Hamel Scholars & Hamel Scholarships Program

The Hamel Scholars & Hamel Scholarships Program was founded in 2007. It provides merit scholarships and special recognition to exceptional students from New Hampshire who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and community involvement.

Funded through gifts from Dana Hamel, a long-time UNH supporter, the programs seek to help these students develop their full potential to become active, engaged leaders in communities throughout the state after graduating from UNH.

About Hamel Scholars

Hamel scholars are high-achieving students from throughout the state of New Hampshire who have either received a Hamel Scholarship as part of their offer of admission to UNH (offers are made once Early Action acceptances are completed) or who have been invited to join the program later in their UNH career, usually after sophomore year. They meet the academic requirements for and are members of the University Honors Program. Hamel Scholars are typically busy students who are highly engaged in and take leadership roles in both academic and student life at UNH.

Hamel Scholars have access to the best of UNH, including distinctive honors classes offered by UNH’s top faculty members. They enjoy the camaraderie and the sociable challenge of belonging to a cohort of high-achieving and civic-minded students. They also forge connections across disciplines since Hamel Scholars pursue degrees in every academic college at UNH. Hamel Scholars participate in a service project each semester and in regular workshops and seminars that develop their leadership skills and potential. When they graduate, Hamel Scholars join a robust alumni network within the Wildcat alumni family. 

Hamel Scholar Profiles

The statements below, excerpted from recent student letters to Dana Hamel, will introduce you to the kinds of experiences and varied interests that Hamel Scholars have.

Tim Marquis, Hamel Scholar

Timothy Marquis '15, Biomedical Sciences

"It has been a fantastic experience to form relationships with individuals of diverse interests and backgrounds who dedicate themselves to academic achievement. Through the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, I have received three research grants and co-authored three scientific papers; I am first author on my own manuscript, which is in preparation. I was also named a 2014 Goldwater Scholar. Through the many experiences [Mr. Hamel] has provided, I have come to appreciate the unique value of public schools – and of UNH. I aspire to go to medical school and become an oncologist, and will be the first generation in my family to finish college and pursue an advanced degree. It will be my dream to establish a state medical school in the system that provided me with such an unparalleled education full of rewarding opportunities for intellectual and personal growth."

Gabe Hoffman, Hamel ScholarGabe Hoffman ’17, History

"I cannot properly express the immense pleasure I feel from being able to learn and research on my own simply for the intrinsic value of doing so. I decided to attend UNH because I love my state and what it stands for. I also love being able to be close to my family while still being enrolled in a strong academic program with many additional opportunities for leadership and advancement. On campus I am involved with several organizations. I sit on the executive board for three of these programs, with perhaps my favorite being student senate and my role as parliamentarian."


Celine Boutin, Hamel Scholar

Celine Boutin ’17, Nursing; Philosophy minor

“I transferred into the nursing program from philosophy and I am so happy to have found a major that I am truly passionate about. I will be able to start working as a licensed nursing assistant this summer and I am hoping to work in a hospital to learn about the different areas of medical practice. I am also hoping to start the accelerated master’s program my senior year so that I can earn a master’s degree in nursing by 2018. There is so much to do here; I wish I could do it all. Last year I started working as a bus driver at Wildcat Transit. I was even able to obtain a CDL license. This year I am also a peer advisor, a resident assistant, and a teaching assistant in one my favorite classes at the university, Microbes in Human Disease. I have been able to meet new people and really enjoy offering guidance to those who are new to the university." 
Read an article about Celine in UNH Today


Kevin McAleese, Hamel Scholar

Kevin McAleese ’15, Economics; Political Science; International Affairs

"The Hamel Scholars Program has been incredibly helpful in alleviating some of the expenses of attending UNH, and enabled me to take advantage of the many different opportunities offered on campus. I have been able to travel to New York with the Model United Nations club and spend a summer in Azerbaijan as a Critical Language Scholarship recipient. The program has also helped in meeting interesting people from parts of campus that I probably would not have met without it, and ... has helped me to develop leadership skills that have enabled me to succeed in leadership positions." 
Read an article about Kevin in UNH Today


Paige Balcom, Hamel Scholar

Paige Balcom ’16, Mechanical Engineering; Applied Math minor

"Over the past two years I have really enjoyed my classes and getting involved in the UNH community—the student camaraderie and school spirit on this beautiful campus is inspiring! As a project leader for Engineers Without Borders, I had the opportunity to implement a clean water project in the village of Lukodi in Uganda. This summer, I spent eight weeks working with PhD students in Hannover, Germany, researching and doing experiments with nonholonomic robots. For the rest of the summer, I participated in the Fulbright Wales Summer Institute—one of the best experiences of my life! I learned that as an engineer, I need to consider how my projects will affect local identity and culture. I am continuing my international adventures by studying abroad in Madrid."


