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September 22, 2020

SIU Carbondale awards 26 Chancellor Scholarships for 2020-2021

by Pete Rosenbery

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-six students are receiving this year’s awards.

A total of 258 students participated in the Chancellor’s and University Excellence Scholarship Interview Weekend. The selections were 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 and completing 20 hours of community service and campus leadership activities per year. A list of current and previous winners is available at



Alexis Hamon, Breese Central Community High School, is the daughter of Tracy and Neil Hamon. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, Hamon was a Clinton County Academic Excellence Award recipient. She also earned first place in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) state competition in the job interview category. She was vice president of the school’s FBLA club, and was involved with Spanish Club, Student Council, Service Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Journalism Club and girl’s basketball. She is majoring in physiology (pre-med).


Carmen Wilder, Belleville Township East High School, is the daughter of Julie and Merle Wilder. An Illinois State Scholar, Wilder was also a member of the Illinois Honor Society, National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She was with the 2020 SIU Edwardsville Bi-State Honor Band, the 2019 Illinois Music Education Association District 6 Concert Band, and earned a superior soloist rating at Illinois High School Association Solo and Ensemble Contest. She also participated in the school’s marching and symphonic bands, was student technical director for theater, and features editor of the school newspaper. She is majoring in engineering.


Jacob Kelley, Normal Community High School, is the son of Judy Ramsey and Tim Kelley, both of Bloomington. An Illinois State Scholar and AP Scholar, Kelley was also a National Merit Corporate Scholar and earned a four-year principal’s award for high academic honors. An Illinois State Summer STEM Program participant, Kelley was also involved with the Central Illinois Cadaver Lab Academy and participated in his school’s strategy, tutoring and computer technology clubs. He earned six consecutive superior ratings from in piano performance from the National Music Federation Club. Kelley was also a volunteer at the Children’s Discovery Museum. Kelley is majoring in chemistry.

Burr Ridge

Amber Sanchez, Hinsdale South High School, is the daughter of Jennifer and Dwayne Sanchez. A dean’s list recipient throughout high school, Sanchez received AP Test Honors. She was involved in the school’s madrigals, acapella, and breakfast club. Sanchez was a member of the speech team and participated in badminton, theater, and the Future Health Care Professionals Club. She is majoring in biological sciences with a specialization in biomedical science.


Jaci South, Chester High School, is the daughter of Jana and Jerry South of Chester. An Illinois State Scholar, South was a member of the school’s National Honor Society, Academic Challenge Team and captain of the scholar bowl team. She was editor of the school newspaper and yearbook, and swing choir member. South earned first in copy editing and humorous column at the Southern Illinois School Press Association Conference. South was treasurer of the school’s environmental club, senior class treasurer, and president of Gender-Sexuality Alliance. She is majoring in computer science.


Joseph Blayne Brumleve, Cobden High School, is the son of Jeanne and Dan Brumleve. He participated in the school’s Beta Club, Math/ACES team and Union County CEO program. Brumleve also finished first in chemistry in an ACES regional meet. He played varsity basketball and was a 2020 first-team all-South Egyptian Conference basketball selection. He will major in biological sciences.

Du Quoin

Shelby Harris, Du Quoin High School, is the daughter of Jason and Amanda Harris. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, Harris was the school’s class valedictorian. She participated in marching band, and several organizations, including Health Occupations Students of America, Future Business Leaders of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Nurse Assistant Training. She is majoring in nursing.

Glen Carbon

Alex Jones, the son of Janine and Shane Jones, was accepted to the Jacobs School of Music highly selective Audio Engineering and Sound Production program and the Frost School of Music’s competitive Music Engineering Technology program. He writes and produces original electronic music and audiovisual media under the name “Aurai.” Jones has worked as an IT technician for a law firm in Clayton, Missouri, and while in high school was involved in debate club, theater club and concert choir in cooperative organizations in Illinois and Missouri. Jones is majoring in computer science.


Anthony Fanelli, LeRoy High School, is the son of Amy and Steve Fanelli. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, Fanelli was also a class officer. He participated in scholastic bowl and Key Club, along with the school’s band, chorus, madrigals, fall play and spring musical. He was involved with the Academic Challenge in Engineering and Science and received the John Toohill Service Award. He is majoring in computer science.


Aron Taylor, Carbondale Community High School, is the son of Kathy and Kris Taylor. The high school’s class valedictorian, Taylor participated in band, football and wrestling. He placed three times in the Illinois High School Association state wrestling tournament during his career, including a fifth-place finish in the Class 2A 152-pound weight class this spring. Taylor is majoring in mechanical engineering.


Diazha J. Berry, Marion High School, is the daughter of Shelley and D’Antre Berry. She is an Illinois State Scholar, in the top five of her graduating class, and received Latin IV Student of the Year honors. She was involved in the school’s speech and acting team, served as student play director, and junior ROTC flight commander. Berry has a double major in cinema and linguistics.


Eliza Fletcher, Metamora Township High School, is the daughter of Nicole Garber of Metamora and Aaron Fletcher of Peoria. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, she was chosen among the school’s Top 10 “Most Likely to Succeed” and earned a Spanish student award. She participated in track and field and the Experimental Aircraft Association. She is majoring in aviation management and flight.


