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A talented crop

Barry McNamara
Clockwise from upper left, Yesica Alvarez, Emily Bell, Mackenzie Mahler, Nick Olson, Brianna Thompson, Aimee Miller and Stephanie Lankford.

This spring, Monmouth College made a bold move relating to the admission process, offering the largest merit scholarship in its 158-year history, the Midwest Scholar Award.

The award recognizes exceptional students who have an interest in studying in the Midwest. Each recipient received a $25,000 scholarship that is renewable for up to three additional years, as long as the student maintains a 3.0 cumulative GPA. That means the total value of a Midwest Scholar Award could actually be $100,000.

This year’s recipients are: Yesica Alvarez of Chicago (Social Justice High School); Emily Bell of Oak Forest (Oak Forest High School); Stephanie Lankford of Effingham (Effingham High School); Mackenzie Mahler of Bourbonnais (Bradley-Bourbonnais High School); Aimee Miller of Lake In The Hills (Jacobs High School); Nicholas Olson of Genoa (Genoa-Kingston High School); and Brianna Thompson of Monmouth (Monmouth-Roseville High School).

Scholarship finalists were invited to campus in March to participate in Midwest Scholars Day. Candidates shared their reactions to ideas presented during personal interviews with a select group of faculty members and alumni who are leaders in their field. Winners were selected based on application materials, past achievements and performance on Midwest Scholars Day.

MC vice president for enrollment management Omar Correa said he was pleased by the quality of the scholarship recipients and also by the competition’s effect on Monmouth’s incoming class.

“Thanks to our fantastic campus community, we had a great event,” said Correa of Midwest Scholars Day. “There were 51 students who came to campus to compete for the scholarship and, as of mid-June, 34 have registered for classes at Monmouth in the fall. That is 67 percent of all participants, which is a fantastic yield for such an event.”

The average ACT score for the 34 students is 27, and the group had an average high school GPA of 3.8.

“Four of the students who competed for the scholarship had ACT scores of 33, and three of the four are scheduled to attend Monmouth this fall,” added Correa. “Also, 11 of the students had GPAs of 4.0. Most of these students have also joined the college’s Honors Program.”

Midwest Scholars will be recognized inside and outside of the classroom as the leaders of their class. They will be offered opportunities to participate in research with faculty, experience special internships, or lead community service projects.

Moving forward, Correa said, “We expect some of the finest high school students in and out of Illinois to apply for a Midwest Scholars Award. We can’t wait to increase the number of participants and improve this event for next year.”
For biographies of each of the students, visit Meet the Scholars.