Wittenberg Magazine P.O. Box 720 Springfield, Ohio 45501-0720
Phone: (937) 327-6141 Fax: (937) 327-6112
They come from all corners of the world and everywhere in between. They are Wittenberg scholars, the best and brightest anywhere. Together, they infuse the classroom with intellectual energy as they challenge and engage both faculty and peers.
At the same time, these students also know that their decision to attend Wittenberg directly reflects the university’s investment in them in the form of scholarships, many of which were established through the generosity of alumni and friends. Meet some of these top students, and learn more about the light their scholarships ignited and how they plan to illuminate the world.
Mai Trinh '09
Since learning of her full-tuition international scholarship to attend Wittenberg back in 2005, Trinh has taken advantage of every opportunity at the university. Along with immersing herself in campus life, including serving in numerous leadership capacities, Trinh is tackling a triple major in management, East Asian Studies and Chinese with the possibility of a fourth in economics, her current minor.
Add to those stats her work on campus as an international admission assistant, her plan to travel China's Silk Road next year with fellow students and professors, and her plan to study abroad next year at Fudan University, one of China's top universities, and Trinh's pilgrimage is all the more inspiring.
Yet, when Trinh, who plans to study industrial organizational psychology or human resources in graduate school, reflects on her journey to Wittenberg, she cannot help but point to the scholarship that made it all possible.
"Wittenberg of fered me a bigger scholarship than any other school did," she said. "To be honest, it was the most important and influential factor in my decision."
Trinh is not alone in her decisionma k i ng. Ever y ye a r, Wit tenberg provides more than $25 million in merit and need-based f inancial aid programs to attract top students to the university. Just this year, the university spent $26 million, of which nearly $15 million was in the form of significant academic scholarships to students.
Additionally, 763 students benefited from endowed scholarships established by alumni and friends. Eight of the universit y's endowed scholarships currently have a combined market value in excess of $500,000.
"The amount of financial aid needed to attract the best students will continue to rise with each new entering class," said Randy Green, director of financial aid. "We're confident that with the help of alumni and friends, we will be able to meet that challenge."
Green, like so many others on campus, has had the opportunity to engage face-to-face with many of Wittenberg's scholars throughout the years, and he knows firsthand how much they enrich the life of the university.
"I have been inspired by them and their journeys to Wittenberg," Green said, adding that "the rewards of investing in these scholars go not just to the campus community but to their future places of employment and to the communities in which they will lead and serve."
Ted Trautman '07
Ted Trautman '07 of Minneapolis, Minn., is one such scholar. Trautman, who is the recipient of a full-tuition Ellen and Lloyd Smith Scholarship for superior academic performance, is a member of several national honorary societies including Pick and Pen, Omicron Delta Kappa and Mortar Board.
Along with his dedication to academics, Trautman is also committed to service. In middle school, the National Merit Scholar took a service trip to Chile for the World Scout Jamboree outside of Santiago, during which he spent hours painting classrooms and laying sidewalks.
But it was another trip to a third-world country while at Wittenberg that altered his perspective forever. As a result of his time in the South African Kingdom of Lesotho with Associate Professor of History Scott Rosenberg and 28 fellow students who volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in 2005, thanks to funding from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Trautman wants to live his life and shape his career in a way that works to further international development.
"The experience was surreal, even spiritual," said Trautman, adding that he felt great frustration because of the poverty burdening the nation.
The double major in English and philosophy with minors in Spanish and Africana Studies now plans to serve in the Peace Corps after graduation.
Jena Buchhop '07
Jena Buchhop '07 from Napoleon, Ohio, also has some big plans post-graduation, which her Wittenberg scholarship package helped to generate. Recipient of the Wittenberg Scholar Award, Baden Family Endowed Scholarship, Morris Scholarship and Wallace Gates Scholarship, among other grants and financial aid, Buchhop will be the first person in her family to earn a bachelor's degree when she graduates in May.
"These scholarships have been extremely important to my education at Wittenberg because without them, my family and I would not have been able to afford a Wittenberg education," she said.
"My family is very proud and has always encouraged me to never give up on my dreams and to always push for the career and the life I want to lead. They are ecstatic every time they hear I have been awarded a scholarship or accepted into one of the many honoraries on campus."
First interested in Wittenberg because of its beauty and friendly environment, Buchhop, a biology major, was also thrilled to learn about the university's wellrespected marine science program and its field program at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C.
"Through Wittenberg's relationship with the Duke Marine Lab, I was able to spend Fall 2006 taking classes and performing independent research with Dr. Richard Forward," Buchhop said. "While at Duke, I also took part in a research trip to Galeta, Panama, and from this research we have a paper currently in press in the Journal of Crustacean Biology."
Back on campus, Buchhop also quickly discovered a range of activities that inspired her, including the Wittenberg Choir and Habitat for Humanity.
"There is a never-ending supply of activities and associations to become a part of at Wittenberg, a nd the relationships and the fond memories I have will last a lifetime," she said.
