WMU News

Presidential Scholars for 2004 announced

May 4, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Forty-eight Western Michigan University seniors have been named a 2004 Presidential Scholar. The award is WMU's highest honor presented to a senior.

Students are nominated for the award by faculty members. They are selected on the basis of their general academic excellence, academic and/or artistic excellence in their major and intellectual and/or artistic promise.

The scholars were presented with certificates by WMU President Judith I. Bailey at the 24th annual Presidential Scholars Convocation this spring. The event, intended to celebrate the excellence of WMU students, is sponsored by the Faculty Senate and the Office of the President. It included a reception, dinner and program.

2004 Presidential Scholars

Matthew J. Alberts of Flint, Mich.,was named a Presidential Scholar in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Graduate school is in the future for Alberts following his graduation from WMU in April and a summer spent working at NASA. The NASA sojourn will be the third major federal research experience for the Lee Honors College member. He previously spent a summer working on warfare assessment modules for the Naval Sea Systems Command in Corona, Calif. Another summer he spent working on Hubble Space Telescope subsystems at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. In that role, he produced software that could accurately model the navigational gyroscopes used to position the telescope. At WMU, Alberts and a fellow student built a Beowulf cluster of computers that they ultimately applied, with the assistance of a third student team member, to the operation of a global positioning system correction center. Alberts is the son of Phillip and Kathleen Alberts of Flint.

Ian E. Alexander of Grandville, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Aviation. Alexander, an aviation flight science major, has dreamed of a flight career since childhood. He is a three-year member and this year's co-captain of the College of Aviation's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, which captured the national championship in 2002. In addition, he is employed at the college's dispatch office and has been active as an elected member of his residence hall council and as a member of Alpha Lambda Delta honor society. Alexander will complete requirements this spring for his Flight Instructor's Certificate and hopes to teach flying to his fellow WMU students while he completes his bachelor's degree. After his December 2004 or April 2005 graduation, he hopes to become a fighter pilot with the U.S. Air Force or the Air National Guard. The Lee Honors College member is the son of Michael and Janice Alexander of Grandville.

Scott J. Badham of Schoolcraft, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Geosciences. As an undergraduate student, Badham has been engrossed with the nature of the earth's surface and its lengthy evolution. He has been involved in a long-term project to determine the structural nature of the orogeny of a portion of the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Montana. He successfully sought grants to fund fieldwork for the project, winning an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award from WMU and becoming the first recipient of the Charles J. Vitaliano Grant-in-Aid Research Grant offered through Indiana University. Badham has spent much of his time evaluating and processing the data that has been collected, most recently focusing on preparing to transfer data to a digital topographic base map with the aid of geographic information systems software. Badham, who graduated in December 2003, also has a passion for planetary science and is considering applying to the astronaut program some day. But for now, he plans to complete a doctoral degree and pursue a career in planetary geology as a research scientist and science writer. Ultimately, he hopes to make contributions that benefit the public as well as science. He is the son of John and Audrey Badham.

Stephanie M. Barbera of Manistee, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Biological Sciences. During her first year at WMU, Barbera volunteered in a cancer biology research laboratory and has maintained an interest in cancer research since. Funding from a Monroe-Brown Life Science Research Award is allowing her to study the effect of p85 protein on the growth of meningeal glioma cancer. For the past three years, she has volunteered in the child life area at Bronson Methodist Hospital, which has raised her interest in pediatrics and pediatric oncology. Barbera also volunteers as a general tutor at Portage Central High School. She serves on the board of the American Medical Student Association and is a member of Phi Beta Phi, Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key honor societies. Barbera, who graduated in April, has been accepted to the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University and plans to pursue a career in primary care. She is the daughter of Terry and Bill House of Manistee and Mark and Karen Barbera of Grand Rapids.

Stacy E. Brenner of Detroit was named a Presidential Scholar in Dance. Versatile in ballet, modern and jazz, Brenner has performed in several dances through the Department of Dance's Great Works Projects. She also has performed in numerous dances choreographed by department faculty and students. Brenner represented the department as a performer at the 2003 Great Lakes Regional American College Dance Festival and also is experienced as a production crewmember, filling many different roles for departmental concerts. While at WMU, she received the Outstanding Dance Major and Exceptional Dance Major scholarships. She also received funding from the Undergraduate Entrepreneurial Program and the department to attend the Bates Dance Festival in Maine and for advanced dance study in Detroit. In 2003, Brenner was awarded a performance internship with Ballet Concerto in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated in April and plans to pursue a career as a professional dancer. Brenner, who calls Detroit her hometown, is the daughter of Mike Brenner of Walled Lake, Mich., and Karen Brenner of Farmington Hills, Mich.

