Congratulations 2016 – 17 Scholarship Recipients!

04 Apr


Every year, the Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation awards scholarships to more than 20 collegiate members to continue their educations through graduate and professional study.  Scholarship awards range from $1,000 to $2,500.  These recipients demonstrate exceptional academic performance and leadership abilities.  General scholarships are awarded each year for graduate or professional school expenses.  Collegiate members and alumni up to five years out of school are eligible to apply.


Anna Balassa

Transylvania University
Current Study: Eastern Kentucky University, Occupational Therapy, Ph.D.

As president of the Transylvania Circle, Anna expanded the circle’s leadership development efforts. With the support of an O∆K Clay Grant, the circle added a mentoring piece to Transylvania’s Pioneer Leadership Development Program. Each O∆K member is paired with a sophomore in the program to cultivate leadership qualities and become confident in those abilities.

“My experiences have instilled values of empathy, patience, and encouragement. For my future career, I want to practice these values as an occupational therapist to better serve others and their needs.”


Melissa Boswell

University of Akron
Diane and Tom Vukovich Scholarship
Current Study: Stanford University, Biomedical Engineering, Ph.D.

Melissa studied biomedical engineering at Akron and spent a year working as an engineer and conducting research in Cape Town, South Africa. She is pursuing an advanced degree to combine orthopedic research with computational modeling to evaluate injuries. She is passionate about STEM careers and actively mentors elementary, middle, and high school girls in science and math.


Jacob Calahan

Auburn University
Auburn University Circle Endowed Fund in Memory of Dean Katharine Cater
Current Study: Auburn University, Pharmacy, Ph.D.

Jacob is the first student to receive the Auburn/Cater Scholarship. As president of the Auburn Circle, Jacob worked to induct leaders from athletics, ROTC, and the arts to diversify the circle.

 “Success goes beyond having strong academics to being able to express strong character and a servant heart, as well.”


Grace Chao

St. Mary’s College of Maryland
John D. Morgan Scholarship
Current Study: Johns Hopkins University, International Development Studies, M.A.

Grace led the St. Mary’s Circle to volunteer for a local farm, donate school supplies, and create care packages for homeless individuals. She used a triple major in psychology, economics, and Chinese to focus on her passion of how behavioral economics may be applied to international development. She hopes to lead this field and was recently selected by the Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund to work with social enterprises around the world to help solve strategic and operational challenges. In addition to her studies, she also works part-time for Hopkins’ SAIS China-Africa Research Initiative.
Kayla Coutts

University of Maryland College Park
University of Maryland College Park/Sigma Circle Scholarship
Current Study: Columbia University, Physical Therapy, Ph.D.

While captain of the club soccer team, Kayla served as Alpha Chi Omega’s new member educator, as well as dance coordinator with Best Buddies, an organization that empowers individuals with developmental disabilities. She plans to use her physical therapy degree to lead an emerging field in discovering connections between physical therapy and dance therapy for neurological patients.


Bhakti Desai

Birmingham-Southern College
Robert and Mildred Blount Scholarship
Current Study: University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dental Medicine, D.M.D.

Bhakti’s undergraduate work with Birmingham’s Cahaba Valley Healthcare Clinic fueled her desire to give back to the community. She plans to start a dental clinic to reach out to underserved populations. As circle president, Bhakti created a breakfast for students to strengthen relationships between faculty members and students.


James Drasbek

Southern Virginia University
Chellgren Family Endowed Scholarship
Current Study: Virginia Commonwealth University, Health Care Administration, M.H.A.

In addition to helping establish the SVU circle, James worked with a summer camp dedicated to teaching leadership to young adults. He has interned with the Remote Area Medical Clinic in Virginia and ultimately hopes to work in hospital administration.


Travis Goodloe, III

Hampden-Sydney College
Current Study: University of South Alabama, Medicine, M.D.
As a first-year medical student, Travis’s childhood dream of becoming a doctor continues to take shape. While at Hampden-Sydney, Travis helped raise $9,000 for gifts and essentials for children in need, served on the student court, and as Hampden-Sydney Journal of Sciences editor.


Jenny Juehring

University of Iowa
Current Study: Washington University School of Law, J.D.

As circle co-president, Jenny oversaw the university’s faculty award program and the Dad of the Year award. She maintained a 3.9 GPA majoring in international human rights law and studying democratization and the developing world. Jenny presented her research at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago and at the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs.


Jennifer Kelly

University of Baltimore
Current Study: University of Baltimore, Accounting and Business Advisory, M.A.

Alphabet soup may best describe Jennifer Kelly’s career. As an undergraduate, she interned with the FBI and is currently enrolled in a MABA (Master in Accounting and Business Advisory) program. She hopes to become a CPA and continue to use the leadership skills she expanded through O∆K.


Quincy Kissack

St. Norbert College
Current Study: University of Maryland, College Park, Education in Student Affairs, M.A.

While a St. Norbert student, Quincy volunteered for the Emerging Leaders program, Oxfam America, and as First Year Experience mentor. She worked for the Sturzl Center for Community Service and developed a leadership workshop series with the Leadership, Student Engagement, and First Year office. Quincy helped found the St. Norbert Circle and organized service projects with the local Boys and Girls Club.


Aliehs Lee

Southwestern University
Current Study: Medicine, M.D.

