K Student Earns Alpha Lambda Delta Scholarship

Alpha Lambda Delta scholarship recipient Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24
Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24 is receiving a merit
scholarship from Alpha Lambda Delta.

For the first time in nearly 10 years, a Kalamazoo College student is receiving a merit scholarship from Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD), the honor society for first-year academic success.

Shahriar Akhavan Tafti ’24 will receive one of 50 undergraduate scholarships worth $1,000 to $6,000 each, as the honor society issues a total of $105,000 nationally through the Jo Anne J. Trow Award.

Akhavan Tafti is a computer science major and German and psychology minor from Iran who is looking to expand K’s involvement in Alpha Lambda Delta while collaborating with the chapter at Western Michigan University.

The Jo Anne J. Trow Award was instated in 1988 to honor a past national president of Alpha Lambda Delta. The scholarship requires that applicants gather at least two letters of recommendation and maintain a 3.5 grade-point average on a four-point scale.

“One of the reasons my application stood out was my proposed plan to expand Alpha Lambda Delta’s presence throughout our campus,” Akhavan Tafti said. “I hope to do this with the help of this year’s new ALD initiates. The end goal is to create a self-sustaining ALD organization to facilitate academic excellence and engagement with ALD, which will allow more students from our College to receive ALD scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and study abroad funding in return for their contributions to ALD.”

Gilman Scholarship Allows Four to Study Abroad

Gilman Scholar Caelan Frazier
Caelan Frazier ’24

Four Kalamazoo College students will each receive funds to study abroad in the upcoming academic year through the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Plan.

Since 2001, the Gilman scholarship has given more than 33,000 students with limited financial means up to $5,000 to study or intern abroad. By going abroad, recipients develop skills critical to national security and economic prosperity.

Angela Hernandez and Anna Canales, both ’24, are expected to study in Japan. Caelan Frazier ’24 plans to visit Northern Ireland. Natalie Barber ’23, after deferring her award as a result of the pandemic last year, will travel to Costa Rica this year.

All the opportunities hinge on the host country’s progress with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Frazier, for one, is optimistic his program will proceed as planned with arriving in Belfast, Ireland, in September.

“While I am there, I hope to increase my knowledge in STEM, specifically chemistry and computer science, in order to be more experienced for future jobs,” Frazier said. “Not only that, I want to learn a lot more about the culture and everyday life in Northern Ireland. I have not actually traveled abroad before. I feel that it is important for me to return with a better understanding of life outside of America. Since social norms and cultural conflicts will be so different, I want to be able to take in all the new information and apply it to my own life.”

By awarding the funds competitively to students with limited financial means, the program assures that students from traditionally underrepresented groups will participate. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, undergraduate students in good standing at their institutions and federal Pell Grant recipients.

“As an African-American individual, I feel that having the opportunity to travel abroad is not a common occurrence,” Frazier said. “It is only through scholarships such as the Gilman scholarship that I am able to accept the opportunity to study abroad. That is why I am incredibly grateful to be offered this opportunity and I want to make sure I make the most of my experience.”

Scholarship Helps New K Alumnus Hone Chinese Skills

Students Build Chinese Skills in Study Abroad
Daniel Mota-Villegas ’21 (back row left) was studying abroad in Beijing in January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced students to return early. Now, though, Mota-Villegas is enhancing his language skills in Chinese through a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) through the U.S. Department of State.

A Kalamazoo College representative is enhancing his skills in Chinese this summer through a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS).

Daniel Mota-Villegas ’21 is among about 700 scholars currently in the CLS program, which actively recruits in regions that have been historically under-represented in international education. The opportunity enables those chosen to gain critical language and cultural skills in areas vital to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

Since 2006, CLS has awarded scholarships to more than 8,000 students while building respect and positive relations between Americans and citizens of other countries. CLS normally sends scholars to countries where they fully immerse themselves in the language of their choice, but the lingering effects of COVID-19 are requiring about 30 hours a week of virtual learning and cultural activities instead.

Nonetheless, “it’s been a very rewarding experience and it’s everything that I imagined it would be,” Mota-Villegas said. “It’s an intensive Chinese program that pushes me to expand on what I already know about Chinese language and culture. We learn upwards of 70 characters each day.”

