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Sarah (Ferguson) Windham, Academic Convocation Speaker
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Steven Catania, College of Arts and Sciences Scholar
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Christina Earp, College of Business and Technology Scholar
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Molly McLuckie, College of Education and Human Services Scholar
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Jessica Schuler, College of Fine Arts and Communication Scholar
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Danielle Keowen, Centennial Honors College Scholar
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Jane Malafa, School of Extended Studies Scholar
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WIU College Scholars, Convocation Speaker Named

May 4, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - Seven students participating in Western Illinois UniversityÂ’s Spring 2006 Commencement Weekend Ceremonies May 12-13 in Macomb and May 14 at The MARK of the Quad Cities in Moline have received the highest recognition from their college faculty for their overall academic excellence by being named College Scholars and the Academic Honors Convocation Speaker.

The 2 p.m. Friday, May 12 Academic Honors Convocation in Western Hall will honor College Scholars, Departmental Scholars, Honors Scholars and graduate candidates who have earned academic distinction throughout their Western Illinois undergraduate career. Students receive a medallion for each honor, which they wear at Commencement ceremonies. In addition, College Scholars received a $150 cash award from the WIU Foundation.

Academic Convocation Speaker
Sarah (Ferguson) Windham (Carthage, IL), a music education – choral/general major, is the Academic Convocation Speaker. Windham, who will graduate as an Honors Scholar and with high academic honors (Magna Cum Laude), will talk to her classmates about “Finding Your Voice in the Choir.”

“This is my way of asking my fellow graduates to discover what they can offer for the good of the cause. Whether they are continuing their education or entering the work force, I believe that newly graduated students offer a great deal of excitement, energy and lots of ideas they want to try,” Windham said. “However, we have to step back and continue learning from our colleagues who have more experience and wisdom.

“It takes time to learn where you are able to contribute most of to your group or team. I will refer to the “team as the ensemble.” Regardless of where people are headed, they will have to work with others,” she added. “Being a part of something bigger than you, and realizing this opportunity, is something I feel is extremely important. I hope to challenge the audience to really understand what their voce is and how they can effectively be a part of their choir.”

Windham, representing Campus Students for Christ, was voted the Fall 2005 Homecoming Queen. She married Lucas Windham Dec. 17 and currently lives in Morris, IL where she is student teaching at Oswego High School and Old Post Elementary School. During her years at Western Windham served as a peer mentor and an Illinois Music Educators Association district festival assistant; was a Holiday Festival childrenÂ’s choir assistant; was a member of WesternÂ’s Centennial Honors College, the talent grant search committee, University Singers, Opera on Wheels, vocal jazz ensemble and worked as a counselor at WesternÂ’s Summer Music Camp. She is a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, Illinois Collegiate Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education and American Choral Directors Association.

Sarah, a 2002 graduate of Carthage High School, is the daughter of Charles and Melissa Ferguson of Macomb.

College of Arts and Sciences Scholar
Steven Catania (Naperville, IL) is the College of Arts and Sciences Scholar, the History Departmental Scholar, an Honors Scholar and will graduate with highest academic honors. (Summa Cum Laude).

He has been a peer mentor in WesternÂ’s First Year Experience (FYE) programÂ’s history classes; served as president the history curriculum club Associated Students of History, Phi Alpha Theta history honor society as well as the fencing and badminton clubs; and has been actively involved with WesternÂ’s All Volunteer Effort (WAVE), Relay for Life and the Salvation Army.

Catania is a recognized leader in undergraduate research at Western, turning a personal interest about social cohesion in medieval armies into an interdisciplinary project that received media attention for its uniqueness. After much research and a successful grant proposal, Catania, with help from physics and engineering friends, constructed a one-third scale model siege engine called a trebuchet as part of his Honors curriculum project. Medieval warriors used trebuchets to hurl large rocks and other heavy items into castles and fortifications during sieges. Two public demonstrations of the trebuchet brought out large groups of onlookers as well as regional news coverage. Catania continued research into late medieval siege artillery; and he and his friends also built a ballistra, a Roman siege engine seen in the movie “Gladiator,” which operated by way of tension created by twisting ropes, and demonstrated that and the trebuchet again.

Catania plans on attending graduate school.

“I want to look at the medieval military and its impact on society. At the same time, I want to examine social structures, politcal institutions and technology and see how they shaped warfare during the time period,” Catania said. “My goals involve earning my doctoral degree in medieval history and possibly a M.A. in museum studies. I'd like to begin educating future scholars at the collegiate level and produce research that can be available to a broad range of people.”

Steve, a 2002 graduate of Neuqua Valley High School, is the son of Frank and Sharon Catania of Naperville.

College of Business and Technology Scholar
Christina Earp (Davenport, IA), an accountancy and information management double major at the WIU-Quad Cities campus, is the College of Business and Technology Scholar, the Accountancy Departmental Scholar and the Information Management Department Scholar, an Honors Scholars and will graduate with highest academic honors. (Summa Cum Laude).