Nathan R. Burtch of Big Rapids, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Comparative Religion. This is the second time Burtch has been named a Presidential Scholar, having previously been selected in 2002 to represent the Department of Geography. His primary interests in comparative religion are Buddhism and the study of the function of religion in society and for individuals. He is a member of the Lee Honors College and several honors societies, including Alpha Delta Lambda, Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma Theta Upsilon and Golden Key. Burtch had an internship as a student coordinator of a geographic information system for WMU's Physical Plant and plans to use one project from that internship, "A Case Study on Using GIS for Landscape Services," for his honors thesis. He graduated in April and plans to pursue a master's degree in landscape or urban planning. He is the son of Robert and Chris Burtch of Big Rapids.

Jared W. Carlson of Niles, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Carlson graduated in April with degrees in exercise science and biology/secondary education. He recently completed his teaching internship at Portage Central High School, where he taught biology and ecology. He is finishing his exercise science internship at Borgess Health and Fitness Center, where he works as an exercise specialist. Carlson also is active with the Kappa Delta Pi Education International Honors Society, Golden Key International Honour Society, American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He puts his skills to use in the community as a volunteer with Portage Central High School, Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Clubs TEAM program, Special Olympics and other non-profit efforts. Carlson was fortunate to study abroad in Vaxjo, Sweden. He has been accepted at Wayne State University's School of Medicine, where he will work toward a residency in orthopedic surgery. Carlson is the son of Theresa M. Carlson of Niles.

Brian D. Cheyne of Grand Ledge, Mich., was named a dual Presidential Scholar in Economics and Mathematics. Graph theory, actuarial science, world travel and rugby are just a few of Cheyne's diverse interests. He graduated in April with a double major in economics and general mathematics. His interest in graph theory led to participation in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program in mathematics. The paper that resulted from this experience, "Hamilton Cycles in Addition Graphs," was published in the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Undergraduate Math Journal. His other main interest is the governmental regulation aspects of economics, and his honors thesis examined possible free-market solutions for allocating Great Lakes fishery resources. In addition to his research, Cheyne has worked as an intern for the actuarial department of Auto-Owners Insurance in Lansing. His immediate plans after graduating include returning to the company as an actuarial technician and completing his designation as an associate of the Society of Actuaries. The Lee Honors College member has received several honors from WMU, including a Medallion Scholarship and the Department of Mathematics' Eric A. Schreiner Memorial Scholarship. Cheyne's interests outside the classroom include playing rugby for the WMU club rugby team, which honored him as the "Top Rookie." He is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honors fraternities. Cheyne is the son of Rodney and Claudia Cheyne of Lansing, Mich.

James P. Clarkson of Northville, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Chemistry. With aspirations for a career in academics and research, Clarkson graduated in December 2003 and plans to pursue a doctorate in one of his two primary areas of interest, algebra and topology. Results of research he conducted at WMU on environmentally benign oxidative catalysis were presented at the National American Chemical Society Conference in New Orleans. He also taught algebra at WMU as an undergraduate teaching assistant in mathematics. Clarkson earned the A. Bruce Clarke Senior Award in mathematics and the Bayliss Scholarship and Adli Kana'an Award in chemistry. An Eagle Scout, he was selected for inclusion in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He is president of the local chapter of Phi Mu Epsilon mathematics honor society and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key honor societies. Clarkson is the son of James C. and Pamela P. Clarkson of Northville.

Aja M. Cole of Three Rivers, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Social Work. Cole has been working closely with children and families and is interested in the legal system. She hopes to combine the two into a career. She currently is serving an internship at WMU's Children's Trauma Assessment Center of Southwest Michigan, assessing the impact of trauma on child development. Cole will graduate in April and plans to continue her studies in the social work and criminal justice fields. She hopes to work for a social welfare agency or possibly teach at the university or community college level. While at WMU, Cole volunteered for two years with United Campus Ministries at Navigator Academy, tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth. She also provides emergency childcare when needed at the domestic assault shelter in Three Rivers. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and Theta Phi, the WMU chapter of Phi Alpha, the national social work honor society. She is the daughter of Cindy Doyle of Three Rivers.

Amy J. Conine of Lima, Ohio, was named a Presidential Scholar in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. Following her December graduation, Conine intends to begin work on an advanced degree. The Lee Honors College member is currently employed by FEMA Corp. of Michigan, where she began working in the company's engineering lab. Recently, she transferred to the manufacturing engineering department, where she works more closely with the production side of the business. Active in extracurricular activities throughout her college career, Conine has been a competitive gymnast, a member of intramural flag football and indoor soccer teams and a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi engineering honorary and the Golden Key International Honour Society. Conine is the daughter of Dave and Pam Conine of Lima.

