SPH Students Shifali Matthew (PHSC) and Sari Lerner (FMSC) Chosen as Merrill Presidential Scholars
Two Public Health undergraduates, Shifali Mathews (Public Health Science) and Sari Lerner (Family Science), were chosen as Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars for their excellence in academics.
The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors the University of Maryland’s most successful seniors and their formative teachers from both their university and K-12 years. About 20 students receive the award each year after being nominated by their academic colleges and major programs. A luncheon is held at the University House to recognize award recipients and their mentors.
“The Merrill Presidential Scholar program is an honor, and I appreciate its emphasis on mentorship, said Mathews. “My passion for learning and public health stems from the motivation of my mentors throughout high school and college.”
Mathews’ chosen mentors are Mrs. Ashley Schreckengost, a math teacher from Wheaton High School, and Mrs. Joanna Goger, a Senior Lecturer at UMD in the Environmental Science and Policy department.
A scholarship is also given to a first-year UMD student from the same high school as the recipients, establishing a connection between the University and surrounding K-12 schools and facilitating the success of future Terps.
“I hope that the recipients of the scholarship will also value their mentors’ roles and achieve great things through their inspiration,” said Mathews.
Lerner, a Family Science double major, was inspired to study Family Science after taking the class “Future of Families” during her freshman year. With her Honors Advisor Dr. Kerry Tripp, Lerner is working on a thesis investigating the legal religious rights of health care providers and their impact on the LGBTQ community.
Lerner’s mentors are Scott Culclasure from American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC and Jade Olson from the University of Maryland’s Department of Communication.
“Professor Olson is always available to give guidance and listen when someone has a stressful day,” Lerner said in her personal statement. “She serves as the director of the Oral Communication Center where I have worked for the past two semesters, and thanks to her I have learned to be more confident as a public speaker and peer mentor.”
Congratulations to all the 2019-2020 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars and to the School of Public Health’s own Shifali Mathews and Sari Lerner.