| WMU News
KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Forty-six students in Western Michigan University's 6,067-member senior class have been named a 2015 Presidential Scholar.
The annual Presidential Scholar designation is the highest honor WMU can bestow on an undergraduate. The award goes to the most outstanding seniors in each of the University's academic schools, departments and specialty programs.
Only the highest caliber of students receive the award. They are selected on the basis of their general academic excellence, academic and artistic excellence in their majors, and intellectual and artistic promise.
This year's scholars were recognized during the 35th annual Presidential Scholars Convocation, held on campus March 19. During the event, the students received certificates from two University dignitaries: Dr. John M. Dunn, WMU president, and Dr. C. Dennis Simpson, Faculty Senate president.
The convocation, which also celebrates the overall excellence of the University's students, is sponsored by the Office of the President and Faculty Senate. It included a program and closing reception. Many of this year's Presidential Scholars graduated from WMU Saturday, May 2, during spring commencement exercises or earlier in the academic year.
The 2015 Presidential Scholars come from across Michigan as well as several other U.S. states and nations.
Michigan scholars by hometown
- Haley J. Hancock is the Presidential Scholar in Accountancy. Hancock is a graduate of Harper Creek High School who attended Kellogg Community College. She majored in accountancy as well as in finance and graduated from WMU in December 2014 with a degree in business administration while also meeting the educational requirements for taking the certified public accountant examination.
Hancock is volunteering as a tax preparer for the Kalamazoo County Tax Counseling Initiative Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. She plans to remain in a financial-related field throughout her professional career. During her time at WMU, she worked in various positions at a credit union and was a member of the Student Leadership Advisory Board as well as a student tutor for the Department of Finance and Commercial Law in the Haworth College of Business. Hancock received the Frederick C. Everett Accountancy Scholarship and Charles E. Solak Accountancy Scholarship.
- James P. Lind is the Presidential Scholar in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Lind is from Bay City and a graduate of John Glenn High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he graduated in December 2014 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a minor in mathematics.
During his junior year, Lind represented the University with three other students in the 2012 Stryker Engineering Challenge and received second place in a 24-hour competition to design a robot that could traverse a variety of obstacles. For his senior engineering-design project, he worked with a team to create a reconfigurable miniature golf course to be used during open houses at the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences campus. The putt-putt course features 18 different obstacles that reconfigure themselves into nine different holes for the players to progress through. The project is designed to demonstrate to prospective students what they will learn by enrolling in the University's electrical engineering program. Lind's community service activities included volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and the annual Homecoming Campus Classic 5k walk and race.
- Jenna K. Johnson is the Presidential Scholar in World Languages and Literatures. Johnson is a graduate of Cedar Springs High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in global and international studies as well as in English and minoring in Arabic and anthropology and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Johnson plans to seek a full-time position as a worship arts director, with the goal of becoming an independent worship design consultant and continuing her education in the seminary.
For her capstone thesis as a global and international studies major, she wrote a comparative article studying the impact of women's participation and manufactured class divides in the 1919 and 2011 Egyptian revolutions. For her Lee Honors College thesis, "Sacred Symbols: A Critical Discussion of Modern Worship and Designs for the Series of Advent," she investigated the elements of contemporary worship design. Johnson is being mentored by Dr. Marcia McFee as an intern in the internationally celebrated Worship Design Studio in Truckee, California. Her other projects have included being part of the first archaeological team to address the historical sites on Apple Island in Orchard Lake in summer 2012.
She also worked with several interdepartmental organizations in summer 2014 to develop a guide and calendar program for incoming WMU students that will soon appear on the University's website. Johnson has been on the dean's list since 2011 and has received the Emeriti Council Scholarship, the English department's Jean Malmstrom Award, the Anthropology department's Robert Maher Scholarship and the Excellence in Arabic Award. Off campus, she has been the church musician for Hartford United Methodist Church since 2011. In addition, she worked at the Wesley Foundation of Kalamazoo as worship coordinator from 2012 to 2014 and has been serving as music director there since 2014. Johnson also is an active member of the worldwide Emmaus community and is leading the music for the June 2015 Women's Emmaus Walk at Crystal Springs United Methodist Camp.
- Scott W. Duxbury is the Presidential Scholar in Anthropology. Duxbury is a graduate of East Lansing High School who attended Lansing Community College. A member of the Lee Honors College, he is majoring in anthropology as well as in sociology and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Duxbury plans to develop his research during graduate school while pursuing a doctoral degree in cultural sociology in preparation for becoming a professor. His current research focuses on gray-market drug information creation in online drug forums. For his Lee Honor's College thesis, he is examining how scientific and medical reasoning are employed among Internet communities to understand unknown drugs' chemical processes after ingestion.
Duxbury has presented his research at WMU and will be presenting it at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in April 2015. In addition, one of his research articles is under review for publication in Current Sociology. Duxbury is a member of the Michigan Sociological Association, the Graduate Group for the Study of Technology and Society, and the Alpha Kappa Delta and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He has maintained summa cum laude standing since 2013 and was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Award in fall 2014. Duxbury has worked on campus as an academic success coach in Student Success Services and a supervisor in Dining Services. His community service activities include serving as a laboratory assistant in one of WMU's archaeology laboratories and doing volunteer work in Quilali, Nicaragua, in spring 2014 and 2015.
- Rachel L. Burroughs is the Presidential Scholar in Psychology. Burroughs is a graduate of Carman-Ainsworth High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she majored in behavioral science as well as in anthropology and graduated summa cum laude from WMU with a Bachelor of Science in December 2014. Burroughs plans to start graduate school in fall 2015, focusing on behavior analysis and emphasizing the experimental analysis of behavior as well as behavioral pharmacology. Ultimately, she hopes to earn a doctoral degree and become a professor. Her Lee Honors College thesis, "Simple Visual Discrimination Training for a Child With Autism and Exceptional Learning Difficulties," was completed under the supervision of Dr. Richard Malott, professor of psychology and a noted autism researcher.
