Top seniors honored as 2012 Presidential Scholars

Contact: Jeanne Baron

KALAMAZOO--Forty-six students were recognized as Western Michigan University's top seniors for 2012 during the 32nd annual Presidential Scholars Convocation March 22 on campus in the Fetzer Center.

Each year, faculty members from across the University select the most outstanding senior in their various academic schools, departments and programs to represent their units as a WMU Presidential Scholar.

The designation is the highest academic honor that WMU can bestow on its undergraduates. Selection is based on the students' general academic excellence, academic and/or artistic excellence in their majors, and intellectual and/or artistic promise.

The 2012 Presidential Scholars Convocation, which was by invitation only, included a program featuring a keynote address by Dr. John M. Dunn, president of WMU. Also making remarks was Dr. Peter W. Krawutschke, president of the WMU Faculty Senate, and Erin Kaplan, president of the Western Student Association.

This year's Presidential Scholars include a dietetics major who has been researching genetic engineering of a rice crop that may decrease the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in Southeast Asia; a biomedical sciences major who plans to work with the Peace Corps to improve the health care system in francophone Africa; a vocalist, actor and internationally award-winning trombonist who will be entering the teaching profession; and a business student who interned three times with Kalamazoo-based Styker, one of the world's leading medical technology companies, and will start a full-time job with the firm in April.

Other scholars to be honored include several nontraditional students, including a previous college graduate who worked at a non-governmental organization before having three children and is now on track to become a high school mathematics teacher and a 20-year computer information professional who was laid off in 2009 and will be graduating this summer with his daughter.

Two decorated military veterans are also among 2012's top seniors. They are an anthropology major who earned the Air Force Achievement Medal for his efforts during the conflict in Kosovo in 1999 and a graduate of the human resources management program who earned a Bronze Star Medal for actions in Afghanistan while serving in the Air Force and now works with the Veterans Health Administration in Washington state.

The Presidential Scholars Convocation is sponsored by WMU's Faculty Senate and Office of the President.

For more information, contact Janice Anderson, convocation committee chair and Faculty Senate administrator, at or (269) 387-3310, or Elena Gaudio, convocation committee member and executive secretary to WMU's president, at or (269) 387-2351.

2012 Presidential Scholars

  • Accountancy--Sarah B. Nord of Otsego, Mich.
  • Anthropology--Bryan L. Bommersbach of Kalamazoo.
  • Art--Michael A. Bruny-Groth of Kalamazoo.
  • Aviation Sciences--Garrett W. Gokey of Paw Paw, Mich.
  • Biological Sciences--Leah M. Grawburg of Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
  • Business Information Systems--James M. Lightner of Portage, Mich.
  • Chemistry--Kim Lien T. Huynh of Kalamazoo.
  • Civil and Construction Engineering--Adam L. Mueller of Kalamazoo.
  • Communication--Erin R. Gignac of Menominee, Mich.
  • Comparative Religion--Laura C Wagner-Kreider of Kalamazoo.
  • Computer Science--Peter M. Holvenstot of Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Dance--Ashley M. Deran of Schaumburg, Ill.
  • Economics--Nolan R. Sinkler of Grand Haven, Mich.
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering--Angie M. Paula Sanchez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
  • English--Christopher J. Hart of Lamoni, Iowa.
  • Environmental Studies--Susie E. Drust of Sturgis, Mich.
  • Family and Consumer Sciences--Elizabeth A. Quemada of Kalamazoo.
  • Finance and Commercial Law--Catherine C. Koh of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Foreign Languages--Danielle M. Rayman of Portage, Mich.
  • Gender and Women's Studies--Sebastiene E. Bonifield of Kalamazoo.
  • Geography--Andrew C. Johnson of Brookfield, Ill.
  • Geosciences--Davina A. Wyman of Portage, Mich.
  • Human Performance and Health Education--Adam R. Carpp of Lawrence, Mich.
  • History--Tara M. Bell of Galesburg, Mich.
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering--Andrew J. Dreikosen Jr. of Maineville, Ohio.
  • Integrated Supply Management--Michael J. Haburne of Plymouth, Mich.
  • Management--Nathanial L. Bryant of Holland, Mich.
  • Marketing--Ida Botten of Surnadal, Norway.
  • Mathematics--Christen E. McCool of Anacortes, Wash.
  • Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering--Dionisio V. Del Orbe Henriquez of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
  • Music--Kirsten R. Schaffert of Sanford, Mich.
  • Music Theatre Performance--Meridith M. Keller of Carmel, Ind.
  • Nursing--Jordan T. Sullenberger of Grand Ledge, Mich.
  • Occupational Therapy--Brooke L. Drummer of Kalamazoo.
  • Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Imaging--Tiffany M. Sherburn of Lawton, Mich.
  • Philosophy--Alexander J. Lanning of Canton, Mich.
  • Physics--Garrett E. Marsh of Kalamazoo.
  • Political Science--Lauren B. Hearit of Portage, Mich.
  • Psychology--Garrett D. Warrilow of Ortonville, Mich.
  • Social Work--Kimberly S. Stowe of St. Johns, Mich.
  • Sociology--Jessica N. Pence of Dowagiac, Mich.
  • Spanish--Rachael L. Myers of Jackson, Mich.
  • Special Education and Literacy Studies--Elizabeth A. Foley of Saline, Mich.
  • Speech Pathology and Audiology--Danielle R. Werle of Saginaw, Mich.
  • Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies--Jessica N. Rush of St. Joseph, Mich.
  • Theatre--Jenna M. Wyatt of Portage, Mich.