Forty-six students named 2007 Presidential Scholars
April 30, 2007
KALAMAZOO--Forty-six Western Michigan University seniors were named 2007 Presidential Scholars. The award is WMU's highest honor presented to an undergraduate.
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 Provost Janet I. Pisaneschi at the 27th annual Presidential Scholars Convocation March 22. The event, which celebrates the excellence of WMU students, is sponsored by the Faculty Senate and the Office of the President. It included a reception, dinner and program.
2007 Presidential Scholars
Matthew C. Ackerman of Vicksburg, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Computer Science and expects to graduate in December 2008. Matt graduated magna cum laude in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in music from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. At WMU, he has pursued his interest in the theory and application of object-oriented design patterns. Following graduation, he plans to build a career in software development. Matt received the Clarence L. Remynse Scholarship and was awarded a Computer Science Undergraduate Honor Roll certificate in spring 2006 for highest honors. He is the son of Greg and Vicki Ackerman.
David M. Alpert of Muskegon, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Theatre and graduated summa cum laude in December 2006 with a bachelor's degree in theatre studies and emphases in both directing and stage management. David plans to move to New York to pursue a professional directing career, and eventually make his way to California to work in the creative development and entertainment division of the Walt Disney Co. While at WMU, David was employed as the assistant production stage manager for the Department of Theatre and during his final semester, became the interim production stage manager. He helped direct or stage manage several University Theatre productions, directed three productions in the student directing series, and directed new plays through a collaborative project between the theatre and English departments. David also stage managed the Community Medal of Arts Ceremony for the Kalamazoo Arts Council and the Senior Showcase for WMU's musical theatre performance majors and helped create as well as stage manage WMU's 2006 summer orientation Cab show. Among his academic accomplishments are receiving the Zack L. York and Mary Jackson scholarships and being selected to direct a 10-minute play at the 2006 American College Theatre Festival.
Marguerite A. Arthur of Muskegon, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Mathematics and expects to graduate in April 2007. Marguerite's areas of academic interest have focused on abstract algebra and analysis and on mathematical biology. She began her education at Muskegon Community College and, with a group of MCC students, participated in an exchange program with Stuttgart, Germany. This experience awakened her desire to travel and has prompted her to set her sights on visiting such destinations as Korea, Japan, Spain and Peru. Following graduation, Marguerite plans to earn advanced degrees in mathematics. Her goal is to become a professor at a community college or teaching university so she can help students for whom mathematics is a barrier to furthering their educations. She has received numerous scholarships, including the Megan Arthur Distinguished Tutor award, which was created specifically for her by four teachers in the MCC's mathematics department. Marguerite also has received the Hugh Campbell-Kettering scholarship, a scholarship for WMU transfer students and a TRIO Student Success Program scholarship, which is awarded to low-income and first generation college students at the University. She has appeared on the dean's list and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honors society as well as the TRIO/Student Success Program, where she also works as a mathematics tutor and office staff member. She is the daughter of Boyd and Barbara Arthur.
Kate M. Blout of Holland, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Imaging and expects to graduate in December 2007. Kate is a member of the Lee Honors College and is majoring in imaging multimedia and minoring in communication and Russian. Following graduation, she plans to join the prepress department of a printing company or work as a print graphic designer. While at WMU, Kate has interned with the University's Career and Student Employment Services as publicity director as well as worked as a prepress technician at the WMU Print Lab. This summer, she will intern in Denver at a small printing company, Lightning Labels. Kate has been on the dean's list every semester and has received the Jane Ulmer Memorial Scholarship, Tennant Scholarship and the WMU Imaging Departmental Scholarship. She has served as secretary for the Graphics Arts Society and editor of the Parkview Edition, the Department of Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Imaging's biannual newsletter. In addition, Kate is a member of the Russian Club and the Slavic honor society Dobro Slovo. Her many community service activities include volunteering for the Unified Sports/Special Olympics as a soccer coach, the Society for the Protection of Cruelty Against Animals and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. She is the daughter of Marcus and Elizabeth Blout.
Valerie A. Burnside of Kalamazoo is the Presidential Scholar in Social Work and expects to graduate in April 2007. Valerie, who considers Americus, Ga., her hometown, has taken a nontraditional approach to her education, starting with involvement in social activism and community service at age 8. This involvement included volunteering for soup kitchen duty, co-founding a Super Helpers Club, and volunteering on a Native American reservation. Valerie went on to attend the University of Georgia for two years, then took some time off to explore the world by spending a year in a volunteer program at a conference center in Austria. When she returned to the United States, she joined her parents, who had relocated to Kalamazoo, and took a job as a special education paraprofessional at Portage North Middle School. Valerie is now completing her bachelor's degree in social work at WMU, interning at the Portage Community Outreach Center and working on campus at Waldo Library, where she helped found the Conduit student organization for library workers. Inspired in part by the Kalamazoo area's vibrant art and culture, she dreams of someday opening her own retreat center, where she can combine the expressive arts with what she has learned in social work to create a new place of healing for people from all walks of life. She is the daughter of Barry and Esther Burnside.
