sealPurdue News

April 12, 2003

Outstanding Purdue students recognized at Honors Convocation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University students were recognized for their academic achievements today (Friday, 4/11) during the annual University Honors Convocation.

Kristi Anne Ludwig of Germantown, Tenn., received the Flora Roberts Award for the outstanding graduating woman. Ludwig will graduate in May with a double major in dietetics and nutrition plus fitness and health. Along with her academic achievements, Ludwig has held leadership roles in Purduettes, the Old Masters Program and Delta Gamma sorority. She also studied abroad one semester in Madrid, Spain.

Matthew W. Eckerle of Columbus, Ind., received the G.A. Ross Award for the outstanding graduating man. Eckerle will graduate next month with a double major in plant science and machine systems. He received many scholarships and honors over last the four years while serving one year as a residence hall counselor, studying abroad in New Zealand for one semester and being involved with several organizations and clubs, including Purdue's triathlon club, of which he was president.

Both Ludwig and Eckerle will receive a medal, a $500 award and have their names inscribed on an award marker located on the Purdue Mall. Their awards are based on academic achievement, leadership, character and overall contribution to the university.

Monica F. Boothe, a senior from Indianapolis majoring in classical studies, received the Louis Sudler Prize for excellence in the arts. Boothe has been involved in several of Purdue's bands and music ensembles including the "All-American" Marching Band as cymbal segment leader and the Symphonic Band. Among her many accomplishments was winning Purdue's 2003 Concerto Competition as a marimba soloist. She also carries a 3.8 grade point average. Boothe received $1,000.

The Purdue Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity also awarded its newly reestablished arts scholarship to Beth A. Walker, an elementary education major from Greentown, Ind. The scholarship is presented to a freshman, sophomore or junior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who expresses interest and passion for music, visual arts and/or theater activities.

Joseph W. Franses, a junior from West Lafayette, Ind., who is pursuing a dual degree in chemistry and chemical engineering, earned the Bruce Helfert Memorial Award. The award is presented each year to the outstanding junior majoring in science or engineering who demonstrates both academic proficiency and social concern.

Franses, a 4.0 student who already is active in research, has received many awards and honors including a Lilly Research Fellowship. In addition, he has served as president and treasurer of the Purdue Science Student Council. Franses has demonstrated his social concern by volunteering at a local retirement community, performing as a pianist for official high school functions and serving holiday meals at a local community center. He received $1,000.

Two students, Anya Savikhin of West Lafayette, Ind., and Stephanie J. Warner, of South Whitley, Ind., received Amelia Earhart scholarships worth $1,000. The awards are presented each year in honor of Earhart, who demonstrated exceptional desire to succeed in her chosen field. The recipients must exhibit exemplary leadership skills, determination and potential while possessing a minimum grade point average of 3.2 after 48 semester hours.

Savikhin is a junior majoring in economics, who is carrying a 4.0 grade point average. She has been involved in developing programs to help elementary and junior high students understand economic concepts.

Warner, a junior majoring in agricultural education, serves as the president of Purdue Student Government. She is carrying a 3.23 grade point average.

Charles O. McGaughey Leadership Awards were presented to eight students who each received $2,800 as an acknowledgment of their superior leadership abilities, scholarship and appreciation of basic American values. They also received a crystal paperweight commemorating the award.

Recipients included Shannon M. Amato of Hinsdale, Ill., Elizabeth J. Bawcum of Winamac Ind., Brian T. Belloli of Fishers, Ind., Colette M. Bland of St. John, Ind., Christopher P. Geswein of Palmyra, Ind., Caroline A. Maiben, of Peru Ind., Felix T. McElroy IV of Midland, Mich., and Willis E. Weirich of Greenfield, Ind.

Amato, a senior majoring in youth, adult and family services with a specialization in at-risk youth, has served as president and a board member for College Mentors for Kids and has been active with the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club as a recreational supervisor. After graduation in May, she plans to pursue a nonprofit management certificate and a career in fund raising and marketing for a nonprofit organization.