She has been an active member of the Beta Alpha Psi accounting honorary society, serving as president in 2004-05; a student representative for the WIU-Quad Cities Honors Program committee; a student emissary; and a participant in Volunteers for Income Tax Assistance (VITA). Earp, who worked as a library assistant at WIU-QC served two academic internships: one with Seniors Only Services financial advisers (Bettendorf, IA) and one with John Deere Corporate IS Accounting (Moline, IL).

Following graduation, Earp will work fulltime for John Deere in their Finance Development Program for new accountants.

“During my time at WIU-Quad Cities, I not only gained book knowledge, I also had a life-changing experience,” Earp said. “For one thing, I feel like I have gained a second family. I appreciate the “family-type” atmosphere here.

“Also, Western helps students to go beyond the classroom, specifically through internships and support of student organizations on campus. For me, the further knowledge and experience that I have gained from these outside activities have been invaluable and really helped to prepare me for life in the business world,” she added.

Christina, who was home-schooled, is the daughter of Lawrence and Freida Earp, Davenport, IA.

College of Education and Human Services Scholar
Molly McLuckie (Peoria, IL), a recreation, park and tourism administration major, is the College of Education and Human Services Scholar and will graduate with high academic honors (Magna Cum Laude).

She is a First Year Experience (FYE) peer mentor; serves as president of the Student Therapeutic Recreation Society (STRS), which volunteers locally and plans programming such as the annual wheelchair basketball tournament to help students on campus become more aware of people with disabilities; is a member of the Blue Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies; and serves a secretary of WesternÂ’s chapter of Rho Phi Lambda, the national honorary for recreation, park and leisure service professionals.

McLuckie is an active member of the Illinois Therapeutic Recreation Society (ITRS) and a member of the American Therapeutic Recreation Society (ATRS). The past two years she has volunteered at OSF St. Francis Hospital (Peoria, IL), assisting two certified therapeutic recreation specialists (CTRS) with clients who have physical disabilities. She also has volunteered at Bridgeway in Macomb, the Macomb YMCA Child Care Center, Special Olympics Basketball, and has been a caregiver for a young girl with RhettÂ’s Syndrome, a rare form of autism.

McLuckie, the 2005 recipient of the Illinois Therapeutic Recreation Society Award, is scheduled for a 12-week internship in therapeutic recreation at OSF Saint Francis Hospital this summer, after which she will take the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam to become a CTRS. She is scheduled to graduate in August.

“After I have gained more experience working in the professional field of therapeutic recreation, I would like to come back to Western Illinois University to complete a graduate degree,” McLuckie said. “I would like to continue to expand my knowledge in the field of therapeutic recreation along with developing my research, evaluation and administrative skills.

“My time here at Western has been instrumental in my life overall, and it has been a transformational and learning experience for me,” she added. “I would not change my experience here at Western for anything.”

Molly, a graduate of Limestone Community High School, is the daughter of Michael and Cheryl McLuckie of Peoria.

College of Fine Arts and Communication Scholar
Jessica Schuler (Lisle, IL), who has majors in communication and psychology, is the College of Fine Arts and Communication Scholar, the Communication Departmental Scholar and an Honors Scholar. She will graduate in May with a B.A. in communication, a B.S. in psychology and with high academic honors (Magma Cum Laude).

Schuler has distinguished herself with her Honors thesis research, “Information and Communication Technology Expectations to Realities: First Semester Transitions for First Year Experience Students at Western Illinois,” which has been supported by a grant from the Honors Council of the Illinois Region. She presented her research at the Honors Council of the Illinois Region Conference in February; and she has been invited to present this research at the international 2006 Congress of the Americas in Lima, Peru in August, along with her thesis adviser, Joseph Schmitz, assistant communication professor.

The communication departmentÂ’s 2005-06 Wayne Thompson Scholar, Schuler is also the recipient of WIU Foundation and residential scholarships and is an Illinois State Scholar. She has served as vice president of the Student Honors Association, a student representative to the WIU Honors Council, secretary to the Communication Student Society and Lambda Pi Eta honor society, a First Year Experience peer mentor and is a member of Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

“Looking back, I am happy that I chose to attend WIU. The opportunities and learning experiences throughout my time are exactly what I wanted from a college education,” Schuler said. “I have experienced a wide variety of extracurricular activities, interesting courses and flexibility in pursing my interests. I have had access to talented and resourceful people that take the time to help me however they can, while also taking the time to get to know me as a person.”

Schuler has been accepted into the communication masterÂ’s degree program at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a full scholarship and a graduate assistantship. Her career goal is to become a professor of communication.

Jessica, a 2002 graduate of Lisle Senior High School, is the daughter of Albert and Phyllis Schuler of Lisle.