Such extracurricular and co-curricular pursuits, combined with her strong academic performance, have since attracted the attention of top graduate programs in marine science. Buchhop, who pla ns to pu rsue a Ph.D. in zooplankton ecology with a focus on their behaviors and biological rhythms, has been admitted to both the University of Texas at Austin and the University of New York at Stony Brook.
Laura Prahl '07
The resumé of Laura Prahl '07 from Lesueur, Minn., will also likely attract the attention of graduate schools and employers. Prahl, recipient of the half-tuition Dove Scholarship, created by James T. Dove and Richard Allen Dove, knew Wittenberg would be the perfect fit for her even though she only took the online virtual tour.
"A small, division III, private, liberal arts university where I could play basketball, and be challenged in academics by a rigorous and well-rounded curriculum for all students was exactly the kind of university where I wanted to spend my next four years," she said.
Having the opportunity to do so, however, would require financial assistance as Prahl's parents had made it clear to her in high school that they would not be able to contribute a substantial amount to her post-secondary education.
Accepted at Syracuse, Cornell and American University, among other schools, Prahl admits that her financial aid award officially sealed the deal.
"Although ultimately my generous financial aid package did persuade me to choose Wittenberg over other similar liberal arts schools, I definitely knew that this was the right educational community for a farm girl from rural Minnesota," she said.
Since arriving, Prahl, a double major in Spanish and political science, has insisted on being an active and engaged member of the community while preparing for law school through Wittenberg's pre-law program. In addition to playing women's basketball her freshman and sophomore years, as well as women's track and field, and now women's rugby, Prahl has held a number of leadership positions on campus, including as president and treasurer of the Pre-Law Club all four years, and as vice president and founding member of Wittenberg's award-winning Mock Trial Association, among other organizations.
A Red Cross certif ied CPR and First Aid instructor in both Spanish and English, she also studied abroad in Antigua, Guatemala, as part of her Spanish coursework, during which time she served the community.
"Wittenberg has made all of these accomplishments possible by fostering an environment that challenges and motivates me to make a difference in our community and the world," she said.
Prahl plans to work with Teach for America, where she hopes to apply her Spanish skills teaching in an urban, low-income area. From there, she plans to pursue law school with a focus in international law.
"I cannot thank Wittenberg enough for the financial assistance that I have been given throughout my four years here because without the scholarships and grants I have received, I would have never been able to study abroad, volunteer my services, or emerge as the confident, organized, and dedicated leader I have become.
There is no doubt in my mind that my experiences at Wittenberg have more than prepared me for the next phase in my life."
- Additional reporting by Sarah Gearhart '06
Karell Pelle '07
Born in Belgium, Karell lived in Cameroon and spent most of her adolescent years in Kenya, but she found her college home in Springfield as a result of her scholarship package.
A biology major, Pelle secured two prestigious internships while at Wittenberg. The first was with the Institute of Genome Research in Rockville, Md., where she researched bovine parasitic diseases, which severely affect the livelihood of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. She also interned at the Harvard School of Public Health, specifically the Immunology and Infectious Disease department, where she conducted research on another parasite that causes Chagas Disease, which afflicts people in rural areas of South and Central America.
Add to her resumé leadership roles on campus, including the International Senator for Student Senate and president of the American International Association, and Karell will leave Wittenberg prepared to serve humanity. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the field of public health.Jacob Ark '08
A Wittenberg University Scholar Award recipient, Jacob originally intended to stay at Wittenberg for just a year, that is until he received his first few biology papers back.
"I saw my hard work could earn me something more," he said. "Better yet, Dr. Yoder saw the same thing and asked me to do research in his lab. Once things in the lab started, and I solidified my position there, I knew I was staying at Wittenberg for much more than just one year."
Within a short period of time, Ark was engrossed in awardwinning, cutting-edge tick research. Already the author of five published papers, Ark is awaiting the publication of three more.
"I don't think for one second that I would be anywhere near where I am now if it weren't for the faculty and students here. Both have played tremendous roles of support in my life, and a few remarkable individuals have played key roles in my inspirations and individual changes."
Jacob plans to pursue medical school upon graduation.Kantaro Suzuki '08
Kantaro dreamed of becoming a teacher, but never considered Wittenberg as the place to pursue his dream until he met David Hughes who previously worked in Wittenberg's Office of Admission.
The two quickly became international brothers, and as their friendship grew so did Kantaro's desire to go to Wittenberg. Kantaro was sure that Wittenberg must be a great school because David was such a warm, friendly and open-minded person.
Because of the International Student Scholarship that Wittenberg provided, Kantaro is now majoring in East Asian Studies and credits his Wittenberg experience with widening his world perspective. He plans to pass his Wittenberg light on to future generations of students in Japan and beyond as a history teacher.
Wittenberg Magazine P.O. Box 720 Springfield, Ohio 45501-0720
Phone: (937) 327-6141 Fax: (937) 327-6112