Indiana State University Newsroom

President's Scholars: 15 awarded ISU's top academic honor

May 26, 2006

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Fifteen students have been awarded Indiana State University's most prestigious scholarship - the President's Scholarship. The honor includes full tuition, room, board and books as well as a laptop computer for all four years of the student?s college career.

President's Scholars must be ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class or have a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. Selection is highly competitive and based upon both academic and personal accomplishments, and an interview is required for all finalists.

This year?s President?s Scholar recipients include (see background on each recipient below): Regina Atkins, Indianapolis; Kurt Baer, Terre Haute; Stephanie Balbach, Evansville; Thomas Baldwin, Peru; Jessica Campbell, Grandview; Michael Cook, Charleston, Ill.; Eric Gettelfinger, DePauw; Kaelynn Hayes, Danville; Sarah Minnis, Paris, Ill.; Allison Myers, Kokomo; Whitney O'Brien, Terre Haute; Kelsey Seacat, Paoli; Lolo Smith, Indianapolis; Karen Wenning, Greensburg; and Paige Williams, Terre Haute.

The current value of these scholarships is about $14,000 annually, or $56,000 for a scholar's four-year college career. Beginning fall 2006, tuition also will be included for out-of-state President's Scholarship recipients, making the value of out-of-state awards almost $20,000 per year, or nearly $80,000 over the course of the student's four years at Indiana State.

Since the program's inception in 1994, those students who have been named President's Scholars have distinguished themselves in unique and successful ways at Indiana State, at graduate schools across the country, and in their subsequent careers.


Regina Atkins, daughter of Reginald and Margaret Atkins of Indianapolis, is a graduate of Ben Davis High School. She plans to major in radio/TV/film while at Indiana State, with hopes of becoming a successful music video and film producer and possibly opening her own production company. During high school, Atkins has been involved in radio and television broadcasting, the speech team and orchestra. She also has received numerous awards and honors, including a Citizenship Award, President's Award, Dean's List, list of Top 50 sophomores and juniors, solo and ensemble awards, Who's Who Among American High School Students and National Forensics League honors.

Kurt Baer, the son of Peter and Kimberly Baer of Terre Haute, is a graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School. He plans to major in music performance and music composition while at ISU, with hopes of eventually teaching at the college level. During high school, Baer has been involved in marching band, jazz band, jazz combo, concert band, pep band and student council. He has received numerous awards, including the AP Scholar Award, Outstanding Achievement Award on the 2003 National Latin Exam and a Silver Medal/Corona Laurea on the 2004 National Latin Exam. He also received a certificate of character recognition from Terre Haute Mayor Kevin Burke.

Stephanie Balbach, the daughter of Jim Balbach and Karen Balbach, is a graduate of Francis Joseph Reitz High School in Evansville. She plans to major in insurance and risk management while at ISU, in hopes of becoming a professional actuary. During high school, Balbach has been involved in Business Professionals of America, as well as the softball and volleyball teams. She has earned honors and awards as Outstanding Business Student for three consecutive years, received the Green River Kiwanis Award for softball as a junior, and earned the Kiwanis Award for volleyball as a senior.

Thomas Baldwin, the son of Randy and Wendy Baldwin of Peru, is a graduate of Maconaquah High School and plans to major in elementary education while at ISU, in hopes of ultimately becoming an elementary school principal as well as a football or golf coach. During high school, Baldwin has participated in a variety of activities, including football, golf, student council, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, concert choir, PEERS, FCA and the St. Charles Youth Group. His honors and awards include All-MIC in golf, state finalist in golf, Spanish Club vice president, Academic All-MIC in football, Hoosier Boys State delegate and the ?Be Your Best Self? Miami County award winner.

Jessica Campbell, the daughter of Tom and Renee Campbell of Grandview, is a graduate of South Spencer High School and plans to major in professional aviation flight technology while at ISU. She hopes to one day fly passenger planes and ultimately work for the likes of UPS or FedEx. While in high school, Campbell has participated in the South Spencer Super Mileage Car Team, Youth Leadership Spencer County (YLSC), the YLSC Board of Directors, and as a counselor for the Indiana State Police Pioneer Camp. Her honors and awards include being named a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) role model in her senior year, Student of the Month, basketball honors and perfect attendance honors.

Michael Cook, the son of Richard and Debby Cook of Charleston, Ill., graduated from Charleston High School and plans to major in political science while at ISU. He hopes eventually to attend law school and become an attorney. In high school, Cook has participated in Peer Court, served as senior class president, attended Teen Leadership Summit, and served as guitarist and singer for school events and local clubs. His awards and honors have included National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar, high honor roll for seven consecutive semesters and WYSE Academic Challenge. He also attended Illinois Boys State in 2005.

