MAILED: Sept. 5, 2001
EAU CLAIRE — Four of the 2,099
freshmen starting classes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire this week
are National Merit scholars who will have their in-state tuition paid for in
full for four years.
four scholars who chose to enroll at UW-Eau Claire this fall are: Rachel Dusek,
Superior, Spanish education; Emily Hynek, Sparta, English;
Melissa King, Holmen, social work; and Karline Koehler, Lake
most recent recipients of the prestigious scholarships brings to 23 the number
of National Merit scholars currently attending UW-Eau Claire.
more impressive is the fact that two of the four scholars, Dusek and Koehler,
did so well in the National Merit Scholarship Program that they received
awards in the top two National Merit categories, said Joey Bohl, assistant
director of Admissions. “It is rare to get two scholars with such
high-ranking awards in the same year.”
school students qualify to win the scholarships by taking the PSATs, Bohl
said. From the 1.2 million students who take the PSATs, students must score in
the top 1 percent nationally to be a semifinalist for the National Merit
scholarships. The scores those semifinalists receive the following year on the
SAT, as well as recommendations and class rank, are used to determine the
7,900 students are chosen to be merit scholar designees. Three types of awards
are offered: National Merit scholarship, corporate-sponsored merit scholarship
or college-sponsored merit scholarship.
Claire has been an official participant in the National Merit Scholarship
Program since 1982 and has averaged three to eight college-sponsored merit
scholarship recipients every year since. This year, however, Koehler,
recipient of the most prestigious National Merit scholarship, and Dusek,
recipient of the second-highest award, a corporate-sponsored merit
scholarship, chose to enroll at UW-Eau Claire.
received a single payment of $2,500 from the National Merit Scholarship
Corporation and Dusek received a renewable $1,000 scholarship award from Mead
Witter Foundation Inc. The UW-Eau Claire Foundation will fund the remainder of
their scholarships, as well as the full four-year scholarships for Hynek and
Claire and UW-Madison are the only universities in Wisconsin that participate in
the program,” said Bohl, noting that institutions become participants by
having three National Merit students enrolled for three years in a row.
attributes UW-Eau Claire’s success in consistently attracting top students to
the university’s strong liberal arts emphasis and the opportunities for
students to pursue interests outside or complementary to their academic majors.
National Merit scholars we get at UW-Eau Claire are extremely well-rounded
students,” Bohl said. UW-Eau Claire offers them solid degree programs as well
as opportunities to pursue other interests, such as athletics, music and service
learning, she said.
students are not just looking at what majors and minors we have to offer,
they’re looking for the whole package,” she said.
Claire’s Honors Program is another attraction for National Merit scholars and
other top students.
Honors Program offers highly interactive classes with no more than 20 students
and extracurricular opportunities to academically distinguished students who
attend UW-Eau Claire, said Ronald Mickel, director of the Honors Program.
participate in the Honors Program, a student must be in the top 5 percent of
their high school class and in the top 5 percent nationally on their ACT or SAT
scores. The program also invites students to join after they have been at the
university for a semester if they have a 3.67 GPA and at least an ACT composite
in the top 10 percent, Mickel said.
This year all those eligible to join the Honors Program
who chose to attend UW-Eau Claire did so. "This is a first," Mickel said. "Usually five or six
choose not to join, but this year we recruited all 86 eligible students." These incoming
students bring the number of Honors Program students to approximately 350.
Honors Program has been recognized as a model program in the state, region and
nation and is an advantage for UW-Eau Claire when it comes to recruiting the
best high school graduates, including National Merit scholars, Mickel said.
“We not only have a program, we have a very solid one in which our students
reap the benefits of individual attention in an intellectually stimulating
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Sept. 5, 2001