Laura J. Courtade of Coopersville, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Accountancy. The Medallion Scholar and Lee Honors College student maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship and the Gale E. Newell Scholarship. Courtade graduates in December. Since 2001, she has sold insurance for State Farm Insurance, and, in June 2002, she passed the Michigan Property and Casualty Licensing Exam. She recently became a student affiliate of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and this summer will intern at the Kalamazoo office of Plante & Moran. Courtade also is very active on the volunteer front, donating her time--and 10 inches of hair--to such non-profit organizations as Locks of Love. She is the daughter of William and Beth Courtade of Coopersville.

Sonya Datta-Sandhu of Kalamazoo was named a Presidential Scholar in Anthropology. Datta-Sandhu's areas of academic interest are medical anthropology and Latin American political systems. She has received a certificate of proficiency in Spanish from the University of Michigan and would like to further her studies of Spanish. A member of the Lee Honors College, she conducted research in Cape Town, South Africa, and wrote her honors thesis on state and civil society responses to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Datta-Sandhu also traveled to southern Peru, where she participated in an archeological dig with history professor Catherine Julien. She is the recipient of an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award, a Seibert Undergraduate Travel Award and a $25,000 Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship. After completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to travel to Chile, where she will pursue a master's degree in public health with particular interest in women's health issues and HIV/AIDS. Datta-Sandhu is the daughter of Kanti Sandhu and Sushi Datta-Sandhu of Kalamazoo.

Lindsay E. Gwyther of Rutland, Mass., was named a Presidential Scholar in Geography. Gwyther is majoring in geography and Spanish and is a member of the Lee Honors College. She graduated in April and plans to pursue a master's degree in geography, possibly in a Finnish university program that specializes in the changing aspects of Northern and Eastern Europe. Her academic interests at WMU have centered around geography, languages and the intersection of these two areas: geolinguistics. Gwyther has studied abroad in Oulu, Finland, and Burgos, Spain, in addition to conducting research in Finland and Estonia for her honors thesis on Balto-Finnic languages. She serves as a conversation partner for WMU's Career English Language Center for International Students and has earned two letters as a member of the synchronized skating team. She also has received the University's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award, the Department of Geography's Outstanding Senior Award and the synchronized skating program's Rookie of the Year award. She is the daughter of Ann and John Gwyther of Rutland.

Mandy J. Hattula of Calumet, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Psychology. With an interest in researching interpersonal violence against women, Hattula graduated in April with a degree in psychology. She has worked for the WMU Psychology Clinic and is currently participating in a Women's Studies internship with the Kalamazoo YWCA Sexual Assault Program. Her future plans are to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and eventually practice and participate in research in a university setting. Hattula also is active with two research labs on campus that examine sexual aggression and victimization. Her work took her to the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy in Boston this past November, where she presented a poster outlining at-risk factors for sexual assault. She is a member of the psychology national honor society, Psi Chi, the Golden Key International Honour Society and the Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies. Hattula is the daughter of Cheryl Paulson of Newberry, Mich.

Andrea S. Heidtman of Skandia, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Communication. Heidtman's primary areas of undergraduate academic inquiry have been interpersonal communication and Africana studies. She has conducted research on the depiction of racial stereotyping in cartoons and the effect on the developing sense of self in children. Another communication research project she conducted dealt with the development of gender and its effect on the sex-role expectancy. On two separate occasions, she has served as an intern in the Africana Studies Program, where she assisted Dr. Benjamin Wilson with manuscript research and helped coordinate the Minifest Expos in 2001 and 2002. She also is active in several area school and community programs, including Young at Heart, which brings together Kalamazoo Central High School students and elderly residents from Friendship Village. Having graduated in December 2003, Heidtman is remaining at WMU to pursue a master's degree in communication. She is the daughter of Dale and Kathy Heidtman of Skandia.

Gretchen R. Henke of Fenton, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Art. Art and teaching have combined to form her educational and occupational destiny. Initially interested in pursuing a medical career, Henke missed her more creative side and refocused on her love of art and working with young children. A member of the Lee Honors College and partial Medallion Scholarship recipient, Henke hopes to make her mark by helping her students realize their creative potential. While at WMU, she has worked as a resident assistant for over two years in Bigelow Hall and in 2002 studied abroad in the United Kingdom at the University of Edinburgh. After her graduation in April 2005, she hopes to work as an art teacher or possibly in museum education, then begin working toward a master's degree. She is the daughter of Linda Henke of Fenton.