Bawcum, a senior majoring in elementary education, has served as the vice president of the Purdue Student Education Council as well as the host and hostess co-chairperson for the Old Masters Central Committee. She is the new member educator for Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and a varsity letter winner with the Purdue Cheerleading Squad. After graduation in May, Bawcum plans to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher.

Belloli is a senior majoring in management with minors in management information systems, international business and German. He has served as the general manager for College Mentors for Kids, president and vice president of internal affairs for Management Ambassadors, and head of business operations of Purdue Alumni Association Student Ambassadors. After graduation in May, he will work for the ZS Associates consulting firm in Evanston, Ill., as a business information specialist.

Bland is in her fifth year at Purdue pursuing her doctorate in pharmacy. She has been active in Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, having served as vice president of administration and scholarship chair. She also served as the associate vice president of recruitment for the Panhellenic Association and was the selection chair for the Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society. Next year Bland will complete her degree with 44 weeks of residency in clinical pharmacy practices in the Chicago area.

Geswein, a senior majoring in agricultural economics with a minor in political science, has served as the student body vice president, chief of staff and director of Boiler Pride for Purdue Student Government, vice president of the Agricultural Council, vice president of administration for Farm House Fraternity, and secretary of the Skull and Crescent Honorary Leadership Society. After graduation in May, Geswein will be a grain merchandiser for Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Maiben is a senior with a double major in animal agribusiness and computer technology. She has served as the president of the Indiana Junior Beef Cattle Association and as program coordinator for the Indiana Junior Sheep Association. This summer Maiben will be the junior activities intern for the American Angus Association in St. Joseph, Mo. She will return to Purdue next year to complete her degree.

McElroy is a senior majoring in accounting with a minor in finance. He has been active in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, where he served as president, and was director of academics and a voting delegate for the National Pan-Hellenic Council. McElroy also held leadership roles with the Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society, Society of Minority Managers and Golden Key International Honor Society. After graduation McElroy will work in the financial division of a General Motors plant in Indianapolis.

Weirich is a senior majoring in aviation technology with a minor in management. He has served as president of Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society, vice president of membership for the Interfraternity Council and assistant director of Boiler Gold Rush. In the fall he will attend Ohio State University to pursue a master's degree in student personnel. He also has an assistantship in academic advising with Fisher Business School.

Also recognized for their achievements were six undergraduate students who received National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, which provide tuition for three years of graduate study, an annual stipend worth at least $21,000 and a $10,500 cost of education allowance. The students include William G. Conley, a mechanical engineering major from West Lafayette, Ind.; Anna R. Gilbert, a mechanical engineering major from North Olmsted, Ohio; Damon F. Landau, an aeronautics and astronautics major from Indianapolis; Thomas L. McLean, a psychology major from West Lafayette, Ind.; Brian D. Roth, an aeronautics and astronautics major from Ardmore, Okla.; and Eric R. Tkaczyk, an electrical engineering and mathematics major from Northville, Mich.

Tkaczyk also was recognized as the recipient of the Gates Cambridge Trust fellowship. This trust was created through an endowment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The sole purpose of the trust is to award scholarships to enable the brightest of the world's young leaders and scholars to undertake graduate work at Cambridge University in England. The scholarship is valued at approximately $32,000 per year.

Tkaczyk is originally from Carmel, Ind., but now makes Northville, Mich., his home. He is graduating next month with a 4.0 grade point average in electrical engineering and mathematics and will possibly pursue a doctorate in molecular biology at Cambridge University, beginning next October.

