KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Fifty students in Western Michigan University's 5,900-member senior class were named a 2017 Presidential Scholar.
The annual Presidential Scholar designation is the highest honor WMU can bestow on an undergraduate. The award goes to the most outstanding seniors in each of the University's academic schools, departments and specialty programs.
Only the highest caliber of students receive the award. They are selected on the basis of their general academic excellence, academic and artistic excellence in their majors, and intellectual and artistic promise.
This year's scholars were recognized during the 37th annual Presidential Scholars Convocation, held on campus March 28. During the event, the students received certificates from two University dignitaries: Dr. John M. Dunn, WMU president, and Dr. Suzan F. Ayers, Faculty Senate president.
The convocation, which also celebrates the overall excellence of the University's students, includes a program and closing reception. The event is co-sponsored by the Office of the President and the Faculty Senate.
The 2017 Presidential Scholars come from across Michigan as well as other U.S. states. Some of them graduated from WMU in December 2016 and several more will graduate April 29, during spring commencement exercises. They are listed by state, with Michigan recipients appearing first, then by hometown. Their biographies reflect information obtained early this year.
Paul D. Roosa is the Presidential Scholar in Accountancy. Roosa is a graduate of Saline High School in Saline, Michigan. He majored in accountancy and graduated summa cum laude from WMU in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Accountancy from WMU, which he plans to complete in December 2017. After completing his graduate degree, Roosa will begin a full-time job in the Private Company Services assurance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Detroit, and he is preparing to take the Certified Public Accountant examination to become a licensed CPA. As a student, recognized for his talents in accountancy, Roosa was selected to intern at two of the world's "Big Four" accounting firms, and he was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. In 2015, he received the Department of Accountancy scholarship and was nominated for The Delta Sigma Pi Collegian of the Year. Roosa has been a leader among his peers, including as president of the international business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and as a member of the Haworth College of Business Student Leadership Advisory Board. He continues to serve the business college as a student ambassador. Roosa also has been active in his field outside of WMU. He has volunteered with the Accounting Aid Society, preparing tax returns for low-income families in Detroit. In addition, he is a student member of the Michigan Association of CPAs. Roosa has served as a Drive Safe Kalamazoo volunteer, supporting its mission to ensure safe rides home for college students. Another area of interest he participated in during his first two years at WMU was the Bronco Marching Band drum line.
Evan J. Kennedy is the Presidential Scholar in Economics. Kennedy is a graduate of Lakeshore High School in Stevensville, Michigan. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in economics as well as in computer information systems and expects to graduate in April 2017. For his information systems studies, he has concentrated on analytic and database systems. Following graduation, Kennedy plans to enter the workforce for a couple of years, then return to school. He intends to complete a master's program in applied economics and later on, obtain a doctoral degree in international economics with the end goal of working in international consulting in Asian markets. His interest in that type of career developed during his economics studies and resulted in an unofficial concentration in international economics and policies. This semester, Kennedy is completing his honors college thesis with the assistance of faculty members in the departments of Economics and Geography. He is looking at the long-term implications of the United States on the international tea market. During his time at WMU, Kennedy has been a volunteer tutor and worked part time in the Student Ambassador Program in the Office of Admissions. He also has been a long-standing member of the Business Technology Network, an organization for business information systems students that he serves as vice president and previously served as treasurer. In addition, he is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society.
Nicolette D. Johnson is the Presidential Scholar in Nursing. Johnson is a graduate of Harper Creek High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in nursing in December 2016. Since graduation, Johnson has been working in Kalamazoo at Bronson Methodist Hospital in the Critical Care Float Pool. She plans to work as a bedside nurse for a few years before going back to pursue a master's degree. With the help of Dr. Mary Ann Stark, she completed her honors college thesis on the topic of the Comparison of Therapeutic Showering and Usual Care During Labor. Throughout the course of her nursing studies, Johnson served as a Student Council representative for her cohort as well as sat in on multiple faculty committees as a representative of the student body. She was a recipient of the Bronson School of Nursing Leadership Award and a member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. Johnson had the opportunity to volunteer abroad with Growth International Volunteer Excursions—GIVE—in both Tanzania and Thailand. During both of these trips, she volunteered her time to not only teach English, but also to assist in the building of necessary community infrastructure such as a fresh-water collection unit, bridges and schools.
Sarah K. Seng is the Presidential Scholar in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Seng is a graduate of Battle Creek Central High School who attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College as well as Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek. She is majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in mathematics as well as in physics and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Seng plans to continue her education at WMU and obtain a master's degree through one of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering's accelerated graduate programs. She intends to study and then pursue a career in signal processing, particularly in the medical field. For the past two summers, Seng has interned with Consumers Energy in the projects group for its West Michigan power plants. During her first summer with the company, her team won first place in the Intern Challenge, Consumers' summer intern volunteer initiative. She has been on the dean's list since her first semester at WMU and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. In addition to winning a Department of Physics Excellence Award in 2014, Seng is the recipient of several scholarships from the electrical and computer engineering department, including the Kenneth Knight Scholarship.
Meghan L. Smith is the Presidential Scholar in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Smith is a graduate of Pennfield High School as well as of the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center. She attended Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and earned an associate degree in general studies from Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek. She is majoring in speech-language pathology and audiology and expects to graduate in June 2017. Following graduation, Smith plans to attend Syracuse University in New York to earn her clinical and research doctoral degrees in audiology, then work as a clinician, researcher and/or professor. She envisions a career with the Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Army. Her current areas of academic interest include psychoacoustics, hearing conservation and vestibular disorders. Throughout her undergraduate career, Smith gained valuable hands-on experience working under Drs. Gregory Flamme, Stephen Tasko and Kristy Deiters on their research project titled "Effects of Acoustic Impulses on the Middle Ear." She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout her WMU academic career, absorbing as much knowledge as possible to best serve her future clients.
Amanda S. Calcutt is the Presidential Scholar in Theatre. Calcutt is a graduate of John Glenn High School in Bay City. She is majoring in stage management and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Calcutt plans to move to Seattle in the fall to pursue her career in stage management. She began her interest in theatre in high school, where she worked on more than 20 shows in four years. She has spent some of the past four years volunteering for University Theatre productions at WMU. Calcutt also has devoted time to help the Department of Theatre conduct its new-student auditions, when hundreds of potential theatre students flock to WMU over two days. In addition, she has given time to the student-run shows on campus called Footlights, and has stage managed three WMU main-stage productions. During her academic career, she has been on the dean's list every semester and has maintained a 3.9 grade point average.
Arlena N. Clayton is the Presidential Scholar in Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies. Clayton is a graduate of All Saints Central High School in Bay City. She is pursuing secondary education certification with majors in history as well as in mathematics and expects to graduate in April 2018. Following graduation, Clayton plans to teach for at least the next five years and eventually place herself in a leadership position and make effective change in the classroom so it works better for all students. The secondary education teaching program has taught Clayton to be a lifelong learner. She believes that, in a field that is consistently changing, there is always something that can be evaluated and improved. One of the first organizations she joined at WMU was a sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, which she went on to serve as chapter president her sophomore year and the Greek Week coordinator her junior year. Clayton is a member of the Order of Omega honor society and its Standards of Excellence coordinator. Standards of Excellence is a program for all four Greek councils at WMU to showcase their accomplishments in the last year. She also founded and serves as executive director of internal affairs for a WMU student group called Dance Marathon, which is part of a national movement that raises money for the Children's Miracle Network. The University's group is in its first year of fundraising, and organizers have planned a 15-hour marathon for the Helen DeVos Children's Miracle Network Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with all proceeds going directly back to the hospital for family and patient services.
Benjamin H. Hayati is the Presidential Scholar in Occupational Therapy. Hayati is a graduate of John Glenn High School in Bay City. He graduated magna cum laude in December 2016 with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary health services: occupational therapy and a minor in integrative holistic health and wellness. Now, Hayati is pursuing a master's degree in occupational therapy at WMU and expects to graduate again in December 2017. He hopes to have a career either in a school system working with the pediatric population or working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, and he has a strong desire to work with children or adults with autism. Hayati has been on the dean's list every semester except one during his undergraduate career and has completed two of four fieldwork experiences. These Kalamazoo experiences were through SOAR at Northeastern Elementary School and the Adults Doing Life Skills Clinic at WMU's Center for Disability Services. He plans to continue his fieldwork in his hometown, working in the school systems in the Bay City area at the Bay Arenac Intermediate School District and in acute care at the Mid-Michigan Medical Center in Midland. Hayati has been a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society since 2011 and has volunteered during the summer at an assisted living home in Bay City for six years.
Allison M. Spring is the Presidential Scholar in The Environment and Sustainability. Spring is a graduate of Brighton High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in biology and environmental studies and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Spring plans to pursue a master's degree related to environmental science. Her honors college thesis examines atmospheric microbial communities, a project she had been working on for two years with Dr. Kathryn Docherty in the Department of Biological Sciences. Spring , who has appeared on WMU's dean's list every semester, has received several honors related to her research. They include a Michigan Space Grant Consortium Fellowship, Lee Honors College Research and Creative Activities Scholarship, Colin J. Gould Memorial Scholarship, and College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award. Spring has been heavily involved with social and environmental activism during her college career, particularly on campus. She received a Gibbs Fellowship for the 2015-16 school year and worked on the permaculture team in the Office for Sustainability. In addition, she was president of Campus Beet, a registered student organization that serves sustainable, vegan meals to WMU students and employees each week as part of an effort to develop a student-led, sustainable café on campus.
Gorakh N. Mehan is the Presidential Scholar in Business Information Systems. Mehan is a graduate of Caledonia High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in computer information systems and minoring in business analytics and general business. He expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Mehan will be working in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as an associate applications engineer with the manufacturing systems team at Steelcase Inc., a leading manufacturer of furniture for offices, hospitals and classrooms. He has interned at Steelcase for the past three summers, working with different information technology groups to upgrade systems, automate reporting and streamline the process for communication with freight carriers. During these internships, Mehan has gained experience in many different technical areas as well gained considerable knowledge of business. This work has allowed him to apply what he learned in the classroom and see in almost real time how different techniques can impact an organization. Mehan has made the dean's list every semester and received the Dr. Bernadine Branchaw Scholarship and Eaton Corp. Scholarship. He is thankful for the continuous support, coaching and guidance he received from family and friends during his academic career, and also thanks his business information systems professors for challenging him with real-world scenarios and sharing their passion for information technology.
Amal M. Mohamed is the Presidential Scholar in Social Work. Mohamed is a graduate of Belleville High School in Bellville, Michigan. She is majoring in social work and expects to graduate in June 2017. Following graduation, Mohamed hopes to pursue a master's degree in social work and gain a deep and complex understanding of social work. Her goal is to create a change and make a positive difference in people's lives. She has a deep passion for serving marginalized populations, particularly foster children. Having been in the child welfare system and now a Seita Scholar at WMU, Mohamed believes everyone has a gift to offer and will blossom, if given a chance. While studying abroad in Senegal, she conducted research on child welfare. She was struck by the communal compassion the Senegalese show for the disenfranchised despite their lack of material resources, and she is extremely grateful to have been able to live and learn amongst the Senegalese. Mohamed presented her comparative research findings at WMU's Study Abroad Fair. She is currently an intern at the Kalamazoo County Department of Health and Human Services. Through this field placement, she has improved her confidence, experience, competence and skills by working directly with clients.
Thomas A. Nagle is the Presidential Scholar in Anthropology. Nagle is a graduate of Coldwater High School. He is majoring in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology as well as majoring in film, video and media studies and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Nagle plans to work in cultural resource management. He aspires to combine his training in film studies and anthropology to produce photography and nonfiction films focusing on archaeological sites. It was Nagle's involvement in WMU's archaeological field school that instilled in him an "unyielding interest" in archaeology. As part of continuing his field school experience, he is currently working in a laboratory processing artifacts from the University's Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project. Nagle's broader research interests in archaeology include studying pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as well as the ancient Native Americans of the Hopewell and of the Mississippian cultural traditions. In the future, he would like to work on Mississippian and Hopewell archaeological sites in southern regions of the United States.
Annalisa M. Wilder is the Presidential Scholar in Political Science. Wilder is a graduate of Decatur High School who attended Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac. She is majoring in political science and Spanish and minoring in psychology as well as in environmental studies. A member of the Lee Honors College, she expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Wilder plans to work or intern for nonprofits in the environmental field and, after a year's leave from academia, to attend law school with the goal of working as a staff attorney for the U.S. government or United Nations. She currently specializes in international and comparative politics, focusing primarily on the impacts of nongovernmental organizations on developing countries in Latin America. Wilder has interned with the Telamon Corp. and National Farmworker Jobs programs, helping low-income fieldworker families in southwest Michigan. She also has worked at her former high school as a Spanish translator for migrant families. Currently, she is working on her honors college thesis, which is centered around a student leadership and sustainable development project she is doing with the help of a Student Sustainability Grant. Wilder has been on the dean's list since fall 2013 and was named Sustainability Committee Member of the Year for the Western Student Association. She has received numerous honors, including the Ruth Y. Kirby Spanish Scholarship, Carl and Winifred Lee Honors College Scholarship, Z.D. Shilling Department of Political Science Scholarship for Study Abroad, and other study abroad scholarships and grants allowing her to study in Argentina and Peru. Wilder has been a Western Student Association senator the last four years and sits on WMU's Academic Integrity Committee and Student Sustainability Grant Allocations Commission. In addition, she is chapter president of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity and chair of Drive Safe Kalamazoo. She also participates in the WMU Signature Program and has completed more than 200 hours per year with various nonprofit organizations.