David P. Hoogerheide of Kalamazoo was named a Presidential Scholar in Physics. Pursuing a career in experimental condensed matter physics is his goal. A double major in chemistry and physics and the 2003 Presidential Scholar in chemistry, he is currently conducting undergraduate research that could be used to expedite the development of the next generation of computer hard drives. He completed an internship at Pharmacia in a research and development drug laboratory. He graduated in April and hopes to attend graduate school and study solid-state physics. A member of the Lee Honors College, Hoogerheide is also a Medallion Scholar, National Merit Scholar and was awarded the Drug, Chemical and Allied Trades and Barry M. Goldwater scholarships. He has been involved in several outside activities including the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and the WMU Physics and Chemistry Clubs. His other activities include helping as a volunteer computer administrator at Bible Truth Books and the Providence Christian School. He is the son of John and Jane Hoogerheide of Kalamazoo.

Lana C. Hubbard of Alpena, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Theatre. Life is a stage for Hubbard, but it's not all about what happens during a performance. Hubbard graduates in December with degrees in theatre performance and creative writing with an emphasis in playwrighting. During her WMU career, she has performed in numerous scene studies, directing scenes, footlight productions and mainstage and studio season shows. Her season production credits include "Six Degrees of Separation," "Lend Me a Tenor" and "The House of Bernarda Alba." Outside the United States, she studied theatre during the spring 2003 semester at Monash University in Australia and received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for her overseas studies. She also has worked as a peer advisor in the WMU Study Abroad Office. After graduation, Hubbard hopes to attend University/Resident Theatre Association auditions for graduate schools and regional theatres throughout the country. She is the daughter of Aurora C. Bilan of Alpena.

Katie M. Huey of Big Rapids, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in English. Children's literature holds a special sway for Huey, who is majoring in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has paired her interests in English and writing with a minor in comparative religion. A member of the Lee Honors College, she is producing a middle grade children's novel for her honors thesis. Huey is a member of the Golden Key, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa academic honors societies. She graduated in April and plans to continue working on improving her writing skills in hopes of becoming a published children's author. She is the daughter of Gary and Bonnie Huey of Big Rapids.

Jonathan L. Hunt of Marine City, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Finance and Commercial Law. Hunt works doubly hard to achieve his academic goals. He is a philosophy and finance double major who aims to have a career in law and higher education after his graduation in April 2005. He is primarily interested in the interdisciplinary study of the ethical, legal, political, economic and social implications of globalization. Hunt, who was named a 2003 Presidential Scholar in Philosophy, is a member of the Lee Honors College and works as a resident assistant in Ackley/Shilling Hall. Hunt is the son of Patrick and Janet Hunt of China Township, Mich.

Erin M. Hurlbutt of Niles, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Materials Science and Engineering. She graduated in April with minors in mathematics and environmental studies and will pursue a career in metallurgical engineering. The materials engineering major is currently working as a co-op student at Dana Corp.'s Commercial Vehicle Systems Technology Center in Kalamazoo, where she has worked on new product development, failure analysis of a wide array of components, and engineering evaluations and characterizations of materials used in products. A member of Tau Beta Pi engineering honorary, she also is a member of the American Society for Metals, the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society and the American Foundrymen's Society. Last fall, she was one of five students selected to attend the Foundry Education Foundation's College Industry Conference in Chicago. She is the daughter of Ryan and Diane Hurlbutt of Niles.

Kristin E. Kenning of Warren, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Music. Classical vocal music is Kenning's passion, but not her sole interest. A member of the University Chorale, Gold Company and the Gold Company Sextet, she also has pursued jazz and theatre studies. Kenning performed the lead in the WMU productions of "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Pirates of Penzance." A Lee Honors College member, Kenning recently performed in recital for her honors thesis. She is a Medallion Scholar, Theodore Presser Scholar and National Merit Finalist, while her extracurricular activities include dance choreography and teaching voice. She graduated in April and plans to attend graduate school before going on to the stages of New York. She is the daughter of James and Kitty Kenning of Warren.

Erin S. Kenzie of Plymouth, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Philosophy. Trying to answer the "unanswerable" has always been a passion for Kenzie, who is a double major in philosophy and psychology. Her interest in human behavior took her to the University of Amsterdam in 2002 for a yearlong study abroad program. There, she received an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award to study the differences between Dutch and American drug education systems. After graduation in December, Kenzie plans to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy with the intent of becoming a university professor. Her interests lie in the applied areas of philosophy, including the philosophy of psychology, philosophical counseling and philosophy for children. Kenzie is a member of the Lee Honors College, the Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta and Golden Key honor societies, as well as Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology. She is the daughter of Paul and Chris Kenzie of Plymouth.

