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Texas State University

Graduate College announces external fellowship award winners

Jayme Blaschke | May 22, 2019

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Left to right: Harpreet (Sony) Kaur Sandhu, Andrea (Andy) Pinon, Shubha Malla, Rafea Rea, McKensey Miller, Moumita Saha, Amrit (AJ) Singh, and Megan Veltri

The Graduate College at Texas State University has announced that eight graduate students have received competitive external fellowships. 

The graduate students receiving fellowships are Shubha Malla, Rafea Rea, Moumita Saha, Harpreet Kaur Sandhu, Amrit Singh, McKensey Miller, Megan Veltri and Andrea Pinon. 

Malla, Rea, Saha, Sandhu and Singh were awarded the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O) International Peace Scholarship, which supports women from other countries who are studying at the graduate level in the United States and Canada. This year’s class of five is largest in Texas State history. This group includes the first representative from the College of Applied Arts and the College of Science and Engineering.

Malla, a doctoral student in the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) program, is from Nepal, where she is the only woman from her village to pursue a graduate degree. Malla's goal is to develop new technologies and innovative techniques for treatment and preventative measures for life-threatening diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's.

Rea, a master’s student in integrated agricultural sciences, is from Bangladesh. Receiving this scholarship has encouraged her to continue her education in the U.S. Rea said this will help her accomplish her long-term goal, which is to be an agro-based entrepreneur and work for women’s empowerment.

Saha, a master’s student in industrial engineering, is from Bangladesh. She is interested in improving the lives of women working in industrial factories in her home country by studying ergonomics. 

Sandhu, a master’s student in integrated agricultural sciences, comes from a farming family in Punjab, India. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. and hopes to be a part of an organization that will focus on world agriculture, allowing her to help where hunger and malnutrition are a problem. Being awarded this scholarship has given her the confidence to advise women in her home country of India by encouraging them to pursue higher studies and be independent.

Singh, a master’s student in communication disorders, is from Malaysia. Being an awardee has encouraged her to help other women pursue an education and become successful. Not only will this scholarship allow her to complete her education, but it will also give her the opportunity to increase awareness of the need for speech-language pathology in her home country. Singh also received the American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Fellowship. This marks the second time a Texas State student has received this award. This fellowship supports full-time graduate and postgraduate study or research in the U.S. by women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Approximately 50 International Fellowships are awarded annually.


Miller and Megan Veltri were selected as awardees in the 2019 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) competition. The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in STEM and NSF-supported social science disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. This year’s class of four recipients – which also includes two undergraduate students – is the largest in Texas State history. 

Miller is a first-year student in the master’s program in anthropology, with a focus in biological anthropology. Her research investigates Senegal chimpanzees’ use of microclimates in a savanna-woodland environment as a means of thermoregulation, which has implications for species conservation, climate change, and human evolution.

Veltri is a first-year student in the master’s program in anthropology, with a focus in biological anthropology. Her research uses facial asymmetry to understand the biological implications of social race.


Andrea Pinon, doctoral student in geography, was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). CLS is a fully-funded, intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Pinon will be studying Swahili in Arusha, Tanzania, this summer. More than 5,000 students apply for this scholarship annually, and only 10% are selected. Pinon's selection as a finalist marks the second year in a row that a graduate student at Texas State has received this award.


Andrea Hilkovitz, external funding coordinator in the Graduate College, has worked closely with the award recipients, recruiting them to apply and advising them throughout the submission process. Since joining Texas State in 2016, Hilkovitz has helped Texas State graduate students apply for more than $8 million in external funding.

The Graduate College offers a variety of resources to graduate students interested in applying for external funding, including multiple funding databases, workshops and other tools. 

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922