Centennial Honors College Scholar

Danielle Keowen (Peoria, IL), a psychology major and sociology minor, is the Centennial Honors College Scholar, an Honors Scholar and will graduate with high academic honors (Magna Cum Laude).

She was selected as the Honors College Scholar because her academic, leadership and community service records exemplified the college’s mission. Keowen received the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity Grant and a Psi Chi Research Award for her Honors research, “Adult Children of Divorce: Memories of Parental Conflict and Time Spent With Noncustodial Parent,” which she presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association Convention May 5 in Chicago.

She participated in WesternÂ’s Learning to Lead summer development institute and worked eight weeks at the U.S. National Archives. Keowen serves as the social and fundraising chair of the Student Honors Association and vice president of SOULS (Sisters of Unity, Leadership and Service). She is a member of Golden Key and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and has volunteered with Day Health Services, the New Parent Program, Wesley Village and Ronald McDonald House.

In August Keowen will begin graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, training in occupational therapy.

Danielle, a 2002 graduate of Woodruff High School, is the daughter of Laurie Buckley and Tom Keowen of Peoria.

School of Extended Studies Scholar
Jane Malafa (Tipp City, OH), an elementary school librarian in the Tipp City (OH) Exempted School District, is the School of Extended Studies College Scholar. She will earn the Board of Trustees Bachelor of Arts (BOT/BA) degree. WesternÂ’s unique BOT/BA program is designed to provide adult students with an opportunity to earn a regionally accredited undergraduate degree in a manner compatible with their educational needs and lifestyles. Malafa began the degree program in January 2002, after earning an associate degree at Edison State Community College (OH).

After using Peterson’s College Guide to narrow down the list of schools with online degree programs to six, “I talked to the people at WIU and I was convinced I wanted to enroll there. Everyone was just so nice and very helpful,” Malafa said.

“The major challenge of going to school long distance is that you never have the feedback and interaction of classmates and a professor. You have to be self-disciplined and stay on task so you don’t fall behind,” she added. “I do like the fact that you can do your work whatever time is best for you – even at 4 a.m.”

Malafa previously worked at the Tipp City Public Library and was a 4-H adviser and a Camp Fire leader for many years. Twelve years ago she applied for and accepted the schoolÂ’s library aide position so she could have the same schedule as her five children.

She is in her seventh year as librarian, and she plans to earn a library/media licensure so she could work PreK-12.

“I’ve enjoyed taking classes through the BOT/BA program at WIU and would recommend it to anyone interested in finishing their degree this way,” Malafa said.

When I am not working on my school work, my husband and I enjoy fishing, cowboy shooting and geocaching. I also enjoy recreational reading, gardening and deep water aerobics at the Y,” she added.

Departmental and Honors Scholars

Departmental Scholars are the outstanding degree candidates in an academic major as determined by the faculty in the department. Honors Scholars are students in the WesternÂ’s Honors College who complete honors curricula in their major department or college and achieve a grade point average of at least 3.40 for both honors and cumulative course work.

Departmental Scholars and Honors Scholars are, listed by county and city:


QUINCY (62305) – Gregory Cassens, Honors Scholar (political science major), Elizabeth Kissick, Honors Scholar (human resource management major)

POPLAR GROVE (61065) – Daniel Leifker, Honors Scholar (law enforcement and justice administration major)

LANARK (61046) – Kara Priewe, Honors Scholar (biology major)

CHICAGO (60611) – Amy Zolotow, 1000 block of N. Lake Shore Dr., Honors Scholar (sociology major);
(60645) – David Kuchar, 2900 block of W. Birchwood Ave., Finance Departmental Scholar
ELK GROVE VILLAGE (60007) – Michael Mellenthin, Honors Scholar (law enforcement and justice administration major)
PALATINE (60074) – Kevin Glenn, Construction Management Departmental Scholar
PALOS HEIGHTS (60463) – Darcy Pavlik, Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Departmental Scholar; James Trezzo, Honors Scholar (law enforcement and justice administration major)
SCHAUMBURG (60194) – Michael Curkov, Broadcasting Departmental Scholar; Heather Cornell, Family and Consumer Sciences Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar; Jennifer Bell, Theatre Departmental Scholar

DE KALB (60115) – Jessica Casebeer, Honors Scholar (biology major)

CAROL STREAM (60188) – Rebecca Lesmeister, Honors Scholar (social work major)
ELMHURST (60126) – Daniel O’Donnell, Sociology Departmental Scholar
GLEN ELLYN (60137) – Christopher Wood, Economics (B.A.) Departmental Scholar
WHEATON (60187) – Erin Downes, Honors Scholar (biology major)
WOODRIDGE (60517) – Holly Kipfer, Honors Scholar (law enforcement and justice administration major)