Katherine E. Williamson is the Presidential Scholar in Special Education and Literacy Studies. Williamson is a graduate of Garber High School in Essexville. A member of the Lee Honors College, she is majoring in special and elementary education with an endorsement in learning disabilities and minoring in secondary mathematics. She expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Williamson plans to go to work in the Essexville-Hampton Public Schools teaching special education at the middle school level as well as advanced placement calculus at the high school level and eventually to pursue a master's degree. During her five years at WMU, Williamson has remained on the dean's list, fulfilled graduation requirements for the honors college and was involved on campus through leadership positions in the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity and Student Council for Exceptional Children. She studied abroad in Senegal for three weeks in May 2015, completing a research project that eventually became her honors thesis. Her thesis has been published as "The Impact of Globalization on Access for Individuals with Disabilities" in the Journal for Education and Human Development. In addition, Williamson was chosen to receive the Rose Iciek Scholarship, a four-year financial award to support education majors at WMU.
Caitlin A. Wiley is the Presidential Scholar in Global and International Studies. Wiley is a graduate of Fenton Senior High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in Spanish as well as in global and international studies with a concentration in political science and expects to graduate in April 2018. Following graduation, Wiley plans to continue her education by pursuing a master's degree. She aspires to serve as a U.S. Foreign Service officer in the future. She came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University can bestow on an incoming freshman. Wiley is fluent in Spanish, which she has studied for nine years, and during the spring of her sophomore year participated in a life-changing study abroad program to Buenos Aires, Argentina. She also is taking German courses and hopes to study abroad a second time in Germany before graduating. Her interests include the field of student affairs, and she is employed as a WMU student ambassador and campus tour guide. Wiley also has served as an orientation student leader and Fall Welcome ambassador, and the 2016 Bronco Bash and Homecoming coordinator. In addition, she has been a constituent relations intern for Michigan State Rep. Joseph Graves as well as an intern at Bethany Christian Services, a nonprofit organization that aids families in international adoptions and provides foster care to children who have recently immigrated to the United States, among many other services. Wiley is a lifetime initiated member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and serves on the Gamma Xi chapter Executive Board as the vice president of membership programming. She is a member of several honor societies, including Alpha Lambda Delta and the Order of Omega, from which she received the 2015 Emerging Leader of the Year award for her academic excellence and involvement in the University community through the Beta Kappa chapter.
Regan H. Elzerman is the Presidential Scholar in Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems. Elzerman is a graduate of Fowlerville High School. She is majoring in engineering management technology and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Elzerman plans to put her education to good use in industry. She began her career at WMU in the film, video and media studies program. After two years, she found her true passion was as an engineering management technology major. She is particularly interested in the area of process improvement because it allows her to combine her creativity and technical background to create more efficient and organized systems. Elzerman is a teaching assistant for two engineering courses and has interned with Summit Polymers Inc. for almost two years. For her senior design capstone project in the engineering college, she is creating a cost-analysis tool for hand-held, battery-operated tooling in a production plant. The project, which is sponsored by Stryker Medical, will be presented at the 60th annual Senior Engineering Design Conference. Elzerman has regularly appeared on the dean's list and serves as vice president of WMU's chapter of Epsilon Mu Eta, the national engineering management honor society. She also is an active member of the American Society for Engineering Managers student group. Elzerman worked on campus as a resident assistant for a year and a half, earning RA of the Year honors, and has been a residence halls office manager for the past two and a half years, twice being named Student Staff Member of the Year. She also competed for four years with the WMU Equestrian Club and served the group as vice president and president.
Alec J. Ingram is the Presidential Scholar in Civil and Construction Engineering. Ingram is a graduate of Kenowa Hills High School in Grand Rapids who earned an associate degree with a focus on architecture from Grand Rapids Community College. He is majoring in civil engineering and expects to graduate in April 2017. Ingram is interested in geotechnical studies as well as materials, such as concrete and steel, and in leadership development and research. Following graduation, he will be a staff engineer at G2 Consulting in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He plans to pursue a geotechnical master's degree while at G2 and later to take the Professional Engineering exam to become a licensed engineer, then pursue a master's degree in business. Ingram interned as a construction inspector with Hubbell, Roth & Clark in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, for three summers. He also has been a research assistant with WMU's Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities and was a statics and mechanics of materials tutor in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He has been on the dean's list every semester and received the George Kohrman and Civil and Construction Engineering Excellence scholarships. Ingram serves as president of WMU's American Society of Civil Engineers, worked for more than a year to bring a chapter of the Chi Epsilon civil engineering honor society to the University, and is a member of that organization as well as the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. In addition to community service projects through ASCE, Ingram volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, the Kalamazoo Humane Society and Save Our Strays.
Mitchell L. Winget is the Presidential Scholar in Philosophy. Winget is a graduate of Tri-County High School in Howard City, Michigan, who has attended Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids. He is majoring in philosophy with a minor in sociology and expects to graduate in December 2017. Following graduation, Winget plans to enroll in a graduate program and then teach at the college level. His approach to education has been unconventional, and he spent several years after high school traveling and doing odd jobs before returning home and attending college. He traveled extensively throughout the American South and spent some time in Europe. It was during a stay in Austin, Texas, that Winget discovered the English philosopher Alan Watts, who had an enormous impact on him at the time and impressed him with how powerful philosophy can be. He finds himself strongly drawn to the issues of moral philosophy and all things related to social and political philosophy. Outside school, Winget spends much of his time working on various creative projects in music, art and philosophy. He also volunteers extensively in the local area through political action and community service, such as making deliveries to the homeless.