Burroughs presented her thesis at the Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan's annual conference as well as at the Association of Behavior Analysis International Autism conference in 2014. In addition, she has conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Baker, professor of psychology, on the effects of the herbicide Atrazine. She also presented that research at the ABAI annual conference in 2014. The same year, Burroughs traveled to Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania with the Olduvai Paleoanthropology and Paleoecology Project to work with experts from all over the world who are piecing together human evolution.
- Charles A. Martin is the Presidential Scholar in Political Science. Martin is a graduate of Kelloggsville High School who attended Grand Rapids Community College. He is majoring in political science with a concentration in public law and expects to graduate in May 2015. In fall 2015, Martin will be attending Harvard Law School, where he will be studying finance, community economic development and corporate law. Ultimately, he hopes to develop innovative strategies for investment and wealth creation, with the goal of spreading prosperity. Martin is particularly interested in issues related to expanding access to financial markets, promoting economic liberty and potential shifts in federal tax policy.
The development of opportunity has impacted his activities as well as his interests and studies. For instance, he has worked for a Let's Talk About It home for young men program in Kalamazoo. In addition, Martin has helped high school students navigate the financial aid application process by building a database of internships and scholarships that is distributed to students seeking enriching experiences as well as financial consideration.
- Alicia J. Wayne is the Presidential Scholar in Social Work. Wayne is a graduate of Ionia High School. A member of the Lee Honors College, she is majoring in social work as well as in Spanish and expects to graduate in April 2016. Following graduation, Wayne plans to obtain a position in social work and attend graduate school. Her interests are in child welfare, particularly foster care and adoption. She is currently interning in the foster care department at Bethany Christian Services. She hopes to obtain a job there after graduating and to work in the organization's transitional foster care department, assisting in the placement of refugee children and utilizing her Spanish-speaking background.
Wayne was on the dean's list three times and completed her Lee Honors College thesis on "Parentification." This summer, she will be studying abroad in Santander, Spain, for two months. While abroad, she will be enrolled at La Universidad de Cantabria and be placed with a host family. Wayne is a resident assistant at WMU and has been nominated R.A. of the year for the past two years in Britton/Hadley Hall. During her time on Britton/Hadley's staff, she completed two murals and worked on a third in the hall. Her other campus activities include being a member of the University's 2011 club volleyball team and currently being a member of an intramural volleyball team. Wayne also is active in community service and has volunteered for such organizations as the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo, and WMU Office of University Relations during the annual Homecoming Campus Classic 5k walk and race.
- Alexandria L. Pierce is the Presidential Scholar in Chemical and Paper Engineering. Pierce is a graduate of Hastings High School. She is majoring in paper engineering with a focus on the paper-making process and expects to graduate in December 2015. Following graduation, Pierce hopes to secure a process engineering position within the industry, with a preference on relocating to the Appleton, Wisconsin, area. She is completing her third and final internship in the pulp and paper industry, giving her a total of 16 months of industry experience.
She is a four-year Paper Technology Foundation scholarship recipient and has been sponsored to attend the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry—TAPPI—Student Summit and PaperCon all four years, which has allowed her to travel to a long list of U.S. cities. Pierce has been a College of Engineering and Applied Sciences student ambassador since 2012, recruiting students to both WMU and the college. She is the current president of Ts'ai Lun, the TAPPI student chapter at WMU, and also has been involved with the Society of Women Engineers. Her community service activities have included volunteering for Adopt-a-highway, Red Cross blood drives and, through local Girl Scout troops, with Engineer for a Day to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
- Heidi A. Ali is the Presidential Scholar in Special Education and Literacy Studies. Ali is a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School. She is majoring in special education: cognitive impairments and learning disabilities and minoring in literacy studies and early childhood education and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Ali hopes to find a job teaching special education in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. At WMU, she has had the opportunity to participate in practicums and internships at 10 schools that total more than 1,200 hours of field experience.
The highlight of her college experience was traveling abroad to complete her special education internship in Boeblingen, Germany. The internship was at a Department of Defense School, teaching American middle school students with special needs. Ali has received several honors, including the Fred and Lena Meijer Scholarship, the Michigan Competitive Scholarship, the Sylvia Jean Lovat Endowed Scholarship, and a WMU Dean's Scholarship. She has been on the dean's list each year and will be graduating with a 3.9 grade point average.
- Aaron T. Dean is the Presidential Scholar in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Dean is a graduate of Portage Northern High School who also attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in mechanical engineering and expects to graduate in December 2015. Following graduation, Dean plans to pursue a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering at WMU.
An accomplished student at the University, he has appeared on the dean's list without fail and was inducted last fall into Tau Beta Pi, an honor society for engineering students. His main academic interests are in dynamics and control systems. Dean put his academic training to work in the professional realm during an 18-month internship in the product validation department of an automotive industry manufacturer. As his engineering senior-design project and for his Lee Honors College thesis, he is developing a test device that will be used to gather data on how canes are used by people who are blind. Of particular interest in this research is the vibration response of canes when being used for navigation. This research is part of a larger effort to create a better cane.
Dean also is working on a project involving vibration in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences' Noise and Vibration Laboratory, where he is an undergraduate research assistant. He is writing code for one of the laboratory's research endeavors. Off campus, Dean has been involved in the greater community as a volunteer for the Kalamazoo Dream Center, Habitat for Humanity and the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center. Since 2007, he has regularly volunteered for the worship team at his church, where he plays the electric guitar and has worked as a music director.
- Bethany L. Doorlag is the Presidential Scholar in Spanish. Doorlag was homeschooled and attended Calvin College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She is majoring in secondary education in Spanish as well as in English and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Doorlag plans to continue working with the Hispanic community in Kalamazoo, to travel throughout Central and South America, and to become a secondary Spanish or English teacher. She is interning in a Spanish classroom at Gobles High/Middle School and has completed two pre-internships in Spanish classrooms in the Kalamazoo Public Schools.
