20 new WMU students win $50,000 Medallion Scholarships

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KALAMAZOO—Twenty freshmen have won coveted Medallion Scholarships to begin their studies at Western Michigan University this fall.

Medallion Scholarships are the highest merit-based award WMU can bestow on an incoming freshman. Valued at $50,000 each over four years, they constitute one of the largest merit-based awards in American higher education.

Fifteen of this year's incoming scholars received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship. The remaining five scholars received awards that bear the names of their scholarships' donors or the individuals for whom the scholarships were established.

The 2012 recipients were announced in July. The students were selected after competing for the awards in the 29th annual Medallion Scholarship Program Competition held in January at WMU. Invitations to compete were based on a combination of grade point averages and ACT scores, and were extended to students who had applied to WMU by Dec. 2, 2011.

A total of 729 seniors from across Michigan and the United States participated in this year's competition. The daylong event included essay writing and a group problem-solving activity for the students as well as an informational session for the participants' parents.

The 40 top-performing competitors returned to campus and were interviewed as finalists for the Medallion Scholarship, with 20 ultimately being selected to receive the honor.

In addition to the $50,000 monetary award, Medallion Scholars become members of WMU's Lee Honors College. The college, one of the oldest honors programs in the nation, enhances the undergraduate learning experience by providing such benefits as smaller class sizes, individualized academic advising and a freshman mentoring program.

The finalists not awarded Medallion Scholarships were offered a top-tier Deans' Scholarship worth $6,000 over two years, and all of the remaining competitors were offered a one-time Dean's Scholarship worth $3,000. In addition, every Dean's Scholarship recipient who lives in a WMU residence hall during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years will receive a $4,000 Residence Hall Award to offset their 2013-14 housing costs.

This year's Medallion Scholars have an average ACT score of 32 and a grade point average of 4.30. They will begin their studies at WMU in the fall and are scheduled to graduate during the 2015-16 academic year.

For more information about the Medallion Scholarship, visit wmich.edu/medallion or contact Christopher Voss at christopher.voss@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2051.

