New graduate of UMES wins national fellowship

Liz Ranger received two degrees after 3½ years of study at UMES, and is now headed to law school.

Liz Ranger received two degrees after 3½ years of study at UMES, and is now headed to law school.

PRINCESS ANNE — UMES alumna Liz Ranger of Greenbackville, Va., is among a select group from across the country in the Class of 2016 who will receive a prestigious post-graduate fellowship award.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi named Ranger one of 51 winners of a $5,000 stipend, which she will use when she enrolls this fall in the Duquesne University School of Law.

Ranger finished her undergraduate studies in 3½ years, earning two bachelor’s degrees simultaneously — in history and English. Long-time UMES officials can find no evidence an undergraduate had achieved that distinction in recent memory.

She was a member of UMES’ Richard A. Henson Honors Program and graduated with highest honors this past December. Her only “B” letter grade came in a sociology class her first semester. Duquesne offered her a full academic scholarship, one of nine the private institution in Pittsburgh awarded among an incoming class of 128.

“The Phi Kappa Phi award will be a big help in defraying things like room and board,” said Ranger, who has researched taking out loans to pay for housing and incidental expenses for the next three years. As Henson honors program member, she received a full-ride scholarship.

English professor Terry Smith said, “Liz exemplifies the beliefs of Phi Kappa Phi. She is very deserving of this award, and I know it will benefit her as she attends law school in the fall.”

History professor Timothy Baughman described Ranger as “exceptionally bright. She is an old-style student. She has a real capacity for learning, a passion for excelling. I’ve not met many people her age with her work ethic.”

“Whether she was doing intensive research, or canning 120 jars of pickles or baking cupcakes for her classmates, she set a very high bar of what you can do if you set your mind to it,” Baughman said.

Ranger plans to practice on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where currently there are fewer than a dozen law firms.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s “oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Membership is by invitation … to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors.”

The honor society weighs “the applicants’ evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance at an approved graduate or professional program.”

UMES’ chapter was chartered in 2010. Noman Choudhry of Delmar, now a medical school student, became the first UMES student to receive the national organization’s honor. Having Phi Kappa Phi honorees in consecutive years is an accomplishment that should be celebrated, Smith said.

— Bill Robinson is director of public relations at UMES.

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