WVU names 2013 Class of Foundation Scholars

The goals are lofty -- preventing hunger, increasing understanding, fighting disease, making life better for amputees -- but West Virginia University's newest Foundation Scholars are primed and ready.

The goals are lofty – preventing hunger, increasing understanding, fighting disease, making life better for amputees – but West Virginia University’s newest Foundation Scholars, announced today (May 14), are primed and ready.

“These young men and women are some of the most gifted young people West Virginia has to offer,” President Jim Clements said in introducing the five recipients of the University’s most prestigious academic in-state honor. “They have already accomplished some great things in high school – and even greater academic, community service and study abroad opportunities lie ahead of them here at WVU.”

The newest Foundation Scholars are:

  • Sundus Lateef, Bridgeport, Bridgeport High School
  • Jennifer Mangano, Chester, Oak Glen High School
  • Dillon Muhly-Alexander, West Union, Doddridge County High School
  • Julie Peng, Culloden, Hurricane High School
  • Emma van der Aarde, Martinsburg, Martinsburg High School

Clements, along with Provost Michele Wheatly and WVU Foundation President and CEO R. Wayne King spoke at Tuesday’s event at Blaney House.

“It’s a pleasure for me to extend congratulations to this year’s class of WVU Foundation Scholars,” King said. “One of the most satisfying and fulfilling parts of my job with the Foundation is getting to meet the leaders of tomorrow who are benefitting now from the generosity of our donors. We believe that our investment in students will produce great returns for our state and nation.”

The award – which provides full tuition and fees, plus room and board and books for four years – is valued at approximately $80,000 when paired with the state’s PROMISE Scholarship. In addition, the scholarship includes a $4,500 stipend for academic enhancement, which is commonly used for study abroad, internships and other advanced learning opportunities.

The Foundation Scholarship is the top award offered by WVU’s undergraduate scholarship program, which annually benefits more than 5,500 students in excess of $10 million. Since the Foundation Scholarship program was established in 1987, 135 of the state’s brightest high school students have been awarded the University’s most selective scholarship.

Foundation Scholars are chosen from a pool of 20 students awarded the Neil S. Bucklew Scholarship, itself valued at more than $30,000 for four years. After being offered the Bucklew Scholarship, students are invited to campus for a day of rigorous interviews.

The students must be from West Virginia, possess a minimum 3.8 GPA and achieve a minimum composite score of 30 on the ACT or 1,340 on the SAT college entrance exams.

Meet WVU’s 2013 class of Foundation Scholars:

Sundus Lateef of Bridgeport wants to use her time at WVU to prepare for a career as an ophthalmologist. She hopes to study abroad in France at the Institut Pasteur to explore emerging diseases and medical treatments.

“I’m always driven to motivate people around me and emulate those who are successful,” said Lateef, who is looking forward to student leadership, honors and book club opportunities at WVU. “I’d like to one day participate in a program such as Doctors Without Borders.”

Lateef, who will study biology, is first in her class of 191 students at Bridgeport High School. She has taken classes in Advanced Placement calculus, AP chemistry, AP English and AP history and created a program that matches qualified upperclassman with struggling students in her school. She is proudest of being a National Merit Scholar finalist, as well as her time spent mentoring other students in calculus and science.

Insightful, caring and zealous are just a few words she would use to describe herself.

In her spare time, she enjoys playing the violin, reading and playing tennis with her sister. One of her favorite books is Team of Rivals, a 944-page novel that highlights multiple biographies of the men who shaped the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

“You really just fly through it,” Lateef said.

One of the people she currently admires most is Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani female activist.

“She has had to overcome so much adversity, but strongly supports women’s rights and what she believes in,” Lateef said.

The friendliness of the faculty and staff is what attracted Lateef to WVU. She describes winning the Foundation Scholarship as the pinnacle of her hopes and dreams and the most prestigious award she has ever received.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this decision for their willingness to get to know me,” she said.

She is the fourth Foundation Scholar from Bridgeport High School.

She is the daughter of Khalid and Atiya Lateef.

Jennifer Mangano, of Chester, will graduate first in her class at Oak Glen High School. She will have completed 10 college-level courses upon entering WVU. Mangano is president of the Student Council, Key Club treasurer and captain of the girl’s varsity soccer team.

“I had attended math and science camp at WVU my freshman year of high school and realized there was a perfect school in my home state. I want to take advantage of that opportunity,” Mangano said.

She hopes to study physics and study abroad with the Amizade program.

“It would allow me to understand a community that I may never have thought about before,” she said. “Learning from and working with people from another country would give me a chance to see that country in perspective that I could not achieve by simply being a tourist.”

She describes herself as enthusiastic, optimistic and caring. Mangano hopes she can further explore physics and learn to grow as an individual during her time at WVU.

“I’m very interested in exploring physics at a deeper level. I met someone that was working with plasma. Now, I want to learn all about it. I want to explore it all,” Mangano said.

