Porter Scholars for 2014-15 announced

(01-06-2015)

The 2014-15 Porter Scholars with 2014 Outstanding Alumnus, Dr. John Tooker (back, center.)

Adams State University announced selection of 32 exceptional science and mathematics students as Porter Scholars for 2014-15. They were honored at a dinner on campus in October, with a keynote talk by Adams State's 2014 Outstanding Alumnus, Dr. John Tooker, who is the emeritus Executive Vice President and CEO of the American College of Physicians.

Adams State President David Svaldi said. "These students are simply outstanding people. Bill and Joan Porter's generous donation makes this all possible."

The Porter Scholars program was created in 2007 by the largest gift in the university's history: 250,000 shares in E*TRADE Financial Corporation, worth $5.8 million. William and Joan Porter made the donation specifically to help mathematics and science majors "on the basis of their need and their ongoing academic achievement." Mr. Porter earned a degree in mathematics from Adams State in 1951. He is chairman emeritus and founder of E*TRADE and founder of the International Securities Exchange.

The Adams State science and mathematics faculty designed a program to achieve the Porters' goals and expand students' educational opportunities.

Dr. Matt Nehring, professor of physics and chair of the Department of Chemistry, Computer Science and Mathematics, noted: "The Porter Scholars program serves as an important recruiting tool for the our science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, and also provides much needed financial assistance to excellent students in math and science."

2014-15 Porter Scholars

Donathon Archuleta, of Alamosa, Colo., is majoring in biochemistry/biology with plans to attend medical or veterinary school. He is a member of the National Reined Cowhorse Association (Equine Performers). He also received an Alamosa State Bank scholarship.

Claudia Edith Arias, of Alamosa, Colo., is majoring in cellular/molecular biology with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. She teaches Sunday school and belongs to the Newman Club and SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science). She also received the Woodard Scholarship and the Dr. Grant Hurley Memorial Scholarship.

Austin Baumeister, of Evans, Colo., is majoring in cellular biology and pre-medicine, with plans to become an orthopedic surgeon. A graduate of Frontier Academy, he belongs to the Fellowship of Christian Students and earned an athletic scholarship as a member of the men's soccer team.

Tavia Carlson, of Prescott, Ariz., is majoring in physical geography/geology and plans to attend graduate school to work with geo-hazard mitigation. She belongs to the ASU climbing team, Geo Club, and works in the Ryan Geology Museum and Nielsen Library. She has been a Porter Scholar for four years.

Casey Chaney, of Penrose, Colo., is a wildlife biology major who plans to work in wildlife rehabilitation. She enjoys sports and outdoor activities; this is his fourth year as a Porter Scholar.

Desare Comstock, of Manassa, Colo., is a biology major with plans to become a medical doctor. She works as an EMT and has received the Walmart Scholarship and ASU Academic Award.

Jennifer Garcia, of Manassa, Colo., is a pre-pharmacy major working on certification as a pharmacy technician. She is involved in rodeo, works at JK Beadwork, and holds a campus work study job. She also received the Kay Watkins and Milestone scholarships.

Kyra Garrison, of Farmington, New Mex., is majoring in cellular/molecular biology and plans to become a dentist. On campus, she belongs to Tri Beta, is a member of the women's golf team, does lab prep, and volunteers with Colorado Mission of Mercy.

Ben Goldsworthy, of Alamosa, Colo., is majoring in mathematics with an emphasis in physics. He plans to attend graduate school and become a research scientist. He is active in ACME (Adams Mathematics and Engineering Club). This is his fourth year as a Porter Scholar.

Gia Johnson, of Firestone, Colo., is majoring in math with a physics emphasis and hope to work in medical physics. On campus, she belongs to the ACME (Adams Mathematics and Engineering Club), is a lead Student Ambassador, and works at the planetarium. She also enjoys volunteering. She has received the Porter Scholarship for four years.

