Eighteen new students win $40,000 Medallion Scholarships
July 11, 2008
KALAMAZOO--Eighteen 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 each over four years, they constitute one of the largest merit-based awards in American public higher education.
Thirteen of this year's incoming scholars received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship. The remaining five scholars received awards that bear the names of their donors or the individuals for whom the scholarships were established.
The 2008 recipients were announced in June after competing in the 24th annual Medallion Scholarship Program Competition Jan. 26 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 478 seniors from across Michigan and the United States participated in the event.
Invitations to compete were based on a combination of grade point averages and ACT scores, and were extended to students who had applied to WMU by Dec. 1, 2007. Students participating in the competition were guaranteed at least a $3,000 Dean's Scholarship to attend WMU.
This year's Medallion Scholars have an average ACT score of 28 and average GPA of 4.04. They will begin their studies at WMU in the fall and are scheduled to graduate during the 2011-12 academic year.
2008 Medallion Scholars
Evan S. Andrews of Kalamazoo received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in theatre production and design. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and is the son of Thom and Laurel Andrews. He is a Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center Distinguished Scholar Award winner and an American Chemical Society Competition finalist. A National Honor Society member, Andrews has acted in three works by Jarvis Films and been involved in community theatre, primarily in the areas of lighting and sound. He has worked extensively with the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre as a technical apprentice and with the Cellar Art Theatre, an all-student organization he co-founded in Kalamazoo. Since 2007, he also has been a fighter with the Swords of Valour Live Steel Combat Troupe.
Alexander L. Armstead of Smith Creek, Mich., received the Dwight B. Waldo Endowed Medallion Scholarship and plans to double major in music education and Spanish. He graduated from Marysville High School and is the son of Mark and Cynthia Armstead. He was a four-year member of the student council, serving as secretary his senior year, and of his class' officer corps, serving as president his senior year. Armstead also was a member and secretary of the National Honor Society, captain of the cross country team, president of Students Against Drunk Driving, a section leader for the marching band and a first-chair performer in the concert band. In addition, he was an active community volunteer as well as participated in quiz bowl, tennis, track, symphonic band, jazz ensemble, musicals, choir, and the Michigan Youth Band and Eastshore Honors Band.
Michael A. Bruny-Groth of Dowagiac, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in graphic design. He graduated from Loy Norrix High School and is the son of Carol Riordon and Michael Groth. He was a three-year member of the track team, participated in the drama club and improv team, served as a student theatre director, and was named to Who's Who. Bruny-Groth's artwork has been displayed at the Epic Center in Kalamazoo during three Art Hop events. In addition, his top-motion film, "Weightless," was one of 17 state entries out of 70 to be accepted for the fifth annual Teen Filmmaker Festival.
Sean E. Chiplock of Saginaw, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in communication. He graduated from Heritage High School and is the son of Jerome Chiplock. He was a four-year member of the tennis team and French/Spanish club, which he served three consecutive years as an officer. He also was named four times to the annual Principal's Honor Roll, which recognizes academic excellence. In addition, Chiplock was involved in the student council, performed as an actor and chorus member in theatrical productions, earned a varsity letter in swimming, and was named to Who's Who twice. Outside of school, he has been a voice actor and script writer for online flash animations and games, and has been an active volunteer on behalf of the St. Mary's Seton Cove Spirituality Center.
Lauren B. Hearit of Portage, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in an engineering field. She graduated from Portage Northern High School and is the daughter of Keith and Diana Hearit. She was a member and officer of the National Honor Society, a member of the forensics team for three years, and participated in cross country as well as the orchestra, French club, Bible club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Hearit, who has played piano since age 4, also was a three-year member of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra's violin section and has played in master classes during Kalamazoo's Gilmore International Music Festival.
Erin T. Hemming of Beverly Hills, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in theatre-production and design. She graduated from Wylie E. Groves High School and is the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Hemming. An AP Scholar Award winner, she was a member of the National Honor Society, International Thespian Society and Groves Performing Arts Co. She participated in theatre throughout high school and won a Michigan Technological University Design Award as well as awards for costume design, set design and stage management at the International Thespian Society State Festival. Hemming was an active volunteer, particularly for the Northbrook Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder.
Mason G. Henderson of South Bend, Ind., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to double major in English and music performance. He graduated from John Adams High School and is the son of Sally and Curtis Henderson. He participated in Boys State and the marching band for four years, and was involved in the concert and jazz bands as well as the mock trial team, through which he earned best-witness awards at both the state and regional levels. Henderson was captain of the cross country team his senior year, participated in track and the student council, helped conduct and teach a seventh- and eighth-grade band class, and served for two years as a peer mentor to incoming high school freshmen. He won the Hazel Dell Neff Summer Music Scholarship three times and the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra's summer music scholarship in 2007. Henderson was involved with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra for five years and was selected four times to perform in its Side-by-Side Orchestra concert. He also was a member of the Indiana University South Bend Wind Ensemble his senior year.
Whytlie A. Layher of Holland, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in occupational therapy. She graduated from Michigan Center Senior High School and is the daughter of Bruce and Barbara Layher. She was a member of the National Honor Society and served as her class president twice and as editor of the school yearbook. Layher was active in sports all four years of high school, playing on the teams for basketball, which she served as co-captain her senior year, as well as for softball and volleyball. She also was involved with band and the student council, was selected to attend three leadership workshops, and participated in competitions of the U.S. Achievement Academy and Daughters of the American Revolution.