Mary C. Koenigsknecht of St. Johns, Mich. was named a Presidential Scholar in Spanish. Koenigsknecht is graduating this fall with a degree in Spanish. During her time at WMU, she received a WMU Board of Trustees Scholarship, an award she credits with allowing her to travel to Burgos, Spain, for a WMU-sponsored study abroad program. The experience helped the Lee Honors College member form her honors thesis, which focuses on the use of authentic materials in conjunction with learning a foreign language. Koenigsknecht is a member of the Golden Key and Alpha Lambda Delta national honor societies and volunteers for the Colleges Against Cancer organization. After graduation, she plans to teach in a Michigan high school and pursue graduate studies in Spanish. She is the daughter of Donald and Colleen Koenigsknecht of St. Johns.

Anna C. Krueger of Kalamazoo was named a Presidential Scholar in Family and Consumer Sciences. After earning an associate's degree at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, getting married and working six years as an office manager for a construction firm, Krueger enrolled at WMU in 2002 in hopes of earning a degree in dietetics. Krueger graduated in April and plans to begin master's studies at Bastyr University in Seattle. The aspiring clinical dietitian is a member of the Lee Honors College, the American Dietetics Association and other groups. Her record of achievement extends beyond the classroom to her involvement with the WMU Student Dietetic Association, Borgess Medical Center, Renal Care Group and the federally supported Women, Infants and Children outreach program. Krueger, whose honors thesis examines the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in Latvia, has special interests in exercise and whole food nutrition in relation to preventive nutrition and alternative healing. Krueger is the daughter of Jacob and Joanne Smit of Kalamazoo.

Graham K. Kurtz of Houghton, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Music Theatre Performance. Acting, directing, singing and dancing are center stage for Kurtz. He has been both actor and director in the Department of Theatre and participated in various workshops, including circus performing, stage combat and the Suzuki theatre. His wide ranging vocal styles have led him to School of Music opera productions, as well as theatre musicals and cabarets. Outside WMU, Kurtz has performed leading and ensemble roles for Illinois' Timberlake Playhouse and was assistant stage manager and chorus member for Pine Mountain Music Festival opera productions. In addition, he prepared a joint production for the Department of Theatre's Stars and Moon Cabaret Series and has volunteered as a performer with the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre. Kurtz graduated in April and plans to move to New York to continue honing his performance skills and may pursue a master's degree. He is the son of Craig and Jeanne Kurtz of Houghton.

Peter J. Mattei of Rochester Hills, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Civil and Construction Engineering. Mattei has used his undergraduate career to combine his passion for building with his commitment to learning. He graduated in April and plans to enroll in graduate school, first to earn a master's degree in civil engineering and then to pursue either a law degree or a Ph.D. While working on his bachelor's degree, Mattei took advantage of a number of internship opportunities. He worked with a Detroit-area construction firm, was an intern with the Michigan Department of Transportation and conducted construction scheduling research in a National Science Foundation summer program. He presented that research at an international engineering conference last fall in Las Vegas. Mattei is a member of the Lee Honors College, Tau Beta Pi engineering honorary, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Alpha Lambda Delta and Golden Key honor societies. He is the son of Gerald and Madeline Mattei of Rochester Hills.

Joshua D. Meeuwse of Kalamazoo was named a Presidential Scholar in Political Science. Studying the histories of Rome and ancient Greece, combined with an interest in law, are a few of Meeuwse's interests as he prepares for a career in the legal system. A political science major, he is completing his honors thesis examining the Burger and Warren courts of the U.S. Supreme Court. During his time at WMU, he has interned under Michigan 9th Circuit Court Judge William G. Schma and is currently interning in U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's Kalamazoo office. Meeuwse graduated in April and plans on attending law school and hopes to work in federal politics or teach at a university. He is a member of the Lee Honors College and the Golden Key International and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He was also a member of the WMU College Republicans and helped facilitate both of President Bush's visits to Kalamazoo. Outside academics, he is a mentor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and participates in his church's youth group, which will be traveling to Bolivia for a mission in May. Meeuwse is the son of David and Barbara Meeuwse of Kalamazoo.

Marissa B. Mendrygal of Libertyville, Ill. was named a Presidential Scholar in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Language is Mendrygal's passion. In addition to English, she is fluent in Spanish and is currently learning sign language. Since discovering the field of communication disorders, she has fallen in love with audiology, especially working with hearing impaired and deaf children. A member of the Lee Honors College, Mendrygal is exploring the history, development and debate over cochlear implants in children. She is a Medallion Scholar and as a sophomore and junior was a peer educator in the casts of "No More Lies" and "Great Sexpectations," community health promotion and education projects. As a freshman, she studied linguistics and pre-15th century culture in Queretaro, Mexico, for sixth months. Outside academics, she has been very active in her church and is serving an internship organizing youth ministries. Mendrygal graduated in April and will go to graduate school before beginning her clinical career. She is the daughter of Mitch and Barb Mendrygal.