Mota-Villegas spoke Spanish in his home life growing up and never considered learning another language—and taking those opportunities to see the world—until he attended K. At that time, he enrolled in his first Mandarin Chinese class and developed a fascination with China, its society and its values. In his sophomore year, he learned about China’s complex relationship with Taiwan, fueling his desire to study abroad and gain a deeper understanding of international relations.

In his study abroad experience, Mota-Villegas was among four K students in China in January 2020 when the pandemic began spreading, forcing students to return home early. However, he hopes to return to East Asia for an international master’s program in Asia Pacific studies at National ChengChi University in Taipei, Taiwan this fall while examining the complex relationships between China, Japan and Taiwan.

“The opportunities to continue practicing Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan will be abundant,” he said of his upcoming master’s experience. “I will not have to be sitting in a classroom to study because I’ll be outside, engaging with people in the community who have firsthand experience dealing with mainland China and Japan.”

Mota-Villegas wants his experiences at K, with CLS and in his master’s program to provide a springboard to a career in the foreign service, where he would promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.

“I’d be open to traveling anywhere,” he said. “I love learning about languages and culture. My dream job would be to work in mainland China, Taiwan or anywhere else in East Asia. I’m fascinated with East Asia, with all its history and culture, and CLS is giving me more experience with all of them.”

Eight New Heyl Scholars to Attend K This Fall

Heyl Scholar Elizabeth 'Ellie' Grooten
Elizabeth ‘Ellie’ Grooten

Heyl Scholar Anna Buck
Anna Buck

Heyl Scholar Ava Apolo_
Ava Apolo

Eight Kalamazoo County high school students seeking to major in STEM-related fields have earned Heyl Scholarships to attend Kalamazoo College in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Heyl Scholarship Fund, marking its 50th anniversary, was established in 1971 through the will of Dr. Frederick Heyl and Mrs. Elsie Heyl.

Maggie Lekan_
Maggie Lekan

Cole Koryto
Cole Koryto

Alex Kish
Alex Kish

Frederick Heyl was the first director of research at the Upjohn Company and he taught at Kalamazoo College. The scholarships are renewable for four years and cover tuition, fees, college housing and a book allowance.

This year’s recipients of the scholarships, their high schools and their chosen majors or professional goals are:

Laurel Wolfe
Laurel Wolfe

Emerson Wesselhoff
Emerson Wesselhoff

  • Ava Apolo, Loy Norrix High School and Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC), biology.
  • Anna Buck, Loy Norrix High School and KAMSC, mathematics.
  • Elizabeth “Ellie” Grooten, Kalamazoo Central and KAMSC, biology.
  • Alex Kish, Comstock and KAMSC, mechanical engineering.
  • Cole Koryto, Portage Central and KAMSC, computer science and business.
  • Maggie Lekan, Kalamazoo Central, biology or chemistry.
  • Emerson Wesselhoff, Loy Norrix and KAMSC, biology with an environmental science concentration.
  • Laurel Wolfe, Loy Norrix, biology.

Emeriti Trustees Establish New Scholarship with $5 Million Gift

Brown Scholarship Endowment
A $5 million commitment to Kalamazoo College from emeriti trustees Rosemary and John Brown will create an endowed scholarship fund that will help students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

A generous $5 million commitment to Kalamazoo College from emeriti trustees Rosemary and John Brown will create an endowed scholarship fund to help provide access to talented students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The Browns are active philanthropists, particularly as strong supporters of higher education.

The Rosemary K. and John W. Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund will further the College’s strategic plan by assisting future students in achieving their goals through a K education. The Browns have donated to higher-education institutions through scholarships, faculty-chair funding, capital projects and programs within engineering, sciences and mathematics, the performing arts and veterinary medicine including many gifts to K over the years; in particular, they made two large gifts to establish the Rosemary K. Brown Endowed Professorship in Mathematics and Computer Science, showing their generosity to the College. Such efforts nurture future breakthroughs, progress and leadership. One of their favorite quotes is by Nelson Henderson: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

“We are profoundly grateful to the Browns for their remarkable gift, which opens the doors of our unique institution to students who otherwise might not have this opportunity,” Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez said. “A K education is truly life-changing for our students, and we are honored that the Browns have chosen to invest in our mission and our students through both their past service as trustees and their financial support of the College.”