Through the WMU Spanish department's service-learning program, Doorlag also has interned at the Kalamazoo Hispanic American Council with Lift Up Through Literacy. She studied abroad in Arequipa, Peru, for one semester in 2011 and visited Queretaro, Mexico, for several weeks in 2014. Doorlag has received several accolades while at WMU. She was nominated by the Spanish department to receive the 2014 Mathilde Steckelberg Scholarship and won the spring 2013 Diversity Studies Award from the English department. For the past four summers, she has worked with the Van Buren Intermediate School District in its migrant summer program, Project NOMAD. In addition, she obtained a long-term substitute teaching position in spring 2014 in a Spanish classroom at Portage Central Middle School. Doorlag volunteers with high school students at Kalamazoo Centerpoint Church, where she also occasionally plays violin with the worship team.
- Bethel I. McGrew is the Presidential Scholar in Mathematics. McGrew was homeschooled as well as attended Patrick Henry College in Virginia and Bryan College in Tennessee. She is majoring in philosophy as well as in mathematics and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, McGrew plans to pursue a doctorate in mathematics. She has a long list of accolades demonstrating her academic talent and intellect, including consistently appearing on the dean's list, carrying a 4.0 grade point average, and earning Graduate Record Examination scores of 162 in mathematics and 169 in verbal reasoning.
McGrew's areas of interest include the history and philosophy of science, epistemology, probability theory and linear algebra. She has always loved teaching and is particularly passionate about uniting history with science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Last semester, she served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the Department of Mathematics. She is the recipient of the Roy and Beulah Kendall Teacher Scholarship and Fred A. Beeler Memorial Scholarship, and is a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, a national mathematics honor society.
In addition to her academic work, McGrew has served as an English as a second language instructor for nearly three years. Working locally and remotely with Korean and Chinese students of all ages, she has prepared classroom presentations, created reading exercises, and trained advanced students in grammar and writing. A proud member of the West Michigan chess community for more than 10 years, she has won many tournaments and awards. In high school, she earned a place among the top 100 players of her age group in the nation. McGrew's other extracurricular passion is music, including voice, piano and song writing.
- Ali M. Russo is the Presidential Scholar in Marketing. Russo is a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School who also attended Central Michigan University. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in food and consumer packaged goods marketing and expects to graduate in December 2015. Following graduation, Russo hopes to secure employment in category management or to pursue a master's degree in market research. Already making inroads into her chosen field, she has secured an internship with Kraft Foods in category management for summer 2015, is a member of the 2015 National Grocers Association Case Competition team and is a member of the Food Marketing Association.
Before beginning her internship this summer, Russo hopes to study abroad in Japan and Thailand. Her academic accolades include consistently appearing on the dean's list and receiving the Foodservice Manufacturers Association Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year. A scholar as well as an athlete who has played Division I soccer at WMU, she is completing her Lee Honors College thesis on the factors that create an effective high school sports program. Her research has shown that community and parent involvement, district funding, the composition of coaching staffs and athlete attitudes about playing sports all contribute to a strong high school sports program. While playing soccer for WMU, Russo had the game-winning goal in the 2013 Conference Championship as well as received All-Tournament team and All-Mid-American Conference academic honors.
- Katelin N. Johnson is the Presidential Scholar in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Johnson is a graduate of East Kentwood High School who attended Grand Rapids Community College. She is majoring in environmental studies and geography and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Johnson plans to work at Natures Classroom in the New England area. While there, she will teach children about nature and conduct simple biological experiments with them.
After working at Natures Classroom, Johnson plans to apply for the Peace Corps. Johnson hopes to be placed in Southeast Asia, as she studied for a semester at Sunway University in Malaysia during her first study abroad experience. Her second experience was a short-term tropical biology course in the heart of a rainforest in Belize. She is interested in responding to the ongoing climate crisis by increasing female literacy and, thus, helping to slow the growth of Earth's ever-expanding human population. Johnson has been on the dean's list every semester and has received the Mary Upjohn Meader Study Abroad Award, Dr. Oscar H. Horst Endowment for Geography Award and Haenicke Institute for Global Education Study Abroad Scholarship. She has served as president of the Bronco Free Market as well as the secretary and a member of Students for a Sustainable Earth. She also participated in an Alternative Spring Break community service project in Kansas City.
- Amanda L. Finney is the Presidential Scholar in Theatre. Finney is a graduate of Charlotte High School as well as of Lansing Community College. She is majoring in theatre: stage management and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Finney plans to pursue a master's degree in theatrical directing, with the goal of running a nonprofit regional theatre as artistic director. As a stage manager, she is the main line of communication between the theatrical production team throughout the rehearsal and performance process.
Prior to transferring to WMU, Finney earned an associate degree in acting from LCC and worked extensively backstage and in the college's Scene Shop building sets for shows. Since then and while at WMU, she has been working to obtain the grants and funding necessary to study Native American storytelling traditions within various tribes around the country. Finney also is the operations coordinator of the Western Martial Arts Convention CombatCon in Las Vegas and is collaborating with a colleague to write a book on stage combat.
- Nicole C. Carpp is the Presidential Scholar in Biological Sciences as well as in Human Performance and Health Education. Carpp is a graduate of Lawrence High School who while in high school, attended Lake Michigan College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A member of the Lee Honors College, she is majoring in biomedical sciences as well as in exercise science, and expects to graduate with two bachelor's degrees in May 2015. She came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University can bestow on an incoming freshman. Following graduation, Carpp plans to enter medical school.
For the past three years, she has been involved in undergraduate research in the neurobiology laboratory of Dr. John Spitsbergen, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. She is completing her Lee Honors College thesis on the role of exercise-induced neurotrophic factor expression on the peripheral nervous system. Carpp has presented her research findings at several conferences, including the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in 2014 and the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in 2014. An undergraduate research assistant with the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine's General Surgery Department, she also is employed as the scheduling coordinator in WMU's student ambassador office and as a medical scribe in Bronson Methodist Hospital's Emergency Department.
