Binghamton University students garner prestigious awards


Four Binghamton University students have been honored with prestigious awards. Ravi Gupta won a Truman Foundation Scholarship; Alina Tourkova was named a Junior Fellow by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Matthew Gervais and Elisa Pueschel have received Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships.

In recognizing the students, BU President Lois B. DeFleur said, “Our students are extraordinarily talented and successful, and we are proud, as a University community, to share in the honor and distinction of these esteemed awards which they have received.”

Ravi Gupta, a double major in science and public policy and philosophy from Staten Island, New York, has been selected to receive a $26,000 scholarship from the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Gupta is one of 77 winners selected from among 609 candidates from across the country on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability, and likelihood of “making a difference.”

Last summer, Gupta taught English and science to children in Ghana while raising money to build a school there. He founded Binghamton Students for Students International, a SA-chartered group, which raises awareness and funds for students in Third-World countries, and Atuu International, a New York state registered charity, which raises scholarship funds for students in Ghana. Gupta volunteers at Red Cross blood drives, and tutors through the Center for Academic Excellence, donating all his wages to Atuu International.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has named Alina Tourkova a Junior Fellow for the 2004 - 2005 year. She is one of ten students selected from a pool of 305 applicants from across the United States.

Expected to graduate in May with a double major in political science and Russian studies, and a minor in economics, Tourkova will work in Washington D.C. at the Carnegie Endowment's Russian and Eurasian program as a research assistant to academics, former government officials, lawyers and journalists from throughout the world. Their role is to study the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the United States' role in the world.

Founder and president of BU's Russian Club, Tourkova has tutored BU students in political science and Russian. She has also mentored local middle school children who recently emigrated from Russia and the Ukraine. Last year, she received the Dr. Israel J. Rosefsky Language and Culture scholarship to study in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tourkova hails from Fairlawn, New Jersey.

Two BU students were awarded Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, a premier national award that fosters and encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.

Matthew Gervais, a sophomore double majoring in psychobiology and philosophy, and minoring in anthropology, and Elisa Pueschel, a junior majoring in physics, are among the 310 winners from 1,113 nominees nationwide.

Gervais, who is from Liverpool, New York, received an Undergraduate Research Award last fall to study the evolution and causes of laughter by synthesizing existing theories and research from across several disciplines. His work continues as an independent study with evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson. Gervais is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Golden Key National Honor Society, and has made the dean's list every semester.

Pueschel, who is from Vestal, New York, is a Binghamton Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She won first place in the fall 2002 undergraduate poster competition at the American Physical Society Symposium. Last spring, she received an Undergraduate Research Award to study the relationship between a metal particle's size and its melting temperature. Pueschel’s continuing research activities include developing new ways of studying the top quark, a mercurial variety of one of the two elementary building blocks of matter, at the particle collider at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago.

Last Updated: 9/17/13