Seventeen students win $40,000 Medallion Scholarships
July 9, 2007
KALAMAZOO--Seventeen freshmen have won coveted Medallion Scholarships to begin their studies at Western Michigan University this fall.
Medallion Scholarships are among the highest honors WMU can bestow to an incoming freshman. Valued at $40,000 over four years, they constitute one of the largest merit-based awards in American public higher education.
Five of the scholarships bear the name of their donor or the person for whom the prize was established. The 12 other scholars received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship. The 2007 recipients were announced in June after competing in the 23rd annual Medallion Scholarship Program Competition on Jan. 27 at WMU.
The daylong competition included essay writing and group problem solving activities and an informational session for the participant's parents. A total of 513 seniors from across Michigan and the United States participated in the competition.
To be invited to compete in the event, students had to apply to WMU by Dec. 1, 2006. For those eligible, invitations were extended based on a combination of grade point average and ACT score.
Those selected as Medallion Scholars for 2007-08 have an average ACT score of 29 and average GPA of 3.99. They will begin their studies at WMU in the fall and are scheduled to graduate during the 2010-11 academic year.
2007 Medallion Scholars
Amanda Ahler of Essexville, Mich., received the Guido and Elizabeth Binda Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in business. She graduated from Bay City Central High School and is the daughter of James and Jill Ahler. She is a member of the National Honors Society, Political Society, French Club and served as Ecclesia secretary. She was a member of the soccer team, pit orchestra and was marching band section leader. She also was active in the Resonators competitive drumline and the Praise Band.
Madeline Baker of Richland, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in music. She is a graduate of Gull Lake High School and the daughter of William and Sue Baker. She received the Kalamazoo County Excellence in Education Award and was named a Gull Lake Community Schools Distinguished Academic Scholar. She is a member of the National Honors Society and Spanish Honors Society, her high school band, marching band, jazz band, Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra and Brass Quintet, performing and playing in pit orchestras for school musicals. She has participated in the Mid-Lakes Chorus, Kalamazoo poetry slams and performed in Comstock Community Theatre summer musicals. She also plays trumpet in Movement at Fire in the pit orchestra for the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre.
Anthony Balice of Ionia, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in psychology. He is a graduate of Ionia High School. No other biographical information was available.
Lauren Brim of Royal Oak, Mich., received a presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in nursing. She graduated from Royal Oak High School and is the daughter of Kimberlie and Kevin Brim. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was active with the school newspaper. She was a Salvation Army volunteer and took part in a student exchange program with German students. She is employed at Beaumont Hospital as a nursing assistant.
Thalea Davis of Conley, Ga., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in music performance. She graduated from DeKalb School of the Arts and is the daughter of Teresa King and Vincent Davis. She is included in "Who's Who Among American High School Students" and is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, National Honor Society and Students for the Performing Arts as well as vice representative of the Instrumental Music Department. She is a volunteer with the Community Orchestra and has studied tae kwon do martial arts for more than seven years.
Maura Foley of Howell, Mich., received the Alvin Frays Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in vocal music education. She graduated from Howell High School and is the daughter of Michael Foley and Ann Routt. She is a three-year recipient of the President's Award for Education Excellence and a volunteer with Big Brothers-Big Sisters STARS program. A member of the National Honors Society, she also was a member of the Women's Select Choir, the A Capella Voice Choir and the Highlander Chorale, her school's most advanced choir. She attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp from 2001 to 2004 and in 2006 and in 2003 was named outstanding camper for the choral program, winning a scholarship for the following year. In 2005, she traveled and performed with Blue Lake's International Choir in Germany, France and Denmark. For the past three years, she has received a Division 1 rating from the Michigan School Vocal Music Association.
Michael Gruizinga of Plainwell, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in mechanical engineering. He graduated from Kalamazoo Christian High School and is the son of Rex and Patty Gruizinga. He was part of the 2006-07 Junior Engineering State Champion Jets, named national finalists both years and capturing fifth place nationally in 2006 and seventh in 2007. He also obtained Math League certification in the Merit Michigan Math League contest. He is a member of the National Honors Society, the concert, symphonic, pep and marching bands, serving as trumpet section leader. As a youth group student leader, he has participated in mission trips to Mexico, Chicago, Jamaica and Biloxi, Miss. He works at Davidson Express in Otsego, Mich., and is a six-year member of 4-H, serving as club president for one year.
Brenna Halpin of Mattawan, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in music education and Spanish. She is a graduate of Mattawan High School and is the daughter of Kathy Brennan and Pat Halpin. She is a member of the National Honors Society and has been in marching band for four years, serving as section leader her senior year. She attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, serving as piccolo soloist in the Wind Ensemble. She has been on the freshman and junior varsity volleyball teams, JV and varsity soccer teams and has been active in AYSO soccer, the Flute Choir, Pep Band, Concert Band and Symphonic Band, serving as principal chair and soloist for the symphonic band and principal chair for the orchestra for high school musicals and dramas. She has been a volunteer for the American Red Cross and Salvation Army and a volunteer Spanish tutor. She also works for Mattawan Schools teaching Spanish to second-graders and studied in Mexico in summer 2005.
Christine Hamman of Portage, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in secondary education in English. She graduated from Portage Northern High School and is the daughter of Jeanne and Robert Hamman. She was vice president of the Anime Club, was principal violist in the school orchestra, performed in the school musical orchestra pit and was yearbook editor. She is a Salvation Army volunteer and traveled to Germany with the German Club.
Jessica Herndon of Skandia, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in communication. She graduated third in her class from Gwinn High School and is the daughter of Tina Johnson. She served as class secretary her freshman, sophomore and junior years and class president her senior year. She is a member of the National Honor Society and journalism staff and a volunteer for Big Brothers-Big Sisters. She was a member of the varsity volleyball and tennis teams and participated in seven major theatre productions. She has worked at a local family restaurant since May 2005 and at a closeout store from January to August 2006.
Robert Hjelmstad of Traverse City, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in music. He graduated from Traverse City Central High School and is the son of Russell and Sandra Hjelmstad. A pianist, he was twice a semi-finalist in the Traverse City Symphony Orchestra's Concerto Competition for Young Artists. He also has been an amateur boxer and an employee of Dunkin Donuts since 2005.
Megan Jacobson of Kalamazoo received the Harold Holland Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in theatre. She graduated from Portage Central High School and is the daughter of Grace Mannion and Dan Jacobson. She is a member of the National Honors Society and participated in forensics and broadcasting. She also competed in swimming, cheerleading and water polo and took part in musical theatre and dance productions while studying vocal training and vocal performance. She also worked as a lifeguard and was a volunteer for West Portage Little League.
Gina Mendola of Sterling Heights, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in English and secondary education. She graduated from Adlai E. Stevenson High School and is the daughter of Joe and Patti Mendola. She is a recipient of the National Merit Award and President's Award, won Albion's High School Poetry Contest and is a member of the United States Achievement Academy. She was a member of the marching and concert bands, swing choir, Key Club, National Honors Society, the Teacher Cadet Program and was a yearbook editor. She also participated in the competitive dance team, was active in the Linus Project and the Hang onto the Dream Foundation.
Julia Mitchell of Clinton, Iowa, received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in music theatre performance. She graduated from Clinton High School and is the daughter of Colleen and Brent Nielson and Ken Mitchell. She received a National English Merit Award from the National Honors Society and an Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Society of High School Scholars. She also belongs to the Drama Club and 3.0 Club and is secretary for the Honor Thespian Society. She is violin section leader for the high school orchestra and a volunteer for the Coalition for Disabled Persons. She has worked with Circa '21 Dinner Theatre Playhouse, Sherryl's Showstoppers Dance Academy and the Joffrey Ballet.
Sarah Nott of Augusta, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in art education. She graduated from Gull Lake High School and is the daughter of Robin and Nancy Nott. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the youth theatre Leadership Team, PeaceJam International, Gull Lake High School's Gay-Straight Alliance and Destination Imagination. She also was a three-time award winner in the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association theatre competitions through her school's performing arts company and was active in marching and symphonic band, winning best trombone honors her senior year.
Staci Stutsman of Edwardsburg, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in secondary education. She is a graduate of Edwardsburg High School and is the daughter of Jennifer and Michael Stutsman. She served as National Honors Society president, was secretary for Students Against Destructive Decisions and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. She participated in freshman and junior varsity volleyball and is a member of the Youth Advisory Council. She is a Spanish tutor and works as a cashier and floral clerk at Martin's supermarket.
Eric Ware of Davison, Mich., received the Merze Tate Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in history, anthropology and Latin. He graduated from Davison High School and is the son of Kenneth and Margaret Ware. An AP Scholar, Eric participated in Quiz Bowl events and was a Science Olympiad. He participated in the symphonic band, symphonic orchestra, marching band and pit orchestra and has tutored students on trombone. He has worked as a page at the Genessee District Library and took part in a French class trip to France in summer 2005.
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