Carpp previously served for two semesters as a teaching assistant for organismal biology and participated in the Students Advancing Biological Research and Engagement (SABRE) Undergraduate Research Program. She has been involved in the Western Student Association, American Medical Student Association and Exercise Science Student Organization and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, American College of Sports Medicine and Society for Neuroscience. Nicole also has tutored Kalamazoo Public School students for two years.
- Angela B. Coleman is the Presidential Scholar in Nursing. Coleman is a graduate of Lawton High School who attended Davenport University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She is majoring in nursing and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Coleman plans to work with underserved populations, particularly in rural areas. Throughout her career as a nurse, she plans to volunteer for medical missions work around the world. She also would like to continue her education to become a nurse practitioner and get involved in opening nurse managed-care centers in rural areas.
Coleman has worked in the health care field most of her adult life, in pediatrics and laboratories as well as research. Her current interests are obstetrics and women's health, community nursing, and nursing research. A member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, she is a recipient of the Health Resources and Services Administration's NURSE Corps Scholarship, a selective program of the U.S. government that helps alleviate the critical shortage of nurses currently experienced by certain types of health care facilities located in Health Professional Shortage Areas. After graduating, recipients work at those facilities for at least two years.
A wife and mother, Coleman is busy outside of school. She and her husband have 10 children, with three still at home. In addition, she participates in extracurricular activities on campus, such as serving on the executive board of WMU's chapter of the Student Nurse Association, currently as treasurer. Off campus, Coleman also is an active community volunteer. Her service has included participating in low-cost vaccination clinics for seniors and Honor Flight, which flies World War II veterans to Washington D.C. free of charge to visit memorials.
- Maren C. Zanotti is the Presidential Scholar in Chemistry. Zanotti is a graduate of Marshall High School. A member of the Lee Honors College, she is majoring in chemistry and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Zanotti plans to obtain a Master of Business Administration degree and pursue a career in change management consulting or marketing research within the science, pharmaceutical or technology industries. She is a customer marketing innovation intern at the Kellogg Co. Previously, she has worked as an undergraduate research assistant in atmospheric organic chemistry, a teaching assistant for the Organic Chemistry Laboratory and a supplemental instructor for Organic Chemistry II.
Zanotti has received the Adli Kana'an Physical Chemistry Excellence Award, the Col. Charles E. Bayliss Chemistry Scholarship, a Lee Honors College Research Scholarship, an Office of the Vice President for Research Undergraduate Research Excellence Award, and the Physics Academic Excellence Course Award. She is a member of the Chemistry Club, which she serves as president and previously served as treasurer, as well as the Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies. Zanotti has tutored middle and high school students in mathematics and science. An active student member in the Kalamazoo section of the American Chemical Society, she has served that organization the past three years as event coordinator for Chemists Celebrate Earth Day. In addition, Zanotti has volunteered at local elementary and middle schools, presenting chemistry demonstrations and teaching children about chemistry and careers in the sciences.
- Joshua L. Inniger is the Presidential Scholar in Computer Science. Inniger is a graduate of Fulton High School. He is majoring in computer science theory and analysis and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Inniger hopes to pursue his interests in Android and Web application development. That interest already has led to his creating multiple applications, ranging from a program for self-playing a game of spades to an easy-to-use, intuitive music player.
Inniger was selected in 2014 to participate in the Eaton Multicultural Summer Internship Program. After completing the internship, he was offered and accepted a local, full-time information technology position with the Eaton Corp. Since fall 2013, he has worked closely with Dr. Donna Kaminski, associate professor of computer science, helping to grade papers for her data and file structures class. During his WMU studies, Inniger also has regularly appeared on the dean's list. In addition, he received the Col. Charles E. Bayliss Scholarship, a computer science scholarship based on merit, in both 2011 and 2013.
- Zachary C. Munce is the Presidential Scholar in Economics. Munce is a graduate of Milford High School. He is majoring in economics and minoring in finance and expects to graduate in May 2015. He is interested in both commercial real estate and financial markets. Following graduation, Munce plans to find a job in the metro Detroit area in the commercial real estate industry. He was inspired by Dr. Tim Scheu, professor of finance and commercial law, to become involved with the commercial real estate industry after taking one of Scheu's real estate investment courses. But he also is interested in personal financial planning, and one of his long-term goals is to enter this field.
During his time at WMU, Munce has been involved in numerous extracurricular activities. He has been on the dean's list every semester and studied abroad in Paderno del Grappa, Italy, for two months this past summer. He is a member of the Student Leadership Advisory Board for the Haworth College of Business and the Economic Student Association board. In addition, Munce has participated in community service events such as Spring Into the Streets and volunteers as a tutor for younger economics students.
- Danton J. Lloyd is the Presidential Scholar in Comparative Religion. Lloyd earned a general education diploma as well as attended Lansing Community College. He is majoring in comparative religion and expects to graduate in June 2015. Following graduation, Lloyd will continue exploring his options for graduate school and for professional careers, specifically careers with nonprofit organizations.
His academic interests lie in the study of religion and medieval Europe, especially where the two overlap in medieval Christianity. He is the recipient of an Undergraduate Academic Excellence Award from the Department of Comparative Religion. When not attending classes or studying, Lloyd is engaged in his activities as a father.
- Eleni R. Gaves is the Presidential Scholar in Interdisciplinary Health Services. Gaves is a graduate of Brandon High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in interdisciplinary health science as well as in Spanish and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Gaves plans to become an orientation and mobility instructor. At present, she is the sole student in the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies to be enrolled in the accelerated degree program in orientation and mobility for adults, which means she is taking graduate classes at the same time as she is finishing her undergraduate degree.
Her Lee Honors College thesis is focused on the effects of cane tips on travel by blind pedestrians in the winter. Gaves is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and works in the blindness and low vision studies department as an intern, assisting with faculty research and projects. She also has sung with several of WMU's choirs and has served on the executive board of the Collegiate Singers. Gaves is an entertainer at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, volunteers periodically with Habitat for Humanity and helps at the local food pantry in her hometown.