James R. Hallas is the Presidential Scholar in Mathematics. Hallas is a graduate of Greenville High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in general mathematics as well as in creative writing and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Hallas plans to pursue a doctoral degree in mathematics with the goal of either working in academia or with the U.S. Department of Defense. His research is in a branch of mathematics called graph theory, and he specifically works with graph colorings. He received a Lee Honors College Research and Creative Activities Scholarship, which supported the research for his honors thesis, titled "Sum Defined Colorings in Graphs." Hallas presented the findings of that research at the 2016 Midwest Conference on Combinatorics and Combinatorial Computing, which was held at Illinois State University. His attendance at that conference was supported by a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award. His other honors include receiving the Grover Bartoo Mathematics Award and Fred A. Beeler Memorial Scholarship from the Department of Mathematics. Hallas has been on the dean's list every semester and took second place in the WMU mathematics prize competition. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's most prestigious honor society, and Pi Mu Epsilon, a mathematics honor society. He has worked at WMU since 2014 as a student ambassador and since 2015 as a student success specialist. He also has served for more than three years on the executive board for OUTspoken, an LGBTQ student organization, and been involved with the Wesley Foundation and Drive Safe Kalamazoo.
Jake M. Tholen is the Presidential Scholar in Geosciences. Tholen is a graduate of Howell High School who attended the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in hydrogeology and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Tholen plans to attend Western Kentucky University to study karst geology—the formation and features of caves. He then hopes to work in public land management before completing doctoral studies in karst aquifers at the University of South Florida. Tholen came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University can bestow on an incoming freshman. His honors college thesis is based on mapping a watershed sub-basin in Mammoth Cave National Park, under the guidance of Western Kentucky University Professor Patricia Kambesis and National Park Service scientist Dr. Rickard Toomey. He plans to publish this research in the Journal of Cave and Karst Studies and present it at the Geological Society of America's Southeastern Section Meeting. Tholen has worked as a cave guide in Alaska's Tongass National Forest and as a park ranger at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. At WMU, he was a teacher's assistant for the Geology of National Parks and Monuments course and a supplemental instruction leader for Physical Geology and Organic Chemistry. An honorable mention recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship, Tholen also was awarded a Research and Creative Activities as well as a Study Abroad scholarship from the Lee Honors College. He spent a semester studying abroad on the South Island of New Zealand at the University of Otago. He has been president of the Geology Club for the past three years, leading field trips to the American West, the Pacific Northwest and the Black Hills. In addition, he is a member of WMU's Swim and Dive Club, a mentor to a local middle school student, and a conversation circle volunteer with WMU's English language training program for international students.
Maegan C. Ackerman is the Presidential Scholar in Human Performance and Health Education. Ackerman is a graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School who attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She is majoring in biomedical sciences and exercise science with a minor in chemistry and expects to graduate in August 2017. Following graduation, Ackerman plans to apply to graduate schools to become a P.A.—physician assistant—with the goal of bettering the lives of others, hopefully in the area of pediatrics or obstetrics. She is pursuing an internship to fulfill her requirements for the major in exercise science, and is looking in the field of rehabilitation. Ackerman is active in the Pre-P.A. Society and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Through connections made by WMU, she has had two important volunteer opportunities. She has been able to write nutrition assessments at the Alamo Nursing Home under the supervision of the registered dietitian. In addition, she has helped the Bronson Athletic Club with its Delay the Disease classes, which are designed to improve the quality of life of Parkinson's Disease patients. Ackerman also has worked at the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center, helping children with various disabilities take part in hippotherapy, which is the use of horseback riding as a therapeutic or rehabilitative treatment.
Marine P. Bolliet is the Presidential Scholar in Biological Sciences. Bolliet is a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in biomedical sciences and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, she will begin her medical education at the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. As a highly qualified applicant, Bolliet was accepted into the medical school's early-decision program. Her entry to WMU was similarly distinguished. She was a Kalamazoo Promise Scholar who came to the University on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University can bestow on an incoming freshman. Early in her undergraduate study, Bolliet seized on research opportunities. She joined Dr. Wendy Beane's laboratory as a research assistant in 2014 and launched an independent project in 2015. Her research examines regeneration mechanisms across multiple species of planarian worms to determine whether phylogenetic closeness plays a role in variations in tissue remodeling and in animal shape. This research is the basis for Bolliet's Lee Honors College thesis as well as a peer-reviewed manuscript on which she will be principal author. While studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, Bolliet volunteered at a mobile medical clinic in impoverished townships. Through Alternative Spring Break, she traveled with other WMU students to South Dakota to work with children suffering from a range of medical and behavioral disabilities. Bolliet also volunteers locally as a ski patroller, providing aid to injured skiers as a medical first responder. She was able to participate in a larger service project during her four years at WMU, as well. The Class of 2013 Medallion Scholars put together the Future Leaders of Kalamazoo. This program is geared toward providing consistent support to students of lower socioeconomic classes at a local middle school. The hope is that this support and interaction will help the students envision themselves attaining a college-level education.
Spencer J. Henning is the Presidential Scholar in Physics. Henning is a graduate of the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center as well as of Kalamazoo Central High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in physics and minoring in astronomy as well as in mathematics. He expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Henning hopes to move to Chicago to start a career and further explore his interests in both physics and comedy. He also is considering studying physics in graduate school. Henning is a Kalamazoo Promise Scholar who came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University can bestow on an incoming freshman. He has conducted research in WMU's particle accelerator laboratory and worked on astrophysics data analysis with faculty members. He is currently working on his Lee Honors College thesis, studying type 1a supernova models and galactic chemical evolution. In addition to his studies in physics, Henning is passionate about improv and standup comedy. At WMU, he currently leads Worklight, the WMU improv team, and is the two-time winner of the Last Bronco Standing student comedy competition. Off campus, he has performed at comedy clubs and festivals throughout Michigan and Chicago with a variety of professional and amateur improv groups, along with his solo standup act.
Michelle C. King is the Presidential Scholar in Finance and Commercial Law. King is a graduate of Mattawan High School in Mattawan, Michigan, who earned an associate degree in business administration from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. In addition, she has attended Hillsborough Community College in Florida as well as the Community College of the Air Force in Alabama. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in finance and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, King plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration focusing on finance as well as earn a Juris Doctorate. She was inspired to pursue both degrees while studying finance and law at WMU. Her ambition is to enter the field of mergers and acquisitions, and she has spent the past six months preparing for the Law School Admission Test. King is the first recipient of WMU's Haworth College of Business Veteran's Scholarship and has maintained a 4.0 grade point average. A nontraditional-age student, she gave birth to her second daughter one month before she completed her associate degree at KVCC, yet did not miss a single class that semester. As a military veteran with a 3-year-old, a newborn, a part-time job and a pending divorce, she says that was a daunting crossroad in her life. But she was committed to advancing her education to both provide for and inspire her daughters. King scheduled her classes around her work as a tennis instructor as well as her children's dance classes and violin lessons. Despite hectic days and late nights, she is on track to graduate from WMU after two years.