MORRIS (60450) – Terrence D’Orazio, Honors Scholar (law enforcement and justice administration major)

AUGUSTA (62311) – Cherish Hamilton, Social Work Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar
WARSAW (62379) – Matthew Clark, Instructional Technology and Telecommunication Departmental Scholar

GENESEO (61256) – Eric Cathelyn, Mathematics Departmental Scholar; Diana Bloomfield, Honors Scholar (psychology major)

AURORA (60505) – Matthew Trowbridge, Agriculture Departmental Scholar
BIG ROCK (60511) – Ryan Hanninen, Psychology Departmental Scholar

MONTGOMERY (60538) – Matthew Ketchmark, Honors Scholar, (law enforcement and justice administration major); Jessica Singh, Honors Scholar (political science major)

GALESBURG (61401) – Tracy Hansen, Computer Science Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar
KNOXVILLE (61448) – Amber Stegall, French Departmental Scholar; Stacy Wenzel, Honors Scholar (marketing major)

LIBERTYVILLE (60048) – Andrew Knab, Honors Scholar (political science major)

AMBOY (61310) – Matthew Travi, Honors Scholar (computer science major)

LINCOLN (62656) – Lindsay Froschauer, Marketing Departmental Scholar

CARLINVILLE (62626) – Carmen Reiher, Honors Scholar (management major)

ALTON (62002) – Erin DeBlass, English Departmental Scholar
EAST ALTON (62024) – Vanessa Hart, Honors Scholar (management major)

KILBOURNE (62655) – Trista Willing, Communication Sciences and Disorders Departmental Scholar

MACOMB (61455) – Susanie-Ann Egan, Bilingual/Bicultural Education Departmental Scholar; Kristin Roelle, Kinesiology Departmental Scholar;
Christopher Simmons, Meteorology Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar
James Kerr, Physics Departmental Scholar;
Amy Coplan, Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration Departmental Scholar;
Claire Sharples Brooks, Spanish Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar
Samantha Johnson, Honors Scholar (law enforcement and justice administration major)
Christopher Large, Honors Scholar (political science major)

NORMAL (61761) – David Rawlins, Graphic Communication Departmental Scholar

ALEDO (61231) – Christopher Relander, Manufacturing Engineering Technology Departmental Scholar; Krista Baxa, Honors Scholar (biology major)
JOY (61260) – Megan Morrison, Community Health Departmental Scholar

ROCHELLE (61068) – Tiffany Emrick, Economics (B.B.) Departmental Scholar; Chase Pelletier, Geography Departmental Scholar; Michael Mace, Honors Scholar (recreation, park and tourism administration major)

PEORIA (61604) – Kimberly Parson, Special Education Departmental Scholar; Jacob Hoerdeman, Honors Scholar (manufacturing engineering technology major); Jeffrey Stepping, Honors Scholar (biology major)

EAST MOLINE (61244) – Sara Blair, Journalism Departmental Scholar
MILAN (61264) – James Waymack II, Biology Departmental Scholar
MOLINE (61265) – Tiffany Hocker, Elementary Education Departmental Scholar; Molly Yoeckel, Interdisciplinary Studies Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar

SPRINGFIELD (62702) – Amanda Barsema, Clinical Laboratory Science Departmental Scholar; Kathryn Reid, Human Resource Management Departmental Scholar
ROCHESTER (62563) – Tessa Pasley, Supply Chain Management Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar

TREMONT (61568) – Lauren Jameson, Honors Scholar (family and consumer sciences)

Danville (61832) – Carolyn Stoller, Music (B.A.) Departmental Scholar

KIRKWOOD (61447) – Brian Roller, Honors Scholar (computer science major)
MONMOUTH (61462) – Collin Jaeger, Honors Scholar (biology major)
SMITHSHIRE (61478) – Adam Mayer, Political Science Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar

HOMER GLEN (60491) – Lindsay Mathis, Honors Scholar (biology major)
JOLIET (60433) – Jessica Todd, Honors Scholar (communication sciences and disorders major)
NAPERVILLE (60564) – Steven Catania, History Departmental Scholar and Honors Scholar

HEBRON – Nichole McDaniel, Art Departmental Scholar

BETTENDORF – Emily Winchip, Honors Scholar (music education major)
ELDRIDGE – Allison Massey, Honors Scholar (law enforcement and justice administration and psychology double major)
KEOKUK – Paula Schulte, Management Departmental Scholar
MARSHALLTOWN – Elizabeth Michael, Chemistry Departmental Scholar
PRINCETON – Anthony Duytschaever, Honors Scholar (law enforcement and justice administration and political science double major)

HANNIBAL – Sally Anton, Honors Scholar (history major)

OMAHA – Molly Wilson, Philosophy Departmental Scholar

SAITAMA, JAPAN – Shoko Tayama, Music (Bachelor of Music) Departmental Scholar

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