- Lynsey M. DeGraaf is the Presidential Scholar in Integrated Supply Management. DeGraaf is a graduate of Parchment High School who attended Grand Valley State University. She is majoring in integrated supply management and expects to graduate in December 2015. Following graduation, DeGraaf will work as a buyer/production planner with Flowserve Corp., where she has worked as an intern since April 2014. She plans to build her career in supply chain consulting and in the future, to pursue a master's degree.
While at GVSU, DeGraaf was a member of the Frederik Meijer Honors College. At WMU, she has been on the dean's list every semester, has a 3.92 grade point average and will graduate in a total of three and one-half years. DeGraaf is a member of the student chapter of the Association for Operations Management, which is known as APICS, and participated in the student case competition in February. She hopes to participate in a short-term study abroad trip to Thailand in May. DeGraaf is an active member of Radiant Church, where she volunteers doing graphics as a part of the technology team.
- Scott E. Shank Jr. is the Presidential Scholar in Communication. Shank is a graduate of Parchment High School. A member of the Lee Honors College, he is majoring in communication with an emphasis in organizational communication and development and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Shank plans to continue his studies of organizational communication and has applied to the master's program in the WMU School of Communication. He already is working with Dr. Julie Apker, associate professor of communication, to research how coach-client communication affects client identity construction in professional coaching conversations.
Shank will use the findings from that research project to help write his Lee Honors College thesis, which he plans to defend in April 2015. He has a perfect 4.0 grade point average and in 2014, received a School of Communication Scholar Award and a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award. Shank, who is married with four children, serves as a campus pastor with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries at WMU.
- Sarah N. Hughey is the Presidential Scholar in Management. Hughey is a graduate of Portage Northern High School who also attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is triple majoring in entrepreneurship, elementary professional education and history, and expects to graduate in December 2016. Following graduation, Hughey may pursue an assignment with the Peace Corps, a decision aided by her experience studying abroad in Guatemala for spring break 2015.
She came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University bestows on an incoming freshman. In addition to this scholarship, she has received many other awards, including the Board of Education Endowed Scholarship, Dr. Susan E. Burns Scholarship, Thomas L. Fisher Memorial Scholarship, Dr. Fred and Jeanne Hartenstein Scholarship Award, Western Edge Scholarship and Academic Achievement Incentive. Hughey, who has consistently appeared on the dean's list, pursues many academic interests at WMU, but considers her specialties to be mathematics and science, and uses those academic talents to serve others as a tutor.
She is a member of honor societies that include Beta Gamma Sigma, a business honor society, and Alpha Lambda Delta, a group developed to recognize the academic talent of freshman women. Hughey keeps herself busy with other extracurricular activities, as well. She was a semi-finalist in the Student Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition; competed in the Capsim Foundation Challenge, a business competition; and took part in a Student Leadership Forum for Beta Gamma Sigma. Her off-campus activities include enrollment in the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts' certificate program and, since 2003, almost yearly participation in an autism walk.
- Simon M. Matar is the Presidential Scholar in Civil and Construction Engineering. Matar is a graduate of Portage Northern High School. He is majoring in civil engineering and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Matar will pursue a master's degree in structural engineering at WMU. He focuses his research on advanced numerical finite element analysis. One of his goals is to publish a paper titled "State-of-the-Art Hot Spot Stress Modeling and Analysis." Due to his focus on structural engineering, he has been doing research work with Dr. Upul Attanayake, associate professor of civil and construction engineering. That work involves such areas as box beam bridges, fatigue life of steel bridges and waste powder paint in concrete.
Matar has regularly appeared on the dean's list and has received numerous honors, including the Civil and Construction Excellence Scholarship, Undergraduate Research Excellence Award, Arthur Hupp Endowed Memorial Scholarship, Paul and Mary Jackson Achievement Award, southwest Michigan chapter award from the Construction Financial Management Association, and Gary Sisters Foundation Award. His extracurricular activities include participating in the steel bridge team and concrete canoe team of the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineering, with both teams competing annually at the society's regional conference. Matar also is a member of American Society of Civil Engineers, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. He is currently working for Engineering Design Solution as a junior structural engineer.
- Benjamin J.E. Clark Is the Presidential Scholar in Geography. Clark is a graduate of Quincy High School as well as a graduate with honors of Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He is majoring in community and regional planning and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Clark plans to find a job in the planning field in Southwest Michigan and also intends to eventually pursue a master's degree in an area of study related to urban planning, such as geographic information systems or urban ecology. He is interested in efficient and ecologically sound land use and development, walkability, decreasing society's dependence on the automobile, and the promotion of other ideas associated with urban planning.
Clark is an intern with the Kalamazoo County Land Bank and previously was an intern with the city of Kalamazoo's Community Planning and Development Department, where he assisted with development oversight and various planning projects. He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and has received the Distinguished Community College Honors Award and Lucia Harrison Geography Scholarship. While earning his associate degree from KVCC, he was a member of the college's honors program as well as the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and received the Honors Program Scholarship. Clark is an active volunteer for numerous local organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission and the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.
- Sara A. Karsten is the Presidential Scholar in Aviation Sciences. Karsten is a graduate of Onaway High School as well as of North Central Michigan Community College, from which she earned an associate degree in general studies. She graduated summa cum laude from WMU in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in aviation flight science. Since graduation, Karsten has worked for the College of Aviation as a flight instructor. She also is now majoring in aviation maintenance technology and working toward her Airframe and Powerplant Certificate and plans to graduate, again, in April 2016. She hopes to work for a corporate flight department where she can exercise her skills as both a pilot and a mechanic.
Along with flying in Alaska, her future goals include developing a scholarship to sponsor students interested in flight training. Karsten recently started teaching upset/spin instruction in the College of Aviation's Super Decathlon and will soon begin working in the college's fleet maintenance facility. She represented WMU and flew across the country as the captain of a two-person team in the 2014 Air Race Classic and will coach WMU's team in that women's air race this year. Funding for her ongoing flight training is being made possible by support from her family and numerous scholarships and awards, including the Frank P. McCartney Award, the West Michigan Business Aircraft Association cash award and the WMU Diversity in Aviation Award. Karsten is a volunteer for Oshkosh Air Venture's kid venture, Operation Good Cheer, and the local Department of Human Services.