Hristina Petrovska is the Presidential Scholar in Family and Consumer Sciences. Petrovska is a graduate of SOEU Jane Sandanski High School in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. She has attended St. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola as well as Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She is majoring in dietetics and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Petrovska hopes to complete a dietetics internship, which will allow her to take the credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Her main areas of interest are sustainable food systems, healthy food access and disease prevention. Researching creative sustainable practices that benefit small farmers while providing enough healthy food with a low carbon footprint is an area that particularly motivates her. Petrovska completed an eight-week internship last summer with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dining Services food service management team through the National Association of College and University Food Service. While interning, she established a food recovery system with a local homeless shelter as a way to reduce food waste and to support the local community. Petrovska is a recipient of her department's Crystal Grady Scholarship. She is president of the Student Dietetics Association, and is actively involved in organizing community dinners, cooking classes, and providing volunteering and educational opportunities for the group's student members. A Macedonia native, she coordinated a local environmental organization during high school and later lived for 10 months in Lyon, France, where she worked as a volunteer through the European Voluntary Service.
Daniel J. VanZweden is the Presidential Scholar in Chemical and Paper Engineering. VanZweden is a graduate of Plymouth Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in chemical engineering with a biology option and minoring in mathematics and Spanish. He expects to graduate in April 2018. Following graduation, VanZweden plans to either attend medical school or obtain a master's degree in chemical engineering. He is currently interested in conducting research into biometrics and the use of technology to enhance human abilities on the microscopic and macroscopic levels. VanZweden has held two internships with Diekema Hamman architecture and engineering, and also has worked as a supplemental physics instructor at WMU. In addition, he has received the Physics Book award, has been on the dean's list every semester, and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society as well as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. VanZweden studied abroad in summer 2016 through the Department of Spanish program in Santander, Spain, and while there had the opportunity to visit England, Greece, Italy and Turkey. His community service activities have included volunteering with WMU's particle accelerator laboratory and with Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.
Christine K. McDowell is the Presidential Scholar in University Studies. McDowell is a graduate of Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis who attended Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis before transferring to WMU in 2015. She majored in university studies with a concentration in criminal justice and psychology and graduated magna cum laude in December 2016. McDowell plans to pursue a career in investigative intelligence and analysis in conjunction with obtaining an advanced degree in criminology. She initially went to college in 1987 and 1989 but dropped out both times. In 2012, she reapplied to college with a 1.3 grade point average from 22 years prior and a promise to find her greatness if given one more chance to pursue a bachelor's degree. McDowell was accepted on academic probation, and began full time in fall 2013. She waited tables at night, took classes during the day and raised her daughters as a single mother. Soon after transferring to WMU, she began the university studies program, which offered classes online. While at WMU, she worked as a criminal intelligence analyst intern at the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center in the Michigan State Police headquarters building in Dimondale. McDowell says most importantly, she has taught her daughters by example that "they can never let fear be their navigator and that they are in charge of their own greatness. Mediocrity is not an option."
Ireland E. Atkinson is the Presidential Scholar in English. Atkinson is a graduate of Anchor Bay High School in Fair Haven, Michigan. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in liberal arts English with a focus on literature and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Atkinson plans to pursue a master's degree in English literature and ultimately obtain a doctoral degree in the field in preparation for teaching at the university level. She intends to specialize in British literature from the late Victorian to early Modern period with a specific focus on World War I and the Industrial Revolution. She also is interested in doing interdisciplinary work that centers on gender and women's studies as well as world literatures. For her Lee Honors College thesis, Atkinson is creating a collegiate-level, introductory literature course similar to the ones that she will instruct one day as a graduate assistant. This course has an interdisciplinary format that aims to introduce students to feminine themes and authors they likely have not been exposed to previously. The thesis project is allowing her to explore the logistical side of a course creation, such as developing a syllabus, assignments and other necessary materials, while working to balance her own interdisciplinary ideas and interests into one cohesive course. Atkinson serves as treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta, an honors English society. She has done volunteer work through her membership in the honors college, including working with WMU's Bronco Buds, which encourages middle school students to one day attend college.
Elizabeth M. Field is the Presidential Scholar in Gender and Women's Studies. Field is a graduate of Paw Paw High School who earned an associate degree and American Sign Language Certification from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She also has attended Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in gender and women's studies and expects to graduate in April 2017. Field cares deeply about her fellow humans, the Earth and the planet's nonhuman inhabitants. Following graduation, she plans to seek a career that allows her to continue to make the world a better place for all life—a career that will likely focus on social and environmental justice. Field is working part time at a small homeless shelter in Kalamazoo, and she intends to continue this work after graduating. Her major as well as her double minors in environmental studies and journalism have enabled her to begin earning the tools necessary to create change for the better. She has made the dean's list each semester since attending WMU full time in fall 2015. Field was invited to join the Lee Honors College and is working on her honors college thesis, a fictional utopian novella with the working title of "Freedom in Wildness." She previously interned with WMU's Office for Sustainability and now is interning with the Western Herald, the University's student-run newspaper. This semester, she also is serving as an auxiliary student member of WMU's Title IX Core Committee.
Andrea L. Miller is the Presidential Scholar in Psychology. Miller is a graduate of Paw Paw High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in behavioral science and sociology and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Miller plans to pursue a graduate degree in behavior analysis. She is interested in behavioral-based treatments and interventions for substance use disorders, particularly for at-risk populations, as well as behavioral economics. During her time at WMU, Miller has been an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Al Poling and Dr. Stephanie Peterson in the Department of Psychology. As a research assistant, she has been a part of Functional Behavior Assessment Consulting Over Miles, a teleconsultation initiative to increase the behavioral assessment and intervention skills of service providers working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder. She also has had the opportunity to present her research at several conferences, including the Vermont Center on Behavior Health's annual conference on Behavior Change, Health and Health Disparities. Miller was awarded the Stanley S. and Helena S. Robin Scholarship from the Department of Sociology and has been on the dean's list each semester.