Courtney B. Miller of Washington, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. Miller graduated in April and plans to pursue a career as an industrial engineer and someday return to school to earn a graduate degree. She has taken advantage of opportunities to gain real-world experience throughout her college career by working as a technical counselor for a summer institute for gifted high school students and taking part in a research project focused on patient care quality and the productivity of nurses at a Kalamazoo-area hospital. In addition, Miller spent a summer as an engineering and manufacturing intern with TRW Occupant Safety System in her hometown of Washington, Mich. The recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, she was recently honored by the Society of Women Engineers/GE Women's Network. Miller has been active in a number of campus organizations, including the Institute of Industrial Engineers, Alpha Pi Mu and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor societies and Alpha Lambda Delta honor society. She is the daughter of Mel and Pat Miller of Washington.

Stephen P. Naumann of Benton Harbor, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Foreign Languages. Naumann is majoring in German as well as in travel and tourism. He previously earned a bachelor's degree from Martin Luther College in Minnesota, where he studied biblical Hebrew, classical Greek and Latin, German and Spanish. A fascination with foreign cultures and a deep interest in European travel led him to WMU for a second degree. Naumann serves as sports writer for the University's student newspaper and is active with the WELS campus ministry and his hometown church. He also has worked as an intern in the Kalamazoo office of Educational Programmes Abroad, assisting in recruiting and placing college students from around the world in internships in Europe. He graduated in April plans to study tourism and German literature in Berlin through a WMU study abroad program, then enroll in graduate school and pursue an advanced degree in German. Earlier in his career, he taught German and religion at a Minnesota high school, leading high school trips abroad and coaching soccer and baseball. Naumann would like to write for an international travel firm or publication, but eventually hopes to return to the classroom to teach and inspire future college students. He is the son of the Rev. Paul S. and June S. Naumann.

Lauren M. Oates of Novi, Mich. was named a Presidential Scholar in Nursing. Children have been a major focus of Oates' during her academic career. Her current areas of interest are labor and delivery and neonatal care. Last summer, she participated in an externship at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., where she worked in labor and delivery and spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit. A member of the Lee Honors College, her thesis was titled "Children's Nutrition: Good Habits for Life" and examined the impact of children's nutrition decisions as they become adults. Oates graduated in April and plans to work at Beaumont in labor and delivery, the emergency room or critical care. She also plans to obtain a master's degree in nursing and pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist. While at WMU, she studied abroad with fellow honors college students as part of the Great Cities Tour to Amsterdam, Paris and London. She is the daughter of Dave and Lynn Oates of Novi.

Kimberly A. Overley of Benton Harbor, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Educational Studies. Overly believes education is an ongoing, lifelong process and intends to make the most of it. She earned an associate's degree in occupational therapy assisting at Lake Michigan College and worked as a special education paraprofessional before beginning her studies at WMU. She has completed three pre-internships at the Bert Goens Learning Center, Edison Environmental Science Academy and Arcadia Elementary School. Overly also worked as an America Reads tutor at Lincoln International Studies School. She is a member of such organizations as the International Honour Society in Education and the Golden Key International Honor Society. She also maintains membership with the Council for Exceptional Children. She graduated in April and looks forward to teaching in her own classroom and hopes to obtain a position in southwest Michigan where she can work with cognitively impaired children. She is the daughter of Ken and Marilee Overley of Benton Harbor.

Stacy L. Putnam of Dearborn, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Environmental Studies. When Putnam graduated in December 2003 with a bachelor of science degree in environmental studies, she planned to move to Washington, D.C., to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a position dealing with policy and regulations. Ultimately, she hopes to become a successful environmental specialist or lobbyist and make positive changes in both the public and private sectors. The Lee Honors College member specialized in the geographic area of environmental analysis and resource management and completed her honors thesis on The Netherlands' environmental policy plan. Putnam received several honors from WMU, including the Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship and Department of Geography's Outstanding Senior Award. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Golden Key International Honour Society and the International Geographical Honor Society, participated in community service projects and the WMU Marching Band and served as vice president of the campus chapter of an international music fraternity for women. Putnam is the daughter of Ron and Lesley Putnam of Dearborn.