Aliehs and circle members organized the Bystander Intervention Program, designed to train students to intervene in emergency situations, such as bullying, racism, and sexual assault. In addition to building the circle to recognize leaders from all five phases, she serves in the Catalyst Leadership Program. Aleihs has dreamed of becoming a pediatrician because of her close relationship with her own doctor. She writes, “my pediatrician…made sure that I was treated properly and with tender care in any situation I faced. Being a pediatrician means you help shape [children’s] lives to become extraordinary adults…pediatricians are comforters, counselors, teachers, and much more.”


Ryan Lee-Young

University of Maryland College Park
University of Maryland College Park/Sigma Circle Scholarship
Current Study: Johns Hopkins University, Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, M.S.

Ryan seeks to apply his business background to the pharmaceutical industry. He was working as an equity research analyst and decided to further his science education. Ryan recently met up with a Sigma Circle O∆K member in his new town. “More important [than recognition] is to be supportive of those with whom I share this common bond of leadership and achievement.”


Jia Siang (Ben) Leong

Jacksonville University
Rupert Nelson Latture Scholarship
Future Study: London School of Economics and Political Science and Peking University of China

Ben revised the circle constitution and bylaws to reflect O∆K values. His internship with the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville provided him “the opportunity to network with distinguished leaders and gain knowledge beyond the classroom.” His interest lies in the outcomes of China and India’s rapid economic growth, and his ultimate career goal is to work for the United Nations Development Program.


Katie McGrath

Wright State University
Diane and Tom Vukovich Scholarship
Current Study: Wright State University, Student Affairs in Higher Education, M.A.

Katie, circle co-president, describes how student affairs professionals helped develop her leadership skills and “saw in me what I could not see in myself.” Her mentors spent hours making her the best she could be and, in turn, “inspired me to want to make a difference in the lives of students.” She serves as the


Jennifer McIlvaine

Stockton University
Current Study: Stockton University, Communication Disorders, M.S.

Jennifer is driven to become a speech language pathologist. Her experience volunteering at the Special Olympics and with individuals on the autism spectrum “always instilled in me a renewed sense of appreciation for life.” According to Jennifer, these experiences and her circle presidency “allowed me to advance my leadership skills and will serve as a highlight on my achievement list.”


Melissa Micek

Lynchburg College
Current Study: University of Delaware, Public Administration, M.A.

Melissa served as a model leader for her circle, but she is most of proud of developing O∆K Day to introduce the student body to O∆K. Melissa served as a legislative assistant intern for the Virginia House of Delegates and participated in the Virginia Commission on Parole Review and the No Kid Hungry initiative. Melissa is applying to the Delaware Legislative Fellows Program while working on her master’s.


Savannah Noray

Hillsdale College
Current Study: Montana State University, Applied Economics, M.A.

From presenting on women’s empowerment in Nepal to researching the craft brewery market, Savannah is always examining the numbers. She is currently working on her master’s degree in applied economics and has a goal to complete her doctoral work in economics before pursuing a career in international development research. “Development economics requires humility: a willingness to give up failed projects and a dedication to evaluating success without bias.”


Anne Parsiola

Louisiana State University
Current Study: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Medicine, M.D.

From a rural town in Louisiana, Anne plans to return to her roots to practice medicine. During college, she worked in a biochemistry laboratory and at an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in her hometown to gain clinical experience.

“I learned that great leaders are those who inspire others to lead.”


Hermán Powery

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University
Current Study: Florida A&M College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharm.D

Hermán is completing his third year of Florida A&M’s pharmacy program. As circle vice president, Hermán is highly involved in community service events, such as cleaning the circle’s adopt-a-highway street, joining the annual AIDS walk, and donating 300 pounds of food to a local nonprofit.


Polly Ricketts

University of Alabama
Current Study: University of Alabama School of Law, J.D.

Polly led the Living Legend program, which honored Dr. Judy Bonner, the first female president of UA, for her contributions to the university. The event touched on one of O∆K’s cornerstones: the meeting of intergenerational—collegiate and alumni—leaders. Polly collaborated with the Auburn Circle to plan the presentation of the James E. Foy O∆K Sportsmanship Trophy during the Iron Bowl. Polly served as director for Beat Auburn Beat Hunger, vice president of the business honors program, and an investment officer at Forza Financial, a microfinance institution founded by honors students.


Kristin Sheetz

Randolph-Macon College
Current Study: Virginia Commonwealth University, Chemical Engineering, M.S.

Kristin served as circle president and took leadership roles in the science honor society, Chi Beta Phi, and the pre-health society. She overhauled Randolph’s Leadership Fellows Program by boosting enrollment and planning events. She seeks to excel in her field and serve as a role model for women in science. “I believe it is very important for women to have a safe place to encourage each other and work through tough times in a field mostly dominated by men,” she says.


Jamie Spinello

University of Florida
Current Study: University of Denver, Social Work, M.A.

Jamie helped lead the Gators of Tomorrow program, which recognizes the top 25 freshmen, served as a teaching assistant, and mentored an new O∆K member. Jamie aspires to tie her knowledge of psychology and criminology to families in crisis. She writes, “Coupling my psychology degree with an additional degree in criminology integrated my study of mental and emotional factors of human behavior, its causes and methods for [prevention] preventing it in the future.”


Sarah Stayer

St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Current Study: Miami University, Student Affairs in Higher Education, M.A.

Sarah’s interest in higher education and Title IX led her to develop a capstone study that examined how that legislation is implemented on college campuses nationwide. Sarah is passionate about making a difference in the lives of students and promoting gender equality on college campuses. Sarah was editor of SMCM’s Journal of Social Sciences, a resident assistant, Dean’s Advisory Council member, and Title IX Fellow, working to plan and implement programs to prevent sexual misconduct.




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