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Senior named to All-USA College Academic Team

Feb. 20, 2005

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University student has been named to USA Today's All-USA College Academic Team, the members of which represent the nation's most outstanding students.

Tristan Brown, a senior environmental science major from Franklin, Mich., and member of the WMU Lee Honors College, was among 20 students nationwide named to the Third Team. Brown was joined by other Third Team members from such institutions as Harvard, Boston College, Penn State and Georgetown. Students' names were published in the Feb. 17 edition of USA Today.

The All-USA College Academic Team program honors 60 undergraduates as representatives of outstanding students at the nation's colleges and universities. In addition to the 20 students named to the Third Team, 40 more were chosen for the First and Second teams. Only one other student at a Michigan college or university was selected.

"This is very good news, not only for Tristan, but also for WMU and the Lee Honors College," says Dr. John Martell Jr., assistant dean of the honors college, who was one of those who nominated Brown. Dr. Thomas Bailey, professor of environmental studies, was the nominating faculty member.

The criteria are designed to find students who excel not only in scholarship, but also in leadership roles on and off campus. A key element given most weight by the judges was a student's outstanding original academic or intellectual product.

Brown was singled out for producing the documentary "Jaunt to Malaysia," his research on toxic pollutants absorbed by underwater bacteria and his selection as a Udall Scholar.

Brown, who expects to graduate in April, studied abroad in 2002 at Sunway College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He also was WMU's first Lloyd Meeds Policy Fellow, an honor that included a paid summer internship in Washington, D.C., at one of the nation's top lobbying firms. In addition, he was selected in 2004 for the prestigious Udall scholarship for environmental studies from the Morris K. Udall Foundation.

Judges were influenced by the students' own descriptions of their outstanding academic or intellectual product. They did not read an author's work, see an artist's painting or hear a composer's music. They relied solely on the student's ability to describe the effort in writing, supplemented by recommendations from those nominating the student.

Any full-time undergraduate of at least sophomore standing at a four-year institution in the United States or its territories was eligible. U.S. citizenship was not required. A full-time undergraduate is one carrying at least 12 credits in pursuit of an undergraduate degree or one who anticipates earning an undergraduate degree at the end of the current semester.

Criteria for the academic team were developed in consultation with co-sponsors the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges; American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; Council for Advancement and Support of Education; and American Council on Education.

A panel of educators, chosen in cooperation with co-sponsors, selected the winners.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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