The Wells Scholars Program at Indiana University Bloomington welcomed their 33rd class of Scholars at a reception on Sunday, August 14th. This cohort of 16 students joins the WSP community, which is comprised of over 700 members around the world, including current students and alumni. The new domestic Scholars come from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Florida. Four international Scholars (from Nigeria, Brazil, and Myanmar, surpassing last year’s class as the largest international group the program has ever welcomed) attest to the success of the international selection process the program inaugurated four years ago. They will be joining current international Scholars from India, Nicaragua, Thailand, Israel, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Zambia. In addition, two students selected through the internal process for current IUB students are joining the this year’s senior class of Wells Scholars.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Dennis Groth greeted the new students, expressing his gratitude to their parents and families, who were also in attendance: “I am so pleased to welcome our newest Wells Scholars to the campus. Without a doubt, the Scholars’ level of achievement and engagement continue to match the vision of academic excellence the Wells Program has established.”
IU President Pamela Whitten also voiced her admiration for the accomplishments of current and former Wells Scholars, whom she addressed directly: “Chancellor Herman B Wells lived the best values of Indiana University and encouraged others to do likewise. As the 2023 class of Wells Scholars, you become the standard bearers of his great legacy. Looking around me, I can see that his legacy is in good hands.”
Wells Scholars can study any field offered at IU, and the academic interests of the new class range from computer science, journalism, biology, and international studies to political science, geography, math and physics, musical composition and performance, and beyond.
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. He highlighted the diversity of the new class: “I am thrilled about this new cohort, which I know has so much to offer to the IU community, and I am delighted that that students from Brazil, Myanmar, and Nigeria are joining our program. We often say that Wells Scholars will change the world, but it's also true that the world has been changing who we are, in truly exciting ways.” Irmscher also thanked the more than 70 faculty members who had been involved in the selection process: “We wouldn’t be there without your encouragement, your vision, and your passion for excellence in undergraduate education.”
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. The same criteria are applied to the Internal Wells Scholars, nominated each spring by IU Bloomington faculty.
The 14 incoming first-year students and their hometowns are:
Deo Akiode, Ota, Nigeria
Yahya Amjad, Indianapolis, IN
Christian Courage Barda, Indianapolis, IN
Vitor Braga, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Timothy “Kyle” Eubank, Santa Claus, IN
Mia Hilkowitz, Liberty Township, OH
Ella Kingery, Brownsburg, IN
Laila Morris, Chicago, IL
Sophia Nguyen, Pembroke Pines, FL
Annabel Prokopy, West Lafayette, IN
Sarah Rodenbeck, Fort Wayne, IN
Jake Stevenson, Zionsville, IN
San Mi Mi Thant, Yangon, Myanmar
Mariana Valpassos Simi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Internal Scholars are:
Wisdom Ibikunle, Munster, IN
Mary Claire Molloy, Indianapolis, IN
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 with the registered student organization WAVE (Wells Activism and Volunteer Effort).