Rosemary Brown is a lifelong educator who shared her passion for math with students in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and several schools in Kalamazoo. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Auburn University and her master’s degree in mathematics education from Rutgers University. She received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Freed-Hardeman University, an honorary doctor of science degree from Auburn University, and was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Auburn’s College of Science and Math. Rosemary is an emerita trustee of the College, having served on the board from 1998 to 2009. She was also a member of the Kalamazoo College Women’s Council.

John Brown is former chairman, president and CEO of Stryker Corporation. He was named Chairman Emeritus of Stryker in 2010. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Auburn University, an honorary doctor of humane letters from Kalamazoo College, an honorary doctor of laws degree from Freed-Hardeman University, and an honorary doctorate in science from Auburn University. John is an emeritus trustee of the College, having served on the board from 1980 to 1995.

Reflecting on their gift, the Browns shared, “Our involvement with Kalamazoo College dates back to the late ’70s when we moved to Michigan.  It has been a rewarding experience: getting to know the administrators, the faculty, the students, attending the Boys’ tennis tournaments, the concerts, the Kitchen lectures…we are happy to play a role in helping students have the opportunity to become part of the K family.”

Barclay Endowed Scholarship Honors Retired Professor

David Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History
Professor Emeritus David Barclay, who served Kalamazoo College for 43 years, devoted his professional life to teaching, researching, and writing on European history. Alumni, current and retired faculty and staff, and friends of the College are honoring Barclay and his time at the College by establishing the David E. Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History.

Alumni, current and retired faculty and staff, and friends of the College have established the David E. Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History to honor Professor Barclay and his 43 years at the College. Professors Emeriti David Strauss and John Wickstrom were the driving forces behind the fundraising initiative to create this scholarship.

“News of the new scholarship has humbled me more than I can possibly express,” said Barclay, who retired from K as the Margaret and Roger Scholten Professor of International Studies. “I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to so many of you who have contributed to it, and especially to my dear friends and colleagues, David Strauss and John Wickstrom. “They — along with the late Edward Moritz — played central roles in developing K’s history curriculum, and were a daily inspiration to me as teachers, scholars, and human beings.”

Strauss and Wickstrom described the purpose of the scholarship as supporting K students who demonstrate exemplary capacity for and commitment to scholarly work in the history department. Their motivation for creating the Barclay Endowed Scholarship was to both signal K’s tradition of excellence in history by undergraduates—past, present and future—and also honor Barclay’s extraordinary career in an appropriate fashion.

Barclay devoted his professional life to teaching, researching, and writing on European history. As a scholar, he achieved national and international distinction for his work in modern German history. He shared his achievements in those fields with several generations of students while working tirelessly to expand the influence of the discipline of History at K.

Collaborating with colleagues at the College, Barclay wrote a successful proposal for the Center for Western European Studies, a Title VI Undergraduate Resource Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The award establishing the program was the only one made to a liberal arts college and was competitively renewed every three years for 15 years. Barclay also joined students on study abroad and served as a mentor, adviser and friend to countless alumni.

Barclay received the Weimer K. Hicks Award in 2018, which honors a current or retired K employee who has provided long-term support to College programs or activities beyond the call of duty.

To celebrate the establishment of this endowed scholarship in his name, Professor Barclay will be giving a virtual K-Talk on Tuesday, April 20, at 5 p.m. The K-Talk, “Germany’s American Outpost,” will explore the relationship between Berlin and the United States during the Cold War.

If you would like to support K history students and give in honor of Professor Barclay, please make a gift online to the David E. Barclay Endowed Scholarship in History or contact Andy Miller, Executive Director of Development, at 269.337.7327 or Andy.Miller@kzoo.edu.

Six Earn Heyl Scholarships

Heyl Recipient Madeleine Coffman
Madeleine Coffman

Heyl Recipient Lukas Bolton
Lukas Bolton

Heyl Scholar Jordyn Wilson
Jordyn Wilson

Six students from Kalamazoo County high schools received Heyl Scholarships to attend Kalamazoo College in the 2020-21 school year. Pursuant to scholarship criteria, all will major in STEM-related fields.

