This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
News Bureau • Schofield Hall 201Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900
UW-Eau Claire Welcomes
Four Merit Scholars
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.
         The 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 Nebagamon, English.
         These most recent recipients of the prestigious scholarships brings to 23 the number of National Merit scholars currently attending UW-Eau Claire.
         Even 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.”
         High 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 finalists.
         About 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.
         UW-Eau 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.
         Koehler 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 King.
         “UW-Eau 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.
         Bohl 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.
         “The 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.
         “These students are not just looking at what majors and minors we have to offer, they’re looking for the whole package,” she said.
         UW-Eau Claire’s Honors Program is another attraction for National Merit scholars and other top students.
         The 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.
         To 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.
         The 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 environment.”

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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: Sept. 5, 2001