2012 Medallion Scholars

  • Brianna M. Amat, of Pinckney, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Pinckney High School and plans to major in advertising and promotion. A member of the National Honor Society and a talented soccer player, Amat was named to the All Kensington Lakes Activities Association Academic Soccer Team from 2009 to 2011. She captained the varsity soccer team from 2010 to 2012 and was selected the team's most valuable defensive player from 2009 to 2011. Those same three years, she was named to the All District First Team and All Conference First Team. Amat also was a member of the student council and served that organization as treasurer for two years. She was honored this year at Glamour Magazine's 21st Annual Amazing Women of the Year Awards as one of its 21 Amazing Young Women under 25, was a finalist for Michigan Homecoming Queen and was her own school's homecoming queen. Her community service activities included taking part in Red Cross blood drives, United Way Day of Caring and Pennies for Patients; volunteering at local middle and elementary schools; and tutoring and participating in breast cancer and diabetes research fundraisers. In addition, Amat is a member of her high school's MAC Links team, which helps special needs students with social skills as well as the Link Crew mentoring program for incoming freshmen.
  • Nicholas S. Boileau, of Dearborn, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Edsel Ford High School and plans to major in history secondary education. Boileau was captain of the varsity tennis, swimming and golf teams his senior year and participated in tennis, swimming and golf all four years of high school. He attended the Dearborn Center for Math, Science and Technology throughout high school, as well, and won both a first- and a second-place award in math at the center's annual Science Fair. Boileau's community service activities included membership in Boy Scouts of America from 2006-2012, serving as assistant patrol leader and senior patrol leader. He is a self-taught guitarist and enjoys playing and listening to music.
  • Aaron G. Brzezinski, of Macomb Twp., Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School and plans to major in history. A member of the National Honor Society, Brzezinski won the Richard A. Balgenorth Award for Higher Education as well as the Lacrosse Academic All-State Award and De La Salle Collegiate Iron Man Leadership Award. He was lacrosse team captain and received the most improved player award in football. He was a member of the Spanish Club Link Crew and performed music outside of school as the founder and leader of his own band, for which he also served as a bass guitarist and singer-songwriter. His community service activities included coaching for the Eastside Lacrosse Youth Clinic and being active in the St. Lawrence Youth Group. In addition, Brzezinski volunteered at St. Leo's Soup Kitchen and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team, St. Lawrence Parish Festival and Wil-Mar Convalescent Home.
  • Danielle R. Dupuis, of Mattawan, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Mattawan High School and plans to major in chemistry. A member of the National Honor Society, Dupuis has earned such accolades as the International World Languages Award, Most Improved for Chamber Orchestra award and all-conference swimming honors. She was a varsity swimmer all four years of high school and a member of the French Club. A violin player since the fourth grade, she was a member of the chamber orchestra her freshman year and the concert orchestra her sophomore year. Dupuis' community service activities included being a member of Junior Friends of the Sunshine Library, doing timing at swim meets, serving food at Ministry with Community, stocking cans at the local food bank and volunteering on the homecoming float. She is a member of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society and has swum competitively year-round with a club team.
  • Alexandra C. Ferguson, of Livonia, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Adlai E. Stevenson High School and plans to major in pre-engineering. A member of the National Honor Society, Ferguson was very involved in band and participated in athletics. She was a member of the marching band and pit orchestra all four years of high school and was trumpet section leader during her junior and senior years. Ferguson also was a member of the junior varsity softball team, serving as co-captain her sophomore year. Her community service activities included working as a Sunday school teacher for two years, serving as a music mentor at local middle and upper elementary schools and volunteering with the National Honor Society at local elementary school functions such as Halloween parties.
  • Thomas N. Ferragut, of Stevensville, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Lakeshore High School and plans to major in psychology. Ferragut has earned such accolades as being a perennial winner of student-of-the-month honors and part of the team that won the regional Future Problem Solvers academic competition and placed third at the state level. He also was a member of the Knightlife jazz choir, chorale and euchre club. Through some of his classes, Ferragut has added photography as well as drawing to his list of artistic loves and has had the chance to build on his pre-existing love of video production. His community service activities have included volunteering with his church youth group and the Out Center, which focuses on the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He recently used his video production talents and international contacts to create a YouTube video that heightens awareness about the Out Center's youth group.
  • Garrett P.A. Gagnon, of Portage, Mich., received the Emeriti Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Portage Central High School and plans to major in mathematics secondary education. A member of the National Honor Society, Gagnon has competed every year at the state level in forensics as well as studied dance as part of a musical theatre workshop and played percussion in band his freshman year. He has been active in various theatrical productions, including "The Music Man," "All Shook Up," "Good News," "Hairspray" and "Phantom of the Opera," playing the lead in two of them. Gagnon also traveled to Peru with his Spanish class. His community service activities included volunteering at the Farmers Alley Theatre in downtown Kalamazoo, taking part in the March of Dimes fundraiser Breadlift and participating in mission trips through his church youth group. He also has participated in the youth worship band for Southridge Reformed Church, singing and playing drums, piano and bass; taught swimming through Portage West Middle School; and has tutored students for the Portage Community Center.
