Three seniors in the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences have been named 2019 Merrill Presidential Scholars. The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors the university’s most successful seniors, who each recognize a UMD faculty member and high school teacher for contributing to their education.
Manuella Djomaleu, a biological sciences major, honored her high school teacher Terri Ravick, from Walter Johnson High School, in Bethesda, Maryland, and Professor Anne Simon from the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics. “When I started college, Professor Anne Simon was the first professor who made me feel like I belonged in the lecture hall,” Djomaleu said. “She challenged me to think harder about the materials and ignited in me a passion for learning thanks to her continuous patience and support with my questions. Professor Simon introduced me to the beauty of learning, and having her as a professor and mentor motivated me to always dig deeper in my classes and to never stop asking questions.”
Astronomy and physics double-degree student Jillian Kunze honored teacher Donald Walz from Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Maryland, and Professor Christopher Lobb from the Department of Physics. “Professor Christopher Lobb has taught me more about quantum physics than I ever imagined I could comprehend, but he also showed me how important it is to be engaging and personable when it comes to science communication,” Kunze said. “[His] compassion and sense of the world has taught me what makes a good scientist a good person.” Lobb was also named a faculty mentor by a 2012-13 Merrill Scholar.
Nicholas Poniatowski, a physics major, honored high school teacher Robert Nelson from Chantilly High School in Chantilly, Virginia, and Professor Richard Greene from the Department of Physics. “Working with Professor Greene for the past two years has been a defining period of my life,” Poniatowski said. “[In] addition to acquainting me with the wide world of condensed matter physics, he has taught me what science is, and has afforded me a number of opportunities atypical for undergraduate students, for which I am extremely grateful.”
The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors the University of Maryland’s most successful seniors and their designated faculty and K-12 teachers for their mentorship. The legacy of academic excellence, teaching and mentoring continues as scholarships are awarded in the K-12 teacher’s name to a new first-year student from that teacher’s high school or school district.
UMD President Wallace D. Loh welcomed Merrill Scholars, faculty members and teachers at a luncheon celebration on November 15, 2019, at University House.
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About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 9,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college’s 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $175 million.