SIU Carbondale Chancellor Scholarship recipients – Chancellor John M. Dunn, center, stands with Chancellor Scholarship recipients for 2019-2020. SIU’s most prestigious award, the scholarship covers tuition, fees, room and board for four years. (Photo by Russell Bailey)
September 20, 2019
SIU Carbondale awards 25 Chancellor’s Scholarships for 2019-2020
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Exceptional efforts in the classroom and in their communities helped this year’s Chancellor’s Scholars at Southern Illinois University Carbondale stand out from their peers.
The Chancellor’s Scholarship, SIU’s most prestigious award, is a significant achievement for the students as it covers tuition, fees, room and board for four years. Twenty-five students are receiving this year’s awards.
A total of 307 students participated in the Chancellor’s and University Excellence Scholarship Interview Weekend. The selections are based on the students’ ACT or SAT scores, their academic credentials submitted at the time of admission, an essay and personal interview. The applicants also have a record of leadership in their communities and participation in numerous extracurricular activities.
The award is renewable for three years, contingent upon the students maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA. A list of current and previous winners is available at scholarships.siu.edu/current-scholars/scholars-list.php.
Summer Schleeper, Alton High School, is the daughter of Denise and Christopher Schleeper. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, Schleeper was also part of the Mu Alph Theta mathematics honor society and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Schleeper earned a Silver Medallion Academic Excellence Award and was involved with the Spanish Club, architectural draft club, physics club and student government. She was also a four-year varsity soccer letter recipient. She is an exploratory student.
Nicolas Forcade-Perkins, Normal Community West High School, is the son of Jo Forcade and Michelle Perkins. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, Forcade-Perkins was part of the Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society, National English Honors Society, Business Club and Key Club. He was varsity captain in basketball; a State Farm Challenge winner and Big 12 Conference Scholar-Athlete selection. He also received a Hank Keiser Award. He is majoring in electrical engineering.
Matthew Kovich, Tri-Valley High School, is the son of Kim Hamilton and Mike Kovich, both of Bloomington. A National Honor Society member, he was involved with school plays and musicals. He was captain for the school’s track and cross-country teams, and involved with concert and jazz choirs. Kovich was also a member of the school’s student council, Key Club, and on the Illinois High School Association Student Advisory Committee. He was homecoming king and on the prom court and earned the school’s Barb Piercen Award and Sons of the American Revolution recognition. He is majoring in aviation.
Caleb Hoffman, DeKalb High School, is the son of Laura and Eric Hoffman. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, Hoffman was a Tri-M Music Honor Society vice president and three-time regional qualifier for the Illinois Music Education Association. He was a state qualifier in forensics for humorous interpretation and participated in marching band, steel band, theater, the French club and tennis. He has a black belt in taekwondo. He is majoring in psychology.
KJ Fitz, Thornwood High School, is the daughter of Robert Fitz. An Illinois State Scholar and distinguished scholar, she graduated in the top 10 in her class. Fitz was president of the Thornwood chapter of “Operation Snowball;” founder and president of Queens Sisterhood Mentoring; co-editor of the school’s literary magazine; and was involved with speech, theatre, poetry, student council and yearbook clubs. A member of the school’s majorettes, Fitz was also president of her class prom committee, vice president of GSA and junior varsity captain of the school’s scholastic bowl team. She is majoring in psychology.
Ryan Jurich, Herrin High School, is the son of Karen and Joseph Jurich. A four-time high honors student, he was involved with Scholar Bowl, the school’s math team and Rotary Club. He was the head spot-lighting director for the drama club and earned a Rotary Club Scholarship. He is majoring in international studies.
Tobias Hagen, Lemont Township High School, is the son of Kelly Hagen of Lemont and Martin Hagen of Bremen, Germany. A National Honor Society member, Hagen was part of a Junior Achievement team at his high school that earned Chicagoland Junior Achievement Company of the Year honors for 2018 and 2019. He was involved in track and field and soccer, and was part of soccer teams that won Class 2A regional titles in 2017 and 2018, and a track team that was first in the conference in the 4x800m relay. Hagen earned a Heritage Corridor Business Alliance Scholarship. He is majoring in management.
