KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Fifty students will be recognized as Western Michigan University's top seniors for 2018 during the 38th annual Presidential Scholars Convocation starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, 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 5,437 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 2018 Presidential Scholars Convocation, which is by invitation only, will include a program featuring a keynote address by Dr. Edward Montgomery, president of WMU. Also making remarks will be Dr. Suzan F. Ayers, president of the WMU Faculty Senate, and Chianté Lymon, president of the Western Student Association. After each of this year's scholars is recognized and awarded certificates, a dessert reception will be held while the scholars have their pictures taken with Montgomery and Ayers.
Long list of talented students
Most of this year's Presidential Scholars have conducted research or engaged in artistic projects, usually working closely with WMU faculty members. Several scholars have been in the military or aspire to jobs that will assist military veterans, and at least two are the first in their families to earn a college degree.
In addition, one student was named the Presidential Scholar in electrical and computer engineering as well as in world languages and literatures, also is an applied mathematics major, and is in an accelerated program through which he will earn a master's degree in computer engineering in 2019.
The long list of talented scholars also includes a woman majoring in aviation flight science as well as aviation maintenance technology who is interning at the San Francisco International Airport, a civil engineering alumnus who graduated in December and has an infrastructure project design and management job with a Lansing firm, a double major in choral music education and comparative religion who is an active leader of music and worship on campus and serves as choir director for a local church, and a biology major who has been conducting avian-related research in two campus labs and will present her findings at the April 2018 Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference.
Presidential Scholars for 2018
Accountancy—Brian J. Holland of West Bloomfield
Anthropology—Gary L. Thompson of Three Rivers
Art—Clara L. Peeters of Kalamazoo
Aviation Sciences—Lauren A. Quandt of Grosse Ile
Biological Sciences—Kelsey C. Cushway of Big Rapids
Business Information Systems—Rachel N. Larson of Macomb
Chemical and Paper Engineering—Andrew D. Kathan of Carmel, Indiana
Chemistry—Paige N. Poindexter of East Jordan
Civil and Construction Engineering—Anthony G. Conigliaro of Sterling Heights
Communication—Greyson R. Steele of Plainwell
Comparative Religion—Daniel L. Tucker of Stow, Ohio
Computer Science—James J. Ward of Buchanan
Dance—Kendall B. Owens of Plymouth
Economics—Keith W. Boeker of Edwardsburg
Electrical and Computer Engineering—Joshua J. White of Paw Paw (double scholar)
Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems—Cameron S. Tschupp of Galien
English—Courtney J. Dreyer of Grandville
Environmental and Sustainability Studies—Annie E. Lilac of Schoolcraft
Family and Consumer Sciences—Megan E. Schaefer of Grand Rapids
Finance and Commercial Law—Travis J. Smith of Lawton
Gender and Women's Studies—Triston L. Cornemann of Plano, Texas
Geography—Rory N. Ellwood of Eastpointe
Geological and Environmental Sciences—Katharine G. Rose of Leland
Global and International Studies—Morgan B. McCullough of Lambertville
History—Jacob A. Stephan of Kalamazoo
Human Performance and Health Education—Elisabeth A. Ohrnberger of Troy
Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management—Lukas P. Swoboda of Kalamazoo
Integrated Supply Management—Edward A. Mulford of Midland
Interdisciplinary Health Programs—Deidre R. Shepherd of Detroit
Management—MacKenzie R. King of Vicksburg
Marketing—Mason R. Nelle of Ann Arbor
Mathematics—Taylor R. McNeil of Portage
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering—Conner P. Knepley of Stockbridge
Music—Hannah E. Truckenbrod of Aurora, Illinois
Music Theatre Performance—Kaitlyn M. Weickel of Highland
Nursing—Jaime L. Ward of Grand Rapids
Philosophy—Ian A. Everitt of South Haven
Physics—Katelyn K. Waters of Mattawan
Political Science—Amanda E. Sidwell of Kalamazoo
Psychology—Lauren M. Eagle of Taylor
Social Work—Daisy Ruis Ortiz of Decatur
Sociology—Tyler J. Willison of Battle Creek
Spanish—Irene M. Kivinen of Wyoming
Special Education and Literacy Studies—Meghan R. Wisner of New Buffalo
Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences—Madeline V. Smith of Troy
Statistics—Jason T. Hernacki of Fenton
Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies—Lauralee Perrine of Kalamazoo
Theatre—Sebastiana M. Gullo of Bloomfield Hills
University Studies—Christena R. deJong of Battle Creek
World Languages and Literatures—Joshua J. White of Paw Paw (double scholar)
For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.