Since 1971, the Heyl Scholarship Fund has been available to remarkable Kalamazoo-area math and science students, and was established through the will of Dr. Frederick Heyl and Mrs. Elsie Heyl.

Heyl Recipient Emily Haigh
Emily Haigh

Heyl Recipient Bijou Hoehle
Bijou Hoehle

Heyl Recipient Xavier Silva
Xavier Silva

Frederick Heyl was the first director of research at the Upjohn Company and also taught at Kalamazoo College. The scholarships are renewable for four years and cover tuition, fees, college housing and a book allowance.

Recipients of the Heyl Scholarships include: Lukas Bolton, Kalamazoo Central; Madeleine Coffman, Hackett Catholic Prep / Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center (KAMSC); Emily Haigh, Portage Central / KAMSC; Bijou Hoehle, Kalamazoo Central; Xavier Silva, Portage Northern / KAMSC; and Jordyn Wilson, Parchment / KAMSC.

K Senior Receives Venture for America Fellowship

Venture for America Fellow 1
Rosella LoChirco ’20 walks through El Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain, where she studied abroad. LoChirco has earned a Venture for America Fellowship.

In a few short months, K senior Rosella LoChirco will begin a two-year commitment as a Venture for America Fellow. The prestigious fellowship prepares recent college graduates for careers as entrepreneurs, and fellows are placed in ambitious start-up businesses across the U.S. In April, Rosella will be matched with companies that are a good fit for her interdisciplinary skills, and she’s excited to begin the process of picking her fellowship site.

Rosella began her K experience like many other students: excited and more than a little nervous for what the future might bring. As the first student in her family to attend college, Rosella said, “It was so terrifying to sit in my first class — I didn’t know if I would fit in.”

Rosella found her way. Participation on the women’s soccer team benefited her with teammates and a coach, Bryan Goyings, who she said “really believed in me, and really supported me no matter what.” Early in her first year, Rosella developed a mentorship with Professor Chris Latiolais, who supported her philosophy major without reservation. “Every day that I come to class, he tells me about a new career that I could do,” Rosella said.

Venture for America Fellow 2
Rosella LoChirco ’20 (center) poses with mentors Allyson McLean ’05 (right) and Brennan Smith during LoChirco’s Quicken Loans internship.

When it was time to select a research subject for her Senior Individualized Project, Rosella was cautious once more, yet she let her instincts guide her. “I loved this one anthropology and sociology professor, Professor Katerina Stefatos. I knew I wanted to work with her. We had so many meetings and calls to figure out my topic!” Rosella said.

Simultaneously, Rosella was completing a summer internship at Quicken Loans and the FIFA Women’s World Cup was making headlines. To the student-athlete, it seemed like fate: “I put together a pitch for Quicken Loans about why they should invest in the women’s soccer team,” Rosella said. “I started digging into the question of why women’s sports are not societally valued as much as men’s sports. That became a perfect jumping-off point for my SIP, and all the theories involved from my philosophy background helped.”

The Quicken Loans team saw Rosella’s potential; several colleagues, including a K alum, were well-connected to Venture for America. “They said, ‘if you’re up for learning things and a team environment, you should make this two-year commitment,’” Rosella remembered. “They really encouraged me to do it, because I had never heard anything about it.”

Once she learned more, Rosella knew she had to apply. “I’m a liberal arts student who didn’t study anything too technical, so I loved the idea that an organization was really valuing someone like me to make an impact in a start-up from day one.” Now, when Rosella looks to the future and her two-year fellowship, she is confident. “I see a lot of connections between K and Venture for America,” she explained. “I’m going to a small team, working closely together, and that’s very close to the K experience. I found my way at K, and I’ll bring my same energy to this commitment. I know that I have the skills and tenacity to figure it out.”

Kalamazoo College Alumnus Jon Stryker Commits $20 Million in Student Scholarships

Stryker’s contribution establishes a 10-year scholarship program at the College for talented students in need of financial support.

Kalamazoo College is proud to announce today the establishment of the Jon L. Stryker Future Leaders Scholarship Program. Through a generous $20 million contribution from Jon Stryker, the scholarship program has been created to assist students in need of financial support and to further Kalamazoo College’s commitment to diversity within its student body. The program, beginning in academic year 2018-2019, will provide $2 million in scholarships annually over the next 10 years.