Adam C. Rasmusson of Roscommon, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Imaging. Following his December graduation, Rasmusson will pursue a career in the graphic arts industry in either a creative or technical role. He's been preparing for his career by playing an active role in his department and in WMU's engineering college. He's worked in the college's copy center, provided prepress assistance in the WMU Print Lab and assisted his department with its Web site. Rasmusson is a member of the Graphic Arts Society and the president of WMU's chapter of the Technical Association of the Graphic Arts. In the latter role, he is currently organizing production of a publication slated for distribution at the annual TAGA conference in San Antonio, Texas, in April. He is the son of Mark and Robin Rasmusson of Roscommon.

Katie N. Reeves of Laingsburg, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in History. Reeves completed her undergraduate degree in history last fall and hopes to teach in the Kalamazoo area at the secondary level. She came to WMU as a Medallion Scholar and was awarded the Junior and Senior Achievement Awards from the Department of History. A member of the Lee Honors College, Reeves graduated Summa Cum Laude. She has been as successful in her off-campus activities as she has been in her academics, serving as director of discipleship for the Campus Christian Fellowship for two years before undertaking the president position her senior year. Reeves is excited to begin her career as a teacher and hopes to incorporate her many travels, including trips to Ecuador, Costa Rica, Kenya and Tanzania, in her teaching. Reeves is the daughter of Timothy Reeves of East Lansing, Mich., and Debbie Reeves of Laingsburg.

Carl Ross Jr. of Cassopolis, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Africana Studies. A member of the Lee Honors College, Ross is writing his honors thesis on an examination of racialized character creations of non-white minor characters in three William Faulkner short stories. Ross is also a McNair Scholar and is conducting research on "William Faulkner, race and marginalization." He has worked as a tutor at Southwestern Michigan College and in several southwest Michigan communities and was awarded SMC's Focus Project Mentor of the Year award in 2002. Ross also works for Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor, Mich., as a health and life skills coordinator. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. After completing his bachelor's degree, he plans to pursue a master of fine arts in creative writing and would ultimately like to earn a doctorate and teach creative writing at a university. Ross is the son of Carl Ross Sr. and Sara Ross of Cassopolis.

Kate E. Schnuell of Redford, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Occupational Therapy. Working with children will play a major role in Schnuell's future career. She has been working this semester with children at Greenwood Elementary School, and, after graduating in June 2005, plans to practice either in a school system or pediatric clinic, while obtaining a master's degree in OT. While at WMU, she was chosen to represent her department and the University at the American Occupational Therapy Association national conference in Washington, D.C. A member of the Lee Honors College, Schnuell received the WMU and Slovene National Benefit Society academic scholarships and currently serves as president of the Student Occupational Therapy Association. She also is involved in various campus ministries and is a leader in the Saturday's Kids program at the Boys and Girls Club. She is the daughter of Bill Ruth and Karen Schnuell-Ruth of Redford.

Derek M. Smith of Almont, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Integrated Supply Matrix Management. Smith, whose academic interests include purchasing, logistics and operations, will head to DaimlerChrysler Corp. following his spring graduation for a position with that company's Procurement and Supply Management Trainee program. He's already familiar with the company after completing a summer 2003 internship there, improving daily part projections and supporting the 2004-05 model year launch. He also spent a summer as an intern at what was then Pharmacia Corp., tracking process efficiency and identifying improvement possibilities. Smith traveled to Australia on a short-term study abroad program focused on that country's manufacturing sector. Active in student organizations, he played a leadership role in Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity and is a member of the campus chapter of the American Production and Inventory Control Society. In addition, he has been a volunteer with Kalamazoo Habitat for Humanity. He is the son of Michael and Linda Smith of Romeo, Mich.

Dana M. Stachowiak of Comstock Park, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Teaching, Learning and Leadership. Stachowiak, who graduated in December 2003, spent much of her time at WMU working to improve the lives of others. Her Lee Honors College thesis, "Mas Preguntas: Caught in the Hyphen of the Mexican American Identity," was a personal reflection of the issues, discussions and observations that stemmed from her time spent with Mexican Americans in southwest Michigan. In addition to completing teaching internships, Stachowiak volunteered for such activities as Alternative Spring Break and Beach Reach and provided mentoring and tutoring to Kalamazoo area students. She also worked as the assistant director of the WMU Writing Center and served as program director of the WMU Student Education Association for three years. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi. Currently, she is filling a long-term substitute teaching position in a third-grade classroom in Sparta, Mich. She is the daughter of Bill and Marti Stachowiak of Comstock Park.