- Emma A. Cooper is the Presidential Scholar in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Cooper is a graduate of Royal Oak High School as well as of Oakland Community College. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in speech pathology and audiology and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Cooper plans to obtain a Master of Arts degree in speech-language pathology and to pursue a career as a speech and language pathologist in an educational setting. Her academic interests include early childhood language development, the emergence of phonological awareness skills in preschool students, and phonological awareness instruction in preschool classrooms.
Cooper is currently conducting independent research on a Lee Honors College thesis titled "Implicit Phonological Awareness Instruction in Early Childhood Education: The Development of an Observational Tool." That research project involves the formation and evaluation of an observational measure to be used in the assessment of phonological awareness instruction within preschool curricula. Cooper spent summer 2014 studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea, in a program that offered hands-on and immersive experience in a new culture while she studied leadership, ethics and global governance. She served as president of WMU's women's club volleyball team from 2012 to 2014 and also worked on campus in the College of Health and Human Services' Learning Resource Center as well as off campus at Kiddie U Childcare and Preschool Center.
- Joel A. Ballivian is the Presidential Scholar in Philosophy. Ballivian is a graduate of Tri-County High School who attended Montcalm Community College. He is majoring in philosophy and expects to graduate in July 2015. Following graduation, Ballivian plans to pursue advanced degrees in philosophy and theology, and to eventually teach at the university level in either the United States or a developing country.
His research interests include the history and philosophy of science, confirmation theory, probability theory, and the philosophy of religion. Those interests led him to pursue independent research under WMU philosophers such as Drs. Timothy McGrew, Marc Alspector-Kelly and Dan Dolson on topics including inference to the best explanation, historical studies in the philosophy of religion, philosophical applications of probability theory, and advanced logic.
From 2011 to 2013, Ballivian was the student president of the Philosophy and Religion Club at Montcalm Community College, where he received recognition for his contributions to the organization. This year, he is serving as president of Ratio Christi, a Christian student organization at WMU. Ballivian has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while at the University and has consistently been on the dean's list.
- Marilyn A. Bean is the Presidential Scholar in Gender and Women's Studies. Bean is a graduate of Schoolcraft High School who attended the University of Cape Town in South Africa and Antioch University in Ohio. She majored in gender and women's studies as well as in sociology and graduated from WMU in December 2014. Bean is applying to master's programs in gender and women's studies, while continuing to study German and to do research on women and writing. Ultimately, she plans to obtain a doctoral degree and become a professor, researcher and writer. Her interests include gender socialization, media representation of women and girls, gender violence, women writers and the representation of women and girls in fiction.
In addition to studying at the University of Cape Town, Bean participated in a European study-abroad program that took her to the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. During that program, she conducted an independent research project, which culminated in a comprehensive research paper about Audre Lorde and the role of poetry as a political tool in the Afro-German women's movement. Bean interned at the Kalamazoo YWCA in the domestic violence and sexual assault unit. She received the Robin Scholarship for academic excellence in sociology in 2013 and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad in 2014. She was a student member of the Academic Integrity Committee; a member of Iota Iota Iota, the Gender and Women's Studies national honor society; and participated in campus events such as Take Back the Night. She also served for about three years as a supportive volunteer in the YWCA sexual assault unit.
- Alexa P. Morrison is the Presidential Scholar in Family and Consumer Sciences. Morrison is from Sterling Heights and a graduate of Warren Mott High School as well as of the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center who also attended Macomb Community College. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, she is majoring in child and family development as well as in gender and women's studies and expects to graduate in April 2016. Morrison is minoring in anthropology as well as in speech and hearing processes with a concentration in American Sign Language.
Following graduation, she plans to obtain a master's degree and become a child life specialist. Morrison came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University can bestow on an incoming freshman. She interned for a summer at the education department of Binder Park Zoo, teaching children about animals and the environment. In addition, she helped create an after-school tutoring program, called Tutor Time, for children in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. Currently, Morrison is serving as secretary of the Graphic Arts Society in Kalamazoo and volunteering in the Child Life department of a Metro Health Hospital in West Michigan.
- Tyler J. Hough is the Presidential Scholar in Business Information Systems. Hough is a graduate of Three Rivers High School. He is majoring in computer information systems with an emphasis in business analytics and minoring in general business and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Hough plans to use his newly acquired talents to create a database for his family's storage barn business that will hold customer information and other data. In addition, he hopes to obtain a job in information technology at a major company and return to WMU to earn a Master of Business Administration degree.
Hough has always loved working on computers. But with the assistance of his professors at WMU, he discovered his aptitude for programming and other work and developed a love for working in databases. He serves as a system administrator assistant at WMU, assisting the Office of Admissions in obtaining information on prospective students who are interested in attending the University. Hough enjoys helping people learn more about computer systems and offers general advice to co-workers and students in the office as well as maintains an end-user help desk service. An Eagle Scout, he has been on the dean's list every semester and has received numerous scholarships, including differential tuition scholarships for maintaining a grade point average above 3.7.
- Matthew S. Garvin is the Presidential Scholar in Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management. Garvin is a graduate of Traverse City West Senior High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in industrial engineering and expects to graduate in December 2015. He came to WMU on a Medallion Scholarship, the most prestigious honor the University can bestow on an incoming freshman. Following graduation, Garvin plans to return to Traverse City and pursue a career in a manufacturing-related field.
During the past two summers, he completed an internship at GT Hydraulics in Traverse City. He was responsible for rebuilding, machining and welding processes, and also participated in hydraulic design projects. His senior engineering-design project will be conducted at the same company and revolve around facility layout and material handling redesign. Along with being named a 2012 Medallion Scholar, Garvin has received the Kenneth Knight Scholarship, WMU IME Kellogg's Scholarship, 2012 Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Co. Scholarship, Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies of Northern Michigan Scholarship, and U.S. Achievement Academy Scholarship Award.
