UAlbany Grad Students Win Competitive International Awards

A globe sits on a shiny brown desk
Photo by Kyle Glenn/

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 26, 2022) — Four UAlbany graduate students have received prestigious grants that will further their scholarly pursuits in the international arena while continuing the University’s long-standing strategic commitment to the promotion of the global common good in countries across the world.

The four are:

  • Senia Francisca Quevedo, scheduled to receive her M.S. degree in Biodiversity, Conservation and Policy, who will participate in NSF-funded research this summer in Rwanda
  • Noah Wetzel, a master’s student in International Affairs, received a David L. Boren Fellowship to study Indonesian in the fall
  • Martha Brown, an M.A. student in the International Education Management & Leadership Program, was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to go to Romania for the 2022-23 academic year
  • Charles Hailer, a master’s student in International Affairs, received a Boren Fellowship to study Turkish this fall in Azerbaijan

“These students have received some of the most prestigious awards in the world” said Gilbert Valverde, vice provost for Global Strategy and dean of International Education. “They are awards reserved for the most promising, talented and motivated globally engaged students in the country. These students, in addition to pursuing their academic dreams, will also be ambassadors representing the University.”

Senia Francisca Quevedo
Senia Francisca Quevedo
Senia Francisca Quevedo

Quevedo, who received her B.S. in Biology in 2020, will be part of the NSF’s International Research Experience for Students project on “Mapping and Quantifying the Natural Disaster Resilience of Displaced People" with the University of Rwanda Center for Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing. As an undergraduate, studied she studied large game animals in South Africa in their natural habitats.

She applied to the NSF to gain experience working with GIS in the field and to gain technical GIS skills for future jobs. She said an additional motivating factor is to acquire broad-based climate change education to supplement her ongoing professional and personal interests.

Noah Wetzel UAlbany International Studies
Noah Wetzel
Noah Wetzel

Wetzel sought the Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative to learn about culture and society, in addition to language. “The Boren Fellowship is an ideal opportunity to further enrich my international exposure and prepare for a career in federal service as a foreign service officer in Southeast Asia,” he said.

“Indonesia is a leading country in ASEAN and the Southeast Asian region, so strengthening relations with them, both economic and political, is vitally important.”

Martha Brown - UAlbany international studies
Martha Brown
Martha Brown

Brown chose to apply to Fulbright Romania due to her interest in international education and aspiration to work with university students. “In addition to teaching, I hope to encourage my students in Romania to become more involved with sports,” said Brown, who as a runner has completed three full marathons. She hopes she can share her love of running with her students abroad.”  She has taught previously in Austria, Spain and South Korea.

Charles Hailer - UAlbany international studies
Charles Hailer
Charles Hailer

Hailer, awarded the Boren Fellowship’s Turkish Flagship Language Initiative, is concentrating in diplomacy and global governance at Rockefeller College. A former president of the Students’ International Affairs Association, he was recognized this year with both a Great Dane Award and the Masters in International Affair's (MIA's) Outstanding Student Leadership Award for personal and academic initiative in and out of the classroom. Working with MIA department Chair Brian Greenhill, he manages the college’s capstone program partnership with the U.N. Capital Development Fund.

Jacqueline Quevedo Ledermann, the assistant director in the Office of Education Abroad, who worked closely with the four grant candidates to identify programs that supported their goals, said "the process of applying for a funded grant, scholarship or fellowship is a valuable experience for students. In order to become an engaged global citizen, and truly cognizant of the needs of the international community, one has to branch out of one’s comfort zone, as these students have."

Said Valverde: “We celebrate and take pride in these students’ achievements and look forward to continued promotion of these globally oriented, prestigious fellowships and scholarships to our students as part of our commitment to internationalization at this university.”