Eleven incoming students earn $60,000 Foundation Scholarships

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Eleven 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 Foundation Scholars were selected from a pool of more than 100 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 2016 award recipients have a 4.1 average high school GPA, and many are class valedictorians or salutatorians. All are from Michigan and will graduate from high school this June. They are scheduled to graduate from WMU during the 2019-20 academic year.

2016 Foundation Scholars

  • Cara Connor is from Flint and will graduate from Flint Southwestern Academy. She plans to study fashion merchandising and design at WMU.
  • Shaylee Faught is from Grand Rapids and will graduate from City High-Middle School in Grand Rapids. She plans to study music at WMU.
  • Angelene Green is from Mesick and will graduate from Mesick Junior/Senior High School. She plans to study psychology at WMU.
  • Taria James is from Muskegon and will graduate from Muskegon High School. She plans to study marketing at WMU.
  • Fawad Karim is from Portage and will graduate from Portage Central High School. He plans to study biomedical sciences at WMU.
  • Austin Lambert is from Flint and will graduate from Beecher High School in Mt. Morris. He plans to major in mechanical engineering at WMU.
  • Laura Lynn-Lee is from Dowagiac and will graduate from Dowagiac Union High School. She plans to study psychology at WMU.
  • Valeria Marin is from Wyoming and will graduate from Lee High School in Wyoming. She plans to study elementary education at WMU.
  • Marques Smalley is from Grand Rapids and will graduate from Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids. He plans to study business at WMU.
  • Rebecca Stierly is from Vandercook Lake and will graduate from Vandercook Lake High School in Jackson. She plans to study nursing at WMU.
  • Nicholas Talamantez is from Kalkaska and will graduate from Kalkaska High School. He plans to study English at WMU.

Foundation Scholarship program

WMU established the Foundation Scholarship program in 2015 to expand college access for new first-year students. 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.

The 10-member founding class performed exceptionally well during its freshman year. Each Foundation Scholar was named to WMU's dean's list and together, they finished the 2015-16 academic year with a 3.8 collective GPA.

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. All semifinalists who do not receive the Foundation Scholarship receive a minimum of $3,000 in scholarships to attend WMU.

The Foundation Scholarship fund is set up in the WMU Foundation. Donations to the fund can be made at mywmu.com by clicking Giving, followed by Make a Gift, and typing Foundation Scholarship in the giving form's special instructions box for designations.

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