Mangano considers the Key Club to be one of her most important accomplishments during high school. After successfully completing a year as treasurer for her school, she went on to become district treasurer.

“As a member of the district board, I have chaired committees focusing on increasing state membership, presented reports on topics such as dues payment and membership growth, created spreadsheets that identify trends in membership, promoted service projects to club members and published informative newsletters to club treasurers,” Mangano said.

In her spare time, Mangano enjoys participating in her high school’s clubs. She said that she likes to be involved, likes to lead and feels that she is giving a worthwhile contribution with her time spent there.

She is the first Foundation Scholar from Oak Glen High School.

She is the daughter of Mark and Tracy Mangano.

Dillon Muhly-Alexander will have completed more than nine AP courses and two courses through Fairmont State University before he graduates from Doddridge County High School.

Muhly-Alexander has already begun to lay the groundwork for ridding the world of hunger, starting with his own high school. He partnered with his local 4H County extension agent and implemented a backpack program that supplies food to children who are deemed “at risk” of not receiving nutritious meals over the weekend. The backpacks are filled food and discreetly picked up at the end of the school day on Friday, then returned on Monday morning.

Muhly-Alexander hopes to study international studies and agribusiness management and rural development and thinks WVU will give him the opportunities for his ideas to come to life.

He hopes to travel to Geneva, Switzerland, and work with the World Health Organization to gain a more comprehensive understanding of global agricultural problems.

“Fifty million people are hungry on a daily basis. How do we feed them? How do we address that?” Muhly-Alexander asked.

His lifelong goal is to have a monumental achievement, so that his hometown will be proud of the “little Doddridge County kid that did something big.”

“I’ve always tried to be the best. My work ethic is what I’m most proud of. I want to excel and be good at whatever I undertake. I feel that I embody what WVU is about, and that I represent the University very well,” Muhly-Alexander said.

Described as ambitious, versatile and fun, as a Foundation Scholar, Muhly-Alexander is looking forward to everything WVU has to offer him.

He is the first Foundation Scholar from Doddridge County High School.

He is the son of Matthew Alexander and Linda Muhly.

Julie Peng will have given 2,000 community service hours by the time she graduates from Hurricane High School where she is president of the National Honor Society and secretary of the Student Council. She has taken AP classes in calculus, environmental science, macroeconomics, U.S. history, among others.

“Since the start of my positions in both clubs, emphasis has been placed on school unity and diversity of student interaction on all levels,” Peng said. “I personally seek to maintain and enhance student participation in clubs and school activities both cross culturally and socially.”

When Peng isn’t volunteering, working on homework or leading her peers, she enjoys baking cupcakes and running. What sets Peng apart is her ability to juggle school activities, while staying involved in her community, working a part-time job and maintaining her 4.0 GPA.

Peng hopes to study chemical engineering and go on to medical school. Among her interests are 3D printers and prosthetics, combining the engineering and medical technology fields. She believes that she create innovative medicines, and as a doctor be able to serve people, as well.

“I love the state. I love the atmosphere. I like to white water raft and go rock climbing in Summersville. At WVU, all of this is right outside my backdoor,” Peng said.

As a Foundation Scholar, Peng hopes to alleviate financial stress on her family, enabling her to work less and devote more time to her studies and graduate debt free. She hopes to get involved with Engineers Without Boarders and the Running Club during her time at WVU.

Peng describes herself as energetic, positive and passionate.

She is the second Foundation Scholar from Hurricane High School.

She is the daughter of Susan Peng.

Emma van der Aarde, of Martinsburg, is originally from England and will graduate in the top 2 percent of her class. She has taken AP calculus, English and Spanish classes and worked as a world history teaching assistant at Martinsburg High School.

She is most proud of her accomplishments on her high school’s Academic Quiz Bowl Team. She also placed second in the state with her Show Choir Team.

van der Aarde plans to major in international studies at WVU. Her dream is to become a foreign diplomat and gain a different perspective of the world.

“I’d like to work in the area of conflict resolution and bridge the gap between all kinds of different countries,” said van der Aarde, who is planning on taking advantage of the many study abroad opportunities WVU has to offer. “I want to immerse myself in different cultural experiences and unite these different countries and social norms.”

In her spare time, van der Aarde enjoys hiking, riding her bike, reading crime novels and practicing knitting, a newly found hobby.

Persistent, passionate and ambitious are just a few words she would use to describe herself.

“I taught myself and have already knitted some blue and gold mitts to show my school spirit,” van der Aarde said.

One of the persons she admires most is her friend from England, Emma Ansell, who she describes as the most driven person she has ever met.

“She is very talented and relentless,” van der Aarde said. “We have so much in common, even down to our first names.”

The top-notch curriculum and beautiful countryside scenery is what attracted van der Aarde to WVU. She plans to use the academic stipend to enrich her community and bring good to other countries.

“I’d like to get involved in various outreach and teaching assistant programs,” she said. “It is always important to give back.”

She is the first Foundation Scholar from Martinsburg High School.

She is the daughter of Paul and Susan van der Aarde.



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