The Wells Scholars Program at Indiana University Bloomington welcomed their 32nd class of Scholars at a reception on Sunday, August 15th, a cohort of 17 students who join the WSP community encompassing over 700 current students and alumni around the world. The new Scholars come from Indiana (including Bloomington) as well as Idaho, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Three international Scholars (from India, Nicaragua, and Thailand, the largest international group the program has ever welcomed) attest to the success of the international selection process the program inaugurated three years ago. They will be joining current international Scholars from Israel, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Zambia. In addition, two students, both Indiana residents and selected through the Internal process for current IUB students, are joining the current sophomore and junior classes of Wells Scholars.
Acting Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Kurt Zorn greeted the new students, expressing his gratitude to their parents and families, who were also in attendance. “We are thrilled to gather here to today to honor not only your independent achievements, but also the hard work and dedication of the family members and other supporters who have aided you along the way.”
IU President Pamela Whitten also voiced her admiration for the accomplishments of current and former Wells Scholars. “As I look at this wonderful group, I can already envision your continuing success. The faculty and staff at IU Bloomington are very much looking forward to working with you and watching you grow over the next four years.”
Wells Scholars can study any field offered at IU, and the focuses of the new class range from psychology, international studies, English, and microbiology to audio engineering, theatre, graphic design, and beyond. Acting Provost John Applegate encouraged the students to explore their interests and pursue new experiences during their time at IU. “Indiana University is not an institution that seeks to bind. Rather, we seek to create a space to expand—through critical thinking, the pursuit of knowledge, discerning judgement, ethics, creativity, and deep compassion.”
WSP Director and Distinguished Professor of English Christoph Irmscher thanked WSP faculty and staff and acknowledged the role played by current Wells Scholars, who also attended the event, in attracting the members of the new class to Indiana University: “You are the heart and soul of our program, the messengers of our mission, the living affirmation that the vision of Herman B Wells is alive more than thirty years after this program was founded. And we know that, in these difficult times, our new Scholars will thrive with you as their guides and mentors.”
First-year Wells Scholars are nominated by their high schools, through the IU Office of Admissions, or through the Office of International Services, and are selected for having demonstrated exceptional qualities of character, leadership and distinction both inside and outside the classroom. Internal Wells Scholars are nominated by IU Bloomington faculty and selected for similar qualities.
The 15 incoming first-year students and their hometowns are:
Neennara “Belle” Chatpunnarangsee, Pakkred, Ban Mai, Nonthaburi, Thailand
Shivam Garg, Mumbai, India
Nicholas “Nicky” Goh, Bloomington, Ind.
Maria Amanda Irias, Managua, Nicaragua
Evan Jackson, Wexford, Pa.
Leyla Fern King, Chesterfield, Mo.
Ana Lim, Fishers, Ind.
Aaron Lipsky, Arden, N.C.
Woodrow Murray, Indianapolis, Ind.
Jordan Pace, Pickerington, Ohio
Keegan Priest, Indianapolis, Ind.
Matthew Quintos, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Meghan Rafoth, Brentwood, Tenn.
Anastasia Spahr, Peru, Ind.
Reagan Walhof, Eagle, Idaho
The Internal Scholars are:
Heidi Peng, Carmel, Ind.
Grania Whelan, Bloomington, Ind.
The competitive award was created to honor the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells and guarantees the full cost of attendance for up to four years of undergraduate study on the Bloomington campus. Other benefits include generous support for overseas study, close interaction with faculty and distinguished guests, special seminars and academic opportunities, alumni networking, and grant support for a summer project. Scholars are also involved in a roster of extracurricular events and activities including opportunities for public service.