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Two Villanova Students Chosen for Fulbright US-UK Summer Institutes

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Two Villanova University students have been chosen to attend Fulbright U.S.-UK Summer Institutes for U.S. Undergraduates. Offered by the U.S.-UK Fulbright Commission, the Summer Institutes provide the opportunity for U.S. undergraduates (over the age of 18), with at least two years of undergraduate study left to complete, to come to the UK on a short-term academic and cultural summer program. Mackenzie Niness, a Criminology major from Sutton, Mass., will be attending the University of Bristol Summer Institute for Young American Student Leaders. Rachel Schlegel, a Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience major from Millstone Twp, N.J., will be attending the Queen’s University Belfast Summer Institute.

“I could not be more pleased for Mackenzie and Rachel, who have just completed their sophomore and freshman years, respectively,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, Dean, Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Mackenzie is also a very accomplished student-athlete, and Rachel will be conducting faculty-mentored research next semester in our Psychology Department. As a College, we encourage and emphasize experiential learning and global perspective, and these are outstanding opportunities for both students.”

Participants in these programs get the opportunity to experience an academic program at a highly regarded UK University, explore the culture, heritage and history of the UK and develop their academic ability by improving presentation, research and communication skills. Click here for more on the Fulbright Summer Institutes for U.S. Undergraduates.

Mackenzie Niness, of Sutton, Mass., is a rising junior Criminology major. Niness is a member of the women’s varsity swimming and diving team at Villanova, where she was named to the 2015 and 2016 All-BIG EAST team and the 2016 Philadelphia Inquirer Swimming & Diving Academic All-Area Team. She also volunteers as a tutor at the Graterford State Correctional Institution. Niness will be participating in the Fulbright Summer Institute at the University of Bristol, where she will be examining the trans-Atlantic slave trade from the British perspective. She hopes to apply this knowledge in a career working within the criminal justice system.

Rachel Schlegel, of Millstone Township, N.J., is a rising sophomore Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience major at Villanova. She is a participant in the University’s Rays of Sunshine and Faith and Learning Scholars programs. Next year Schlegel will be conducting research under the tutelage of Dr. Benjamin Sachs. She will also serve as an Orientation Counselor this August as part of Villanova’s New Student Orientation program. Schlegel will be participating in the Fulbright Summer Institute at Queen’s University Belfast, where she will be exploring the role of post-traumatic stress disorder in a post-conflict setting. She hopes to apply this knowledge as she prepares for a career as a mental health counselor working with teens managing PTSD.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit