Top seniors to be honored as 2013 Presidential Scholars

Contact: Jeanne Baron

KALAMAZOO—Forty-four students will be recognized as Western Michigan University's top seniors for 2013 during the 33rd annual Presidential Scholars Convocation starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, 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. This year's 44 scholars were chosen from a senior class of 6,386 students.

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

The 2013 Presidential Scholars Convocation, which is by invitation only, will include a program at 7 p.m. featuring a keynote address by Dr. John M. Dunn, president of WMU. Also making remarks will be Dr. William G. Rantz, president of the WMU Faculty Senate, and Sean Nicholl, president of the Western Student Association.

After each of this year's scholars are recognized and awarded certificates, a dessert buffet reception will be held while the scholars have their pictures taken with Dunn and Rantz.

This year's Presidential Scholars include a talented young woman who grew up in the foster care system, came to WMU through the University's Seita Scholars Program and has made the dean's least every semester. She is so committed to her peers and such a skilled advocate for them that she is the only youth representative serving on the Michigan Foster Care Review Board.

Other scholars have been making a name for themselves in large part through their research activities. Among them are a future veterinarian who began conducting research in her freshman year and has become an accomplished avian researcher; a budding geologist who has contributed to improving New York City's drinking water; and a soon-to-be psychologist who studies the effects of trauma on young people and will have some of her work featured in a presentation at a national conference in Washington, D.C.

The 2013 class of scholars also includes an intern for the U.S. Department of State at the American Consulate in Curaçao who ultimately plans to enter the American Foreign Service; a skilled violinist who has won international awards and was named "best classical soloist" in DownBeat magazine's student awards competition; a mathematics major who will soon be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and begin his career as a military pilot; a business student who reduced the outstanding accounts receivables at the company he interned with by $5 million; and an international student who was part of the WMU engineering team that took first place in the 2011 Stryker Challenge, besting teams from the University of Michigan and Michigan State, Notre Dame and Purdue universities.

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.

 2013 Presidential Scholars

  • Accountancy—Jennifer L. Montini of Stevensville, Mich.
  • Anthropology—Krista L. VanProoyen of Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Art—Lauren A. Thiele of Plymouth, Mich.
  • Aviation Sciences—Kaitlin L. Klingler of Hillsdale, Mich.
  • Biological Sciences—Kathleen R. Mulka of Troy, Mich.
  • Business Information Systems—Tyler J. Graham of Kalamazoo.
  • Chemical and Paper Engineering—Taylor M. Joughin of Adrian, Mich.
  • Chemistry—Rebecca S. Monterusso of Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Civil and Construction Engineering—Matthew R. Moran of Plainwell, Mich.
  • Communication—Krystalle G. Double (selected by two academic units) of Okemos, Mich.
  • Comparative Religion—Megan E. Schultz of Paw Paw, Mich.
  • Computer Science—Taylor R. Keenan of Auburn, Mich.
  • Dance—Danielle M. Mattar of Flint, Mich.
  • Economics—Eric R. Clover-Wadel of Middleville, Mich.
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering—Ria H. Pereira of India.
  • English—Ian B. Hollenbaugh of Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Environmental Studies—Amy J. Barrington of Jonesville, Mich.
  • Family and Consumer Sciences—Courtney A. Maher of Chelsea, Mich.
  • Finance and Commercial Law—Joseph D. Batt of Ludington, Mich.
  • Gender and Women's Studies—Amelia M. Martin (selected by two academic units) of Jenison, Mich.
  • Geography—Laura A. Burden of Kalamazoo.
  • Geosciences—Rebecca L. Kiekhaefer of Midland, Mich.
  • History—Jeannine M. Hamilton of Kalamazoo.
  • Human Performance and Health Education—Hayley E. LaFore of Richmond, Mich.
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering—Miguel A. Acuña of Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Integrated Supply Management—Jordan S. Tauriainen of Milford, Mich.
  • Management—Zachary P. Putnam of Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
  • Marketing—Andrew B. Everett of Portage, Mich.
  • Mathematics—Daniel S. Schasser of Lake Odessa, Mich.
  • Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering—Brandon L. Lewis of Three Rivers, Mich.
  • Music—Youyang Qu of Changchun, Jilin, China.
  • Nursing—Alexandra M. Scheidt of Kalamazoo.
  • Occupational Therapy—Rebecca J. Layer of Howell, Mich.
  • Philosophy—Amelia M. Martin (selected by two academic units) of Jenison, Mich.
  • Physics—Sarah M. Hulbert of Shelbyville, Mich.
  • Political Science—Alison M. Sprague of Kalamazoo.
  • Psychology—Chelsea K. VanderWoude of Kalamazoo.
  • Social Work—Heather L. Barsy of Kalamazoo.
  • Sociology—Rebecca J. Laipply of Spring Arbor, Mich.
  • Spanish—Krystalle G. Double (selected by two academic units) of Okemos, Mich.
  • Special Education and Literacy Studies—Alexis M. Ruder of Portage, Mich.
  • Speech Pathology and Audiology—Katlin J. Abbs of Sturgis, Mich.
  • Statistics—Joshua T. Bredeweg of Wayland, Mich.
  • Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies—Devin A. Ryan of Schaumburg, Ill.
  • Theatre—Emily L. Osborn of Livonia, Mich.
  • World Languages and Literatures—Demi L. Hunter of Howell, Mich.