Michael R. Carpentier of Kincheloe, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Anthropology and expects to graduate in April 2008. Following graduation, Michael plans to pursue a graduate degree in anthropology and then teach at the collegiate level. Michael's academic interest is in the language of colonization and its effect on nationalist ideals as well as the commodification of indigenous cultural attributes by settler societies. His other areas of concentration include strategies for decolonization using the revival of indigenous language and the appropriation of hegemonic tools by colonized peoples as ways to combat further colonization. He is the son of Paul and Patricia Carpentier.
Rachel L. Clark of Niles, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Psychology and expects to graduate in April 2008. Rachel is a member of the Lee Honors College and is majoring in psychology as well as French, the latter purely for her own personal growth and enrichment. Following graduation, Rachel plans to enroll in a graduate program in school psychology, an area of specialization she learned about through some of the course work and research opportunities afforded her as a WMU student. She has wanted to work with children for as long as she can remember, but decided to specialize in school psychology after seeing the importance of involving parents and teachers when children are experiencing difficulty. Rachel, who is currently studying in France, intends to make furthering her understanding of French language and culture a lifelong enterprise. While at WMU, she has made the dean's list every semester and earned such academic honors as a President's Grant for Study Abroad and the Psychology Department Alumni Scholarship. Her extracurricular activities include playing with her brother in a folk-rock band called Stage Fright Remedy. She is the daughter of Douglas and Diana Clark.
Caroline F. DeWick of St. Ignace, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Family and Consumer Sciences and expects to graduate in April 2007. Caroline is a member of the Lee Honors College, and her areas of academic interest include interior design, architecture, design management, and resource conservation standards and renewability regulations. Following graduation, she plans to pursue a career in commercial design before eventually going on for a graduate degree. While at WMU, Caroline interned with Custer Workplace Interiors, gaining experience in commercial interior design for clients such as hospitals, schools and businesses. For her honors thesis, she is designing a dance academy. She has completed the architectural design portion of the project and is in the process of renovating a downtown Kalamazoo building that had housed a financial services company into a center for performing arts. Caroline has received numerous academic awards and honors, including a scholarship that funded a two-week educational tour of Brazil. She is the daughter of Brian and Elisabeth DeWick.
Megan L. Donajkowski of Grand Rapids, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Spanish and graduated magna cum laude in December 2006 with a bachelor's degree in engineering. In addition to specializing in electrical engineering, Megan earned a second major in Spanish and has applied to WMU's graduate program in this language. She notes that with the United States' increasing Spanish-speaking population, an advanced understanding of Spanish language and culture will increase her engineering-related job options. She would like to eventually earn a second master's degree in engineering management or electrical engineering. While at WMU, Megan studied in Mexico for five months and interned at Smiths Aerospace in Grand Rapids. Among her academic accomplishments were receiving an engineering scholarship and President's Grant for Study Abroad, winning WMU's annual paper engineering contest, and earning the Spanish department's annual excellence award. Her extracurricular activities included being a founding member of the campus electrical engineering honor society, volunteering with a Grand Rapids-area branch library and assisting Ministry With Community. She is the daughter of Myron and Ann Donajkowski.
Leah L. DuBuc of Howell, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Comparative Religion and expects to graduate in April 2007. Leah's areas of academic interest are advocacy for the poor and conducting research contrasting American Christian beliefs with the beliefs the Japanese have regarding Christianity. Following graduation, she is considering pursuing a master's degree in social work. Leah is presently interning for Dr. Donald Cooney, associate professor of social work and Kalamazoo city commissioner. She is primarily working with Kalamazoo's Poverty Reduction Initiative and the Northside Ministerial Alliance. While at WMU, she also has worked with Kalamazoo's Homeless Action Network to establish the Kalamazoo Housing Trust Fund, performing extensive research on possible funding and presenting her findings to key officials in a paper outlining the best plan of action to reduce homelessness. Leah studied abroad in Japan, then stayed on an additional six weeks to teach English in a Japanese church. She spent two summers caring for abandoned children in a severely impoverished Guatemalan orphanage. An active campus and local volunteer, Leah holds membership in the Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society and has been certified by WMU's Community Health Peer Educator Program and Wayne State University's Developmental Disability Empowerment Trainer Program. She is the daughter of Paul DuBuc.
Daniel F. Garvin of Niles, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Physics and expects to graduate in April 2007. Daniel is interested in physics and mathematics, especially in the areas of cosmology and nuclear fusion as the power source to replace fossil fuels. He plans to obtain a doctoral degree in physics, and would eventually like to have a career working on a joint international research and development project called ITER, which aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. Daniel has received a Distinguished Community College Scholars Award; the WMU College of Arts and Sciences research award, which included presentation of his research findings at the American Physical Society's Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics; and various scholarships from the WMU Department of Physics. His extracurricular activities include numerous presentations, articles and interviews on what he terms "the pseudoscientific, world-domination cult of Scientology."