Kathleen A. McCormick of Grand Ledge, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in secondary education. She graduated from Grand Ledge High School and is the daughter of Timothy and Cheryl McCormick. She has been involved in Irish dance for 11 years and has been a performer, co-choreographer and instructor with the Irish Dance Co. of Lansing. McCormick has won several art awards and participated in yoga outside of school. She also has been active in the Oakbrook Community Church Youth Group as a student leader and community volunteer.
Charlotte A. Munn-Wood of South Bend, Ind., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in music performance. She graduated from Clay High School and is the daughter of Zae Munn and Jay Wood. A violin player who participated in her high school orchestra, she has devoted an extensive amount of time to studying and performing music. Her music honors include the Faceoff Chamber Competition's Kenneth Geoffrey Prize for Best Local Group and a Fine Arts Award for Music from the Interlochen Arts Camp. Munn-Wood was a member of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra for three years and a member of the Notre Dame Orchestra this year. She has performed with the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra and with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra in its Side-by-Side Orchestra concerts. She also performs regularly at services and functions of the First Unitarian Church of South Bend.
Shane L. Murphy of Mattawan, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to double major in jazz studies and music performance. He graduated from Matawan High School and is the son of Kristen Murphy. He was a member of the National Honor Society and a student council as well as class officer. He also participated in wrestling, was a junior varsity as well varsity captain of the soccer team and for four years captained a Kalamazoo Kingdom Reserves soccer team. A trombonist, Murphy was involved in music throughout high school, serving as a section leader and principal player for the marching band and a principal player for the pit orchestra. In addition, he was a member of the Western Michigan University Trombone Choir, Michigan All-State Band, Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, and such Kalamazoo-area bands as Just Add Water, which he leads and manages.
Benjamin R. Overbeek of Kalamazoo received the Harold and Beulah McKee Endowed Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in elementary education. Overbeek, who was home schooled, is the son of John and Michelle Overbeek. He took advantage of many organized homeschooling activities in the local area, including competing in soccer and playing percussion in the youth group praise band all four years of high school. Overbeek also participated in softball and the ski club. A National Merit Program Commended Student, he was invited to join Kalamazoo Valley Community College's chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. He has competed in several triathlons, finishing among the top three for his age group in each, and was active in his church and as a community volunteer.
Benjamin T. Roush of Dearborn, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in civil engineering. He graduated from Easel Ford High School and is the son of Matthew and Susan Roush. He was a member of the National Honor Society, a member and vice president of the French National Honor Society, and the recipient of several awards from the Dearborn Center for Math, Science and Technology. Roush, an Eagle Scout, was active in sports throughout high school. He played football and served as team captain his senior year as well as performed on the swimming and track teams, serving both squads twice as captain. He was named to the Michigan MEGA Conference All-Academic Team in all three of those sports.
Marley F. Schmidt of Bay City, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in dance. She graduated from Bay City Central High School and is the daughter of Ron and Dawn Schmidt. She was involved in dance throughout her high school career, performing on the dance team and serving a year as team captain, as well as dancing and teaching at her local dance studio. Schmidt also was a member of the National Honor Society, the cast of several school plays and Students Against Destructive Decisions. She was an active in her community, organizing food drives, assisting with Black History Month activities, and volunteering for such organizations as Toys for Tots, the Bay Arts Council and the Just For Kids Foundation.
John P. Spreitzer of Holland, Mich., received the Merze Tate Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in history. Spreitzer graduated from West Ottawa High School and is the son of Philip and Elizabeth Spreitzer. He was a member of the National Honor Society and a four-year member of the band, serving as a section leader during marching season. He also acted and danced in school plays as well as participated in the men's choir, Boys State, debate, forensics, the French club, the jazz and pep bands, the gay-straight alliance, and the role player's guild. Spreitzer took part in the Holland Youth Advisory Council's Drug Prevention its Red Ribbon Week. In addition to founding a philosophy discussion group, he was active in numerous community service activities in and out of school.
Nora E. Tkac of Brighton, Mich., received a Dwight B. Waldo Endowed Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in public relations. Tkac graduated from Brighton High School and is the daughter of Ronald and Sandra Tkac. She was a member of the National Honor Society and participated in theatre, debate, Girls State, the varsity club and visual art activities, such as serving as a classroom art assistant. Tkac played on the basketball team for two years and the softball team all four years of high school, twice being named to the All-State Academic Softball Team. She has been involved in numerous community service activities, such as working on behalf of Hurricane Katrina Victim Relief, instructing youth basketball and teaching vacation Bible School.
Emily C. Wacyk of Grand Ledge, Mich., received the Emeriti Endowed Medallion Scholarship and plans to double major in English and political science. Wacyk graduated from Grand Ledge High School and is the daughter of Michael and Linda Wacyk. She was a member of the National Honor Society, a class officer, secretary of the German club and a member of the ski club. Wacyk focused on the arts during all four years of high school, serving as a council officer and section leader for the band, make-up room manager and pit orchestra member for theatrical productions, and performer in musicals and the chorus. She also was involved with the dance team, participated in Girls State and was active in the South Church Youth Group as well as various service organizations, such as Invisible Children, which works to raise awareness about the civil wars in Uganda.
Danielle R. Werle of Sagniaw, Mich., received a Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in communication. Werle graduated from Swan Valley High School and is the daughter of Ann and Ken Werle. She was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated summa cum laude and as salutatorian. She also was a four-year member of the band, serving as drum major her senior year, and the cheerleading squad, serving as co-captain her junior year and a clinic organizer for three years. Werle, who was elected homecoming queen for 2007-08, served as president and secretary of Students Against Destruction Decisions, and won two regional awards in Business Professionals of America competitions. She also was involved with theatre for three years, serving as student orientation chair and public relations chair.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org