Top seniors to be honored as 2017 Presidential Scholars

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Fifty students will be recognized as Western Michigan University's top seniors for 2017 during the 37th annual Presidential Scholars Convocation starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, 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, 50 scholars were chosen from a senior class of more than 5,941 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 2017 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. Suzan F. Ayers, president of the WMU Faculty Senate, and Taylor Hall, vice president of the Western Student Association. After each of this year's scholars are recognized and awarded certificates, a dessert reception will be held while the scholars have their pictures taken with Dunn and Ayers.

Long list of talented students

This year's Presidential Scholars include a speech-language pathology and audiology major who envisions a career with the Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Army and a double major in behavioral science and sociology who is interested in behavioral-based treatments and interventions for substance use disorders.

The long list of talented scholars also includes an active astrophysics researcher who is passionate about improv as well as standup comedy, a former intern with the Telamon Corp. and National Farmworker Jobs programs who has been helping low-income fieldworker families in southwest Michigan, and a working single mother who returned to school after 22 years and graduated magna cum laude in December.

2017 Presidential Scholars

  • Accountancy—Paul D. Roosa of Ann Arbor
  • Anthropology—Thomas A. Nagle of Coldwater
  • Art—Audrey Mills of Redford
  • Aviation Sciences—Gabriel S. Langley of Bayside, Wisconsin
  • Biological Sciences—Marine P. Bolliet of Kalamazoo
  • Business Information Systems—Gorakh N. Mehan of Caledonia
  • Chemical and Paper Engineering—Daniel J. VanZweden of Kalamazoo
  • Chemistry—Jacob A. Kirkendall of Portage
  • Civil and Construction Engineering—Alec J. Ingram of Grand Rapids
  • Communication—Madison A. Johnson of Dilworth, Minnesota
  • Comparative Religion—Lisa G. Pratt of Portage
  • Computer Science—Andrew S. Gifford of Portage
  • Dance—Alicia L. Sanfillippo of Hanover Park, Illinois
  • Economics—Evan J. Kennedy of Baroda
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering—Sarah K. Seng of Battle Creek
  • Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems—Regan H. Elzerman of Fowlerville
  • English—Ireland E. Atkinson of New Baltimore
  • Family and Consumer Sciences—Hristina Petrovska of Kalamazoo
  • Finance and Commercial Law—Michelle C. King of Kalamazoo
  • Gender and Women's Studies—Elizabeth M. Field of Paw Paw
  • Geography—Stephen C. Nehring of Glendale, Wisconsin
  • Geosciences—Jake M. Tholen of Howell
  • Global and International Studies—Caitlin A. Wiley of Fenton
  • History—Conor W. Howard of Plainwell
  • Human Performance and Health Education—Maegan C. Ackerman of Kalamazoo
  • Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management—Michelle M. Valente of Rockford
  • Environment and Sustainability—Allison M. Spring of Brighton
  • Integrated Supply Management—Emma L. Stuba of La Grange, Illinois
  • Management—Aubrey M. Utting of Zeeland
  • Marketing—Kraig J. McAllister of Taylor
  • Mathematics—James R. Hallas of Greenville
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering—Zachary A. Reinke of Bushton, Kansas
  • Music—Maria V. Paterno of St. Charles, Illinois
  • Music Theatre Performance—Nichola A. Petrelli of Bartlett, Illinois
  • Nursing—Nicolette D. Johnson of Battle Creek
  • Occupational Therapy—Benjamin H. Hayati of Bay City
  • Philosophy—Mitchell L. Winget of Grand Rapids
  • Physics—Spencer J. Henning of Kalamazoo
  • Political Science—Annalisa M. Wilder of Decatur
  • Psychology—Andrea L. Miller of Paw Paw
  • Social Work—Amal M. Mohamed of Canton
  • Sociology—Bridget K. Grimaldi of Plainfield, Illinois
  • Spanish—Rachel D. Callaly of Lombard, Illinois
  • Special Education and Literacy Studies—Katherine E. Williamson of Essexville
  • Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences—Meghan L. Smith of Battle Creek
  • Statistics—Brittany R. Hall of Portage
  • Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies—Arlena N. Clayton of Bay City
  • Theatre—Amanda S. Calcutt of Bay City
  • University Studies—Christine K. McDowell of Marshall
  • World Languages and Literatures—Jesse P. Klaus of Port Huron