May 14, 2009
Nineteen named Presidential Scholars
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Hard work, dedication and determination in the classroom and the community are characteristics shared by the 2009 Southern Illinois University Presidential Scholars.
An SIUC Presidential Scholar designation is a major achievement for these 19 graduating high school seniors. The competitive presidential scholarships cover tuition, fees, and room and board for four years at the University.
Each scholarship is awarded based upon student-provided information, and include ACT or SAT scores and class rank at the time of admission. Potential candidates go through an interview process, and successful applicants have leadership roles in their community and give back to their schools and community. Successful applicants will be those viewed as becoming effective leaders both inside and outside the University classroom.
The late SIU President James E. Walker established the scholarships in 2001. The scholarships are the most prestigious and most comprehensive that the University awards each year.
The award is renewable for all four years as long as students maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. The presidential scholarship is worth more than $75,000.
Ryan John Dosier, Carbondale Community High School, is the son of John and Kay Dosier. He is an Illinois State Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society and on the high honor roll. He was active in the student council, lifesavers, freshman mentors, and the Scholar Bowl. He was also senior class vice president, and an announcer for the Carbondale Lady Terriers. He plans to major in communications/film.
Josi Shay Young, Carbondale Community High School, is the daughter of Julie and Peppy Young. She is a member of the National Honor Society, a 2008-2009 scholar, and on the high honor roll. She is a multi-sport athlete and participated in basketball and soccer. She was active in lifesavers all four years in high school, as well as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and served as a volunteer Upward Bound basketball coach. She plans to major in business administration.
Gerrod Lemon, Thornridge High School, is the son of Stevie L. and Gail D. Lemon. He is a Illinois State Scholar, and ranked No. 6 in his senior class. He attended the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, and is a member of the National Spanish Honor Society. He earned the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship. He is also involved in the Adopt-A-Student Mentor Program. He plans to major in management.
Danielle McGrew, Flora High School, is the daughter of Joe and Barbara McGrew. She is an Illinois State Scholar, the National Honor Society and a member of the school’s high honor roll each year. She served as sentinel and then secretary of the school’s FFA chapter, and earned a FFA Scholarship Award. She served on the student council at her school, and as co-president of the English Honor Society. Her numerous activities also include editor of the Locust Log and Hartsan, along with the pep club, drama club, Spanish club, ACT Theater, and high school band. She plans to major in news-editorial/journalism.
Laila Abdo, Harrisburg High School, is the daughter of Dr. Samir and Ghada Abdo. She is an Illinois State Scholar and ranked No. 1 in her class, and achieved honor roll status throughout her school career. Her myriad of academic and extra-curricular activities include Scholar Bowl varsity captain, speech team captain, band drum major, golf team captain, academic club president, forensics club president, and National Honor Society vice president. She also participated in concert choir, math team and soccer all four years in high school. She earned 23 credits in Southeastern Illinois College’s Summer Honors Program, and another five credits in calculus this spring. She performed as a guest soloist on piano with the Festival Symphony during the Stars of Tomorrow concert at SIUC in 2007, and was the Illinois representative in piano excellence at the National Music Hall of Fame in 2008. She also participated in high school musicals, plays, and community theater. In her community, her volunteer work includes the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, American Heart Association, Locks of Love, Thanksgiving baskets, food pantry, soup kitchen, and mission work. She also participated in an internship with Douglas Fix, chair of SIUC’s microbiology department during summer 2008. She plans to major in microbiology and music.
Greg Guebert, Herrin High School, is the son of Don and Barb Guebert. He is an Illinois State Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. He earned the Illinois Principal’s Association Senior Award, in addition to several math awards, and the John A. Logan College “Top 6 Juniors Award.” A four-year participant in baseball and basketball -- including captain of the basketball team his senior year -- Guebert captained the Scholar Bowl team, and participated in that, and the math team, all four years. He plans to major in civil engineering.
Jessica Wharton, Herrin High School, is the daughter of Curt and Dana Wharton. She is a four-year member and state qualifier for the high school math team, and also a member of the WYSE team. She earned the Young Citizen of the Year from the Herrin Chamber of Commerce in 2008, and an ICTM regional championship in presentation. She is with the Herrin FBC youth group, and a four-year manager of the boy’s track team. She plans to major in interior design.