Eric R. Gauthier of Kalamazoo is the Presidential Scholar in Management and expects to graduate in April 2007. Eric is majoring in management. Following graduation, he plans to gain a few years of work experience before pursuing master's and juris doctorate degrees, with the idea of potentially starting his own law firm in Kalamazoo and giving back to his hometown community. Eric has been interning with the Kashi foods business of the Kellogg Co. in Battle Creek, Mich., since May 2006. Through this experience, he has had a hand in working with warehouse management, the purchasing of raw materials, facilitating early lead time requests, and maintaining and improving customer case fill. He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while at WMU, and was the recipient of the spring 2004 physics book award, a WMU Academic Scholarship, an Emeriti Council Scholarship and the Jeff Robideau Management Scholarship. He is the son of Ronald Gauthier.
Joshua C. Gifford of Saginaw, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Finance and Commercial Law and expects to graduate in August. Joshua is majoring in corporate finance and minoring in economics and psychology. Following graduation, he plans to pursue a career as a financial analyst and eventually earn a master's degree. Josh came to WMU after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years. During his military service, he earned numerous medals and other honors and was deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and several other countries. While at WMU, Josh has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average and received a scholarship to take the first of three exams necessary to become a Chartered Financial Analyst. Among the accomplishments Josh is most proud of, however, is his part in bringing a loophole in the Michigan Competitive Scholarship program to the attention of the WMU director of financial aid. Thanks to their efforts previously disqualified veterans are now eligible to receive awards under the program. He is the son of Lou and Kathy Gifford.
Kenneth W. Hilker of Valparaiso, Ind., is the Presidential Scholar in Geography and expects to graduate in April 2007. Kenneth is majoring in geography with an emphasis on geographic information processing. Following graduation, he plans to spend the next few years working in information technology and geographic information systems in a corporate setting. Kenneth worked as an IT professional for five years before attending WMU. He developed a passion for other people, places and cultures through his professional and personal travels to Europe, Australia, China and Peru. Once at WMU, Kenneth merged this passion with his IT background and focused on geography. His present research involves designing a GIS model that will recommend a tree species to replace those that had to be removed due to the spread of the emerald ash borer beetle in Michigan. He is the recipient of a geography department scholarship, a member of two honor societies, and served as secretary for both the WMU Sailing Team and Chinese Language and Culture Club. He is the son of Walt Hilker of Alpharetta, Ga., and Diane Jortner of Valparaiso.
Brian P. Hillary of Grand Rapids, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Aviation and expects to graduate in June 2008. Already well established in his professional career, Brian enrolled in WMU's aviation administration program to pursue his dream of owning and operating an air taxi service for travelers throughout the Great Lakes region. Brian earned a bachelor's degree from Aquinas College in 1997 as well as a master's degree in education in 1999 and also has completed business courses through Grand Valley State University. He began his professional life as a sixth-grade science and social studies teacher and became involved in efforts to boost technology in the classroom. From that experience, he moved to a position with Northrop Grumman Information Technology, where he was a technical trainer for employees of the city of Grand Rapids and became a project manager for information technology implementations throughout the city's community services departments. After the arrival of his son last summer, Brian has continued to work part time from home while taking care of his son during the day. This summer, he plans to take the next step in achieving his air taxi service dream by attending flight school, earning a private pilot's license, and becoming both visual and instrument rated. He is the son of Marcia Hillary.
Tena L. Hoekstra of Portage, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Nursing and expects to graduate in April 2007. Tena is a member of the Lee Honors College and majoring in nursing. In addition, she has held onto her passion for music by continuing the piano studies she began 13 years ago and choosing to minor in music as well as biology. Following graduation, she plans to use her nursing education to work with adults in intensive care or hospice care. A longtime piano teacher and mathematics tutor, Tena has worked in various patient-care positions during the past few years and is a nurse extern in the medical intensive care unit at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. Her honors thesis is based on her research into the self-care and health behaviors of nursing and other health care students. She is developing this research into an article on whether health care students improve their own health behaviors after taking courses on caring for others. Tena is a member of the Upsilon Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and received the Theodore and Hazel Perg Scholarship. She is the daughter of Kenneth and Glenyce Feenstra.
Colin D. Hopper of Jackson, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Accountancy and expects to graduate in April 2007. Colin is a member of the Lee Honors College and is majoring in accountancy and minoring in economics as well as philosophy with a concentration in applied ethics. When Colin entered WMU in fall 2002, he was unsure of what field to pursue. After sampling many classes, he realized he enjoyed what he was good at--business. Following graduation, he plans to work at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the public accounting firm he interned with last year. The firm has offered him a full-time job once he receives his diploma and passes the Certified Public Accountant exam this summer. While at WMU, Colin visited Japan and fell in love with international travel. He hopes to travel worldwide through his new employer, which has offices around the world. Colin came to WMU after winning a Medallion Scholarship, the highest honor the University can bestow to an incoming freshman. He is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the professional accounting fraternity, and Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. His volunteer activities include tutoring, working for Habitat for Humanity and Gift of Life, and raising money for the Children's Miracle Network and multiple sclerosis research. He is the son of Preston and Deborah Hopper.
