October 26, 2011

University welcomes initial group of First Scholars

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Saluki First Year, in partnership with the Suder Foundation, introduces the inaugural group of First Scholars this semester.

First Scholars at SIU Carbondale represent a whole new future -- not only in the general sense of college students taking their first steps toward careers and civic leadership, but also more specifically as first-generation college students. First generation refers to students whose parents have never attended college.

This year, 19 freshmen are participating in the First Scholars Program at SIU Carbondale. Eligible students must also be full-time, first-time freshmen with a solid academic record and demonstrated financial need.  Other requirements include maintaining an acceptable grade point average and active participation in program events and activities.  The scholarship at SIU Carbondale is available to Illinois residents, or to those residents of neighboring states to which the University has extended a tuition rate equivalent to in-state: Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.

First Scholars receive a $5,000 scholarship, renewable for up to four years.  First Scholars is more than just a scholarship, though.  It is also a mentoring program meant to address the challenges particular to a first-generation college student, and to foster leadership qualities with the “Pay-It-Forward” component of the program.  Students in the program will maintain eligibility in part through volunteer activities, particularly serving as mentors as they become upper-classmen in the program.

This first-ever group of First Scholars at SIU Carbondale is:

(By hometown -- all from Illinois)

Blue Island: Victoria Manna

Calumet City: Taylor Townsend

Chester: Britney Schroeder

Chicago: Alexus Travis

Chicago Heights: Alejandra Esparza

Chrisman: Amanda Ingram

Cutler: Amie Conway

Dolton: Asurca Rodriguez

Fults: Aaron Mueller

Grayslake: Damian Zieminski

Gurnee: Kaitlyn Griffin

Ingleside: Cody Hepner

Joliet: Taylor Craig

Manito: Sarah Lohman

Mineral: Amber Blackert

Norridge: Nicole Kmiotek

Rockford: Ryan Fernandes
St. Joseph: Cody Dees
Vandalia: Cameron Keppler