Kalamazoo College Alumnus Jon Stryker Scholarships
Jon Stryker ’82 believes education for all people is a highly effective way to break the cycles of marginalization and inequality that continue to plague this country. His generous $20 million gift will provide scholarships to future leaders seeking a Kalamazoo College education.

The Jon L. Stryker Future Leaders scholarships will primarily support students of color, first generation college students and students from lower income families.

“We are incredibly grateful to Jon Stryker for this remarkable gift that opens the doors of our unique institution to students who otherwise would not have this opportunity. The future of our society depends on our ability to develop leaders from diverse backgrounds. It is an honor that Jon has placed this tremendous trust in his alma mater,” said Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez.

Stryker’s contribution supports and affirms the goals of the College’s new strategic plan, “Advancing Kalamazoo College: A Strategic Vision for 2023.”

Additionally, the gift is being made in anticipation of Kalamazoo College’s next fundraising campaign and is intended to encourage other alumni, families and friends of the College to contribute $20 million toward endowed scholarships.

“I am thrilled to be able to make this contribution to my alma mater with the goal of advancing diversity and inclusion in higher education,” Stryker said. “Supporting a pathway to higher education for all people is a highly effective way to break the cycles of marginalization and inequality that continue to plague this country. There is much more work to be done and my hope is to inspire more members of the Kalamazoo College community to make additional contributions to support diverse students at K.”

The scholarships made possible by Stryker’s contribution and others like it will have an immediate and long-term impact for current and future members of the College’s student body.

Jon Stryker, a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., is an architect and philanthropist. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Kalamazoo College in 1982 and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2000, he established the Arcus Foundation to support the advancement of LGBT civil rights globally and the conservation of the world’s great apes.

He has been an influential contributor to Kalamazoo College over the years. He serves on the College’s Board of Trustees, and has made more than $10 million in funding grants to support the College’s highly ranked study abroad program and enrollment diversity efforts. In 2008, he established a $5.6 million grant to fund the tuition and financial support of 50 Posse Scholars, a program of the Posse Foundation to pair high-performing public high school students from underrepresented groups in higher education with full, four-year academic scholarships.

Additionally, his Arcus Foundation awarded the College more than $25 million in grants to create and sustain The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. The center became fully operational on campus in academic year 2010-2011 and supports the College’s goal to develop emerging leaders and sustaining existing leaders in the field of human rights and social justice. Stryker also funded the award-winning building that houses the center. This building, designed by Studio Gang in Chicago, was dedicated in September 2014.

Through these and other donations, Stryker has given a total of $66 million to Kalamazoo College. For Stryker’s devotion to K, he was awarded the College’s Distinguished Service Award in 2010.

Kalamazoo College is a nationally recognized residential liberal arts college located in Kalamazoo, Mich. The creator of the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College provides an individualized education that integrates rigorous academics with life-changing experiential learning opportunities.

Heyl Scholarship Winners Announced

Eight students from Kalamazoo County high schools and one Kalamazoo College first-year student will receive Heyl scholarships to attend Kalamazoo College in the 2018-19 school year, majoring in math or science.Heyl Scholars

The prestigious scholarships, available to accomplished Kalamazoo-area math and science students who meet certain requirements, cover tuition, rooming and book fees. The scholarships were established in 1971 through the will of F.W. and Elsie L. Heyl. F.W. Heyl was the first director of research at the Upjohn Co. and taught at Kalamazoo College.

Honored at a dinner at the College, the scholarship winners are (from left): Evelyn Bartley (Loy Norrix High), Eva DeYoung (Loy Norrix High), Sam Ratliff (Kalamazoo College), Madeline Guimond (Loy Norrix High), Molly Ratliff (Loy Norrix High and Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center), Alina Offerman (Loy Norrix High), Syeda Tooba (Parchment High and Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center), Tatianna Tyler (Kalamazoo Central High) and Thomas (Jake) Fales (Kalamazoo Central High).

Five other students received Heyl Scholarships to attend Western Michigan University’s Bronson School of Nursing.