Nine incoming students earn $60,000 Foundation Scholarships

Contact: Jeanne Baron

Photo of a large section of Heritage Hall's exterior columns.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Nine high-achieving high school students have earned $60,000 Foundation Scholarships to begin their studies at Western Michigan University this fall.

Foundation Scholarships are worth $15,000 annually over four years and are based on academic performance and demonstrated financial need. They are part of WMU's mix of top scholarship programs for beginning students.

This year's scholarship winners were selected from a pool of 50 applicants. To be eligible for the award, they had to have a high school grade-point average of 3.7 or higher at the end of their junior year. The nine students selected as Foundation Scholars have a 4.23 average high school GPA and are scheduled to graduate from WMU during the 2020-21 academic year.

The applicants not awarded a Foundation Scholarship who met academic and financial eligibility requirements received a minimum of $3,000 in other scholarships to attend WMU for the 2017-18 academic year.

2017 Foundation Scholars

  • Sarahi Acosta is from Chicago and a graduate of Northside College Preparatory High School. She plans to study computer science at WMU.
  • Jamilah Anthony is from Muskegon and a graduate of Muskegon High School. She plans to study accounting at WMU.
  • Sondra Beaver is from Kalkaska and a graduate of Kalkaska High School. She plans to study biology at WMU.
  • Virginia Ramos is from Oaxaca, Mexico, and a graduate of Durant Senior High School in Plant City, Florida. She plans to study psychology at WMU.
  • Jovanny Ruiz is from Grand Rapids and a graduate of Godwin Heights High School in Grand Rapids. He plans to study accounting or engineering at WMU.
  • Niang Siam is from Kalay, Myanmar, and a graduate of Lakeview High School in Battle Creek. She plans to study elementary education at WMU.
  • Samantha Soria is from Kalamazoo and a graduate of Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo. She plans to study psychology at WMU.
  • Jacobi Wright is from Flint and a graduate of Kearsley High School in Flint. He plans to study aviation flight science at WMU.
  • Alyssa Zamora is from Brighton and a graduate of Brighton High School. She plans to study musical theatre at WMU.

Foundation Scholarship program

WMU established the Foundation Scholarship program in 2015 to expand college access for new first-time, full-time freshmen. The scholarship is based on both merit and financial need, and is designed to provide a financial "foundation" to the recipients so they can focus on their academic studies.

In addition to the $60,000 monetary award, Foundation Scholars become members of WMU's Lee Honors College. The college, one of the oldest honors programs in the nation, enhances the undergraduate learning experience by providing such benefits as smaller class sizes, individualized academic advising and a freshman mentoring program.

Foundation Scholars who complete their bachelor's degrees in fewer than four years can apply the rest of their award toward graduate school.

The Foundation Scholarship fund is set up in the WMU Foundation. Donations to the fund can be made at by typing Foundation Scholarship in the giving form's special instructions box for designations.

For more information about the Foundation Scholarship, contact Sarah Drabik in WMU's Office of Admissions at or (269) 387-2051.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit