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Honors College Announces 2012 Class of Fellows

A group of students, dressed up in business best, are seated in a hallway.

Prospective fellows prepare for their campus interview with Honors College faculty.

June 14, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Honors College has selected 72 outstanding high school students who will make up the 2012 class of Honors College Fellows.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the historic $300 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation that was announced in April 2002, a portion of which funded the Honors College and its generous scholarship program.

“Including this latest group, we have provided $50,000 fellowships for 879 students. It’s incredibly rewarding to see them explore their interests, both on campus and abroad,” said Maribeth Lynes, assistant dean and director of recruitment at the University of Arkansas Honors College. Lynes recalls that administrators had to scramble to fill the roster of Honors College fellowships back in 2002.

“Nobody knew about the fellowships that first year,” she said. “We contacted national merit finalists and other top test takers in the state. Our goal was to keep the best and brightest students in Arkansas.”

Today, the word is out on the generous funding that the University of Arkansas Honors College offers to its fellows, and applications are coming in from across the U.S. and abroad. More than 500 top high school students applied for the fellowships, and the 72 new fellows who will arrive on campus next fall are a stellar group. They will benefit from fellowship funds of $50,000 over four years that largely cover the cost of tuition, room and board, books and a computer. The fellowship funds can also be combined with other scholarships and grants, such as the $500,000 to $1 million in study abroad and research grants that the Honors College awards to students each year.

Top grades and test scores are a given: students must score at least 32 on the ACT exam and have a 3.8 grade point average just to apply. The rigor of applicants’ high school course work, their letters of recommendation and community involvement also count.

Though the fellowship program is still relatively young, evidence of its success is solid. Alumni fellows are pursuing advanced degrees at top graduate and professional programs around the country and landing jobs in competitive fields. Summer Scott, a member of the second class of Honors College fellows who earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, particularly appreciated the opportunities to study abroad.

“I participated in a business program in Greece, and also traveled to Egypt, Italy and China,” she said. Scott now heads a plant for Dow Chemical that is the world’s largest producer of epichlorohydrin, a key ingredient in epoxy resins that are used in adhesives, paints and other materials. She emphasized that study abroad prepared her well for work with global teams.

“You have to respect that other cultures are very different from ours; you do your homework, and go in with an open mind. I can’t put into words how important those experiences were for me, both in terms of my career and personally,” she said.

Alumni fellows also appreciate the freedom to pursue their goals without being burdened by student loans. Dwayne Bensing was weighing scholarship offers from American University, the University of Virginia and Hendrix College when he received the invitation to join the first class of Honors College fellows.

“When the Honors College fellowship came in, it seemed too good to be true. It made the decision pretty easy,” he recalled when reached on the telephone. “The U of A offered me the opportunity to explore all of my interests without the overwhelming burden of managing student loan debt.” Bensing studied abroad in Mexico and England, completed two degrees in political science and communication and picked up numerous awards, including a Truman Scholarship. He said that working closely with faculty mentors such as Steve Sheppard, Bill Schreckhise and Stephen Smith prepared him well for law school at University of Pennsylvania, where he recently completed his Juris Doctor. He begins work at a law firm in Washington, D.C. this fall.

The University of Arkansas Honors College Fellows Class of 2016:

  • Connor Ahrendsen, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, Ark.
  • Aaron Anderson, Springdale High School, Springdale, Ark.
  • Sydney Arend, Bentonville High School, Bentonville, Ark.
  • Ty Austin, Neosho High School, Neosho, Mo.
  • Stephanie Barger, Conway High School, Conway, Ark.
  • Caitlin Beasley, Owasso High School, Owasso, Okla.
  • Hannah Birch, Malvern High School, Malvern, Ark.
  • Steven Brown, Houston High School, Germantown, Tenn.
  • Teni Butler, Baylor High School, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Timothy Carroll, Lakeside High School, Hot Springs, Ark.
  • Andrew Casey, Har-Ber High School, Springdale, Ark.
  • Timothy Cavell, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, Ark.
  • Anna Engler, Heber Springs High School, Heber Springs, Ark.
  • Reagan Fix, Greenbrier High School, Greenbrier, Ark.
  • Jeremiah Flannery, Bentonville High School, Bentonville, Ark.
  • Jon Fletcher, North Little Rock High School, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Daniel Fritsche, Greenwood High School, Greenwood, Ark.
  • Joseph Gasser, Lee's Summit North High School, Lee's Summit, Mo.
  • Oscar Gilbert, Jonesboro High School, Jonesboro, Ark.
  • Michael Hanna, Waldron High School, Waldron, Ark.
  • Keegan Henderson, Carterville High School, Carterville, Ill.
  • Andres Herrera, Instituto Italiano Enrico Fermi, Panama City, Panama.
  • Christian Heymsfield, Elkins High School, Elkins, Ark.
  • Zachary Hill, Bryant High School, Bryant, Ark.
  • Jakob Hockman, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, Joplin, Mo.
  • Emily Hoover, Texas High School, Texarkana, Texas.
  • Andrew Hutchinson, Springdale High School, Springdale, Ark.
  • Jesse Ivers, Jessieville High School, Jessieville, Ark.
  • Amy James, Monticello High School, Monticello, Ark.
  • Bryce Jones, Flowermound High School, Flowermound, Texas.
  • Logan Jones, Alma High School, Alma, Ark.
  • Jessica Joyce, Southside High School, Fort Smith, Ark.
  • Andrew Kaiser, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, Ark.
  • Brandon Kempf, Cabot High School, Cabot, Ark.
  • Kristen Kent, Episcopal Collegiate School, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Brandon Killen, Birdville High School, North Richland Hills, Texas.
  • Grant King, Benton High School, Benton, Ark.
  • Alexis LaMott, Robert E. Lee High School, Tyler, Texas.
  • Sarah Leavitt, Durango, Colo.
  • Joshua Lewis, Conway High School, Conway, Ark.
  • Jeffrey Madden, Valleyview High School, Jonesboro, Ark.
  • Alyssa Mars, Pattonville High School, Maryland Heights, Mo.
  • Sarah Marsh, Southside High School, Fort Smith, Ark.
  • Rebecca Martell, Lee’s Summit North High School, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
  • Ryan Morgan, Siloam Springs High School, Siloam Springs, Ark.
  • Danielle Neighbour, Shawnee Mission West High School, Shawnee Mission, Kan.
  • Cody Nelson, Springdale High School, Springdale, Ark.
  • Spencer Nelson, Har-Ber High School, Springdale, Ark.
  • Kaitlyn Nolker, Bentonville High School, Bentonville, Ark.
  • Sussana Oad, Aledo High School, Aledo, Texas.
  • Mark Owens, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, Ark.
  • Travis Peter, Borah High School, Boise, Idaho.
  • Peyton Phelps, Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock.
  • Ryan Pinter, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, Ark.
  • Lauren Presley, Bentonville High School, Bentonville, Ark.
  • Rachel Reece, West Memphis High School, West Memphis, Ark.
  • Jordan Reed, Cabot High School, Cabot, Ark.
  • Remington Reed, Magnolia High School, Magnolia, Texas.
  • Abigail Reggio, Edwards Marcus High School, Flowermound, Texas.
  • Abby Rinchuso, Mount St. Mary Academy, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Brett Schauwecker, Shawnee Mission South High School, Shawnee Mission, Kan.
  • Manoj Seeram, Heritage High School, Rogers, Ark.
  • Hannah Shameh, Huntsville High School, Huntsville, Ark.
  • Tyler Spain, Greenwood High School, Greenwood, Ark.
  • Katherine Trubitt, Arkansas School of Math and Science, Hot Springs, Ark.
  • Conner Veit, Springdale High School, Springdale, Ark.
  • Hannah Verkamp, Charleston High School, Charleston, Ark.
  • Alec Walter, Bentonville High School, Bentonville, Ark.
  • Taylor Whitaker, C.E. Byrd High School, Shreveport, La.
  • Ian Wicks, Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville, Ark.
  • Sydney Wiggins, Southside High School, Fort Smith, Ark.
  • Christian Williams, Valley View High School, Jonesboro, Ark.
  • Ethan Williams, McDonald County High School, Anderson, Mo

 

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CONTACTS:
Maribeth Lynes, assistant dean and director of recruitment
Honors College
479-575-5848, mlynes@uark.edu

Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College
479-575-2024, kcurlee@uark.edu