Andrew J. Hovingh of Rockford, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering and expects to graduate in December 2007. Andrew is a member of the Lee Honors College. Following graduation, he plans to work in industry for a few years to determine where his future educational pursuits will lie. For now, his academic interests include not only mechanical engineering, but also computer science and electrical engineering, particularly how electrical components and software play a role in mechanical systems. Andrew has been recognized for excellence in a number of his classes and has been on the dean's list every semester. In 2005, he received the General Dynamics Land Systems Academic Excellence Award.
Mark J. Humiecki of Warren, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Civil and Construction Engineering and expects to graduate in December 2007. Mark is majoring in civil engineering as well as minoring in Spanish and mathematics. After graduation, he plans to intern in Spain for six months, working for a structural engineering firm in Barcelona after studying Spanish in Malaga. Upon returning home, he will begin work on a master's degree in structural engineering. Mark wants to explore the use of alternative structural materials and work for a large U.S. company conducting international business. In fact, his expertise already is getting noticed, and he is scheduled to be featured on a Discovery Channel program that references one of his projects. While at WMU, Mark has played intramural football, volleyball and soccer. His extracurricular activities also have included volunteering as a delivery person for Meals on Wheels and a driver for Drive Safe Kalamazoo, which provides free transportation for those who should not drive. He is the son of Harold and Mary Humiecki.
Joshua P. Kirschner of Herron, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Geosciences and expects to graduate in April 2007. Following graduation, Joshua will spend the summer in Houston as a geosciences intern for Devon Energy Corp., then begin graduate studies in structural geology or geophysics this fall. While at WMU, Joshua has been conducting research using wireline logs, core and petrographic analyses, and computer mapping to study sedimentology, stratigraphy and petrology of sedimentary rock in the Michigan Basin. He presented his preliminary findings at the Eastern Section American Association of Petroleum Geologists meeting in Buffalo, N.Y., and the Geological Society of America's annual meeting in Philadelphia. Joshua has received numerous honors, including a WMU Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award and several geosciences department awards. He is president of the University's Geology Club and a member of the campus chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He is the son of Phil and Mary Kirschner.
Erica E. Kring of Oak Park, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Philosophy and expects to graduate in April 2007. Erica is majoring in philosophy and political science and minoring in history. Her education plans following graduation include attending graduate school and eventually earning a doctoral degree in Central Asian comparative politics. Erica's research interests include Central Asian comparative politics, post-Soviet foreign policy in the "near abroad," quantitative methods in political science and the works of David Hume. Her interest in foreign affairs began in high school when she was active in the Model United Nations program and served as secretary general at the Southeastern Michigan Model United Nations Conference. Erica has been on the dean's list each semester and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She received the Le Man's Award for academic achievement as well as a Michigan Competitive Scholarship in 2005 and 2006 and participated in the Peacemaker's Club at Saint Mary's College. Erica has studied French and Spanish and would like to continue her language studies with Russian and possibly a Central Asian language. She is the daughter of Joseph Bell of Saginaw, Mich., and Mary Heilig of Oak Park.
Loren M. LaPointe of Kalamazoo is the Presidential Scholar in Chemistry and expects to graduate in December 2007 or April 2008. Loren is a member of the Lee Honors College and is majoring in biochemistry as well as Spanish and minoring in biological sciences. Loren planned to attend medical school when she entered WMU, but changed gears after taking a biochemistry class with Dr. Susan Stapleton. The Kalsec Inc. intern plans to continue working for Kalsec until graduation, then pursue a doctorate in bioanalytical chemistry. Loren is well into writing her honors thesis on "Early Stage Detection of Marine Oil Oxidation" and has been an undergraduate research assistant with Dr. Dongil Lee, studying electroanalytical properties of gold nanoparticles. While at WMU, she also has indulged her fascination with the life and culture of Spain and hopes to visit the country before attending graduate school. Loren has received three chemistry department awards, the Frederick Stanley, MPI Undergraduate Research and Col. Charles E. Bayliss scholarships. She is president of the Chemistry Club, a member of the Honors Student Association and treasurer of the Beta Kappa chapter of the Order of Omega. In addition, she has volunteered extensively in the local community through her membership in the Alpha Xi Delta social sorority. She is the daughter of Donald LaPointe.
Michelle K. Magalski, of Saginaw, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Speech Pathology and Audiology and expects to graduate in December 2007. Michelle is a member of the Lee Honors College and is majoring in speech pathology and audiology and minoring in elementary education. Following graduation, she plans to obtain a master's degree in her field, then pursue her dream of teaching children who have communication disorders, especially disorders that involve language. Michelle came to WMU after winning a Medallion Scholarship, the highest honor the University can bestow to an incoming freshman. While at the University, she served as volunteer Reading Buddy to a struggling third grader. This experience piqued her interest in the relationship between literacy and speech-language pathologists and prompted her to focus her honors thesis on how using a writers' workshop approach might help children with learning disabilities and language disorders to write more effective, persuasive essays. Her extracurricular activities have included working at the Student Recreation Center as facility manager and site manager for the University's intramural sports program and serving on the University Recreation Student Employee Board. She is the daughter of Joseph and Karen Magalski.
