Our Staff

Nichole Fazio, DPhil (Oxon)
Director of Undergraduate Research and National Fellowships; Executive Director, College Center for Research & Fellowships; Associate Dean of Students
  • DPhil (PhD), History of Art, University of Oxford
  • MSt, History of Art, University of Oxford, Awarded with Distinction
  • MA, Interdisciplinary Studies: Philosophy of Religion and Aesthetics, Marylhurst University

Nichole Fazio is the founding Executive Director of the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF), the first center at the University of Chicago dedicated to supporting College students in their research activities and applying to nationally competitive fellowships. In this role, she serves as Director of Undergraduate Research and National Fellowships, and plays a leading role in developing undergraduate research initiatives in the arts and humanities. She is also Associate Dean of Students in the College.

Previous to her appointment at Chicago, Nichole held a similar position at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), where she built its first Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships and helped University leadership institutionalize undergraduate research. There she also taught honors courses in the History of Art and co-designed and led the Haslam Scholars' research-based summer program at the University of Edinburgh. She began her career in undergraduate research and national fellowships in 2001 at the University of Washington (UW) as the Assistant Director for both its Undergraduate Research Program and Undergraduate Scholarship Office, helping to design and launch its Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities. Nichole was twice honored by the University of Washington for excellence in undergraduate education and in 2014 received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Advising, an award given to six members of the University of Tennessee's faculty and staff. She is also the co-author of The Best Scholarships for the Best Students with Dr. Jason Morris and Donald Asher (Peterson’s Publishing, 2010).

Nichole completed her doctorate in the History of Art at the University of Oxford, where she was a postgraduate fellow at Trinity College and supported by an Oxford Overseas Research Award fellowship (ORSAS/Clarendon Bursary). Her current scholarship focuses on 19th-century British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, as well as Paul Strand's "water pictures", particularly his Tir A'Mhurain images of the Outer Hebrides and Sicily. Additional teaching and research interests include the Pre-Raphaelites, 19th-century material and visual culture, and early British Symbolism.

Specializes in undergraduate research support, with a particular focus on the arts and humanities; supports postgraduate, open discipline national fellowships, including the British and Irish Fellowships: Marshall, Ertegun, Rhodes, Gates-Cambridge, Churchill, and the Mitchell; also supports research-focused opportunities including the Goldwater, Astronaut, and NSF GRFP for undergraduate candidates; and, is the UChicago FPA for the Fulbright Scholar (Faculty) and Post-Doc programs. 

Tracy Nyerges, MSW
Assistant Director, Undergraduate Research, College Center for Research and Fellowships
  • MSW, Direct Practice Health, University of Washington

Tracy Nyerges is the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research for the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF). She has administered student advising, academic affairs, special programming, and research activities at multiple higher education institutions, including the University of Missouri, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Vermont, and Northwestern University. Tracy also served as the Assistant Director for the Undergraduate Research Program (URP) at the University of Washington (UW) where she managed new and growing summer STEM and Arts & Humanities undergraduate research programs and promoted research opportunities, scholarship, and fellowships in all disciplines for over eight years. While at UW, she helped to run one of the largest Undergraduate Research Symposiums in the country and received the 2013 UW Undergraduate Academic Affairs Award for Excellence for her dedication to students. Tracy earned an MSW from UW and applies her social work skills and education to effectively support and advise College students while facilitating high-impact undergraduate research opportunities.  

Specializes in undergraduate research support and involvement across all campus. Additional expertise in summer research program opportunities, including the Amgen Scholars Program.

Arthur Salvo, PhD
Assistant Director, National Fellowships, College Center for Research and Fellowships
  • PhD, Germanic Languages, Columbia University
  • MA, Germanic Languages and Literatures, New York University
  • BA, Germanic Languages and Literatures, New York University

Arthur Salvo is the Assistant Director of Scholarships and Fellowships for the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF). Arthur received his PhD in 2015, and his scholarship focuses on German literature around 1800, aesthetics, and visual culture. Prior to joining CCRF, he mentored and advised students, taught courses in German, and introduced undergraduates to the humanities by teaching in the Core curricula of Columbia University, Colgate University, and the University of Chicago. At Columbia, he was named the Robert Belknap Core Faculty Fellow and received the Core Preceptor Award in recognition of his teaching. A recipient of research fellowships from the Fulbright Program and the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, Arthur provides fellowships advising to first and second-year students and supports CCRF’s outreach initiatives.

