamentals so I could enjoy what I was doing. I've gone on to have amazing internships and experiences, and my supervisors are always impressed with my enthusiasm and positivity. I owe my love for journalism to Ms. Fuchs.
Professor Fuchs was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2005-2006 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar, a 2007-2008 Scholar, two 2008-2009 Scholars, and two 2010-2011 Scholars.


Christopher Day
Christopher Day
As a student, I have learned lifelong lessons that I will cherish forever.  As a struggling adolescent in the 10th grade, former principal of Magruder High School, Dr. David Steinberg accepted me into his school with open arms. He gave me a fresh slate to work with; his relentless faith and confidence gave me the strength and desire to work hard and to succeed in school. His passion for students' well-being was evident: he made himself available for us to talk to him about anything. When I returned from the military four years after high school, Dr. Steinberg remembered my time at Magruder as if it was yesterday; his letter of recommendation helped me get into the University of Maryland. Once I had settled into the University and committed to majoring in Physical Education, Ms. Susan Kogut gave me the boost I needed to stay focused and elevate my goals to the next level. Her dedication to my development through several classes has given me tremendous insight that I will take with me to my career as a physical education teacher. Her passion and desire for students to be nothing short of excellent has given our school the best reputation for physical education nationwide. Her efforts have made me more accountable for my actions and motivated me to be at the top of my game. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Steinberg and Ms. Kogut as teachers and am grateful to them for giving me the tools needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
Professor Kogut was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2007-2008 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.


Kelly Protzko
Kelly Protzko
My Honors Earth Science teacher at Fallston High School, Mr. Craig McLeod, was my most memorable and outstanding teacher.  He had an unconventional and enthusiastic teaching style that inspired his students to learn.  His passion for science was infectious and he made the process of learning seem effortless.  In addition to his positive teaching style, Mr. McLeod had a genuine concern for his students and their well-being.  My University of Maryland experience has given me the opportunity to work under the direction of Professor Stephen Roth.  As my Honors faculty advisor, Dr. Roth has had a profound impact on my college experience.   He exemplifies sincere and selfless concern for his students both within the program and the workplace.  He is encouraging and proud of his students' accomplishments, yet humble about his own.  He consistently guides and motivates his students with a positive flare. Both of my mentors have similar qualities that provide inspiration to me and their other fortunate students.  They have a passion for their field of study, a selfless and genuine gift of concern for their students and a remarkable humbleness.  I am grateful to have had both of these individuals add to my educational experience.
Professor Roth was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2010-2011 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

Manka Banda Manka Banda
Dr. Samuel Atechi and Dr. Donna Howard, in particular, have played pivotal roles in my academic and personal development. Dr. Samuel Atechi taught me during my final year of primary school in Cameroon. While Dr. Atechi (whom the whole school openly referred to as Uncle Samuel) was always concerned with our academic performance, he was equally concerned with seeing that we grew to be respectful and hardworking members of the community. One minute, he would be challenging us with hard questions during math class and the next minute he would engage us in conversation about our duties and roles as young citizens. He had a real passion for learning across disciplines that I have only just come to appreciate. In my third year at the University, I decided to form my own interdisciplinary major through the Individual Studies Program and needed a faculty member to support me in the process. I emailed Dr. Donna Howard, whom I had never met, and told her about my plans. She was eager to help me and when I went to visit her, the discussion we had on global health just fueled my passion for the field. Dr. Howard has been extremely supportive of my academic and professional goals. Her door has always been open to me and my million questions. Her trust and faith in me encourage me to work harder every day.
Professor Howard was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2006-2007 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.


For more information about the Merrill Presidential Scholars Program contact:
Lisa Kiely, Assistant Dean, Office of Undergraduate Studies
2130 Mitchell Bldg. University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
Phone: (301)405-0966 Fax:(301)314-9896 Email: lkiely@umd.edu

Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program
Office of Undergraduate Studies