KALAMAZOO--Kaytlyn Witgen, who will graduate from Perry (Mich.) High School this month, has been awarded a $20,000 scholarship to study at Western Michigan University beginning this fall.
Witgen is the recipient of a Mary Upjohn Meader Scholarship that is designed to cover major coursework for students studying geography, community and regional planning, or tourism and travel. The scholarship will pay up to $20,000 over the next four years.
Witgen will select one of the three geography majors to study as a WMU student. Criteria for the award includes a minimum ACT score of 26 and a minimum high school grade point average of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.
A member of the National Honor Society, Witgen has been active in her high school's arts programs and extracurricular activities. She has participated in PHS Symphonic Band, Pep Band, Marching Band and Drum Line as well as Student Council and drama. In addition, she has served as a tutor in both mathematics and music.
Funding for the scholarship comes from an endowment established to provide up to three such awards annually to incoming freshmen who will study geography. The scholarships are named for the late Mary Upjohn Meader, who was an aviation pioneer, groundbreaking photographer and a philanthropist who gave generously to education and the arts. She and her late husband, Edwin E. Meader, an adjunct professor of geography at WMU, were longtime supporters of WMU.
As a young woman in 1937, Meader flew over both South America and Africa and took a treasure trove of aerial photos that are still being used by scholars today. Representatives of the American Geographical Society asked Meader to sign the historic Flyers' and Explorers' Globe twice to mark those momentous flights.
WMU's Department of Geography is Michigan's second largest and among the top 5 percent of schools in the nation for awarding bachelor's degrees. It has been a part of the WMU science curriculum for more than 100 years. Today, the department is a leader in such areas as Geographic Information Systems, urban and regional planning, and environmental analysis and resource management.