Top seniors to be honored as 2015 Presidential Scholars

Contact: Jeanne Baron
Photo of two WMU students by a Presidential Scholars sign.

Two 2014 Presidential Scholars pose at their reception. This year's reception is March 19.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Forty-six students will be recognized as Western Michigan University's top seniors for 2015 during the 35th annual Presidential Scholars Convocation starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, on campus in the Bernhard 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, 46 scholars were chosen from a senior class of more than 6,000 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 2015 Presidential Scholars Convocation, which is by invitation only, will include a program featuring a keynote address by Dr. John M. Dunn, president of WMU. Also making remarks will be Dr. C. Dennis Simpson, president of the WMU Faculty Senate, and Abby Wallace, 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 Simpson.

Long list of talented students

This year's Presidential Scholars include a neurobiology researcher who has presented her research findings at several national conferences; a highly decorated Marine who is researching why some men go to war and others do not; and a recent College of Aviation alumna who is working on a second bachelor's degree and will coach WMU's 2015 women's Air Race Classic team.

Also among this year's scholars are two students who are considering applying for the Peace Corps; a triple major in entrepreneurship, elementary professional education and history; students who have devoted scores of volunteer hours to the local community; students whose professional work was so impressive that they have been offered full-time positions at the companies they interned with; and nontraditional students, including a nursing major with 10 children, who are juggling family and school.

Presidential Scholars for 2015

  • Accountancy—Haley J. Hancock of Battle Creek.
  • Anthropology—Scott W. Duxbury of East Lansing.
  • Art—Mariesa A. DeSantis of Trenton.
  • Aviation sciences—Sara A. Karsten of Rogers City.
  • Biological sciences as well as human performance and health education (named by two departments)—Nicole C. Carpp of Lawrence.
  • Business information systems—Tyler J. Hough of Three Rivers.
  • Chemical and paper engineering—Alexandria L. Pierce of Hastings.
  • Chemistry—Maren C. Zanotti of Marshall.
  • Civil and construction engineering—Simon M. Matar of Portage.
  • Communication—Scott E. Shank Jr. of Parchment.
  • Comparative religion—Danton J. Lloyd of Okemos.
  • Computer science—Joshua L. Inniger of Middleton.
  • Dance—Emily S. Rayburn of Edwardsville, Illinois.
  • Economics—Zachary C. Munce of Milford.
  • Electrical and computer engineering—James P. Lind of Bay City.
  • Engineering design, manufacturing and management systems—Brian P. McClure of Oregon, Ohio.
  • English—Richard S. Carbonneau of Quincy, Massachusetts.
  • Environmental and sustainability studies—Katelin N. Johnson of Kentwood.
  • Family and consumer sciences—Alexa P. Morrison of Sterling Heights.
  • Finance and commercial law—Adriano A. Deabreu of Chatham, Ontario.
  • Gender and women's studies—Marilyn A. Bean of Schoolcraft.
  • Geography—Benjamin J.E. Clark of Quincy.
  • Geosciences—Kathryn S. Hillenbrand of Vicksburg.
  • History—Christopher P. Hickey of Eatonville, Washington.
  • Industrial and entrepreneurial engineering and engineering management—Matthew S. Garvin of Traverse City.
  • Integrated supply management—Lynsey M. DeGraaf of Parchment.
  • Interdisciplinary health services—Eleni R. Gaves of Ortonville.
  • Management—Sarah N. Hughey of Portage.
  • Marketing—Ali M. Russo of Kalamazoo.
  • Mathematics—Bethel I. McGrew of Kalamazoo.
  • Mechanical and aerospace engineering—Aaron T. Dean of Kalamazoo.
  • Music—Lasse Grunewald of Flensburg, Germany.
  • Music theatre performance—Kasady K. Kwiatkowska of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • Nursing—Angela B. Coleman of Lawton.
  • Philosophy—Joel A. Ballivian of Sand Lake.
  • Physics—Jagjit Singh Sidhu of Malaysia.
  • Political science—Charles A. Martin of Grand Rapids.
  • Psychology—Rachel L. Burroughs of Flint.
  • Social work—Alicia J. Wayne of Ionia.
  • Sociology—Caleb M. Fiorini of Wixom.
  • Spanish—Bethany L. Doorlag of Kalamazoo.
  • Special education and literacy studies—Heidi A. Ali of Kalamazoo.
  • Speech pathology and audiology—Emma A. Cooper of Royal Oak.
  • Teaching, learning and educational studies—Emily A. Salzman of Mount Prospect, Illinois.
  • Theatre—Amanda L. Finney of Lansing.
  • World Languages and Literatures—Jenna K. Johnson of Cedar Springs.

Additional information

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

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

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