Students Awarded National Scholarships

Three students at Sarah Lawrence College are the recipients of prestigious academic awards. A Harry S. Truman Scholarship was awarded to Kristen Kuriga, a Sarah Lawrence junior. Kathryn Barush, a senior, has been awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and junior Erin Condit-Bergren has received the Morris K. Udall Scholarship for the 2003-2004 academic year.

The goals of Kristin Kuriga, who is in pursuit of a career in Public Service, and the graduate study to make that career possible, will be greatly furthered through the Truman Scholarship, awarded to about 75 college juniors from around the country. Kristin has been concentrating her studies in U.S. history and labor and gender studies. She would like to attend Columbia University after she graduates to pursue a Ph.D. in this field. Ultimately, she wants to teach U.S. history in an undergraduate institution as well as engage first hand with the Labor struggle in the United States by working as an organizer of either a union or community organization.

Kristin’s dedication to her field extends out from her scholarly work, into the community, which is what the Truman Scholarship looks to reward. “Being awarded the Truman Scholarship not only makes the possibility of pursuing a career in public service more possible, but gives me the opportunity to meet other Truman Scholars who are motivated to make social change a priority in their life,” she says. Kristin is participating in a Truman leadership conference in Independence Missouri this month, helping draft policy proposals regarding current Congressional legislation and presenting them to the leaders of Congressional committees.

Kathryn Barush, a senior, is one of this year’s recipients of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship that supports college graduates in a year of study and travel abroad. The fellowship enables recipients to carry out a creative and individual program of their own design and is awarded to outstanding students who exhibit exceptional qualities of leadership, self motivation and dedication to their studies, strong ethical character and a desire to contribute to the world community.

During her college career, Kathryn has studied visual arts, art history, religion, history, writing, both formally as well as through personal ventures. “I am in love with ancient art,” Kathryn says whose successful proposal for the fellowship is titled: Further Illuminated: The Buddhist and Christian Manuscript Tradition. “ I want to devote my entire life to living abroad and discovering the enigmas of ancient human stories and religion using art as a catalyst.” Kathryn will use her fellowship to travel to Russia, Greece, Tibet and India, focusing on comparative studies of religion and ancient art.

“I think the most important thing is that books are a microcosm of thought and history: they contain pictures that tell stories, scripts, doodles in the margins. The reason why going abroad is so integral for my project is that through travel, I can actually experience the Himalayas, for example, as they are depicted in a Buddhist sutra.”

The Morris K. Udall scholarship, won by junior Erin Condit-Bergren, honors Congressman Udall, a champion of the nation's environment, public lands, and natural resources and a fervent advocate of Native American and Alaskan American rights. The scholarship is a national competition for students with career interests in public policy, the environment or Native American issues. The scholarship encourages study in these areas by providing one year’s tuition to the student’s institution as well as other expenses of study.

“Erin has an impressive background in public advocacy and activism on environmental issues,” says mentor and Sarah Lawrence faculty member Charles Zerner. “Intense, eager for hands-on political experience, and poised to pursue a variety of environmentally focused courses at the College, Erin is intellectually engaged, concerned with the practical politics of effective environmental advocacy, and intensely interested in public life.” In the fall of 2001, Erin co-founded Sustain US (United States Youth for Sustainable Development), now a national organization with over 500 members in 30 States. Last August she led a six-person delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.