Sept. 25, 1997
Vol. 17, No. 1

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    Class of 2001: a snapshot

    They have explored Antarctica, have published articles in major metropolitan newspapers and have helped perform scientific research at the National Science Foundation and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. They are rock musicians, athletes, poets and comedians, and they still find time to volunteer for worthy causes.

    They are the College Class of 2001, and they arrived on campus last week from all over the country. While the largest group of them come from Midwestern home towns (38%), they also hail from the Mid-Atlantic (22%), the West (13%), the South (8%), New England (7%) and the Southwest (6%). Six percent of the students come from outside the country, as well.

    The class is made up of slightly more men (52%) than women (48%). White students make up slightly less than half the class (48%), while Asian/Asian-American students constitute just over a quarter (26%). African-American and Hispanic/Latino students are equally represented (5% each). Seventeen percent of the population identifies itself as "other."

    Most of the students attended public schools (68%), while just under a quarter (22%) attended independent schools. A smaller segment of the students went to parochial schools (6%), and nearly as many went to foreign schools (4%).

    Regardless of their backgrounds, the students have one trait in common: they overwhelmingly ranked in the top one-fifth of their high school graduating classes (93%), with more than three-quarters (77%) in the top 10 percent.

    Twenty-four of these students have been selected this year as recipients of the first Dean's Grants, awarded to high school leaders who approached their academic and extracurricular life with creativity, perseverance and vigor. They each received $5,000 to use at any time during their undergraduate career to support further study in their field of choice. They can use the grant for research, travel or any opportunity that would enhance their education.

    "Our students are remarkable people who seek to explore a wide range of interests," said John Boyer, Dean of the College. "We think of the Dean's Grant as a way to help some of our most noteworthy students in their explorations, whatever the topic."

    Who is the first class of the next century? The Dean's Grants winners provide an impressive snapshot. They are:

    Jameene Banks of Chicago, who traveled to the South Pole as part of a National Science Foundation astronomy program after participating in the University's Space Explorers program;

    Nancy Barry of Everett, Mass., who ranked first in her graduating class of 290 seniors, excelling particularly in physics and math, and was senior captain of the girls' field hockey team;

    Sophia Bernhardt of New York City, who studied in Prague last year and was president of her school's chapter of Amnesty International;

    Rachel Bortnick of Rockville, Md., who was a research assistant at the National Institute of Mental Health;

    Aubrey Clayton of Dallas, who is beginning his college career after just three years in high school, was president of his school's math team and a varsity letterman on the golf team;

    Rafeeq Hasan of Downers Grove, Ill., who writes and edits his own music magazine, POPism, and plays bass guitar in the band Kleenex Girl Wonder, which has just signed a recording contract with Chicago-based March Records;

    Alejandro Hernandez of Brownsville, Texas, who is a member of three national honor societies and was recognized for his interests in anatomy and physiology;

    Rebecca Jones of Chicago, who was an adviser and teacher for a local High Jump Program for youth and was active in her school's newspaper and theater groups;

    Kristofer Jones of Chicago, who is a member of the National Honor Society and the African-American Youth Club, a two-year letter winner as a running back for the Loyola Academy football team, and who is active in community service;

    James Lin of Granger, Ind., who graduated first in his class of 602 seniors at his high school and has been involved in biomedical research, and who has volunteered hundreds of hours of service for various community service groups;

    Sean Merrill of Cape Coral, Fla., who placed fifth in the Future Business Leaders of America competition in economics, was a varsity football player, and co-founded his school's service-oriented Key Club;

    Anne Newman of St. Louis, who has been honored by the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism for her work as a journalist and whose articles have been featured in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch;

    Mischa Park-Doob of Madison, Wis., who ranked first in his graduating class of 445 seniors with a 4.0 average while taking six courses at the University of Wisconsin, Madison;

    Rachel Prager of Potomac, Md. who hosts a Montgomery County Cable Television program, "Student Voices and Views," and served an internship in the congressional office of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy;

    Justin Seidner of Houston, who has written and directed numerous plays as well as performed in a wide variety of theater productions at the Stratford Playhouse, ComedySportz and other venues;

    Bela Shah of Houston, an accomplished journalist who has worked extensively with the Amigos de las Americas organization on a number of development projects;

    Dashiell Shapiro of Berkeley, Calif., who was co-president of his school's student council and has worked on numerous community and fundraising projects;

    Michael Shecket of Worthington, Ohio, who studied at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and who plays bass guitar in a band called Cheese.

    Eliza Solowiej of Traverse City, Mich., who has been a student representative to the Board of Education, the Student Senate and the Michigan Education Leadership Collaborative, among others;

    Ginny Too of Herndon, Va., an accomplished writer who has completed a novel and a collection of short stories;

    John Whitehead of Amherst, Mass., who has been published in the Springfield Union News and the Daily Hampshire Gazette and has written for his high school's theater company as well as the Community TV Youth Group;

    Holmes Wilson of Worcester, Mass., a starter on the varsity soccer team who volunteered with Matthew 25, a program to renovate houses that low-income families can affordably rent.