Holy Cross Students, Alumnus Receive Distinguished Scholarships

From left to right: Jeff Reppucci ‘14, Madeleine Fontenay ‘21, Helen Conroy ‘21 and Emily Cook ‘21

The prestigious Fulbright and Knight-Hennessy scholarships showcase the talent of Holy Cross students

Once again this year, College of the Holy Cross students—and an alumnus—have earned coveted scholarships from prestigious organizations, including the Knight-Hennessy Scholar Program and the Fulbright Program.

These honors speak to the boundless curiosity of Holy Cross students, the impact of the study-abroad experience and the transformational power of faculty mentorships.

Find some highlights from this year's winners below.

Knight-Hennessy Scholar Program

Jeff Reppucci '14, a Russian studies major while at Holy Cross, has been selected for the newest cohort of the prestigious Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.

The cohort of 76 Scholars—selected from a pool of 6,171 applicants—includes participants from 26 countries, with each recipient receiving funding at one of 37 graduate degree programs at Stanford University.

Worth approximately $350,000, the award will cover tuition, travel, books and living costs and will fund Reppucci's Master's in Business Administration and Master's in Public Policy degrees at Stanford. In addition to the monetary funding, Reppucci will also be able to participate in leadership development programs, international trips and a multi-disciplinary cohort of fellow scholars across Stanford's seven graduate schools.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholar Program was founded in 2016 to support and fund graduate students at Stanford University. Every year, high-achieving students from around the world receive full funding to pursue any graduate degree at Stanford, as well as joint- and dual-degrees. Knight-Hennessy Scholars is the largest fully endowed scholars program in the world.

"I am overwhelmingly grateful to be joining the diverse, global community of Knight-Hennessy Scholars," said Reppucci. "This funding and leadership curriculum will hopefully enable me to be an effective leader in public sector innovation someday. I am very proud to represent Holy Cross at Stanford this fall, and I cannot thank the advisors, professors, coaches and fellow alumni of Holy Cross enough for their mentorship and friendship throughout the past 10 years."

In addition to being a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship (twice) and the John Wooden Award for public service among college athletes, Reppucci's honors include the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Fellowships for Peace for language study at Middlebury College, the Kathryn Davis 100 Projects for Peach (in Russia), the Truman Scholarship for public service, the NCAA's Hockey Humanitarian Award,  and the Fulbright Scholarship to Argentina. But perhaps his greatest legacy is Working for Worcester, an annual event that brings volunteers together for a build day to complete projects that create or revitalize play and educational spaces for kids in Worcester.

"The Knight-Hennessy award caps off Jeff's illustrious fellowships career at Holy Cross, where he is the most decorated undergraduate in the College's history," said Anthony B. Cashman, director of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships and Graduate Studies at the College. " The Master's in Business Administration and Master's in Public Policy degrees will help Jeff start his own social entrepreneurship ventures, while learning how to navigate the complex interface among representatives from the business world, nonprofits and NGOs and government agencies."

Fulbright Scholarships

Three members of the Class of 2021 have been awarded Fulbright grants to teach or conduct research abroad during the 2021-22 academic year. This year's recipients are headed to Argentina, Spain and South Korea.

In addition to the Class of 2021 students, Class of 2020 alumna Emily Rothmann, a biology major from Andover, Massachusetts, was also awarded a Fulbright scholarship. Rothman, who received the award last year but was unable to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be teaching English at a nursing school in the Czech Republic.

Holy Cross has consistently been among the nation's top producers of Fulbright students at the undergraduate level, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The College has had over 55 Fulbright applicants and 26 semi-finalists over the past year alone.

"Holy Cross prepares our students so well to travel the world for research, study and English teaching," said Cashman. "I am proud that, in my 13 years as the Director of Distinguished Fellowships, we have had 100 Fulbright Scholars to more than 35 countries."

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is widely recognized as the most prestigious international exchange program in the world. The highly competitive grants are awarded on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

Each year, approximately 1,900 grants are awarded through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which offers opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and primary and secondary school teaching in more than 140 countries worldwide.

This year's recipients are:

Helen Conroy '21 - Argentina

Helen Conroy '21, a mathematics major from Albany, New York, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Argentina. Conroy, who is passionate about public speaking and teaching, is thrilled to head back to Argentina.

"After my study abroad experience was cut short due to COVID-19 in March 2020, I knew I had to find my way back to Argentina," said Conroy. "During the Fulbright scholarship, I will participate in a cultural exchange of theories and practices regarding gender and sexuality across borders while learning one another's languages."

Following her Fulbright experience, Conroy plans to continue teaching and eventually work toward a doctorate degree in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's studies.

Emily Cook '21 - Spain

Emily Cook '21, a Spanish major from Whitman, Mass., has received a Fulbright grant to teach English in Spain.

"The Fulbright grant was the perfect opportunity to combine my love of working with children and participating in active cultural exchanges," said Cook. "I am excited to continue debunking cultural stereotypes of both the United States and Spain and work with students of all ages."

Following her Fulbright experience, Cook plans to continue working as an EMT and begin the medical school application process. Her ultimate goal is to become a bilingual pediatric oncologist or cardiologist.

Madeleine Fontenay '21 - South Korea

Madeleine Fontenay '21, an English major from Carmel, Calif., has received a Fulbright grant to serve as an English Teaching Assistant in South Korea. Her selection as a Fulbright fellow continues her love of travel and cultural exchanges, which included her Maymester in Rome, Italy, and her Junior Year study abroad in León, Spain.

"I am so honored and excited to have this opportunity to experience South Korea for a year," said Fonteney. "As a historian, I am looking forward to learning more about South Korea's traditional culture, food, dress, markets and history along with its modern place in the world through the people I meet."

Following her Fulbright experience, Madeleine plans to attend graduate school for education. Her time spent teaching in South Korea will give her invaluable classroom experience connecting with students.

Related Information:

Six Holy Cross Students Awarded Fulbright Scholarships