Andrew D. Mannes of Climax, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Sociology and expects to graduate in April 2007. After graduation, Andrew plans to attend the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and obtain a Master of Divinity degree with the intention of entering the ministry field. Andrew's areas of academic interest are criminal justice, which is also his major program of study, and sociology and comparative religion, which are his minor programs of study. He began his college career at Jefferson Community College, where he was named to the president's list all four semesters, and earned an Associate in Science degree with a major in criminal justice and minor in sociology. Since transferring to WMU, Andrew has appeared on the dean's list each semester. His extracurricular activities include serving as a youth leader for the Northeastern Baptist Church. He is the son of David and Joyce Mannes.
Michael C. Markel Jr. of Munger, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Business Information Systems and expects to graduate in April 2007. Following graduation, Michael plans to become Microsoft MCSE and MCPD certified and possibly attend graduate school in computer information systems. He hopes to become a project manager in the short run and eventually have his own business, providing Web-based solutions to small and medium-sized companies. Michael's areas of academic interest include Web-based application development and networking infrastructure and applications. He has done undergraduate research through the Lee Honors College on "The e-Michigan Initiative" and interned at the WMU Nonprofit Technology Assistance Center, where he created and maintained Web sites for local nonprofit organizations and government agencies. While at WMU, Michael has received several academic honors, including the Alfred Pugno Scholarship, Community College President's Scholarship, Robert Wetnight Scholarship and Perrigo/CIS Scholarship. He is president of the Business Technology Network, a student group for people interested in technology for businesses; a member of Beta Gamma Sigma national honor fraternity; and a former volunteer tutor. He is the son of Mike and Debbie Markel.
Caitlin E. McAndrew of Holland, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in English and expects to graduate in April 2007. Caitlin is majoring in English and Spanish and minoring in communication. Following graduation she plans to teach English, Spanish, theatre, speech and/or journalism. Eventually, she would like to earn an English as a second language endorsement and to teach English in a foreign country. Caitlin is a full-time intern at Portage Central Middle School, where her seventh-grade English students are learning basic research methods, writing reflective essays, participating in peer reviews and collaborating on team projects. While at WMU, Caitlin has received several honors, including the Jean Vincent Malmstrom Award, the George Sprau English Award, and two scholarships that funded a three-month study abroad experience in Santander, Spain. Among her extracurricular activities are serving as president of WMU's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, and as newsletter editor for the campus Golden Key International Honour Society chapter. She is the daughter of Bill McAndrew and Leah Williams, both of Holland.
Caitlin B. Murphy of Springfield, Va., is the Presidential Scholar in History and expects to graduate in April 2008. Caitlin is majoring in history and minoring in political science. Following graduation, she plans to continue her education and obtain master's and doctoral degrees in history, with the goal of teaching at the university level. Caitlin took a nontraditional route with her education before enrolling at WMU. She received her GED from the State of Virginia, then took three years off before earning an associate degree with honors in 2004 from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. At WMU, her academic interests include medieval and Irish history, particularly in regard to spirituality and religion. Caitlin is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and has been a member of the Kalamazoo Jaycees for the past three years. Both the local and state Jaycee chapters have recognized her volunteer work. Caitlin has been accepted to study abroad this summer at the National University in Ireland, Galway, where she will take classes in Irish history and architecture. An avid traveler, she hopes to one day live and teach in Europe. She is the daughter of Lamar and Evelyn Murphy.
Denise R. Peters of Niles, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Health, Physical Education and Recreation and expects to graduate in April 2007. Denise is a nontraditional student who has operated her own business, raised a family and worked with youth in her community for almost three decades. Denise decided to attend WMU to become a health education and English teacher and following graduation, plans to teach in a public school system. While at the University, she co-wrote "Sexual Health and Education in Michigan: An Update on Progress, Policies, and Practices." The paper, which provides a list of resources for health educators, describes current risk behaviors among Michigan youth and recent laws with which health and sexuality education teachers must comply. It was published in a statewide health education journal, and will be presented at the 2007 national conference of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Denise is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. She is the daughter of Bruce Brown of Cassopolis, Mich., and Joy Lawler of South Bend, Ind.
Kasandra M. Posey of Chicago is the Presidential Scholar in Special Education and Literacy Studies and expects to graduate in April 2007. Kasandra is focusing her studies on emotional impairments and learning disabilities, and minoring in teaching speech communication. Following graduation, she plans to return to an urban setting, teach at an alternative school and assist her students in transitioning back into a more conventional school setting. Eventually, she would like to earn a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, so she will be able to adapt learning strategies for teachers of minority and urban youth that will be based on best practices. Kasandra recently completed an internship at Kalamazoo's Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts, where she worked with a diverse array of eighth-grade students with and without disabilities. She also is in the process of completing an internship in a fifth-grade general education classroom. While at WMU, Kasandra has received several scholarships for future teachers and academic excellence. Her extracurricular activities include tutoring special-needs elementary students and helping pre-education minority students at WMU get accepted into the College of Education. She is the daughter of Modine Allen.
