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Release: Immediate

UI student wins prestigious Mellon Fellowship

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Sanjukta Paul, a University of Iowa senior, has been awarded the prestigious Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies. The fellowships, which are awarded to students nationwide by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, carry a $14,000 stipend plus tuition and fees for the first year of study toward a doctorate.

Paul, an Omaha, Neb., native who is majoring in philosophy with a minor in religion, will complete her undergraduate degree in May. She plans to continue her education at the University of Pittsburgh where she will pursue a doctorate in order to launch an academic career in philosophy. Her primary interests in philosophy are epistemology and the philosophy of science.

Paul credited her undergraduate experience at Iowa for her success in the fellowship competition. "I feel like the preparation I have received in my major has been excellent," she said. "Moreover, I have been lucky enough to have several professors in both the philosophy department and in the School of Religion who consistently put forth far more effort and time than might be reasonably expected for the benefit of their students' education." The Honors Program staff was also very helpful during the application process for the fellowship, she said.

Evan Fales, a UI professor of philosophy and Paul's honors thesis adviser, said he has been impressed with Paul as a student and a scholar since he first taught her during her sophomore year. "She is really quite brilliant -- I could tell right from the start," Fales said. "She asks the kinds of questions that make it evident that she is thinking about 300 yards ahead of the class discussion.

"She is very sensible and level-headed. I have every expectation that she will go on to become quite visible and highly recognized in the field," he continued.

Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts said the fellowship rewards the commitment to scholarship Paul has displayed during her undergraduate education. "I'm delighted to see one of our students excel and be recognized by this prestigious award," Maxson said. "It reflects her abilities and accomplishments and is a tribute to the faculty she has worked with in philosophy and in other areas of the college."

The primary objective of the Mellon Fellowships is to identify and encourage students who are committed to teaching and have a broad vision of learning. Applicants must be planning to pursue a doctorate in any humanistic field. The 97 winners of this year's Mellon Fellowships were selected from 750 applicants.