The Charger Blog

Students ‘Honored and Grateful’ to Be Recognized as Hatfield Scholars

Members of the University’s John D. Hatfield Scholars Program reflect on what the recognition means to them, as well as the most meaningful experiences and opportunities they have had as Chargers.

October 20, 2022

By Anna Marcotte ’24, Sophie Eskenas ’24, Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’24, and Anna Schleck ’23

Left to right: Sophie Eskenas ’24, Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’24, Anna Schleck ’23, Kiana White ’24, and Briana Hojo ’23.
Left to right: Sophie Eskenas ’24, Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’24, Anna Schleck ’23, Kiana White ’24, and Briana Hojo ’23.

Several outstanding University of New Haven students are being honored for their exemplary academic and civic achievements. Each year, the John D. Hatfield Scholars Program recognizes up to three seniors and three juniors in the University’s Honors Program.

John D. Hatfield, Ph.D., the University’s first executive vice president, provost and chief operating officer, helped lead the University of New Haven in the initial stages of its transformation into becoming one of the finest comprehensive universities in the Northeast.

Dr. Hatfield died in 2003, and the John D. Hatfield Scholars Program was established in 2004 by Henry Bartels ’91 Hon., a longtime member of the Board of Governors, and his wife, Nancy ’11 Hon. Phil Bartels ’11 Hon., a former Board of Governors chair and current member, and his wife, Susan, have continued the Bartels family legacy of philanthropy to the University by supporting the program. Additionally, generous donors established the John D. Hatfield Endowed Scholarship to support deserving students attending the University of New Haven.

The scholars were recognized at a recent luncheon, during which they interacted with University supporters and leaders. Below, several scholars reflect on what the recognition means to them, as well as their most impactful experiences at the University.

Anna Marcotte ’24

I am honored to have been selected as a Hatfield Scholar. To me, it reflects that I am participating in the Honors Program to the best of my ability. College is all about exploring your interests and using them to help others, I feel that being a Hatfield Scholar exemplifies that.

Anna Marcotte ’24 is studying abroad in England this semester and was not able to attend the luncheon.
Anna Marcotte ’24 is studying abroad in England this semester and was not able to attend the luncheon.

In the Honors Program, I am able to explore other areas of interest outside of my major through the different courses offered. It also gives me the opportunity to work with faculty on research for my Honors thesis. Both of these opportunities are allowing me to expand my knowledge and take full advantage of my college experience.

The Honors Program and being selected as a Hatfield Scholar have also empowered me to take advantage of other opportunities our University has to offer. This past summer, I was selected as a President’s Public Service Fellow, and I was able to spend my summer working with the Yale Prison Education Initiative. It was an incredible experience that has left an impact on my life. Currently, I am studying abroad in England, which promises to be another very impactful experience.

Overall, being a Hatfield Scholar is a great opportunity to continue to enjoy all the wonderful knowledge and experiences at the University. I hope to continue to live with the qualities of a Hatfield Scholar, which is something I am very thankful to be.

Sophie Eskenas ’24

I am honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the John D. Hatfield Scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year. Being a Hatfield Scholar has been a great experience, and it definitely brings a good internal feeling to be recognized for my accomplishments in and out of the classroom.

I was able to attend a luncheon with Mr. Phil Bartels, who supports the Hatfield Scholars Program. Spending time with Mr. Bartels taught me a lot about how not one “thing” defines you and your future. Your interactions with people and forming real world connections are the best ways to live life to the fullest. Every experience in life is a learning experience, and Mr. Bartels is a prime example of how to succeed in this way.

Being in the Honors Program at the University of New Haven has provided great opportunity for my involvement in the community, both in and out of the classroom. I was able to work with Dr. Mary Isbell in formatting our work on The Confessions of Nat Turner with a Creative Commons attribution license. I am also a teaching assistant for general chemistry, a lab assistant in the chemistry department, and a physics learning assistant.

Outside of the academic world, I am on the varsity women’s soccer team and I enjoy volunteering when my time allows. I enjoy volunteering with the Community Integration Mentoring Program, an organization my peer Gabi Garcia-Perez ’24 founded.

I plan to continue working hard academically while also becoming more involved in the campus community and greater community. Being a Hatfield Scholar is a great honor, and I love being able to represent the John D. Hatfield Scholarship Program as a recipient.

Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’24

I am so happy and grateful to be a part of the powerhouse group that is the Hatfield Scholarship recipients. I am grateful to the University leaders and the Bartels family for taking the time to get to know us students at the Hatfield Scholarship Luncheon.

There are not many school leaders or donors out there that take the time to recognize their students personally, so I am especially grateful for the hands-on leadership our University faculty takes on.

During the event, the scholars, University leaders, and Mr. Bartels all learned about each other’s achievements and aspirations, which was tremendously inspiring. I was also honored to have been given the opportunity to speak at the event, where I shared how the University of New Haven has facilitated deeply meaningful experiences that have led me to feel prepared for the workforce. At the University, there is no doubt that I feel heard.

While in school, students can’t always say that they feel prepared to go out in the workforce. But I am confident that that is the truth in my case, and I seriously attribute that to the University’s preparation, which has enabled me to build my resume through experiences while still in school.

The University has been my biggest advocate, and inviting me to speak at the luncheon was just a small example of the opportunities the school has given me – from being a student representative on Avelo’s inaugural flight out of Tweed New Haven Airport to serving as the volunteer service director at the USA Special Olympic games in Florida earlier this year. They have believed in me.

The Avelo flight to Orlando was a day trip however it opened up another life-changing opportunity. This summer, I was lucky enough to intern in the Lieutenant Governor’s office and with Boeing Company. In my interview for the Boeing internship, I was immediately asked about my Avelo flight experience. And thanks to the University, I was able to make a connection with the interviewers that set me apart from the other candidates.

The Hatfield Scholars.
The Hatfield Scholars.
Anna Schleck ’23

Being selected as a Hatfield Scholar has made me feel as though all the hard work I have put into my degree and my work at the University has been worth it. I know a lot of people applied to be a Hatfield Scholar, and it is humbling to be chosen as one of those distinguished enough to be selected.

As a Hatfield Scholar, I have been able to network with some of the University’s best and brightest students as well as share my ideas and feelings with the University’s faculty, staff, and administrators. Sharing my experience with all of them has been incredible, and I value the ability to communicate the feelings of the student body to administrators.

As an ambassador with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, I have also been able to share my experience as a Hatfield Scholar with the next generation of Chargers. Giving back to the University and the people who have given me so much has been so rewarding.

As for my plans going forward, I am writing my Honors thesis on how specific economic factors such as foreign aid, illicit trade, and public corruption are affecting the Taliban’s ability to rule Afghanistan. My thesis work has put me in contact with former U.S. Ambassador Richard Boucher as well as a colonel in the United State Marine Corps who served in Afghanistan and now works at the U.S. Naval War College.

Alongside my thesis adviser, Dr. Jeffrey Treistman, these resources have been invaluable, and I would not have had access to them without the Honors Program. My time at the University has flown by, and I have made so many incredible memories. I have been lucky to participate in so many opportunities with Model G20, Model UN, and various other groups and clubs.

I have met the most incredible professors in the National Security Department in my time here, and I have had the honor of working alongside the best people in the Undergraduate Admissions Office. My education has been second to none, and that is because of the people who work so hard every day to make us better as students.

Anna Marcotte ’24 and Sophie Eskenas ’24 are forensic science majors at the University of New Haven. Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’24 is a business management major, and Anna Schleck ’23 is majoring in national security.