Conor W. Howard is the Presidential Scholar in History. Howard is a graduate of Plainwell High School who earned an Associate of Arts in international studies from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in history and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Howard plans to pursue a doctoral degree in history, focusing on England and the Atlantic World in the 16th through 18th centuries. He hopes to obtain a tenured position at a university, where he can follow his research interests and serve as an educator who inspires his students to have both an interest in and a passion for history. Connor's academic interests include the development of English social patterns in the Early Modern Period, especially patterns of gender, patriarchy and identity formation. His Lee Honors College thesis, titled "Idealizing Patriarchy," examines the ways in which 16th-century English household advice literature characterized masculinity and patriarchy. Howard is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society; was a judge for District 6 on Michigan History Day at WMU; and has been a volunteer tutor on campus with the Bronco Study Zone, run by Student Success Services in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Jesse P. Klaus is the Presidential Scholar in World Languages and Literatures. Klaus is a graduate of Port Huron Northern High School who earned an associate degree in art from St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron. He is majoring in French as well as in global and international studies with a focus on environmental studies and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Klaus hopes to be accepted into the Teaching Assistant Program in France. This seven-month program is set up through the French government. It offers young Americans who have a knowledge of the French language a paid position to come to France and assist with teaching English in public schools. Klaus wants to improve his linguistic abilities, as well as give French students the opportunity to have a native English speaker in the classroom. Whether or not he is accepted into the program, he intends to go to graduate school in the United States or France or possibly look for an internship. Klaus has been on the dean's list for three semesters and is the recipient of a President's Grant for Study Abroad, which is based on academic merit. He participated in a semester-long study abroad trip in 2015 offered by WMU and while overseas obtained a diploma for a B2 level competency in French from Le Centre de Linguistique Appliquée (The Center of Applied Linguistics) in Besançon, France. During the program, he lived with a French family and was able to travel to many parts of France, as well as to Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
Andrew S. Gifford is the Presidential Scholar in Computer Science. Gifford was homeschooled and has attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He is majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics as well as in psychology and expects to graduate in April 2017. Gifford has been taking graduate courses for dual credit through WMU's Master of Science in computer science (accelerated) program. Following graduation, he plans to return to the University this fall to complete the master's degree portion of the program. Gifford says he always has been interested in and excelled at many subjects. However, he settled on computer programming after being introduced to the discipline in high school and finding it "more natural, fun and rewarding than anything I had done before." He decided to pursue a degree in computer science at WMU, and his passion for computers has only grown. Gifford spent last summer working as an information security intern for Herman Miller, a recognized innovator in contemporary interior furnishings, solutions for health care environments, and related technologies and services. In addition, he is in his third semester as a teaching assistant for a course at WMU on the mathematics behind computing.
Brittany R. Hall is the Presidential Scholar in Statistics. Hall is a graduate of Portage Central High School who earned an associate of arts degree in computer science from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She is majoring in statistics and expects to graduate in December 2017. Following graduation, Hall plans to pursue a Master of Science in statistics through WMU's accelerated degree program in that discipline. With the advanced degree, she hopes to work for or with an organization that she finds meaningful and beneficial to humankind, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Her two main motivators to study statistics are a love of mathematics and a desire to use that passion to improve the world. While at WMU, Hall has maintained a cumulative 4.0 grade point average, placing her on the dean's list each semester. In 2014, she used her limited knowledge of statistics to help her community resist plans to build a gas station adjacent to a neighborhood preschool. She collected data on opinions regarding zoning of that location, analyzed them and presented her findings to the city of Portage. Her efforts and those by others succeeded in a more appropriate zoning decision on that property. In addition, Hall became a mother during her college career. Her daughter, now 3 years old, occasionally attends class with her—as long as she can bring her backpack, too. While juggling schoolwork and motherhood can be stressful, her daughter is Hall's strongest motivator to work hard, make a positive impact and always lead by example.
Jacob A. Kirkendall is the Presidential Scholar in Chemistry. Kirkendall is a graduate of Portage Northern High School who will graduate in April 2017 from Kalamazoo Valley Community College with a Brewing Certificate. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in chemistry with a focus on analytical chemistry and brewing chemistry and expects to graduate from WMU in April 2017. Following graduation, Kirkendall plans to work as an analytical chemist in the brewing industry. His areas of interest are hops analyses and the use of instrumental and quantitative methods as they relate to the brewing industry. He completed an internship in brewing at the Boatyard Brewing Co. and now is working in researching mass spectrometry of hops under the guidance of WMU's Dr. Andre Venter. Kirkendall has received the Adli Kana'an Award for Excellence in Physical Chemistry and a Physics Department Award for Excellence in University Physics I. In addition, he has received several scholarships, including the Col. Charles E. Bayliss Scholarship in Chemistry three separate times, the Lester Boyce Maile Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry, two scholarships from the Portage Rotary Club, the Clarence L. Remynse Scholarship from the Kalamazoo Foundation and a Legacy Scholarship from the WMU Alumni Association. During his time at the University, Kirkendall has been active in the Lee Honors College and Chemistry Club, serving the latter as activities coordinator, vice president and now president. He also has been dedicated to music, playing the tuba in the Bronco Marching Band for five years and serving three of those years as a drill instructor. He also has played in the Basketball Pep Band for four years.
Lisa G. Pratt is the Presidential Scholar in Comparative Religion. Pratt is a graduate of Portage Northern High School who has attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She majored in comparative religion with a concentration in health sciences and graduated from WMU in December 2016. Soon after graduation, Pratt had open heart surgery. Once fully recovered, she plans on returning to WMU to earn a master's degree in comparative religion emphasizing spirituality, culture and health. She hopes to work in health care and help diminish the confusion and stress that both patients and doctors experience when they have different cultural backgrounds and are used to differing health care practices. But Pratt's dream job involves international diplomacy, as she has a passion for providing conflict resolution and for learning about other cultures, particularly the Middle East. Although encumbered by a genetic condition called Marfan syndrome and other significant health issues, Pratt graduated with a 4.0 grade point average and was a member of several honor societies, including Phi Theta Kappa, Sigma Alpha Lambda and Phi Kappa Phi. In addition, she was active outside of the classroom, helping to educate people of other cultures in order to provoke a sense of understanding and camaraderie. She also helped other people with Marfan syndrome and has created a blog titled the Marfan Diary that chronicles some of her experiences with the disease.
Audrey Mills is the Presidential Scholar in Art. Mills is a graduate of Lee M. Thurston High School in Redford as well as of the Specs Howard School of Media Arts in Southfield, Michigan. She is majoring in fine arts with an emphasis in print media and expects to graduate in December 2017. As a WMU student, Mills has actively engaged in a wide variety of opportunities, including professional conferences, enrichment grants and projects, as well as research outside of her required studies. Mentors say she has been an integral part of the success of WMU's print media area by participating in the installation of student exhibitions, working closely with visiting artists, and assisting during open studio time for prospective students as well as in events organized by the Contemporary Printmaker's Society. In fall 2015, Mills' exhibition "Witnesses" was displayed on campus in the Richmond Center for Visual Arts and funded by a Friends of the Richmond Center grant. One professor noted that, "Mills' studio work has been of the highest quality—consistently thoughtful, ambitious and challenging. She has consciously pushed her work in its use of scale, media, audience engagement and technical skill and has, in return, set the bar very high for the other print media students." For future exhibition in Kalamazoo, Mills is currently collaborating with a recent alumnus to create a series of letterpress prints using the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center facilities.
