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M A R I S T M A G A Z I N E
M
ar i st Col lege chemi st r y major
Catherine R. DeBlase, the valedicto-
rian of the Class of 2011, doesn’t waste time.
As a sophomore in 2009, the chemistry major
earned the prestigious Barry Goldwater
Scholarship, an honor that typically recogniz-
es college juniors and their scientifc research
accomplishments. During her fnal semester
at Marist, the Hopewell Junction, N.Y., native
garnered another acclaimed reward usually
reserved for scholars in the frst or second
year of graduate studies.
DeBlase was awarded the 2011 National
Science Foundation Graduate Research
Fellowship (NSF GRF) to support her pursuit
of a doctoral degree in organic chemistry at
Cornell University starting this fall. The 2007
Our Lady of Lourdes graduate became the
second Marist undergraduate to receive the
highly competitive NSF GRF, which desig-
nates the recipient as an NSF Graduate
Fellow, is three years in duration, and grants
a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance and
an annual stipend of $30,000.
“I’ll never forget two years ago, seeing Dr.
Catherine DeBlase ’11 presents research
at Marist’s Celebration of Undergraduate
Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
this past spring in the Hancock Center.
AL NOWAK/ON LOCATION
Catherine DeBlase ’11
Awarded National Science
Foundation Graduate
Research Fellowship
Jocelyn Nadeau run through Donnelly Hall
ecstatic with the news that I was named a
Goldwater Scholar, or sitting opposite her as
she searched through a list of NSF fellows
to inform me, ‘You got it,’ says DeBlase.
“Receiving funding is great, but there is no
substitute for sharing successes with admin-
istration, peers, and the faculty responsible
for your education.”
DeBlase began her undergraduate research
career the summer following her freshman
year, working with Nadeau, an assistant
professor of chemistry.
“Cathy’s unique ability to write creative
and compelling chemistry research proposals
as an undergraduate clearly distinguished her
as a strong candidate for both the Goldwater
Scholarship and the NSF GRF,” says Nadeau.
“Her aptitude and enthusiasm for organic
chemistry research are undeniable. I know
she will hit the ground running in graduate
school, determined to solve every research
challenge that comes her way.”
During the summer of 2009, DeBlase
participated in the NSF Research Experiences
for Undergraduates program at the University
of Connecticut, where her work led to a
coauthored paper in the scientifc research
journal
Tetrahedron
. In summer 2010, DeBlase
took part in the Research in Science and
Engineering program at Rutgers University.
DeBlase was awarded the Andrew A.
Molloy Memorial Scholarship in Chemistry in
2010 and the Dr. Andrew A. Molloy ’51 Award
for Excellence in Chemistry in 2011. She was
very much engaged in departmental culture
throughout college. She was a laboratory assis-
tant, a chemistry tutor, secretary of the student
American Chemical Society, and a regular
participant at Open House Weekend and
National Chemistry Week events. Her brother,
Andrew DeBlase, who graduated in 2009, was
also a chemistry department standout and a
2008 Goldwater Scholar.
n
—Jim Urso ’11
F
our years ago, Robin Miniter ’11 caught
the travel bug when she signed on to
spend a year in Florence, Italy, as part of
Marist’s Florence Freshman Experience. Then
the Ipswich, Mass., native, who completed
her coursework in December, studied in
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, this past spring
through a School for International Training
program on sexuality and gender studies.
Now, Miniter is hitting the road again, this
time as the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright
U.S. Student Program Scholarship.
This fall, Miniter will pursue research on
the development of women’s rugby in India, an
undertaking which perfectly fuses her inter-
ests in gender issues, the sociology of sport,
and photography.
“Sports can be a means of limitation as
well as of liberation; it all depends on the
perspective you take,” says Miniter, who
majored in communication with a concen-
tration in journalism and minors in global
studies and women’s studies. “Generally,
though, sports create opportunity and are
vehicles for empowerment. I want to see how
women’s rugby, a contact sport which is still
slowly being accepted in the Western world,
is ftting into India’s unique, complex social
system.”
In her proposal for the ultra-competitive
scholarship, Miniter claimed the rise in India
of women’s rugby, customarily a masculine
activity, is indicative of a potential recasting
RobinMiniter ’11 is recognized by President
Dennis J. Murray at the Baccalaureate cer-
emony for receiving a Fulbright scholarship.
MATTHEW GILLIS
Robin Miniter ’11 Receives Fulbright Scholarship to Study Women’s Rugby in India
of traditional Indian gender roles. She will
document, through the lens of her camera and
interviews, the evolution of these changes.
Miniter, whose younger sister was adopted
from Nagpur, India, also established a person-
al connection with rugby as a member of
Marist’s nationally ranked club team.
“I came to college never having touched
a rugby ball and have since then watched the
sport grow exponentially within the past few
years all over the world,” says Miniter.
Dur ing her time at Mar ist, Miniter
received recognition for her photography
from the National Association of Photoshop
Professionals, spearheaded public rela-
tions initiatives for the Literary Arts Society,
participated in the Marist Emerging Leaders
Program, and served as lifestyles editor,
photography editor, and staff writer for the
College’s student newspaper,
The Circle
.
As for what happens after her Fulbright
grant year in India, Miniter is contemplating
the pursuit of a master’s degree. Her long-
term aspirations include employment with an
international nonproft organization engaged
in work on gender issues.
The Fulbright Program, administered by
the Institute of International Education, is the
fagship international educational exchange
program sponsored by the U.S. government
and is designed to increase mutual under-
standing between people in the United
States and in other countries. Annually, the
Fulbright Program, which was founded in
1946, provides 8,000 grants to students,
scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists in
155 countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants
are selected on the basis of academic or profes-
sional achievement as well as demonstrated
leadership potential.
The primary source of funding for the
Fulbright Program is an annual appropria-
tion made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S.
Department of State’s Bureau of Educational
and Cultural Affairs. Participating govern-
ments, host institutions, corporations, and
foundations in foreign countries and in the
United States also provide support.
n
—Jim Urso ’11