Nicole D. Rivera of Kalamazoo is the Presidential Scholar in Interdisciplinary Health Services and expects to graduate in April 2007. Nicole, who considers New Brunswick, N.J., her hometown, is a member of the Lee Honors College and is majoring in interdisciplinary health services and minoring in substance abuse services. She chose these programs because they offered a broad-spectrum approach to learning the health care field as well as expanding her career options and educational pathways. Nicole has a passion to provide health and medical services to those in urban and/or underprivileged areas, primarily the subpopulations of minority women and young adults. She plans to enroll in the University of Michigan's accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and eventually to obtain credentials as a family or women's health nurse practitioner or medical doctor specializing in family medicine. Nicole came to WMU after winning a Medallion Scholarship, the highest honor the University can bestow to an incoming freshman, and has regularly made the dean's list. Her extracurricular activities have included on-campus volunteering and leadership as vice president for community service with the Zeta Phi Beta sorority and participating in fund-raising activities for such organizations as Community Aides Resource and Education Services and the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. She is the daughter of Maida Hernandez of Kalamazoo.
Melissa E. Saltzman of Coloma, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and expects to graduate in April 2007. Melissa is majoring in engineering management technology and minoring in integrated supply matrix management. Following graduation, she plans to work in the local area, helping her employer develop plans that will lead to savings in time, money, resources and energy. In addition, Melissa wants to sharpen her focus on supply chain operations by returning to WMU in the near future and pursuing a master's degree. While at the University, Melissa has maintained a 3.95 grade point average and interned at Summit Polymers Engineering since 2005. For her senior engineering design project, she and her team are working on designing a feasibility analysis of a mobile incinerator to deal with certain kinds of medical waste in Michigan. Melissa has received several scholarships and won last fall's Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers writing contest. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and several honor societies. She is the daughter of Robert and Maureen Saltzman.
Caitlin K. Sams of Troy, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Musical Theatre Performance and expects to graduate in April 2007. Caitlin is a member of the Lee Honors College and has focused her training on the performance of singing, acting and dance. Following graduation, she plans to move to New York and pursue a career as a performer. While at WMU, Caitlin's singing, acting and dance training at the University has helped her numerous roles in WMU Theatre productions. Those roles have taken her to Scotland on a hunting trip gone awry in "Brigadoon," to the French West Indies and the home of a poor orphan girl in "Once On This Island," through the doors of the Sleeptite Pajama Factory in "The Pajama Game," and in the thick of romantic temptation for a newlywed couple in "A Little Night Music." For her honors thesis, Caitlin and another student will perform a cabaret that is part of the Stars and Moon Cabaret series that the theatre department presents each year. She is the recipient of a WMU Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award and the Barbara Marineau/Marrin Mazzie Theatre Scholarship.
Ryan S. Schmidt of Bay City, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Dance and expects to graduate in April 2007. Ryan is a member of the Lee Honors College and will complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance with a minor in mathematics in three years. Following graduation, she plans to study in Europe and pursue a performing career in New York City. Ryan came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the highest honor WMU can bestow to an incoming freshman, and has since been recognized with numerous Department of Dance scholarships. While at the University, Ryan has spent her summers studying in New York City at the Ailey School and the Laban/Barteniff Institute of Movement Studies. In addition, she has been cast in several WMU performances, has participated in American College Dance Festival Association regional conferences, and has twice performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Ryan is an officer and member of WMU's Orchesis Dance Society and has remained active in her hometown of Bay City as a performer and choreographer for community theatre. She is the daughter of Ron and Dawn Schmidt.
Christopher F. Sell of Williamston, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Communication and expects to graduate in December 2007. Christopher is a member of Lee Honors College and is majoring in organizational communication as well as English. Following graduation, he hopes to enter the workforce or attend graduate school, eventually becoming an administrator at the collegiate level. Christopher was a research assistant for two communication professors and is the recipient of both a WMU Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award and a Dean's Summer Research Thesis Grant from the honors college. He used these prizes to fund his research film project, which involved traveling around United States and Canada to interview leading professionals revered for their exceptional teaching, coaching or leadership skills. He is now editing the resulting footage for a student-produced documentary and will use some of his material to finish his honors thesis on the relationship between transformational communication and formal and informal education in today's society. Christopher also has received the Marion I. Hall Scholarship for Education, the Dean's Scholarship for incoming freshmen and the Siebert Travel Grant. He is a student orientation coordinator and has been a First-Year Experience seminar leader. His other extracurricular activities include serving as a member of the Campus Activities Board, an associate for the Student Recreation Center, a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions and a volunteer for a variety of off-campus organizations. He is the son of Dennis and Norma Sell.
Shruti Sevak of Kalamazoo is the Presidential Scholar in Biological Sciences and expects to graduate in April 2007. Shruti, originally from India, is a member of the Lee Honors College and says her insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge will lead her to pursue medical school or a master's and doctoral program in biological sciences after graduation. Her honors college thesis, funded by a WMU Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award, allowed her to expound on the present knowledge of cancer and prompted her to channel this knowledge into a two-month surgical observation experience with Aastha Oncological Associates at Medi-Surge Hospitals in India. As a result, she saw more clearly how translating research findings into innovative diagnoses and treatments can lead to healing, which has encouraged her to gain more knowledge so she can make medical discoveries that affect people's lives. Shruti is fluent in five languages. She loves language, culture and art, and some of her own artistry was selected for the 2006 West Michigan Area Art Show. While at WMU, she has been a teaching assistant for chemistry, biological sciences, and microbiology courses and workshops. She won the CRC Press Freshman Chemistry Award and the MPI Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award. She is the daughter of Pravin and Arvind Sevak.