  • Matthew S.H. Garvin, of Traverse City, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Traverse City West High School and plans to major in accountancy. A member of the National Honor Society for three years, Garvin has been recognized several times for academic prowess. He was on his school's high honor roll from 2009 through 2012, received a 2011 Excellence Award from the Kiwanis Club of Traverse City, and received a 2009-10 Academic Boosters Club Scholar Award. Garvin was a Michigan Mathematics League competitor his senior year and attended the National Leadership Forum on Law and CSI in 2010-11. To be more active in business, he joined the high school Z-Club his senior year and was put in charge of contacting local businesses for the scheduling of tours. His community service activities included serving as a collection volunteer with Goodwill Inn and for several years, serving as a school tutor as well as helping to clean up parks and beaches in Long Lake Township.
  • Christian K. Hartman, of Grand Rapids, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Forest Hills Eastern High School and plans to major in chemistry. A member of the National Honor Society for two years, Hartman received an AP Scholar with Honor Award. He was a member of the chess club as a sophomore and the poetry club his senior year. Throughout his high school career, Hartman also was a member of the school orchestra. He tutored middle school children once a week in a variety of subjects, volunteered at local Odyssey of the Mind activities and volunteered for the school blood drive.
  • Valerie M. Horwath, of Saginaw, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Heritage High School and is undecided about a college major. A member of the National Honors Society, Horwath participated in Michigan Youth in Government and the Saginaw Valley State University Math Olympics. Throughout high school, she was a member of her class council, which she served as president her senior year, and a member of the band, which she served as an orchestra section leader her sophomore through senior years as well as orchestra concertmaster her senior year. She also participated in the Saginaw Bay Youth Orchestra for four years and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Masterworks Orchestra her sophomore year. Horwath was a member of the club Heritage Youth Providing Enthusiasm and well as the tutor assistance program, gay straight alliance and a group of student leaders working to improve the transition to high school for freshman. In addition, she was a U.S. Soccer Federation nationally certified referee at the Saginaw Township Soccer Complex and a private elementary violin teacher. Her community service activities included volunteering with the Saginaw Children's Zoo, Saginaw Public School String Instrument Music Program, St. John Vianney Church Vacation Bible School, Emmaus House and Saginaw YMCA.
  • Sarah N. Hughey, of Portage, Mich., received the Harold and Beulah McKee Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Portage Northern High School and plans to major in elementary professional education. A member of the National Honors Society for two years, Hughey earned an AP Scholar with Honor Award for her scoring on her Advanced Placement exams. Her sophomore year, she participated in the Davenport Competition with her business class and was part of the group that won third place in the Team Commercial Competition. The summer before her senior year, she also participated in a Bible Bee competition, receiving fourth in the local competition. Throughout high school, Hughey was a member of the Spanish, Bible and environmental clubs. She also played basketball her freshman year. Her community service activities included volunteering with the high school, the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Autism Society and Valley Family Church as well as serving as a tutor for the environmental club and Amberly Elementary School.
  • Zachary P. Hummel of Kalamazoo received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Mattawan (Mich.) High School and plans to major in computer science. Hummel was a National Merit Scholarship finalist and a member of the National Honor Society. He was active his entire high school career in the solo and ensemble festivals and the school band, and he worked for three years as a tech crew member for school theatre productions. Hummel's interest in music led him to participate in the Southern Michigan Ambassadors of Music European tour, through which he visited England, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy and Germany over 16 days. His community service activities included volunteering with St. John Bosco Parish and the Knights of Columbus.
  • Stephen C. John, of Portage, Mich., received the Dwight B. Waldo Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Portage Central High School and plans to major in civil engineering. John grew up in Nepal, returning every two to three years to live in the United States for four to six months. He spent his senior year in Portage, where he graduated. Studying in Nepal, he learned in two languages and had the opportunity to meet people from around the world as well as to be exposed to many different cultures. His interests include badminton, Tae Kwon Do, soccer and playing the violin. While in Nepal, he volunteered for the Tansen Mission Hospital, doing projects that ranged from working with a biomedical engineer to fix the hospital's computer system to doing monthly magic shows for pediatric patients.
  • Seth Laws, of Lansdale, Pa., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from North Penn High School and plans to major in aviation flight science. Laws was on the school tennis team for two years and has been an active member of the JROTC, including as a volunteer and participant in the organization's drill competition. His other community service activities have included planting trees and doing outdoor cleanup with the Earth Club and in 2012 helping to organize several school events, such as Angel Gift Delivery, the mock presidential election, and the back to school and course selection nights.