Jacelyn Street, Newton Community High School, is the daughter of Marcia and Shad Street. An Illinois State Scholar and class valedictorian, Street was an all-state selection in chorus. She served as the school’s student body president and class officer, and was an all-state selection in tennis for three seasons. She was also involved in numerous clubs and activities, including marching band, high school musicals, and the Diocesan Youth Ministry Advisory Council and Catholic Heart Work Camp. She is majoring in physiology.

South Beloit

Rylie Martinetti, Hononegah High School in Rockton, is the daughter of Angel and Dean Martinetti. An Illinois State Scholar, Martinetti was in the top 25 in her graduating class and a National Honor Society member. She was a two-time Northern Illinois Conference Outstanding Scholar-Athlete selection and a member of the girls’ basketball team that finished third in Class 4A in 2019, and the squad’s 2020 captain. Martinetti was student council vice president, and member of the Key Club, Environmental Club and yearbook staff. She is majoring in physiology on a pre-dental track.


Nia Williams, Springfield Southeast High School, is the daughter of Olivia Haynes of Springfield and Antwon Williams of Memphis, Tennessee. Graduating with a 5.2 GPA, Williams was a National Honors Society member, an AP Scholar, received numerous scholarships and was selected the school’s Literature Student of Year. She received the NAACP Academic Achievement Award and a certificate of completion of Problem-based Learning Workshop with the SIU School of Medicine. She was also involved in numerous extracurricular and community service activities including Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE), the German Club, working as a pre-k teacher in her church, and was a member of the Ronald McDonald Charities Teen Council. She is a double major in physiology and Japanese on a pre-med track to pursue a career in neurosurgery.


Robert Hensley, Bloom Trail High School, is the son of Laura Hillyer-Hensley and Glen Hensley. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, Hensley earned high honors throughout high school. He was a member of the high school chemistry club and the Bloom Township chess club. In 2012, he co-founded The Community Closet Clothing Charity. He also attended Prairie State College in Chicago Heights. He is majoring in biomedical engineering.


Ashley Jackson, Thompsonville High School, is the daughter of Amanda and Keith Jackson. An Illinois State Scholar and National Honor Society member, Jackson achieved a perfect 5.0 GPA. She was involved with FFA, where she earned a National FFA Organization Public Speaking Award; the school’s Spanish and science clubs, student government, yearbook club, along with basketball, softball and volleyball. She is majoring in radiation therapy.


Bella Vista

Layton Kyle Paloutzian, Foothill High School, is the son of Sheree and Tyler Paloutzian. A Golden State Seal Merit Diploma recipient, Paloutzian graduated with honors. In high school, he was involved in the schools science and math clubs, along with science bowl, track and field, swimming and soccer. He is majoring in biological sciences, with a specialization in ecology.



Lilian Sordello, Pueblo County School of Engineering and Biomedical Science, is the daughter of Jodie and Donald Owens. She is a three-time state finalist and one time state champion with the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) program, and earned the organization’s Daniel’s Fund Scholarship. Sordello is a two-time national qualifier and state champion with Health Occupations Students of America, an organization for future health professionals. She also was on the school’s Knowledge Bowl team for three years, serving one year as president. She is majoring in chemistry.



Zachary Jordan is the son of Elisabeth Bui. A Dean’s list member, Jordan was involved in scientific competitions and was a 2017 Chemistry Olympiad East Texas Regional Champion. He is involved in scuba diving. He is majoring in biological sciences.


Terre Haute

Alyssa Dicus, Terre Haute South High School, is the daughter of Krystle Moore and Donald Dicus, both of Terre Haute, Indiana. She is majoring in accounting.



Justin Wingerter, Blue Valley Southwest High School, is the son of Linda and Robert Wingerter. He was a member of the 2019 American Junior Golf Association Academic All-America team and National Honor Society member. He graduated in the top 1% of his class, and was an AP Scholar with Distinction selection. He was also a member of the Spanish National Honor Society. A first-team all-state selection in golf, Wingerter also participated in soccer and basketball and will be a member of the SIU men’s golf team. He is majoring in business management and Spanish.



Matthew Sebalja, Fox Senior High School, Arnold Missouri, is the son of Janice and Steve Sebalja. In high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society and participated in lacrosse, soccer and baseball. He was also in Student Ambassadors, Boy Scouts and Distributive Education Clubs of America. At Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri, he earned Dean’s List honors, the Presidential Award and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He is majoring in marketing.



Aubriella Bennetts, Epic Charter Schools, is the daughter of Della Bennetts. A National Honors Society member and National Merit Scholarship finalist, Bennetts was the Epic Charter Schools class salutatorian. She worked at the Tulsa Zoo as a teen volunteer. Bennetts is majoring in zoology.



Alaina Wilson, Rossview High School, is the daughter of Jennifer and Sean Wilson. An AP Scholar with Distinction, Wilson graduated with highest honors with distinction and was a four-year recipient of the National Latin Exam Gold Award. She was a member of the school’s National Honor Society, the English National Honor Society and the Latin Honor Society. She was a member of the high school band’s color guard and the Rossview Junior Classical League. Wilson is majoring in zoology.



Morgan Mitchell, Heights Prep High School, is the son of Denice and Kurtis Mitchell. A member of the school’s Science Bowl, debate club, student council and theater club, Mitchell earned a Dean’s Award. He was a member of the school’s politics club and Black student union. Mitchell is majoring in microbiology.