Montana State University

High school seniors win MSU's top scholarship

May 27, 2008

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
Nine of Montana's most gifted high school seniors were selected as recipients of the 2008 Presidential Scholarships, Montana State University's most prestigious scholarship. Awards are based on scholastic achievement, demonstrated leadership and personal qualities.

Recipients of Presidential Scholarships receive an annual award of a $2,500 stipend plus a tuition waiver. The scholarship is renewable for four years based on maintaining superior academic standing at MSU.

MSU Presidential Scholarships are funded, in part, by individual donors who provide gifts to the Presidential Scholarship Endowment.

The 2008 Presidential Scholarship recipients from Montana and their activities are:
(Montana scholars, with selected activities, are listed in alphabetical order by hometown:)

Michael Zundel, a graduate of Billings West High School, All-State track and field, member of the U.S. Achievement Academy National Awards, National Young Leaders Conference Distinguished Scholar. The son of Brad and Lori Zundel, he plans to major in engineering at MSU.

Kaitlyn Ash, daughter of Brian and Lisa Ash, has a third-degree black belt in karate. She was the AAU National Champion in karate in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and was a gold medalist in fighting at the International Goodwill Karate Championships in Tokyo in 2006. She is a member of the 2007/2008 AAU USA National Karate Team and was the Masonic Student of the Month in December 2006.

Erin Gunnink, daughter of Brett and Elaine Gunnink, holds a third degree black belt in ATA taekwondo, was the American Taekwondo Association's Regional Trainee Instructor, Cunningham's ATA Black Belt of the Year in 2004 and 2005 and a Montana Songahm Taekwondo state champion in various categories in 2005, 2006 and 2007. A student at Bozeman High School, she will study biotechnology at MSU.

Deer Lodge
David Phillips, son of Ralph and Karen, attended Powell County High School where he received the Weston Award for Most Inspirational Football Player, was a state finalist for Wendy's High School Heisman award and had perfect attendance. He will study psychology at MSU.

Daniel Barta, son of Alan and Marilyn, will graduate from Capital High School where he was a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, a recipient of the Helena Education Foundation's Harrison Writing Award, a Boys State delegate. He plans to major in paleontology.

Morgan Mends, daughter of Nigel and Jane Mends of Helena, attended Helena High School where she was Exchange Club Student of the Month, a National Merit semifinalist and received a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo. She will study chemical engineering at MSU.

Casey Donoven, son of Todd and Margaret Donoven of Kremlin, will graduate from Havre High School. He was a first place winner in the Montana Chemistry Olympiad, first place in the "Who Wants to be a Mathematician" contest, a Boy's State Delegate, a HOBY Ambassador, a National Merit Semifinalist, the highest placing junior in the Principal's Cup. Donoven received "one" ratings in the State Music Festival in saxophone duet and quartet and jazz band. He has lettered in band and speech and plans to major in mathematics.

Miles City
Bryan Vadheim, a student at Custer County District High School, is the son of Lew and Liane Vadheim. He is an Eagle Scout, won the Boy Scout God & Country Award, was a delegate to Montana Boy's State where he was chair of the Party Platform, a delegate to the National Young Leaders Conference, a National Merit semifinalist, a Humanities Chess Champion, first place in the mini-novel competition, first place winner four times at the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional and State Academic Olympics, first place in district in the American Legion Oratorical Contest, second in region. He plans to major in chemical engineering at MSU.

Nicholas Wills, is the son of John and Krista Wills of Missoula. While attending Missoula Sentinel High School was first in the Dan Black Belt Taekwondo awarded by international Kukkiwon, a member of the first place team regional computer programming competition and also won an individual first place in the competition, AP Scholar with Distinction by the College AP Board, first place in the state computer programming competition and listed on Who's Who among American High School Students. He received a perfect 4.0 for five semesters. Plans to major in computer science at MSU.

Out of state recipients include:
Derek Brouwer of McMurray, Penn.
Eric Dietrich of Portland, Ore.
Elizabeth Flesch, Bettendorf, Iowa
Forrest Jarvi, Salem, Ore.
Michiel Pillet, Landen, 2400, Belgium
Joseph Thiel, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Mike Miles (406) 994-4732,