  • Andrew R. Marvin, of Petoskey, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. He graduated from Petoskey High School and plans to major in aviation flight science as well as in aeronautical engineering. Marvin obtained his private pilot's license at age 17, the minimum age allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration. He is working on obtaining his instrument flight rating and will begin the coursework for a commercial license during his first year of college, with the intention of becoming a certified flight instructor. Marvin was a member of the Charlevoix (Mich.) Flying Club; attended the College Experience aviation program at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2009; and attended Model United Nations in 2011 and 2012. A percussionist and four-year high school band member, he played with the marching band, wind symphony and steel drum band. In addition, Marvin sang with the madrigal choir, and participated in cross country for three years and skiing for two years. He has been active with his church and took part in a mission trip in 2010. His volunteer activities also have included serving as coach for the Petoskey Middle School Ski Team from 2010 to 2012, a Little League baseball umpire and providing volunteer flights as an Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles pilot to pique the interest of a younger generation of aviation enthusiasts.
  • Monica G. Naida, of Monroe, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Saint Mary Catholic Central High School and plans to major in biology. A member of the National Honor Society, Naida participated in such activities as the Michigan Youth Leadership Competition and Voice of Democracy Essay Contest, through which she won first place in the Legislator for a Day Contest. She won the Huron League Scholar Athlete award and participated in track for four years and cross country for three years. Naida also was on the yearbook staff for two years, serving as editor her senior year; was a member of the French Club throughout high school; and participated for two years in the Cultural Culinary Club, book club, theatre and cheerleading. She has been active with her church's youth group and heavily involved in school and community service activities. Those activities included volunteering at Mercy Memorial Hospital for three summers, leading retreats, helping serve God Works meals and participating in Monroe-area fundraising walks.
  • Emily O. Nilges of Kalamazoo received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Portage Northern High School in Portage, Mich., and plans to major in biomedical sciences. A member of the National Honor Society, Nilges earned the Portage Northern Award for highest academic honors throughout high school. She also participated for four years in the Spanish, International and Be There/Interact clubs and for three years, was a member of the track and cross country teams. Her school service activities included volunteering with Be There/Interact's Lunches for Lives program, serving as a student aid for the science department and working with the gay/straight alliance. She also was a volunteer assistant teacher for the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts from 2008 to 2010, worked the Girls on the Run 5k race from 2008 to 2011, served as recycling supervisor for the 2010 Boiling Pot Music Festival and volunteered with St. Catherine of Sienna, where she served on the baking staff for five years and as an assistant vacation Bible school teacher for four years.
  • Maria V. Paterno, of Saint Charles, Ill., received the Harold H. Holland Memorial Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Saint Charles East High School and plans to major in music. Paterno earned several honors during her high school career, including being named AP honor scholar in 2011 and receiving the Breakfast of Champions Award in foreign language and music in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She also participated in academic teams and bowls throughout her high school career as well as participated in the Illinois Music Educators Association's district vocal jazz event for women in 2010 and Future Music Educator Seminar in 2012. Paterno was a four-year member of both the math team and band, a three-year participant in vocal music and was involved in theatre her junior and senior years. The leader of the band's tenor saxophone section, she served for two years as alto section leader for the jazz choir, one year as alto section leader for the chorale, and two years as the principal pianist for school musicals. Paterno also was member of the German National Honor Society, Math Honor Society and Tri M Music Honor Society. Her volunteer activities included serving as substitute director and accompanist of a church choir from 2008 to 2012, participating in the Appalachian Service Project during the same time period, and being involved for several years in Girl Scouts, a weekly Bible study group and a student ministry team.
  • Monique A. Pipkin, of Auburn Hills, Mich., received the Merze Tate Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Avondale Senior High School and plans to major in biology. A member of the National Honor Society, Pipkin was accepted into Lake Superior State University's 2010 Women in Technology summer program, a highly selective program in which only 16 young women were chosen from hundreds of Midwest applicants. This year, she was the only student at her school granted a 2012 independent study in psychology. Pipkin was active in vocal and theatre activities throughout high school. She earned top ratings at Michigan Solo and Ensemble Vocal Music Association competitions and was a member of that association's regional honors choir in 2011. She also acted in plays staged by the high school's Avondale Theatre Co. and frequently served as a crew member, winning numerous awards for costume, makeup and production work. In addition, Pipkin assisted with the auditioning and execution aspects of the Avondale Talent Show and attended theatre auditioning and stage fighting workshops in New York City with the Avondale Theatre Co. She was vice president of the French Honor Society and a member of the peer mediation club. Her service activities included assisting with various school events, volunteering with Detroit Meals on Wheels as well as her church and serving on the Rochester Auburn Hills Community Coalition Teen Council.
  • Casey E. Wright, of Dewitt, Mich., received a Presidential Endowed Medallion Scholarship. She graduated from Anchor Bay High School in New Baltimore, Mich., and plans to major in biology. A member of the National Honor Society, Wright served as president and vice president of her school's chapter of Health Occupations Students of America. She also was a cheerleader for four years and captain of the competitive cheer team in 2012. Wright held down two part-time jobs during her senior year and has been an active volunteer. Her community service activities included working as a teacher's assistant at Lighthouse Elementary School, helping with the Cookies with Santa program at Sugarbush Elementary School, working with the food pantry Hope Center of Macomb and providing emotional support for patients at Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center.