He works as a student ambassador in the Office of Admissions and helps coordinate major events that the office holds on campus. He also is a member of the Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society. His volunteer work includes activities through the Lee Honors College and helping to clean the beaches and roads in Traverse City.
- Mariesa A. DeSantis is the Presidential Scholar in Art. DeSantis is a graduate of Trenton High School. A member of the Lee Honors College, she is majoring in graphic design and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, DeSantis hopes to get a job in graphic design in New York or on the West Coast. She has worked on campus as an intern in the Frostic School of Art Design Center with clients that include WMU's New Issues Poetry & Prose press, Gold Company jazz ensemble, and Department of World Languages and Literatures.
DeSantis was one of 12 students chosen for the Book Arts in Venice, Italy, program, through which she studied and worked extensively with printmaking, the letterpress, typesetting and bookmaking. This led to volunteer work and an internship at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. Those two hands-on experiences inspired her to focus her Lee Honors College thesis on the design and tactile involvement that comes with reading and making books. DeSantis received the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Student Scholarship four times, the Carl and Winifred Lee Endowed Research Travel Scholarship throughout her time at WMU, and a Frostic School of Art Study Abroad Award. She is active in Alpha Lambda Delta and the American Institution of Graphic Arts and is a volunteer for Drive Safe Kalamazoo and local animal shelters.
- Kathryn S. Hillenbrand is the Presidential Scholar in Geosciences. Hillenbrand is a graduate of Vicksburg High School who attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She is majoring in hydrogeology as well as in applied mathematics and expects to graduate in December 2015. Following graduation, Hillenbrand plans to work as a hydrogeologist with an environmental consulting or engineering service company in southwest Michigan. Her interests are in groundwater quality and remediation.
She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. They include the West Michigan Air and Waste Management Association Environmental Scholarship, Aldo Leopold Award, Fred A. Beeler Memorial Scholarship, Senior Honor Award in Hydrogeology, Advisory Council Hydrogeology Field Camp Scholarship and Richard Laton Field Camp Scholarship. Hillenbrand is a member of the Air and Waste Management Association, National Ground Water Association, American Institute for Professional Geologists, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honor society. She was an undergraduate officer for Pi Mu Epsilon and the Mathematics Club and now serves as that club's president.
- Caleb M. Fiorini is the Presidential Scholar in Sociology. Fiorini is a graduate of Lakeland High School. He is majoring in behavior analysis as well as in criminal justice and expects to graduate in April 2016. Fiorini's specialization will be aimed at the behavior of animals on an individual level. He plans to enter graduate school in the near future but to initially focus his efforts on acquiring more experience by training law enforcement and military animals for service. He also hopes to conduct research on new training methods to improve current training systems, allowing him to utilize both his degree in behavior analysis and criminal justice.
Fiorini has completed a psychology thesis titled "Promoting Transfer of Training Using Multiple Discriminative Stimuli." The research project was aimed at helping a young child diagnosed with autism acquire some basic verbal skills that were not otherwise addressed in the regular curriculum. With the assistance of his graduate mentor, Fiorini succeeded in teaching those skills. In addition, he has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and consistently has been on the dean's list.
Illinois scholars by hometown
- Emily S. Rayburn is the Presidential Scholar in Dance. Rayburn is a graduate of Edwardsville High School who attended Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. She is majoring in dance and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Rayburn plans to move to Chicago to pursue a performance career and explore opportunities in choreography. While at WMU, her choreography has been produced in WMU's 2014 and 2015 Winter Gala Dance concerts, in the WMU Orchesis Dance Society annual dance concerts, and at the east central conference of the American College Dance Association.
Rayburn has performed dances by nationally and internationally known choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, KT Nelson, and Loïe Fuller. WMU's Department of Dance has awarded her several scholarships, including the Shawn Coyle Hunnicutt Scholarship for Excellence in Choreography and the Arthur E. and Martha S. Hearron Dance Scholarship. Additionally, she has been awarded funding to attend summer intensive workshops at Point Park University and the American Dance Festival.
Most recently, Rayburn received the Ramon Zupko Enrichment Fund for Concert Art Collaboration Grant through the College of Fine Arts. Rayburn has participated in the Western Dance Project and several fundraising events for "Dancing with the WMU/Kalamazoo Stars." She has been a member of the Orchesis Dance Society and Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society. In addition, she has served as an academic mentor for the TRiO Student Success Program and has worked in the residence hall system as a resident assistant for the past three years.
- Emily A. Salzman is the Presidential Scholar in Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies. Salzman is a graduate of Prospect High School who attended Indiana University at Bloomington. She is majoring in secondary English education and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Salzman plans to become a middle school or high school English teacher. She has completed two pre-internships, one at the middle school level with seventh and eighth grade students and one at the high school level with freshmen. She began her student teaching internship at Parchment High School in January 2015, working with juniors and seniors for the semester in classes such as English IIIA, Advanced Placement English and Writing for Publication.
During the 2014 fall semester, Salzman was the student-instructor for WMU's class on The Writing Process. She was responsible for providing guidance to the class of 16 freshmen, as well as planning each day's lessons, making assignments, and assessing the students' work and progress. Her community service activities have included volunteering with the Bronco Buddy mentor program through Solid Grounds Student Ministries as well as with the Animal Rescue Project in Kalamazoo.
Massachusetts scholar by hometown
- Richard S. Carbonneau is the Presidential Scholar in English. Carbonneau is from Quincy, Massachusetts, and a graduate of Archbishop Williams High School who attended Emerson College in Boston. He majored in English: creative writing as well as in philosophy and graduated from WMU in December 2014. Carbonneau is working in the Registrar's Office at WMU while pursuing his personal writing and preparing for graduate studies in the future.