Michelle M. Valente is the Presidential Scholar in Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management. Valente is a graduate of Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is majoring in industrial and entrepreneurial engineering and piano performance and expects to graduate in June 2017. Following graduation, Valente plans to obtain a master's degree in industrial and entrepreneurial engineering as well as to complete her bachelor's degree in piano performance. She credits WMU for allowing her to act on her three passions: pursue two majors, stretch her perspective in areas of research, and exercise creativity in every aspect of her educational career. These passions bore fruit when Valente and other members of her student team presented the winning product at WMU's Innovation Day in 2015. She and her team of classmates were charged with designing a product of choice that would satisfy a need in society. They chose to create a writing utensil for people who had broken their dominant arm and were having difficulty writing with a cast on. Valente also conducted research with her professors, studying a number of motor vehicle incidents occurring in Michigan in order to find trends in EMS response time, scene time and transportation time. In addition, she interned in environmental health and safety with Monogram Prepared Meats in Harlan, Iowa. There, she recreated the company's injury reporting programs so as to more efficiently log different injuries and track common injuries and, thereby, identify areas in need of risk prevention. Accomplishments such as those earned her an invitation from WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences to speak at the 2016 reception for its Alumni Excellence Academy inductees.
Kraig J. McAllister is the Presidential Scholar in Marketing. McAllister is a graduate of Southgate Anderson High School in Southgate, Michigan. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in advertising and promotion and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, McAllister plans to work in the account services section of advertising at Universal McCann, where he was an intern. After several years with that company, he plans to go back to school to further his education. His honors college thesis is about unethical advertising of tobacco in Third World countries. McAllister was accepted into study abroad programs in Germany with Dr. James Eckert and the Dominican Republic with Dr. Karen Lancendorfer. He has received the Ad Craft Scholarship as well as in-class honors such as coming up with the most creative restaurant concept in his marketing principles course and being named the top speed seller in his professional sales class. McAllister is a member of the Ad Club, Business Connections Club and Alpha Lambda Delta Fraternity. He also has dedicated several hours each year volunteering for both Drive Safe Kalamazoo and the Bronco Study Zone.
Aubrey M. Utting is the Presidential Scholar in Management. Utting is a graduate of Zeeland West High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in entrepreneurship and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Utting plans to continue her education at WMU by enrolling in the career and technical education program. With a degree in that field, she hopes to combine her respect for business and love of working with children by becoming a high school business teacher. For her Lee Honors College thesis, Utting is developing a business plan. She received the Dean Arnold E. Schneider Management Achievement Award from WMU in spring 2016 in recognition of her academic accomplishments. Her community service activities include involvement in the Cru student ministry on the WMU campus and working with the Kalamazoo Public Schools.
Nicholas A. Petrelli is the Presidential Scholar in Music Theatre Performance. Petrelli is a graduate of Bartlett High School. He is majoring in music theatre performance with a minor in dance and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Petrelli plans to move to either Chicago or New York to pursue his acting career. He strives to present theatre as a healing, exciting, thought-provoking and magical art form. His credits at WMU and in the theatre community include "Baby with the Bathwater," "Ameriville," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "The Who's Tommy" and "Badfic Love." Petrelli is the recipient of differential tuition scholarships from the Department of Theatre and was a member of the department's Student Advisory Board for one year and a WMU Theatre Guild Scholar for one year. In addition, he does volunteer work for the department, which he says gives him the chance to "give back to a program that has helped me become a better performer and a better person." While at WMU, Petrelli also has performed during summers at professional theatres. These "summer stock" experiences are the equivalent of an internship for a young actor. For his Senior Showcase project, he and his music theatre class are taking a show they developed to New York in March and Chicago in April to perform for casting directors and agents in hopes of jump-starting their theatre careers.
Alicia L. Sanfillippo is the Presidential Scholar in Dance. Sanfillippo is a graduate of Hoffman Estates High School in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she expects to graduate with a bachelor's degree in dance in April 2017 and a bachelor's degree in secondary education mathematics and physics in December 2017. Following this fall's graduation, Sanfillippo hopes to dance professionally, performing and touring with a modern, jazz or contemporary dance company. After having a dance career, she plans to transition to a teaching career. At WMU, Sanfillippo has had the opportunity to train with faculty of diverse dance backgrounds as well as with guest artists from companies around the country. She has performed premieres and historic pieces in WMU's annual dance department concerts and was a member of the 2013-14 Western Dance Project, the department's touring ensemble. Sanfillippo was invited to study dance in Philadelphia in May 2016, and she will be visiting the New York City dance scene this coming May. She has completed two pre-internships in both middle and high school mathematics and now is completing a Lee Honors College thesis that addresses diversity in education. Sanfillippo has received many scholarships from the dance and education departments, including the Col. Charles E. Bayliss Scholarship, Fred A. Beeler Memorial Scholarship and Samuel Kenneth Smart Jr. Scholarship. She has worked in South Dakota with students who have disabilities, is a volunteer with the local Salvation Army's Digital Learning program, and will be traveling in May to Panama with a WMU student group to teach dance and movement to children.
Emma L. Stuba is the Presidential Scholar in Integrated Supply Management. Stuba is a graduate of Lyons Township High School in La Grange who attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Paderborn Universität in Germany. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in integrated supply management with minors in international business, business analytics and general business and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Stuba will start a full-time position with Marathon Petroleum in May. She has been a summer intern with Marathon Petroleum in Garyville, Louisiana, and is the recipient of several business-related honors. They include a scholarship from the Transportation Club of Detroit as well as the Brandt Eric Rubin Memorial Scholarship and multiple other scholarships from WMU's Integrated Supply Management program. Stuba studied both business and German overseas for seven months, and earned an international business minor. At WMU, she worked for a year as a Fall Welcome ambassador and First-Year Seminar co-instructor. In addition, she has participated in the Dean's Leadership Scholar Program and the Citizenship Program through the Haworth College of Business; been a committee member for the student-run conference, DesignedToLead; helped to facilitate a Global Business collaboration project with the Center for English Language and Culture for International Students; and served on the Student Leadership Advisory Board. Stuba has further developed her leadership skills by serving in leadership positions on two executive boards: as president of the Global Business Students Association and vice president of event management for the Student Leadership Advisory Board. She also was a member of the Swim and Dive Club and does volunteer work through the Lee Honors College.