Alisa Chen, Marion High School, is the daughter of Yu-Ling Chen and Dr. Kevin Chen. She was a member of the Spanish, science and mathematics honors societies; the Mu Alpha Theta national mathematics honor society, and earned an AP Scholars Award. She was also a Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Grand Honors Award recipient; a PSAT/NMSQT Commended Scholar, and Global Studies Student of the Year. She was involved with rodeo bull riding. She is majoring in pre-nursing.
Chelsea McGee, Marshall Community High School, is the daughter of Cindy McGee of Marshall and Scott McGee of Terre Haute, Indiana. A National Honor Society member, McGee was the school’s International Club president, and earned the Helmut and Mary Liedloff Scholarship; American Legion Post 90 Integrity Award, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizens Award. She participated in the Interact Service Volunteer Club and horseback riding. She is majoring in German studies.
Hannah Gahagan, Murphysboro High School, is the daughter of Nikki and Michael Gahagan. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, she was the high school’s Senior of the Year selection and earned a Southern Illinois School Society for High School Achievement Award. She received superior ratings at regional and state history fairs. Gahagan was also a member of the school’s scholar bowl team, Key Club, Beta Club and the girls’ golf team. She is majoring in physiology.
Arianna Goss, Newton Community High School, is the daughter of Christina and Larry Goss. An Illinois State Scholar, she was her school’s 2019 valedictorian and a class officer. She was a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) national qualifier; 4-H Honor member; TRIO Upward Bound 2018 Summer Program Star Student and involved in numerous clubs and activities. That included the school’s math, science and Spanish clubs; student council, FBLA, and BETA clubs; marching and pep bands; drumline; chorus, and tennis. She is majoring in health care management.
Gabe Bonansinga, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, is the son of Amy and Joseph Bonansinga. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, he was an all-state selection in track. He competed in track and cross-country in high school. Bonansinga is majoring in biochemistry.
Wyatt Smith, Stewardson-Strasburg High School, is the son of Brigit and Chad Smith. An Illinois State Scholar, National Honor Society member and class valedictorian, Smith earned high honors all four years in high school and awards in calculus, trigonometry, geometry, English, Illinois History, Spanish and biology. He was part of the student council and numerous clubs, including scholastic bowl, Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) and summer strings orchestra. He was also involved in basketball and track. He is majoring in physiology.
Claire Morrical, Richwoods High School, is the daughter of Vicki and Brian Morrical. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, she earned a National Merit Letter of Commendation and international baccalaureate degree. Morrical was two-time Illinois Music Education Association all-district musician selection in chorus and was involved in the high school’s drama, chorus and madrigals. Morrical was a member of the school’s speech and scholastic bowl teams and film club. She received the Jamie Epstein Memorial Scholarship Award and was a Sterling Merit Award recipient. She worked as a volunteer at Wildlife Prairie Park, Central Illinois Riding Therapy and at Art and Science in the Woods Camp. She is majoring in zoology.
Reese Borlin, Washington Community High School, is the son of Kerri and Scott Borlin. A National Merit Finalist, Borlin earned a Scholastic American Visions Award and a Scholastic National Gold Key, both in Sculpture. Borlin is an Eagle Scout, and he participated in the school’s art club, and in cross-country and track and field. He was also involved with the Washington Leadership and Community Service Club. He is majoring in forestry.
Liz Forassiepi, Downers Grove North High School, is the daughter of Amy and Mike Forassiepi. A National Honor Society member, she was on the high school honor roll and earned a directors’ award for her work with the high school choir. She was a member of the school’s wildlife society; service dawgs and herpetology clubs. She is majoring in zoology.
