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Senior receives prestigious scholarship from national honor society

| Diane Walkoff

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior Sydney Berger has been awarded the $6,000 Gaylord F. Hatch Scholarship from the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society for the 2014-15 academic year.

Berger, a kinesiology/human performance major from Hudson, was initiated into the UW-Eau Claire Phi Eta Sigma chapter as a freshman in 2012. She has served as a general executive member and secretary for the chapter.

Phi Eta Sigma is the oldest and largest honor society for first-year college students in all academic disciplines. Its goal is to encourage and reward academic excellence among freshmen in institutions of higher learning. Those elected to membership have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale at the end of any first-year, full-time curricular period and rank in the upper 20 percent of their classes.

"Being in Phi Eta Sigma gives me a role of importance that I did not have before induction my freshman year," Berger said. "Specifically, being on the executive board, it felt good to help incoming members and share with them the benefits of Phi Eta Sigma as well as congratulate them on their success during their first year of college, when many difficult transitions occur."

According to Jodi Thesing-Ritter, UW-Eau Claire associate dean of students, who also serves as a faculty adviser to Phi Eta Sigma, Berger is an outstanding student and just one of the university's many talented Phi Eta Sigma members.

"This honor is a testament to Sydney's hard work and the strength of our campus chapter," Thesing-Ritter said.

Berger said she is thrilled to have received the Phi Eta Sigma scholarship in recognition of her academic achievements.

"I have worked extremely hard over the last three years, and I'm glad that all of my work has paid off," Berger said.

Phi Eta Sigma, which grants $300,000 in endowed scholarships or awards each year, was founded at the University of Illinois in 1923; in 1937 it earned membership into the Association of College Honor Societies. The honor society has more than 300 chapters throughout the United States and more than 900,000 members.

More information about the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and its scholarship programs is available online.