Eric Gettelfinger, the son of Jerry and Jane Gettelfinger of DePauw, graduated from North Harrison High School and plans to major in business and insurance and risk management while at ISU. He hopes to eventually pursue a career in business, financial services or law. During high school, Gettelfinger has been involved in varsity tennis, National Honor Society, student council, 4-H, FFA, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving), drama club, Leo Club, Renaissance Leadership Team, Academic Super Bowl Team, bowling club and ski club. He also was a member of the Harrison County Conservation Corps, the Harrison County Youth Philanthropy Council, St. Bernard's Youth Group, and was a Hoosier Boys State delegate in 2005. Some of his honors and awards have included: tennis letter winner, recipient of the Presidential Freedom Scholarship for Youth Volunteerism, Student of the Month various years, numerous 4-H and FFA awards, among others.

Kaelynn Hayes, the daughter of James D. Hayes and Renate J. Hayes, graduated from Danville (Ind.) Community High School and plans to major in history while at ISU. In high school, she has participated in National Honor Society, Rotary Interact Club, Spanish Club, English Academic Team and band. Her honors and awards include being named a National Merit Commended Student, Honors Diploma, Most Outstanding World History Student, Most Outstanding Spanish Student, English Student of the Month, and Most Outstanding Sociology Student.

Sarah E. Minnis, the daughter of William Minnis and Marian Cash, graduated from Paris High School and plans to major in education while at ISU. She hopes to eventually teach middle school English. While in high school, Minnis has participated in CAMA (Coalition Against Methamphetamine Abuse) Teens, yearbook editor, Paris Youth Soccer Association, Scholastic Bowl and Spanish Club. Her honors and awards include National Honor Society (NHS) president, Illinois State Scholar, high honor roll, and captain of the soccer team.

Allison Myers, the daughter of John and Cindi Myers, graduated from Kokomo High School and plans to major in business while at ISU. While in high school, she has participated in Future Business Leaders of America, English Academic Super Bowl, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society and Spanish Club. Her honors and awards include being named WIOU Student Athlete of the Week, second place in state for English Academic Super Bowl and academic all-state team honors from the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association and the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association.

Whitney O'Brien, the daughter of Jerry and Penny O'Brien, graduated from Terre Haute North Vigo High School and plans to major in accounting while at ISU. She hopes to eventually become a certified public accountant. Her activities in high school have included softball, National Honor Society, Interact, volleyball, and community volunteer work. She has been named to the exceptional honor roll, has received the Academic Excellence Award, the National Merit Scholars Commended Student Award, the Volleyball Hustle Award and served as captain of her school's softball team.

Kelsey Seacat, the daughter of Eldon and Kathy Seacat, graduated from Paoli High School and plans to major in marketing while at ISU. Her high school activities have included National Honor Society (president as senior, vice president as junior), Telecom Club, Spanish Club, Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), television production and photography. Her honors include being named to the Paoli High School No. 1 Club, Paoli High School English Department Hall of Fame, honor roll every grading period, member of the school's "The Challenge of Democracy" service group, Southern Hills Essay Contest winner and is ranked second in her graduating class of 106 students.

Lola Smith, the daughter of Rochelle Brame-Smith of Indianapolis and graduated from Pike High School. She plans to major in social work while at ISU. She has been named to the honor roll and has participated in track and field and drill team while in high school.

Karen Wenning, the daughter of Dan and Deanna Wenning of Greensburg and graduated from South Decatur High School. She plans to major in elementary education while at ISU. Her high school activities have included show choir, drama club, serving as Sunday school teacher at Waynesburg Christian Church, her church youth group, and she serves as senior class president. Her honors and awards include perfect attendance her junior year, participation in the President's Education Awards Program, chemistry award, computer award, algebra award and a scholastic letter her junior year.

Paige Williams, is the daughter of Charlie and Donna Williams of Terre Haute and will graduate from Terre Haute South Vigo High School. She plans to major in international business while at ISU and hopes eventually to attend law school. Her high school activities have included Link Crew, National Honor Society, Junior Department Club, Interact, Class Senate, soccer, St. Margaret Mary's Youth Group, Americorps member working at Happiness Bag, and a four-year member of Who's Who Among American High School Students. Her honors and awards have included exceptional honor roll, one of two SVHS students chosen to attend Richard Lugar's Symposium for Tomorrow's Leaders, Hoosier Heroes Scholarship winner (one of 10 in Indiana), nominated to attend the national forum on law in Washington, D.C., Outstanding Student of America, Best Mental Attitude Award for soccer, academic student of the month, and top 10 percent of graduating class.

Deadline for admission for the next class of President's Scholars is December 1, 2006. Students graduating from high school in 2007 will be eligible to apply and be considered for the next class. For an application or more information, contact ISU's Office of Admissions at 1-800-GO-TO-ISU or send an inquiry or E-mail to: Office of Admissions, Indiana State University, 210 N. Seventh St., Terre Haute, Ind. 47809 or to


CONTACT: Office of Admissions, Indiana State University, 1-800-GO-TO-ISU or

WRITER: Maria Greninger, associate director, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, (812) 237-4357 or