In addition, 58 students who maintained an "A" average during their college careers were honored. In addition to Tkaczyk, they include: Iman A. Wahhab, a computer graphics technology major from the United Arab Emirates; Christopher A. Anderson, a doctor of pharmacy candidate from Vincennes, Ind.; Erik D. Anderson, an information systems technology major from Valparaiso, Ind.; Kristi K. Ausbrooks, an early childhood education and intervention major from Lebanon, Ind.; Kaycie V. Balensiefer, a liberal arts major from Brownsburg, Ind.; Justin E. Bauer, a computer science major from Fort Wayne, Ind.; Elizabeth A. Berndt, a liberal arts major from Bremen, Ind.; Robert R. Bottarelli, a computer technology major from Naperville, Ind.; Thomas B. Brelage, an organizational leadership and supervision major from West Lafayette, Ind.; Megan R. Burzych, a youth, adult and family sciences major from Bloomington, Ind.; Stephanie M. Campbell, a physics major from Warsaw, Ind.; Samir Chopra, a computer engineering major from Naperville, Ill.; Scott Michael Davison, a mechanical engineering major from Warsaw, Ind.; Timothy Wayne Deller, an electrical and computer engineering major from Angola, Ind.; Christopher T. Ford, an electrical engineering technology major from Lafayette, Ind.; Mark E. Frossard, a civil engineering major from Anderson, Ind.; Erica L. Gerace, a biology major from Centerville, Ohio; Anna R. Gilbert, a mechanical engineering major from North Olmsted, Ohio; Anne Marie Haehner Pozuelo, a management major from San Jose, Costa Rica; Jeremy Haubold, a computer science and mathematics major from South Bend, Ind.; Jennifer B. Horton, a pharmacy major from Jeffersonville, Ind.; Christopher A. Johnston, a doctor of pharmacy candidate from Evansville, Ind.; Masayuki Kato, a chemical engineering major from West Chester, Ohio; Melissa A. Ketner, a consumer and family sciences major from Terre Haute, Ind.; Nishant B. Kothary, a computer graphics major from Shelton, Conn.; Anita L. Krywko, an agriculture major from Centerville, Ind.; Jerene M. Kunkler, an agriculture major from Tell City, Ind.; Anthony C. Leniski, a computer technology major from Mishawaka, Ind.; Brent R. Lewis, a mechanical engineering major from Peoria, Ill.; Eu Jin Lim, an electrical and computer engineering major from Flushing, N.Y.; Caleb D. Longenberger, a mechanical engineering major from Bluffton, Ind.; Charlotte M. Lux, an industrial design major from Loveland, Ohio; Eduardo DeMello Maia, an electrical and computer engineering major from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Jessica C. Marting, an English secondary education major from Aurora, Ind.; Michelle Fearnot Metcalf, an industrial management major from West Lafayette, Ind.; Shana M. Miner, a management major from Pierceton, Ind.; William C. Nagel, an electrical and computer engineering major from Cincinnati , Ohio; Erin E. O'Neal, a biology major from Terre Haute, Ind.; Susan C. Overstreet, a computer science and mathematics major from Plano, Texas; Karen R. Parker, a computer technology major from Greensburg, Ind.; Aisha D. Peay, an English major from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Robin M. Pinson, an aeronautics and astronautics engineering major from Des Plaines, Ill.; Eric M. Prater, a management major from Akron, Ind.; Sarah Raskin, a history and philosophy major from West Lafayette, Ind.; Kiley E. Reed, a liberal arts major from Indianapolis; Christopher D. Rehrig, a mechanical engineering major from Walnutport, Ind.; Sara A. Ruegsegger, a biochemistry major from Bay City, Mich.; Bryce F. Sadtler, a science major from Newburgh, Ind.; Henry Santoso, a chemical engineering major from West Lafayette, Ind.; Carla M. Scaglione, a liberal arts major from Lafayette, Ind.; Joshua J. Schoenherr, a chemical engineering major from Elkhart, Ind.; Michael A. Shockling, an aeronautics and astronautics major from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Laura K. Taylor, a psychology major from Buck Creek, Ind.; Sarah K. Thompson, an athletic training major from West Lafayette, Ind.; Emily C. Titus, an English secondary teaching major from Manilla, Ind.; Sarah J. Withey, an animal science and preveterinary medicine major from Indianapolis; and Michael A. Young, a mechanical engineering major from Lawrenceburg, Ind.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Source: Jim Vruggink, director of special projects, (765) 494-2086,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Expanded biographies are available for most award recipients. Contact Marydell Forbes at (765) 496-7704,

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