Jeremy T. Sikkema of Kalamazoo is the Presidential Scholar in Economics and expects to graduate in December 2007. Jeremy is majoring in accountancy as well as economics and will earn a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Following graduation, he plans to pursue a master's degree, earn his Certified Public Accountant credentials and eventually become a partner at a public accounting firm. Jeremy's current research interests include sections of the U.S. tax code that deal with research and development tax credits for businesses. He already has put his knowledge to work as an intern with EMM Group, Dana Corp. and Plante & Moran. This summer, he will finish a fourth internship with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. While at WMU, Jeremy also studied abroad in the Netherlands and received numerous honors, including the University's Haworth College of Business Achievement Award, a PriceWaterhouseCoopers Accountancy Scholarship and a Global Economist Scholarship. He also has held leadership positions with various honor societies and student organizations, and has been an active campus and local volunteer. His service activities include leading an accounting tutoring program at the University, providing tax preparation for WMU's international students, and developing and delivering financial literacy presentations for a Kalamazoo-area high school. He is the son of Jerry and Jody Sikkema.
Amber R. Suggitt of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Foreign Languages and expects to graduate in April 2007. Amber is majoring in French and German. She plans to continue her German language and literature studies in graduate school with the goal of eventually becoming a professor of German. While at WMU, Amber has studied internationally in Quebec City, Quebec, and Bonn, Germany. She has received the Hermann E. Rothfuss Award for Excellence in German and served as president of the German Club and vice president of the French Club. In addition, Amber recently co-founded a linguistics-oriented student organization at the University. She is the daughter of Randall Suggitt of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Jo Doran of Layfayette, Ind.
Jaime E. Timmins of South Lyon, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Environmental Studies and expects to graduate in April 2007. Jaime is a member of the Lee Honors College and is majoring in environmental studies as well as biology. Following graduation, she plans to work in the Kalamazoo area before pursuing a master's degree and settling on a specific field of environmental work. Jaime came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the highest honor the University can bestow to an incoming freshman. Her academic interests focus on conservation and sustainable technologies, and she did her honors thesis on organisms of freshwater streams. While at WMU, Jaime gained experience collecting water samples and studying the remediation of toxic sites as an intern for an environmental consulting company in Ann Arbor, Mich. She is a member of several honor societies, an accomplished drummer with the Bronco Marching Band and served as a College of Arts and Sciences ambassador. She is the daughter of Patrick and Sheila Timmins.
Jeffrey S. Turowski of Oxford, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Marketing and expects to graduate in April 2007. Jeffrey, who considers Oxford, Mich., his hometown, is a member of the Lee Honors College. He found his niche at WMU by focusing on a major in sales and business marketing while also taking an interest in finance, specifically real-estate finance. Following graduation, he plans to work at the family-owned heating and cooling company started by his grandfather and currently run by his father and uncle. Jeffrey came to WMU as valedictorian of his graduating high school class and received the Ross P. Brasemly scholarship, which is bestowed based on academic excellence and potential. While at the University, he worked in sales as an intern for the Harold Zeigler Ford automotive dealership in Plainwell, Mich., was involved with the Phi Chi Theta professional business fraternity, and has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in Kalamazoo. He is the son of Edward Turowski of Oxford, Mich.
Kyle D. Uhen of Grand Rapids, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Integrated Supply Matrix Management and expects to graduate in June 2007. Kyle is a member of the Lee Honors College. His plans after graduation include working for John Deere in its supply management development program, which will place him into two 18-month rotations in separate manufacturing facilities and divisions within the company. While at WMU, Kyle interned for a summer with John Deere in its commercial and consumer equipment facility in Horicon, Wis., and continued to work with the company the following summer at its headquarters in Raleigh, N.C. For his honors thesis, he is working on an initiative to integrate lean manufacturing within WMU's ISMM curriculum. Kyle has received the University's prestigious Board of Trustees Scholarship and has been on the dean's list seven consecutive semesters. He is vice president of professional activities for the professional business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma international honors fraternity, the WMU chapter of the Association for Operations Management and the Southwestern Michigan Chapter of the Institute for Supply Management. He is the son of Terry and Dawn Uhen.
Scott D. Vander Zee of Spring Lake, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Art and expects to graduate in April 2007. Scott's area of academic interest is graphic design. Following graduation, he plans to work in an innovative graphic design studio and hopes to work in Europe for several years. In addition to moving into the professional world of graphic design, he would like to run his own design studio as well as teach at the university level. While at WMU, Scott has interned with the WMU Design Center and has worked on a variety of projects, including publication and promotional materials for the James W. and Lois I. Richmond Center for the Visual Arts and the 2007 Francophone Film Festival. He was the 2005 recipient of WMU's Kerr Award for Graphic Design and the 2006 Director's Service Award. When not involved in design activities, he enjoys biking, reading, traveling and going to concerts. He is the son of Ken and Rhonda Vander Zee.