Nick Sager, Mount Vernon Township High School, is the son of Perry and Ann Sager. He is a member of the National Honor Society, youth and government, and participated in soccer. He plans to major in mechanical engineering.
Cassie Irmeger, Normal Community West High School, is the daughter of Edward and Kathryn Irmeger. She is an Illinois State Scholar, a National Merit Scholars commended student, and the National Honor Society member. She is also a member of the French National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and a 2009 Presidential Scholars Program candidate. She was the November student representative from her high school to the Normal Rotary Club. Her extracurricular activities include French Club, senior board, madrigal strings, Key Club, and a youth missions team member for her church. She plans to major in architectural studies.
Alexis Bergman, Quincy Notre Dame High School, is the daughter of David and Susan Bergman. She is an Illinois State Scholar, and a member of the National Honor Society. She earned the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizens Award, and the Society for Academic Achievement Award. She is a member of the student council, English Club, Spanish Club, Catholic Heart Work Camp, Key Club, and Art Club, along with the school yearbook and editor of the school newspaper. She plans to major in zoology.
Brock Kabat, Waltonville High School, is the son of Mark and Lori Kabat. An Illinois State Scholar, Kabat was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His extracurricular activities include football, basketball, FFA and Beta Club. He plans to major in pre-med.
Oluwatobi Ajoku, Springfield High School, is the son of Omotola Danmole. He earned first-place in the WSYE regional unlimited in biology. He is a member of his school’s Prevention Club, which focuses on drug-free teens, the Do Something Club, which emphasizes community service and leadership, the Literature Club, Environmental Club, and WYSE. He plans to major in microbiology.
Lindsay DuBois, Springfield High School, is the daughter of Tom and Nancy DuBois. She is an Illinois State Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. She is a member of the school’s Prevention Club, which focuses on drug-free teens; the Do Something Club, which emphasizes community service and leadership, the Literature Club, and the Spanish Club. She also is involved with the Springfield Ballet Company, and teaches gymnastics and tumbling at the YMCA and Springfield Dance. She plans to major in computer science.
Abby Melin, Sycamore High School, is the daughter of Bruce and Linda Melin. She is an Illinois State Scholar, a member of the honor role, and a People-to-People Student Ambassador. She is a member of the school’s DCP/SAFE club, which promotes happy, safe and drug-free families. She is also a member of the French Club, student council, and Student Advisory Forum president. She plans to major in foreign language and international trade.
Angie Meads, Taylorville High School, is the daughter of Louis J. and Marjorie Meads. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Key Club, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She also competed in cross country and track and field.
Joe Gulick, Villa Grove High School, is the son of Greg and Tish Gulick. He is a member of the National Honor Society, high honor roll at his school, and an SAR Award winner. He is also involved with student council, peer counseling, the science club, and the school’s band and choir. He plans to major in pre-medicine.
Tyler Chance, Frankfort Community High School, is the son of Greg and Bethanne Chance. He is a member of the National Honor Society, and a four-year Scholar Bowl team member. He is a three-time recipient of the Bob Gower Award for top 10 class rank, and an Outstanding Top 6 Junior by John A. Logan College. A Hi-Q team member he represented his high school as a member of LEADSI (Future Leaders of Southern Illinois), and is a two-year WYSE team member. He received first place in physics in the 2009 WYSE regional competition. A four-year member of the wrestling team and a co-captain this past season, he also participated in cross country and track. His community involvement includes work as an Eagle Scout, with service projects that include organizing an Ident-A-Kid event at a local mall. He is also actively involved with his church, and is a Youth Advisory Council member for state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion. He plans to major in political science.
Stephanie Alexandria Geiser, Glenbard South High School, is the daughter of Stephen and Sandra Geiser. She is a member of the National Honor Society, and earned a band four-year award. Her other activities include participating in the school’s jazz combo, symphonic band, marching band, and the multi-media club. She plans to major in bio-chemistry.
Josh Gaither, Woodlawn Community High School, is the son of Tom and Denise Gaither. He is an Illinois State Scholar, the class salutatorian and received the Woodmen of the World American History Award. His extracurricular activities include basketball, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the high school honors program, student council, and the school play. He plans to major in zoology.