2018 Presidential Scholars

The UB Presidential Fellowship Program is aimed at enhancing UB’s competitiveness in recruiting outstanding graduate students. Students chosen for this award exemplify academic excellence and are some of UB’s best and brightest.

2018 Recipients

Meet the exemplary students that were selected as the 2018 Presidential scholars.

Igor Marques.

Name: Igor Coelho A. S. Marques

Department: Music

Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil

Biography: Igor Coelho A. S. Marques hails from Curitiba, Brazil. He was a Johannesen Scholar at Brigham Young University, graduated cum laude and then spent the next two years with Morris Rosenzweig as the University of Utah's Geersten Glad scholar. Currently, he is a Presidential Fellow at the University at Buffalo, studying under David Felder. As a composer, Marques is particularly curious about the intersection of artifice and organicity and the incorporation of sounds and concepts related to natural phenomena and human industry. Marques has won a call for scores by Rosetta Ensemble (Japan), the second prize in the Alba Rosa Viëtor Competition (Netherlands) and an honorable mention in Paraguay's first International Symphonic Composition Competition. His piece Escenas became a finalist in the seventh Mivos/Kanter Prize as a string quartet and in the fourth Música Hoje National Composition Contest (Brazil) as a piece for chamber orchestra. Most recently, he has been selected to participate in the 2018 edition of Fondation Royaumont's Académie Voix Nouvelles.

Amanda Crandall.

Name: Amanda Crandall

Department: Community Health and Health Behavior

Hometown: Athens, PA

Biography: Amanda Crandall is currently a PhD student in community health and health behavior. She earned a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and a Bachelor of Arts in honors psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Crandall also completed her master's degree in psychological science at Montana State University; working on research related to eating behavior and childhood predictors of obesity. Currently at UB, Crandall is a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Service Award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Her research interests include the effects of scarcity and childhood stress on eating behavior, adolescent dieting behaviors, and social influences on health behavior.

Paige Daniels.

Name: Paige Daniels

Department: Microbiology and Immunology

Hometown: Purcellville, VA

Biography: Paige Daniels grew up in Purcellville, VA, and obtained her bachelor's degree in molecular, cellular and physiological biology with a minor in leadership studies at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. She is currently pursuing her PhD in microbiology and immunology. Daniels works for the Bangs lab investigating molecular aspects of the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma brucei brucei, with a focus on Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored protein turnover.

Derick Evans.

Name: Derick Evans

Department: Music

Hometown: Clinton, NY

Biography: Derick Evans is a PhD candidate in composition, in the Department of Music. His artistic output often seeks to highlight the interactions involved in specific social environments (e.g., music for an ensemble about the drama of rehearsing in an ensemble); and, further, to compose environments of performance where the dynamic between audience and performer becomes an identifiable expression of community. His compositions, which adopt both experimental and popular styles and, more recently, embrace elements of performance art, have been performed by groups such as the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Wooster Symphony Orchestra, Verb Ballets, the Rivertown Duo and Norway's Bifrost Ensemble. In 2017, he premiered his one-person musical, "Through The Night," at Buffalo's Sugar City, which he later brought to Oberlin College. Evans frequently performs music and art pieces as both a solo act and a collaborator with artists around Buffalo.

Francesco Franda.

Name: Francesco Franda

Department: Philosophy

Hometown: Carpi, Italy

Biography: Francesco Franda, originally from Italy, is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy. After having pursued his joint degree in France and Italy, he obtained his master's degree in philosophy from the University of Bologna. His main research interests lie in social ontology and the philosophy of social science. His project focuses in particular on social kinds, namely groupings of people like congressperson and refugee, or groupings of things like border and money, all of which are characterized by bearing certain social properties. These categories guide our behavior by informing us about social reality, and they are the object of scientific investigation. Philosophical interest has increased in recent years over social kinds: How are they created? How do they play a role in our knowledge of the social world? How can we give an objective account of value-laden social kinds? His project has the goal of answering these questions by giving a pluralistic account of social kinds, and applying this framework to the case study terrorist, a vexed but important category, given the serious policy implications of its understanding. In addition to his research and teaching activities, he enjoys playing the electric guitar, traveling, and working out. In the future, Franda aspires to become a faculty member at a university

Natalie Jay.

Name: Natalie Jay

Department: Biochemistry

Hometown: Spencerport, NY

Biography: Natalie Jay is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biochemistry. Before matriculating into UB, she graduated from Wells College with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry. Currently, she is working with Fernando Estrada studying the structure and function of CYP24A1 and adrenodoxin involved Vitamin-D metabolism. Outside the lab, Jay spends her free time reading, skiing or with her family. After completing her PhD, she plans to pursue a career in academia.

Roberto Mondini.

Name: Roberto Mondini

Department: Physics

Hometown: Cremona, Italy

Biography: Roberto Mondini is originally from Italy and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Physics. His academic research interests lie in the field of theoretical particle physics. More specifically, his studies involve performing high-precision particle physics calculations that are then used to analyze the experimental data obtained at the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator. With his work, Mondini aspires to further expand our understanding of nature at the subatomic level. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and watching sports. Mondini's career goal is to become a faculty member at a research university.

Himangshu Kumar Paul.

Name: Himangshu Kumar Paul

Department: Industrial and Systems Engineering

Hometown: Khulna, Bangladesh

Biography: Himangshu Kumar Paul, originally from Bangladesh, is pursuing his PhD in operations research in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He obtained his BS and MS degrees in industrial and production engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, and also has been serving there as lecturer. His current research focuses on learning to rank, Bayesian experimental design and quantifying similarity among communities. He enjoys music, traveling and reading novels in leisure time. After graduation, Paul plans to pursue a career in academia.

Arjun Singh.

Name: Arjun Singh

Department: Electrical Engineering

Hometown: Kanpur, India

Biography: Arjun Singh was born in Kanpur, India, in 1994. He received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering at the University at Buffalo in 2016. As a Presidential fellow since 2016, he has been pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering from his alma mater, under the guidance of Josep M. Jornet. During this time, he also obtained a Master of Science in electrical engineering. His research interests include the design of plasmonic nano-antennas and devices in the Terahertz range, for next generation wireless communication networks.