Brendon P. Thiede of Concord, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Computer Scinece. Thiede graduated in April, majoring in computer science theory and analysis, and plans to pursue a doctoral degree in preparation for a career teaching computer science at a university. At WMU, he has designed math-related software and algorithms, primarily in linear algebra. He also has been studying DirectX and Windows programming so he can better write software for the average computer user and increase its aesthetic value. Thiede also has been active in several student organizations, serving as vice president of BroncoNET and holding membership in BroncoSoft. He has independently tutored numerous students in introductory and mid-level computer science courses to keep his programming and teaching skills honed. A sergeant in the Michigan Army National Guard, he has received numerous honors, including a Science, Engineering and Mathematics Scholarship from the National Science Foundation, two physics awards and selection as Post Soldier of the Month at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. Thiede is the son Robin Brigham of Concord.

Ryan A. Trierweiler of Grand Ledge, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Management. Thanks to four internships in human resources, Trierweiler has a unique perspective on people and the companies that employ them. His work with Republic Bancorp, Honda of America and Denso Manufacturing complements his interest in human resource management and the complexities of the labor/union relationship. The experience has been invaluable, giving him an opportunity to develop and implement performance management and succession planning initiatives while assisting employees with competency and career development opportunities. This fall, the Lee Honors College student will attend graduate school to pursue a master's degree in industrial and labor relations. Trierweiler is the recipient of several honors, including the WMU Undergraduate Scholarship, and is vice president of the Society of Performance Management. He hopes one day to work in strategic international human resources, serving as a consultant and eventually teaching at the university level. He is the son of Eileen and Ken Trierweiler of Eagle, Mich.

Amy C. Veit of Milford, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Business Information Systems. After Veit graduates in June, she plans to pursue an international career in e-commerce development and knowledge management. The computer information systems major spent part of 2003 at Nihon University in Tokyo, where she studied culture and customs, visited shrines and climbed Mt. Fuji. In the future, she would like to earn an M.B.A. and continue studying Japanese with the goal of becoming an interpreter or translator. Eventually, she wants to put her experience and education to use by working for a Japanese company. Veit is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Fraternity, has received various scholarships and in 2003 was assistant section leader of the Bronco Marching Band drumline. Away from school, she lends her talents to Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, the Oakwood Neighborhood Association and the Volunteer Center of Kalamazoo. She is the daughter of Norbert and Cathleen Veit of Milford.

David J. Veldkamp of Grand Rapids, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Industrial Design. Medical equipment design holds a particular fascination for Veldkamp, who also calls wood furniture and automotive equipment areas of design that interest him. A transfer student who began his studies as a pre-architecture major at Calvin College, Veldkamp plans to graduate from WMU in April 2005. He previously worked designing office and classroom layouts for Calvin faculty and staff. Currently, he is an engineering intern at Summit Polymers Inc. in Portage, Mich., where he has worked with plastics and plastic processing and learned to take design from concept to a manufactured and profitable part. Veldkamp plans to return to the Grand Rapids area after he graduates. He is the son of Roger and Carol Veldkamp of Hudsonville, Mich.

Cynthia J. Webber of Mukwonago, Wis., was named a Presidential Scholar in Marketing. Webber graduated in April with a degree in marketing and plans to put it to use to secure a position in advertising and promotions. The standout athlete came to WMU to study in the Haworth College of Business and to play with the women's soccer team. During her three years on the team, she led WMU athletes academically with a 4.0 grade point average, which placed her at the top of the Bronco "Elite 8." The recipient of the Burnham Insurance Sales and Business Marketing Scholarship also is on the ball off campus. A serious runner who has completed 5K races and half marathons, Webber wants to become a certified personal trainer in addition to holding down a marketing position in a health-affiliated corporation. She is the daughter of Ronald and Beverly Webber of Mukwonago.

Brandon P. Weber of Otsego, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Sociology. Weber graduated in April with a degree in the criminal justice and plans to further his career in law enforcement after graduating in April. He has an extensive background in public safety including working as a police officer, firefighter and paramedic. His specialty training has included technical rescue, dive rescue and recovery, hazardous materials, emergency management, domestic preparedness and counter-terrorism. Prior to attending WMU, Weber completed his associate of applied science degree at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, while also teaching new police recruits at the Kalamazoo Regional Police Academy. In addition to his academics, Weber has volunteered as a merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts of America. Weber is the son of Dave and Madeline Weber of Otsego.

Lindsey I. Weber of Flushing, Mich., was named a Presidential Scholar in Statistics. Weber, who is majoring in statistics and psychology, plans to use both majors in the area of quality improvement and organizational behavior for a business or organization. She has already completed four internships with General Motors Corp. and plans to do another in psychology before she graduates in June. Weber would eventually like to earn a graduate degree in statistics, teach introductory statistics at the college level and own and operate a consulting firm. She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Golden Key honors societies. She is the daughter of Charles and Cathy Weber of Flushing.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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