Established by CEU President & Rector Michael Ignatieff and his wife Zsuzsanna Zsohar, this program brings undergraduates and graduates together to foster community and support academic excellence. The Presidential Scholar Awards are given annually to two incoming Bachelor’s students, two Master's students, and two doctoral candidates.
Klara Hulikova | BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Klara comes to CEU from Bratislava, where she has been actively involved in humanitarian relief efforts and social justice projects. She was a regular volunteer at a local orphanage and was an active contributor to informal education efforts at her high school.
She intends to develop her sense of justice at CEU, and upon graduation, plans to return to Slovakia to combat discrimination in the education sector. In pursuit of this goal, Klara served as a character and academic mentor and is a former teaching assistant.
Franziska Marhold | BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Second-Year Undergraduate Student
Franziska chose CEU not only for its academic excellence and global reputation but also for the diverse community and founding values. She is interested in exploring the relationship between globalization and populism as well as the potential for truly democratic international cooperation.
Outside of the classroom, she interned at an Austrian media house that focuses on local news in pursuit of building a career in journalism. Also, she participated in organizing the worldwide climate strike in Vienna this past summer. Her climate activism has also involved working with prominent European media to inform the public on a scientific basis and discuss climate justice with high-ranking politicians.
Marianna Wicha | BA in Culture, Politics and Society
Second-Year Undergraduate Student
Marianna is keen to continue to develop her understanding of the modern world at CEU. Her interest in how culture plays a critical role in preserving truth can be seen in her passion for theatre. While in high school, she directed her class’ performance of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull" at School Theatre Festival (Czacki Festiwal Teatralny), and it was later performed at Ochota Theatre in Warsaw.
This past summer, she interned at the National Museum of Art in Warsaw. Marianna has also been a member of the local Amnesty International group in Warsaw, participated in the Y-FED Model European Federation, and actively contributed to the Climate Youth Strike – Warsaw FFF group's efforts.
Nha Nguyen | MA in Critical Gender Studies
Before starting at CEU, Nha completed her bachelor’s degree in Professional Communication from RMIT University in Ho Chi Minh City, in her home country of the Philippines.
At CEU, she focuses primarily on the areas of gender relations, sexuality, and women’s use of social media in the context of postcolonial, postsocialist, and neoliberal Vietnam. She has co-authored several peer-reviewed articles on these topics and actively contributed to different research projects. She is committed to mentoring other young Vietnamese women researchers through a critical race and feminist lens and aspires to influence positive policy changes in Vietnamese institutions.
Zeynep Olgun | Medieval Studies
Zeynep earned her MA in Archaeology and Art History with a specialization in Maritime Archeology from Koç University in Istanbul. At CEU, her research focus is on the Byzantine Empire: ships and shipbuilding, merchant and sailor communities, naval administration, and warfare. She has authored and co-authored peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Mediterranean Knowledge and is a Junior Member of the Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies.
She is passionate about strengthening the field of Byzantine scholarship in Turkey and, to that end, has established a communications network among researchers in the region.
Antonio Salvador M. Alcazar III | PhD in Public Policy & International Relations
Before starting his PhD program, Antonio graduated magna cum laude from CEU with an MA in International Relations. His focus is on public policy, and his dissertation is entitled, “Everything but Arms: Interpreting EU preferential trade policy.”
Antonio is a Visiting Scholar at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, where he conducts literature review research on the EU’s pursuit of norms in the global souths through trade and interviews EU trade policy leaders. He is also the founder of Europdev, a company that provides export support, market studies, and business-to-business partnerships for small-to-medium enterprises.
Beata Tunde Szabo| PhD in Cognitive Science
Beata is currently pursuing two PhDs, one at CEU in Cognitive Science and another at Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Information Technology and Bionics. Her research focuses on probabilistic cognitive modeling of processing sequential auditory information, a consortium project about which she was awarded a US office of Naval Research grant, a testament to her commitment to excellence in scientific development.
Her dissertation will focus on understanding learning and meta-learning in humans, particularly individuals with learning disabilities. She is also well-published in peer-reviewed journals, including Frontiers in Neuroscience.