Bailey Keller, of Alamosa, Colo., is majoring in chemistry/biochemistry. She holds an off-campus job and works on campus as a tutor and belongs to the Adams Atoms. She also received the Kay Watkins Chemistry Scholarship and the Lorraine Young Memorial Scholarship. This is her second year as a Porter Scholar.

Ryan Miller, of Sanford, Colo., is a biology major who plans to become a dentist. A second-year Porter Scholar, he also received the Lorraine Young Memorial Scholarship and the Adams State Alumni Association Scholarship

Ronda Pfifer, of Delta, Colo., is a biology major who hopes to become a veterinarian. She holds two jobs, on and off-campus.

Abbey Rasmussen, of Farmington, Utah, is a biochemistry major who plans to become a physical therapist. She received the Kay Watkins Chemistry Scholarship and an athletic scholarship as a member of the women's soccer team.

Ashlee Romero, of Alamosa, Colo., is majoring in organismal biology, with the goal of becoming a veterinarian. She participates in TriBeta and SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science), and works in the Admissions Office.

Carly Romnes, of Dulce, New Mex., is majoring in engineering with a minor in psychology. She hopes eventually to attend graduate school in engineering. Carly attended Pagosa Springs High School and Darren Patterson Christian Academy. She holds a part-time job and enjoys volunteering. In her second year as a Porter Scholar, she also received the President's Scholarship and the Kay Watkins Chemistry Scholarship.

Mikeala Schmidt, of Centennial, Colo., is a biology/pre-med major who plans to become a pediatrician. She also received an athletic scholarship as a member of the women's soccer team, and belongs to the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. This is her second year as a Porter Scholar

Darin Sisneros, of Alamosa, Colo., is a senior cellular/molecular biology majors who plasn to attend medical school. This is his fourth year as Porter Scholars.

Drake Sisneros, of Alamosa, Colo., is a senior cellular/molecular biology majors who plasn to attend medical school. This is his fourth year as Porter Scholars.

Chelsea Vallejos, of Lamar, Colo., is majoring in chemistry and pre-pharmacy, with plans to become a pharmacist. She also received the Ray Charitable Trust Fund scholarship, and an athletic scholarship as a member of the women's basketball team.

Casey Veneman, of Alamosa, Colo., is a computer science major. In his second year as a Porter Scholar, he also received the Loser Scholarship. He belongs for ACME and is a web technician at Adam State, as well as an intern at the Colorado Division of Water Resources.

Sasha Vigil, of Albuquerque, New Mex., is majoring in molecular biology and plans a career in health care. She serves as president of Tri-Beta and secretary of SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science), in addition to working for a funeral home and on campus doing lab preparation. She also received the Vernon Lantis Scholarship and the Olibama Lopez-Tushar Scholarship.

Kelli Williams, of Alamosa, Colo., is a cellular/molecular biology major who plans to become a physician. On campus, she is secretary for Tri Beta and belongs to SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science). She works part time and also conducts research. In her fourth year as a Porter Scholar, she also received The Donald H. Hopper Memorial Scholarship, Lorraine Young Memorial Scholarship, Vice President's Merit Scholarship, Milestone Scholarship, and the Gear-up Scholarship.

Wyatt Wink-Moran, of Santa Fe, New Mex., is a graduate of Saint Michaels High School. He belongs to the Adams State rock climbing team and the Sci-Fi club, and works as an assistant in the Student Union Building. He also received an Academic Achievement Scholarship.

All Porter Scholars have special academic opportunities, including focused academic programs off campus, independent study, and research on advanced topics. Recent student projects have included projects in DNA, overseas ecology studies, and programs in sustainability, Nehring said.

In addition, the program awards Porter Scholarships to students with unmet financial need, as calculated through the financial aid process. The amount of aid awarded each year varies, depending on the number of qualified applicants and the endowment's earnings in the previous year. Upperclassmen must achieve a GPA of 3.0 in math and science courses, and 3.0 overall, while new students are selected based on a combination of grades and ACT/SAT scores.

By Julie Waechter