Rachel D. Callaly is the Presidential Scholar in Spanish. Callaly is a graduate of Glenbard East High School in Lombard. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in Spanish education and expects to graduate in December 2017. Following graduation, Callaly plans to pursue a career as a high school Spanish teacher. She says her love for Spanish has flourished since coming to WMU, and she has had "amazing educational experiences, both in Spanish and in schools as a preservice teacher." In summer 2016, Callaly studied abroad in Santander, Spain, with other WMU students at the Universidad de Cantabria. She did service-learning work at both Lakeside Academy and Linden Grove Middle School, working with students as a tutor and mentor. She completed one pre-internship at a high school, is currently placed in her second pre-internship and is eager to student teach in the fall. Callaly has been on the dean's list every semester of her undergraduate career and is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society. Outside the classroom, she has worked for the past two years as a LeadCorp intern through WMU's Student Activities and Leadership Programs office and has been a part of the team that is planning and facilitating this year's Spring Leadership Retreat.
Bridget K. Grimaldi is the Presidential Scholar in Sociology. Grimaldi is a graduate of Plainfield North High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in criminal justice and general psychology and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Grimaldi plans to work with offenders in a rehabilitation setting and help them develop vocational trades that assist in their further reintegration within society. At the end of April, she will be defending her honors college thesis, which looks at the effectiveness of education and vocational programs in correctional facilities in the state of Michigan. Grimaldi has been on the dean's list every semester since the start of her education at WMU. The Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program has hired her to work with offenders with substance abuse problems. During her time at WMU, Grimaldi has become involved with the student organization Alternative Bronco Breaks, which offers weeklong community service trips during school breaks. As the organization's site coordinator, she sits on the Alternative Bronco Breaks Executive Board, which chooses what social topics and organizations trips groups will focus on for their volunteer efforts.
Maria V. Paterno is the Presidential Scholar in Music. Paterno is a graduate of St. Charles East High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she graduated with bachelor degrees in music composition as well as German in December 2016. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in composition in her main area of interest: how historical women composers influenced the music of their times. Her goal is to help edit the classical canon of music to feature more women. Paterno came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University can bestow on an incoming freshman, and in 2016 was named the Presidential Scholar in World Languages and Literatures. While at the University, her primary focuses were composition and music technology, and her honors college thesis was a concert of original works. Paterno was an assistant in the School of Music's concerts office, worked as a summer orientation mentor for the school, and served as a technical assistant in one of the composition studios as well as a counselor for the SEMINAR music camp. She also was vice president of the Western Student Composers Alliance and a member of the concert band, Gold Company II, a jazz choir and the student advisory committee for the Student Investment Project in the College of Fine Arts. Paterno's other significant academic interest has been languages. She earned the Excellence in Italian award from the Department of World Languages and Literatures. She also studied German, which culminated in a semester abroad at the University of Bonn in 2015. She received four competitive scholarships to fund that experience, in addition to receiving the Mathilde Steckelberg Scholarship in German and being named the music school's 2016 Theodore Presser Scholar. Her community service included volunteering with the Stewards of Kleinstuck to remove invasive vegetation from WMU's Kleinstuck nature preserve.
Zachary A. Reinke is the Presidential Scholar in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Reinke was homeschooled and attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He is majoring in mechanical engineering and expects to graduate in December 2017. Following graduation, Reinke plans to specialize in robotics motion and control, working to further the development of custom robotics in commercial and consumer applications. He is participating in an undergraduate independent research program studying electrophysiology and neurobiology. Reinke has interned with the Stryker Corp. in its advanced robotics research and development unit as well as with LandscapeForms and American Metal Fab. He has been on the dean's list the past three semesters and is the recipient of the Undergraduate Research Excellence Award for his work at WMU with Dr. Pnina Ari-Gur studying ferromagnetic shape memory alloys.
Madison A. Johnson is the Presidential Scholar in Communication. Johnson is a graduate of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School in Glyndon, who attended Minnesota State Community Technological College. She is majoring in communication studies and minoring in psychology and expects to graduate in June 2017 after just three years. Following graduation, Johnson plans to lead her own mission team to Quito, Ecuador, and work at an orphanage along the Amazon that she previously worked at during a high school trip. While a sophomore, she was accepted into the senior-level WWMT News Channel 3 internship program, through which she interviewed government officials and worked alongside the station's news anchors and producers. Johnson also worked for two semesters in WMU's Communication and Social Robotics Lab, conducting and presenting research to businesses and large organizations as well as serving as the lab's central public relations specialist. In addition, she took on the role of social media specialist for the School of Communication, building relationships between students, alumni and the community, as well as worked as a teacher's assistant in upper-level classes in the Department of Psychology. Johnson is a member of the Lambda Pi Eta communication honors society, was a top-five finalist in the 2015 WMU Persuasive Speech Competition, and has received a Presidential Silver Scholarship and Roslyn M. Abrams Endowed Scholarship.
Gabriel S. Langley is the Presidential Scholar in Aviation Sciences. Langley is a graduate of Marquette University High School in Milwaukee. He is majoring in aviation management and operations and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, he aspires to work with airports, either based at an airport or with a consulting firm. However, his ultimate career goal is to become the director of a large-hub airport. With his personal and professional growth in mind, Langley has diligently pursued opportunities to lead and to hone his leadership skills. Last spring, he studied abroad in Italy at the Consortium of Management and Business Analysis. While there, he took part in two leadership programs: the Leadership Initiative for Excellence—LIFE—and Learn Enrich Achieve Perform—LEAP. At the conclusion of the study abroad program, he also received a Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making certificate. After returning from Italy, Langley interned at the Metropolitan Airports Commission, owner and operator of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and six other airports in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He worked for the commission's operations department, which is responsible for airport oversight, development, security, concessions, airline operations and other areas of terminal management. Langley also has been involved in research. With Virgin America Airlines' director of security, he helped investigate a legally permissible solution for denying transport to airline passengers proven to be a threat because of illegal and/or objectionable behavior. The research was published in the December 2016 issue of Aviation Security International. In addition to classroom study and his other co-curricular activities, Langley found the time to establish and lead WMU's student chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives. AAAE is the world's largest professional organization for airport executives. The student chapter participates in such events as airport tours, networking and volunteering.
Stephen C. Nehring is the Presidential Scholar in Geography. Nehring is a graduate of Milwaukee Lutheran High School who attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He is majoring in geography with a concentration in environmental assessment and resource management and expects to graduate in April 2017. Following graduation, Nehring plans to further his knowledge and understanding of natural resources in North America by joining a governmental agency that oversees those resources for the United States. His academic interests include biogeographical impacts from resource extraction and mitigation of those impacts. While at WMU, Nehring interned for the Comstock Township Parks and Recreation Department as a park attendant, which gave him greater insight into the fragility and natural beauty of southwest Michigan. He also worked with his fellow students to breathe new life into the Geography Club at the University so as to further geographic understanding and involvement in the student community and in the greater Kalamazoo area.
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