His research areas range from the comic book medium to contemporary film and popular culture to modernist literature. Carbonneau has had several short works of graphic fiction published, in addition to a full-length graphic novel biography. During his student career, he was on the dean's list and received the George Sprau Award and the Hagerty Promising Scholar Award.
Ohio scholar by hometown
- Brian P. McClure is the Presidential Scholar in Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems. McClure is a graduate of Clay High School. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in engineering management technology and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, McClure plans to pursue an upper management position with Structure Tec. He will start a full-time position as a Data Management Services project coordinator in May. His current areas of academic interest include using management tools and techniques to solve technical problems within the engineering industry.
McClure's senior engineering-design project involves using spreadsheet-developed management tools and cost analysis to develop an application to solve a local business' inventory issues. This project also is his thesis for the Lee Honors College. McClure is a member of the American Society of Engineering Management, Engineering Management Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Delta. In addition, he volunteers with head football Coach P.J. Fleck and Fleck's coaching staff as the offense's student assistant.
Virginia scholar by hometown
- Kasady K. Kwiatkowska is the Presidential Scholar in Music Theatre Performance. Kwiatkowska is a graduate of Princess Anne High School. She is majoring in music theatre performance and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Kwiatkowska plans to perform professionally during the summer and then move to New York City. She has performed in multiple productions at WMU, as well as productions at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre and Six Flags Great America.
In addition to performing, Kwiatkowska also studied abroad with the WMU Department of Theatre for two weeks at Arts University Bournemouth in Bournemouth, England, as well as at Stratford-upon-Avon in London. While overseas, she also took master classes and saw shows at venues such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Globe Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. At WMU, Kwiatkowska has regularly appeared on the dean's list and is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.
Washington scholar by hometown
- Christopher P. Hickey is the Presidential Scholar in History. Hickey is a graduate of Eatonville High School who attended the U.S. Marine Corps Staff Non-commissioned Officer Academy. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in history with a focus on mid-19th century American history and minoring in Latin and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Hickey plans to obtain a job in the justice system and to attend graduate school in the future.
For his Lee Honors College thesis, Hickey is focusing on why some men in a given society go to war and others do not, and in particular, he is examining Michigan college students during the Civil War. A sixth-generation Marine, he has been deployed around the world and has received several awards. Those accolades include an award for service in the Iraq War as well as a Commendation Medal for heroism that ensured "several lives were saved" after a 1999 helicopter crash.
He is a member of the Marine Corps League, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the First Marine Division Association, and Phi Alpha Theta. He has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Project Canine, the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Battle Creek, and the Special Olympics of Southern California and Michigan. Hickey enjoys spending time with his Labrador retriever, who at a younger age entertained Marines headed for Afghanistan and now brings smiles to the elderly, disabled veterans and troubled kids in Kalamazoo.
Canada scholar by hometown
- Adriano A. Deabreu is the Presidential Scholar in Finance and Commercial Law. Deabreu is a graduate of Ursuline College (secondary) who attended the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is majoring in finance and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Deabreu plans to obtain a summer internship in the private equity sector as an analyst or to attend law school. His interests are in the analysis and management of private equity as well as the legal procedures involved in the mergers and acquisitions market.
Deabreu is a recipient of the Diether H. Haenicke Scholarship, which is a merit-based award available to international undergraduate students attending WMU. He is a member of the University's Student Managed Investment Fund, Association for Corporate Growth Cup and National Honors Society. He also is a member of WMU's varsity men's soccer team and has volunteered with various local organizations.
Germany scholar by hometown
- Lasse Grunewald is the Presidential Scholar in Music. Grunewald is a graduate of Auguste-Viktoria Schule in Germany. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in music performance and jazz studies and expects to graduate in May 2015. Grunewald moved to the United States in 2011 to pursue music performance and jazz studies at WMU. He has studied with several master artists who are or have been professors at WMU, including Trent Kynaston, Dr. Andrew Rathbun and Jeremy Siskind.
His recording credentials include co-producing and performing on the latest WMU Jazz Orchestra recording "Travel Notes," which won Downbeat magazine's student competition award for best Latin group. Funded by the Ramon Zupko Enrichment Fund, Grunewald is currently working on a collaborative arts project with two other WMU students. Their show, "Who Killed Mr. Mason?," features original music and dance, and premiers in late March. Grunewald regularly performs throughout Michigan in small ensembles and as a member of WMU's award-winning Jazz Orchestra. Although he is predominantly found playing jazz music, he also is part of the Dumela Project, a group of young Michigan musicians who perform original compositions in the acoustic rock/pop genre.
Grunewald also has performed in tours throughout Western Europe. He says his most memorable performances were as a guest soloist for the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra in Sonderburg, Denmark, and as a headliner with WMU's internationally known Gold Company at the "Les Choralies," an annual choral festival of 5,000 participants in Vaison-la-Romaine, France. As a student at WMU, Grunewald also has had opportunities to work and perform with such celebrated artists as Joe Lovano, New York Voices, John Clayton, Billy Drewes, Alon Yavnai, Jamey Haddad, Mike Crotty, Billy Hart, Tim Hagans, Peter Eldridge and Fred Hersch.
Malaysia scholar by hometown
Batu Caves, Selangor
- Jagjit Singh Sidhu is the Presidential Scholar in Physics. Sidhu is a graduate of Sri Utama School who attended Sunway University in Malaysia. A member of WMU's Lee Honors College, he is majoring in physics and expects to graduate in May 2015. Following graduation, Sidhu plans to continue studying physics at the graduate level, specializing in the area of overlap between astrophysics and particle physics. His interests are in studying questions regarding the inner workings of the universe as well as the world and the people who inhabit it.
His Lee Honors College thesis, "The Trickster and Queen," explored the fundamental role of the character of the trickster in society. Sidhu also has an interest in art and was selected for the Book Arts in Venice, Italy, study abroad course in summer 2014. Through that course, he was able to explore and understand the roles of art and science during the Renaissance more deeply. As a result, he says he was able to gain a deeper appreciation of the way the great minds of the time used art and science to question everything they thought they knew.
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