Ian MacKay, Hamel Scholar

Ian MacKay ’16, International Studies

"Being involved with the Hamel Scholars has truly enriched my experience at UNH and encouraged me to expand my horizons on a multitude of levels. I was able to spend last semester in Freiburg, Germany. My concept of home now extends far beyond my small hometown in New Hampshire. I have been lucky enough to also get involved with the Confucius Institute on campus [and] will go abroad this spring to Chengdu, home of pandas and incredibly spicy food. While visiting, I will conduct research for my International Affairs major. I intend to look at how Chinese identity is constructed through official government speeches and broadcasts, and how this identity allowed the now-established policies to come into existence. In fact, I have been interested in conflict regions for a long time and have worked extensively with a non-profit called the Sonad Peace Project, whose aim is to facilitate the crossing of human divides … through artistic expression. I have played the violin for almost 17 years. Along with my oldest brother and sister, I’ll be traveling to an arts education facility in Ramallah, Palestine/West Bank. We will be putting on a concert series, as well as collaborating with students and other local musicians."


Katherine Estep

Katherine Estep ’17, Chemical Engineering

"A career in the sciences has been a dream of mine since a young age. I consider myself a very curious person and I find science to be the best fodder for my questioning mind. I have never been afraid of a challenge, and I know that chemical engineering is not the easiest major, but I am excited to overcome any difficulties that present themselves. I am an avid runner and a member of the University’s cross-country and track team. My main events are the 5000 and 10,000 meter runs. I really enjoy running long-distance and I feel like a lot of the mental endurance I gain from athletics is also applied to my schoolwork. Running takes up a lot of my time, but I couldn’t imagine my college experience without it."


Benjamin Gallo

Benjamin Gallo ’17, Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology

"I have always been attracted to the water and its various ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them. I have also been an avid fisherman for as long as I can remember. I am currently working in Dr. James Haney’s lab on campus focusing on extracting toxins from fish that inhabit New Hampshire waters. In particular, one toxin that is relatively unknown but is thought to be a possible precursor to neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s and ALS. I hope to one day land a job with a New Hampshire State Department or perhaps work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. [The Hamel Scholarship] has provided me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the brightest minds on campus from the Granite State!"


Megan Sellarole

Megan Sellarole ’16, Exercise Science

"I have really enjoyed being apart of the Honors Program at the University of New Hampshire, because of the quality of the professors and the depth of the material. My favorite professor so far is Dr. Charles Walker, who taught my Honors Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular course. I have never had a professor so knowledgeable of the material and able to effectively convey his message to the class. He drove home the point that he was there to help us succeed and learn the material. Outside the classroom, I am a member of the Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team, the Exercise Science club, and the Alpha Epsilon Delta health preprofessional honors society. I am also apart of UNH Global Brigades, with whom I traveled to Honduras last spring to provide medical care to those in need."


Cody Fitzgerald, Hamel Scholar

Cody Fitzgerald ’16, Mathematics; Genetics 

"I aspire to earn a Ph.D. at a top graduate program in the intersection of mathematics, computer science, and the life sciences. Currently, I am working in Dr. Vaughn Cooper’s microbiology lab on a cystic fibrosis related project. Over the summer, I attended a Math Research Experience for Undergraduates at North Carolina State University working on mathematical phylogenetics project for 10 weeks. I am a member of the chess club, the undergraduate representative for the American Society for Microbiology, and play various intramural sports. Independent of my studies, I am working with another Hamel Scholar to create the “Banned Book Library,” a virtual library to allow American students whose school or library has banned a book on moral grounds access to the literature they deserve."


Jessica Newman, Hamel Scholar

Jessica Newman 17, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems; Ecogastronomy

"My goal is to work towards fixing the American food system [by helping to] design a food system that is healthy for people, feasible economically, and conservative towards the environment. I am studying the various processes that govern the growth of food, distribution of food, and consumption of food to gain a better understanding of the intricate workings which could impact the success or failure of such a system. My passion for the sustainability of food is fully supported by UNH and the dual major I have selected. The programs here are perfectly aligned with my interests, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else."


Hannah Waller, Hamel Scholar

Hannah Waller ’15, Political Science; International Affairs 

"This past summer, I received an IROP grant to conduct research in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). I lived in Sanski Most and conducted interviews with the help of my foreign mentor, Vahidin Omanović, who is the director of the local Center for Peacebuilding. I have always been passionate about human rights and post-conflict reconstruction, so this was the perfect opportunity to gain experience on the ground. On campus, I am involved with Amnesty International UNH, Model United Nations, and Buddies Without Borders (partnership with international students). My experience in Bosnia-Herzegovina reaffirmed my passion and commitment to working in the field of human rights. My goal is to receive a master’s degree in peace studies or conflict resolution, and I am currently in the process of applying to schools in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Northern Ireland."