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Honors and Awards

McCormick Senior Heads to Great Britain for Whitaker Fellowship

Cindy Solomon to study for master’s at University of Nottingham

Cindy Solomon, a senior studying biomedical engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, will head for Great Britain on a prestigious United Kingdom fellowship after she graduates in June.

She will study for a master’s degree in bioengineering at the University of Nottingham as part of the Whitaker International Program, which sends emerging leaders in biomedical engineering overseas to undertake a self-designed program that will enhance their careers in the field.

Cindy SolomonMedical devices are Solomon’s passion, and for good reason. Legally blind without corrective lenses, she unwittingly perceived the world quite differently from her peers for the first 10 years of her life. A pair of glasses changed her life.

“We tend to take glasses and contact lenses for granted,” Solomon says. “But I’ve been really struck by how these simple but elegant pieces of technology can change people’s lives.” Her ultimate career goal is to help people with more serious disabilities overcome them with easy-to-use medical devices.

As one of 12 fourth-year engineering students in Northwestern’s Murphy Institute, Solomon already has considerable research experience in the lab of Alan Sahakian, professor and chair of electrical and engineering and professor of biomedical engineering, that will help her accomplish that goal.

Solomon is one of five Northwestern women bound for the UK as winners of Fulbright awards, a Marshall Scholarship, and a Whitaker International Fellowship.

What’s striking about this group is not just its size but also the array of interests it represents, according to Elizabeth Pardoe, associate director of the Office of Fellowships. Those diverse interests include biomedical engineering, the literature of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, climate science, creative advertising, and theatre production and playwriting.

  • Sarah Rose Graber, who graduated from Northwestern in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree from the School of Communication, has received a Fulbright to study theatre. 
  • Senior Jenny Mills, a triple major in earth and planetary science, chemistry and integrated science in Weinberg, will study climate change at the University of Cambridge and University of Edinburgh as a Marshall Scholar.
  • Priyanka Bose, who graduated from Weinberg in 2011 and earned a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from Medill, will study creative advertising at Falmouth University as a Fulbright student. 
  • And Veronica Benduski, a sophomore majoring in English and international studies in Weinberg, will participate in the Fulbright Summer Institute at the University of Exeter.

A reception last week presented by the Office of Fellowships honored the five UK winners and more than 240 undergraduate and graduate students who to date have received fellowships and scholarships this academic year. Their mentors also were recognized.

“There is no cookie cutter template of a successful British scholarship winner,” Pardoe says. “It’s the diversity of talent and interests at Northwestern that makes our students and alumni so successful in these competitions.”