Andrea N. Vogler of Petersburg, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Political Science and graduated magna cum laude in December 2006 with a bachelor's degree and a major in international and comparative politics as well as in environmental studies. In the process of earning her degree, Andrea minored in Spanish and indulged her academic interests in Latin American politics, Mexico's social movements, agroecology, Middle Eastern politics, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, radicalism and environmental justice. Andrea incorporated several of these interests into her honors thesis, which analyzed the ways various social reformers in Latin America utilize organic farming as a tool for social change. She is considering pursuing a master's degree in agroecology, but before that, plans to travel throughout Latin America to look more closely at community development projects. While at WMU, Andrea made the dean's list every semester and studied in Mexico for a semester, returning most recently as a human rights observer. Among her academic accomplishments were winning a fellowship for student organizing on campus, a WMU Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award, and National Science Foundation-related research support. Her extracurricular activities included being an active leader or member of several student organizations, participating in local and national political campaigns, and volunteering to strengthen the relationships between the campus and community. She is the daughter of Warren and Charlene Vogler.
Dustin J. Waltke of Sturgis, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Industrial Design and expects to graduate in April 2007. Dustin is working on a bachelor's degree in industrial design with an emphasis on transportation design, graphic design and art. Following graduation, he plans to pursue employment in a design-related field and possibly a master's degree in art. While at WMU, Dustin has gained professional experience by interning in Holland, Mich. with Haworth Inc., one of the world's leading office furniture makers. He is in the process of completing an internship with Haworth's industrial design department and previously, worked with the company's ergonomics department. For his industrial design thesis, he designed and submitted a concept car for the World Automotive Design Competition for the Canadian International Auto Show. Dustin has appeared on the dean's list and has received three scholarships. He is a member of the Interior Design Student Association and has worked in the advising office for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is the son of Dennis and Ann Waltke.
Phillip C. Warner of Kalamazoo is the Presidential Scholar in Electrical and Computer Engineering and graduated cum laude in December 2006 with a bachelor's degree in engineering. Phillip was a member of the Lee Honors College and came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the highest honor WMU can bestow to an incoming freshman. He plans to pursue a master's degree in computer engineering and go on for a doctorate, with the goal of eventually teaching at a university. Phillip's honors college research project, "Serial Data Storage, Transfer, and Processing System," was sponsored by Stryker Interventional Pain Management and allowed him to collaborate with engineers at this company. While at WMU, he studied abroad in China and demonstrated his musical talents across the United States with the Extreme Tour, a festival-style ministry event that showcases independent rock bands from around the country. Phillip established and served as founding president of WMU's chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, an electrical and computer engineering honor society, and was an active member of the Golden Key Honour Society and Tau Beta Pi. He is the son of Allen and Deana Warner.
Mialtin Zhezha of Vlore, Albania, is the Presidential Scholar in Music and expects to graduate in June 2007. Mialtin has been performing with his violin since he was seven years old and is majoring in music performance. Following graduation, he plans to pursue an advanced degree in music performance and continue to perform in orchestras as well as a soloist and to teach music. Mialtin has received numerous honors, including being accepted into WMU's Honors String Quartet and being named a Fetzer Foundation Scholar, a Kalamazoo Symphony Artist Scholar, a Music Alumni Friends Scholar, and a Denny and McKee Distinguished Scholar. He received the Down Beat magazine Student Award and both a Presidential Award and School of Music String Scholarship from WMU. Mialtin also has won numerous competitions, such as the Concerto Competition at WMU, MTNA National Competition, Fort Wayne Concerto Competitions, Islam Petrela International Competition and Nicola Piccini String Competition. In addition, Mialtin was selected to perform the Stulberg Masterclasses conducted by well-known violinists David Cerone and Ida Kavafian. Outside of WMU, he has played with the Academy of Arts Orchestra in Albania and with the Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, West Shore and National Symphony orchestras. He is the son of Koco and Eli Zhezha.
Lisa E. Zmudzinski of Edwardsburg, Mich., is the Presidential Scholar in Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies and expects to graduate in April 2007. Lisa is majoring in elementary education with a specialization in integrated creative arts. Following graduation, she hopes to find a teaching job that incorporates the arts into core subject areas as well as to start a master's degree in reading and literacy and conduct research on educational advancement strategies within public school systems. Eventually, she would like to improve the nation's schools by devoting herself to this research and/or becoming a college professor and educating future teachers. While at WMU, Lisa has regularly made the dean's list and continued to travel, both within the United States and overseas. She is completing her internship teaching requirements in Livonia, Mich., and hopes soon to travel to Europe to learn more about its ancient values. Her extracurricular activities include serving as president of the Student Education Association and as a member of the Science and Mathematics Teacher Association as well as several other student groups. She has extensive volunteer service on and off campus with such organizations as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, PeaceJam and the Kalamazoo Communities in Schools Foundation. She is the daughter of Ken Zmudzinski of Jenison, Mich., and Elaine Zmudzinski of Edwardsburg.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, email@example.com