Recent Coe College graduate Anthony DeCeanne has been awarded one of two prestigious R.J. McElroy Trust Fellowships for graduate study.
A physics major and math minor at Coe, DeCeanne will pursue a doctorate in materials science and engineering at Penn State University. The fellowship carries a stipend of up to $36,000 paid over three years.
"Winning the McElroy fellowship is another reminder of the importance of work completed outside the classroom," DeCeanne said. "My undergraduate research has led to opportunities such as an internship with a Fortune 300 company, an international conference in Hawaii, graduate school and now the McElroy fellowship. I cannot thank Coe enough, especially professors Steve Feller and Mario Affatigato, for all of the support and guidance I have received throughout my time at Coe."
Close student-faculty relationships are a key component of a Coe education, especially within Coe's internationally recognized Physics Department. Physics students work on graduate-level research projects with faculty, often collaborating on published papers. Additionally, Coe faculty have taken students to research labs and conferences in England, China, Italy, Hawaii, Maryland, France, Greece and Japan.
At Coe, DeCeanne has been a student-athlete, student senator, peer tutor and member of the physics and math clubs. He was highly involved in student ambassadors, serving as president for three terms, and he conducted summer research that led to an internship at Corning Inc.
"I believe the research I conducted under professors Steve Feller and Mario Affatigato's direction helped me separate myself from the rest of the candidates," DeCeanne said. "I am extremely grateful for winning the fellowship, both to the committee and those at Coe who helped me with the mock interview and my application. I was a little surprised that I won because all seven of the candidates were deserving."
"Anthony is an ideal McElroy recipient. Not only is he passionate about his field of glass ceramics, but he has already published articles on his research and worked in multiple labs, demonstrating his ability to succeed in graduate school. Moreover, his involvement on Coe's campus demonstrates his leadership abilities and commitment to making our world a better place," Coe National Fellowship Advisor Amber Shaw said. "I'm thrilled the McElroy Trust saw how deserving Anthony is and has given him this opportunity."
Shaw assisted DeCeanne with his written application. DeCeanne also conducted mock interviews with her, Coe Provost Paula O'Loughlin and two members of the Coe faculty.
"We are very proud of Anthony. His commitment to use his scientific skills for public good is heart-warming and the kind of selflessness that we all aspire to. Anthony joins a distinguished group of Coe alumni who were previous McElroy fellowship recipients," O'Loughlin said.
This represents the seventh time in the past 10 years that a Coe graduating senior has received the McElroy Trust Fellowship. Last year, Alexandria Muldrew received the award. Coe recipients also include Emily Roberts in 2016, Jason Maldonis in 2013, Sarah Anciaux in 2011, Tyler Mullenbach in 2010 and Ben Franta in 2009.
Since 1979, 100 percent of Coe’s physics majors accepted to graduate school have received full fellowships, stipends and scholarships to attend.
DeCeanne, of Peoria, Ill., is the son of Tony DeCeanne, of Glenview, Ill., and Laura DeCeanne, of Peoria, Ill.
Established by the McElroy Trustees in 1983, the R.J. McElroy Trust Fellowships are designed to "encourage persons of accomplishment, intelligence, integrity and leadership ability to pursue challenging academic careers." Based upon satisfactory progress toward a doctorate degree, the stipend of $12,000 may be renewed for two additional years.
The trust benefactor, R.J. McElroy was a pioneer broadcaster who started the Black Hawk Broadcasting Company in 1947. He died in 1965.
Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.