Specializes in the Beinecke, Fulbright (Study/Research, Germany), DAAD Programs, Bosch, Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS), Boren Scholarship, Gilman Scholarship, and Davis Projects for Peace Prize; also provides support for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program and other select research-based and postgraduate fellowships.

Sandra Zupan, PhD
Assistant Director, National Fellowships and Undergraduate Research
  • Phd, Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • MS, Conservation Social Sciences, University of Idaho
  • MS, Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University (Hungary)

Sandra Zupan is the Assistant Director of National Fellowships and Undergraduate Research for the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF). Sandra completed a Ph.D. in Geography in 2010. For the following seven years, Sandra taught undergraduate courses in human geography, environment and urban studies at Temple University and University of Kentucky. She worked to enhance students’ global literacy and cultural competence by teaching World Society General Education courses, as well as encouraging students to pursue international experiences. By also teaching courses in research design and intensive writing, she gained extensive experience in helping students articulate their academic interests, develop research proposals and improve writing skills. Sandra’s mentees were successful in obtaining national fellowships, research grants, study abroad and employment in Central America, East Asia, Central Asia, as well as Western and Eastern Europe. She sought to further enhance student scholarly advancement by serving on both university and national selection committees, including Fulbright, Boren, Truman and Udall. Sandra also brings a personal history of achievement in fellowships, which facilitated her academic and applied research in urban policy, economic development and justice alliances in contemporary urban America.

Specializes in research, international and post-graduate fellowships including: Fulbright (Study/Research), National Science Foundation GRFP, James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship, Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, Paul & Daisy Soros FellowshipBill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship,Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, Boren Scholarship and Critical Language Scholarship, among others; research design and writing support for research proposals and fellowship applications; and, general undergraduate support and involvement across all campus.

Johanna Best, PhD
Assistant Director, National Fellowships, College Center for Research and Fellowships
  • PhD, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College
  • MA, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College
  • BA, Classical Languages and Literature, Earlham College

Johanna Best is the Assistant Director of National Scholarships and Fellowships in the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF). She earned her PhD in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology in 2015 with a dissertation focused on roadside religious spaces in Attica, Greece. Before joining the CCRF team, Johanna was an ACLS/Mellon Public Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, serving as the Program Manager for Scholarly and Public Engagement in the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative. With strong interests in cultural heritage, the arts, and education, she has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Greece and facilitated object-based learning as part of the Academic Engagement Department at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Johanna was awarded the Doris Sill Carland Excellence in Teaching Award at Bryn Mawr College and has served as a mentor and supervisor to students in museums and on excavations. Johanna has been a recipient of nationally competitive fellowships, including a Fulbright Research Grant to Greece.

Specializes in the Fulbright US Student Program (Study/Research/ETA), the US-UK Fulbright programs, Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS), Gilman Scholarship, and Yenching Program, among others; also provides support for other select research-based and international postgraduate fellowships.

Kate Blankinship, AB
Special Projects Assistant, College Center for Research and Fellowships
  • AB, University of Chicago, Linguistics, with a minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Kate Blankinship is the Special Projects Assistant for the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF). Kate received her BA in linguistics alongside a minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University. As an undergraduate, she was heavily involved in research, analyzing social and child welfare systems. Kate now works for the nonprofit College Possible as a senior coach at Mather High School in addition to working for the CCRF. In this role, Kate serves as a guide and mentor to seniors as they navigate the college application process. Kate’s goal is to not only help students gain access to higher education, but also to equip them with the skills and confidence necessary to succeed. When she was an undergraduate, Kate greatly benefitted from the CCRF office in this regard. Now as a Project Assistant, she helps manage databases and create promotional material, with a particular focus on CCRF's major research events and programs.