Honors College students excel nationally and internationally

Auburn University students have garnered numerous awards and scholarships throughout the history of the university. This spring, three students from the university’s Honors College received prestigious recognition that places them among the nation’s best and brightest academic achievers. Rebecca Ludvigsen of Lilburn, Ga., has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany; Anne-Marie Hodge of Chattanooga, Tenn., earned a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship; and Lauren Hayes of Abbeville, Ala., was named to the second team in USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team competition.

Rebecca Ludvigsen, Fulbright Scholarship

Rebecca Ludvigsen, a senior in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM), has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the protein fetuin-A in Germany. She is one of only 40 students out of the more than 500 applicants nationwide to be awarded the scholarship to study and conduct research in Germany.

“Rebecca is an ideal representative for COSAM and Auburn University because she is not only bright and focused, but she is engaging and friendly,” said Paul Harris, associate director for National Prestigious Scholarships at Auburn University. Harris, a former Fulbright scholar to Germany in 1994-95, was instrumental in guiding Ludvigsen through the rigorous application process.

The Lilburn, Ga., native says she was ecstatic to learn she had received the award. “As a biomedical sciences student in COSAM, I feel I have received excellent preparation from the challenging curriculum and my professors for any endeavor I pursue in the health sciences upon leaving Auburn,” Ludvigsen said.

Ludvigsen, a four-year member of the university’s Honors College, conducted research during her junior and senior years with Suresh Mathews in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences in the College of Human Sciences. Ludvigsen graduated Magna Cum Laude on May 9, 2009.

Anne-Marie Hodge, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Auburn University student Anne-Marie Hodge of Chattanooga, Tenn., has been awarded a 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship award. This award is based on students’ abilities and accomplishments as well as  their potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.

Hodge is a senior majoring in zoology in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM), in addition to pursuing a minor in anthropology.

She is a previous recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship that was established by Congress in 1986 to honor U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater.

Hodge, who excels academically at Auburn University, is also active outside the classroom and is a founding member of the Society for Conservation Biology at Auburn University.  One of the society’s initiatives, spearheaded by Hodge, is the Tigers for Tigers conservation campaign.

“Ms. Hodge has a passion for discovery and learning from her discoveries,” said COSAM Dean Stewart Schneller.  “She enjoys sharing what she learns with others and instilling in them a curiosity to learn for themselves.”

She is a four-year member of the university’s Honors College. Following graduation from Auburn, Hodge plans to attend graduate school and to pursue a career as a research biologist and university professor.

Lauren Hayes, USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Second Team

Lauren Hayes, a senior majoring in both public administration and German in Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts, was recently named to the second team in USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team competition. Each year the newspaper recognizes the top college students in the country based on academics, leadership, activities and the students’ application of their talents beyond the classroom.

A native of Abbeville, Ala., Hayes is only the second female in Auburn’s history to serve as president of the Student Government Association. In addition to SGA, Hayes is a member of a social sorority and honor societies including Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa. She has also been involved with the Auburn University chapter of Habitat for Humanity and served as its president during her sophomore year. Hayes held internships in the Washington, D.C., offices of North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole in June 2006 and with Alabama Senator Richard Shelby in May 2006.

“I was so excited and honestly surprised to learn that I was named to the team,” Hayes said. “I feel extremely blessed to be a member of this distinguished team.”

Hayes is moving to Washington, D.C. this summer and is waiting to hear back from job interviews.  This fall, she is applying for the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship which would fund one year of a master’s program abroad.  “I hope to pursue a master’s degree in comparative politics or public policy and would ultimately like to serve in the public sector, whether that is within our government, higher education or a non-profit organization,” she said. Hayes said she obtained a double major in German so that she could have options to work abroad or to work on international policy issues.

Paul Harris, associate director for National Prestigious Scholarships in Auburn’s Honors College, nominated Hayes for the award.  “Lauren is a model student. She gives graciously of her time, she builds coalitions among disparate groups and she communicates a clear vision for a better Auburn,” he said. “And to top it off, she is a kind, caring and conscientious individual who incidentally, maintains a stellar 3.93 grade-point average.”

USA Today’s All-USA College Academic team for 2009 includes a total of 79 students: 20 named to each of the first, second and third teams and 19 named honorable mention.