Claire Talbert, Signature School, is the daughter of Jenna and Marco Talbert. The school’s 2019 class salutatorian, Talbert was a National Honor Society member, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and she participated in the school’s conservation club, student council, history club and soccer club. She tutored students all four years in high school and headed the tutoring program. Talbert was an IB diploma recipient and received a certificate of multilingual proficiency. She represented Signature School at the Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders at the University of Indianapolis and conducted her own research projects in environmental science, biology and history. Through the conservation club, Talbert spent months doing research and writing a climate charter that she and other students presented to the city council in Evansville, Indiana. She is majoring in geography and environmental resources.
Michael Ochsenbauer, Forest Lake Senior High School, is the son of Thomas Gary Ochsenbauer and the late Marcia Marie Gunia. A National Honor Society member, Ochsenbauer earned varsity letters in academics and athletics; was part of his school’s Homecoming Royalty and received the “most spirited” award for his 2019 senior class. He was a student council member, Leo’s Club and the alpine ski team. He is majoring in aviation flight and aviation technologies.
Claire Waldon, Lewisburg High School, is the daughter of Ginger and Bryan Waldon. A National Honor Society member, Waldon was also a member of the national English honor society and Mu Alpha Theta national mathematics honor society. She participated in student council, and earned a Rotary Youth Leadership Award, was a Lindy Callahan Scholar Athlete nominee, and Beta Club member. She participated in varsity soccer and tennis. She is majoring in civil engineering.
Julia Beckner, Kirkwood High School, is the daughter of Krystal and Jeff Beckner. A National Honor Society member, she was a member of the National Art Honor Society. Beckner was involved with band and taekwondo and is a first- and second-degree black belt. She is majoring in zoology.
Caitlyn Jean Bartsch, Fox Senior High School, is the daughter of Amanda and Bryan Bartsch. An AP Scholar, she was in the top 5% of her high school graduating class and a Missouri Bright Flight scholarship recipient. Bartsch was a three-time Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) International Conference qualifier and Missouri DECA state conference champion. She was a St. Louis Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) Medical Strand Associate and a member of the high school marching band drumline. She volunteered at Helping Hands & Horses Equine Therapy Center. Bartsch is majoring in physiology with a pre-medicine track.
Andrea DeYong, a home-school student, is the daughter of Penny and Greg DeYong. She was a Duke University Talent Identification Program Scholar and earned first-place honors in the senior engineering division at the 2016 SEMO Regional Science Fair. She is involved with AAU and USA swimming, taekwondo, and dog training. She is majoring in animal science with a pre-veterinary track.
David Hernandez, Francis Howell North High School, is the son of Maria and Rodrigo Hernandez. He earned a Presidential Award, Thespian Sapphire Award and Academic Excellence Award for his work in school. He was involved with Minority Achievement Scholars and the Francis Howell North Drama Club. He is majoring in zoology.
Secilia Ho, Wadsworth Senior High School, is the daughter of Jessica and Ron Ho. She ranked in the top 10 in her graduating class and was National Honor Society class president. An AP scholar, Ho was the student council executive secretary and part of many organizations, including Key Club, the speech and debate club, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), World Leadership Congress, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. A golfer, Ho was selected the school’s “Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year,” the “Player of the Year” for golf, and a Suburban League National Conference All Star. She is majoring in electrical engineering with a biomedical specialization and Chinese.
Nicholas Winkler, Bartlett High School, is the son of Carolyn and Henry Winkler. A National Honor Society member, he was a member of the Mu Alpha Theta national mathematics honor society and his high school’s high honors academy. An Eagle Scout, Winkler received a Presidential Volunteer Service Award and Tennessee State STEM Competition Technology Problem Solving Award. His other activities included participating in the Bridge Builder Leadership Board and leadership council; Key Club, varsity basketball, marching band, Latin Club, Spanish Club and high school pep club. He was also part of the Bartlett (Tenn.) Mayor’s Youth Council. He is majoring in finance.