Former and current Ogden Honors students receive Rotary Global Grant Scholarship for graduate study overseas

January 26, 2023

Sanaa Alam

Sanaa Alam - '22

Biological Sciences - College of Science

Aine O'Nuanain

Aine O'Nuanain - '23

Coastal Environmental Science - College of the Coast & Environment


Ogden Honors graduate Sanaa Alam (’22) and current senior Aine O’Nuanain have each been awarded a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship of up to $30,000. The scholarship provides funding for students traveling overseas for graduate school, whose intended area of study matches one of the Rotary Club’s areas of focus: peacebuilding and conflict prevention, disease prevention and treatment, water, sanitation and hygiene, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, community economic development, and the environment. 

“I am so delighted that Sanaa and Aine will both be able to continue their studies in Europe – this is a great moment for each of them and for the Honors College’s Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) program, which continues to feed the pipeline of future leaders to face Louisiana’s biggest challenges,” said Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle.

Alam, a former Stamps and Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Scholar, graduated from the Ogden Honors College and LSU’s College of Science in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and minors in political science and Spanish. 

As a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, she plans to study population health sciences at the University of Cambridge in England where she will focus on policy and practices to improve health systems in underserved or unstable environments, particularly refugee communities. 

Alam believes cross-cultural exchange is important to her future career and contributions to global health. “I applied for this scholarship because I felt a strong connection to the Rotary Club's mission of uniting people to take action to create lasting change across the globe and within our own communities,” she noted.  

In her time at LSU, Alam spent three weeks studying Victorian literature and Ancient Greece in the Ogden at Oxford program, spent a week providing  health care to a rural community in Honduras, and two months learning Urdu from professors in Lucknow, India through the U.S Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship program, which she was awarded twice. 

After graduation Alam moved to Logroño, Spain where she has been working as an English Teaching Assistant on a Fulbright Scholarship.  

O’Nuanain, is an Ogden Honors College senior studying coastal environmental science in LSU’s College of the Coast & Environment. She plans to pursue a Master in Global Challenges for Sustainability at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

“One of Rotary's areas of focus is water sanitation and environment, so I want to explore the idea of water as a paradox. And by that I mean we know water is a precious resource and should be a human right, but here in Louisiana we are faced with regular flooding and even issues with saltwater getting into the drinking water systems,” she said. “We live in a place [Louisiana] where we see both sides of the problem coincide. As resources become scarce, impoverished communities are going to be the most adversely impacted, so I want to help make our most vulnerable communities more resilient.” 

While O’Nuanain doesn’t have a job title in mind for her future career, the LASAL Scholars program helped O’Nuanain forge a path in water conservation and community resilience. “LASAL’s focus on issues critical to Louisiana like coastal land loss and poverty inspired me to change my major from biological sciences to coastal environmental science which proved to be a better fit for me as it allows me to look at the science as well as the social and political aspects of the problems we are faced with,” said O’Nuanain. 

O’Nuanain is currently working on her Honors thesis under the direction of Associate Professor of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences Michael Polito. She is exploring the decomposition of marsh grass and how a technique of delivering freshwater can be used for restoration and how it changes decomposition levels in the grass.