Top seniors honored as 2014 Merrill scholars

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John Carberry
Xu Yang
Jason Koski/University Photography
Xu Yang '14 chats with Barry Perlus, associate professor of art in the College of Art, Architecture and Planning, during the Merrill Presidential Scholars 26th Annual Convocation in Willard Straight Hall May 21.
Michelle Cho
Jason Koski/University Photography
Michelle Cho '14 speaks with event guests.
Isaac Kramnick
Jason Koski/University Photography
Professor Isaac Kramnick was honored by David Sadoff '14.
Danielle Abada
Jason Koski/University Photography
Danielle Abada '14 of Woodbury, New York.

On May 21, the Cornell Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honored 33 outstanding graduating seniors and the high school teachers and university faculty members who made important contributions to the students’ lives.

Since 1988, approximately 1 percent of the graduating class is named to receive the honor by the deans of each of Cornell’s seven undergraduate colleges. The scholars, in turn, recognize a high school teacher who most inspired their scholastic development and a Cornell faculty member who most significantly contributed to their college experience. The high school teachers are invited to campus as guests of the university to participate in two days of events.

Merrill scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholastic accomplishments, but also because they have “demonstrated remarkable intellectual drive, energetic leadership abilities and a propensity to contribute to the betterment of society.”

This year, high school teacher Chee Keong Lee traveled to Cornell from Singapore. In addition, Monroe Weber-Shirk, a faculty member in civil and environmental engineering, was honored by two students (Walker Grimshaw and Victoria Klug), and alumnus and high school teacher Chris Jennings ’01 was honored by Madeline Olberg. High school teacher Arthur Kalish, honored by Ross Berger, was honored similarly in 2006 by another former student.

The 2014 Merrill scholars are listed below by college and hometown, followed by the names of the secondary school teachers and Cornell faculty members they selected for recognition:

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

  • Ross Berger, Woodbury, N.Y.; Arthur Kalish, Syosset Senior High School; Richard Curtis, applied economics and management.
  • Caitlin Bowen, Rochester, N.Y.; David Wiener, Penfield High School; Roger Spanswick, biological engineering.
  • Jon Loftus, Cazenovia, N.Y.; Elizabeth Wheeler, Fayetteville-Manlius High School; Thomas Seeley, biological sciences.
  • Devin McMahon, Seattle; Mary Marsh, Redmond High School; Jun Liu, biological sciences.
  • Alexandra Neuber, Clifton Park, N.Y.; Brenda Sugarman, Shenendehowa High School; Kathy Berggren, applied economics and management.
  • Scott Newman, Carmichael, Calif.; Alan Posner, El Camino Fundamental High School; Sharon Poczter, applied economics and management.
  • Kelly O’Connor,; Meredith Tracey, North Andover High School; Pilar Parra, biological sciences.
  • Madeline Olberg, Niskayuna, N.Y.; Christopher Jennings, Niskayuna High School; Bill Miller, plant sciences.
  • Anna Rassman, Washington, D.C.; Robert Gibb, Montgomery Blair High School; Ian Merwin, agricultural sciences.

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

  • Xu Yang, Ellicott City, Md; Tracy Heim, West Chester East High School; Xu Xin, China and Asia Pacific studies.

College of Arts and Sciences

  • Ragnheidur Bjornsdottir, Iceland; Gretchen Diercks Ospina, Orono High School; Melissa Ferguson, psychology, German literature.
  • Emily Cai, San Diego; Brinn Belyea, Torrey Pines High School; Jon Lis, biological sciences and anthropology.
  • Michelle Cho, Palo Alto, Calif.; Casey O’Connell, Henry M. Gunn High School; Richard Swedberg, sociology.
  • Emily Dando, Edwards, Colo.; Brian Hill, Quaker Valley High School; Gerald Feigenson, biological sciences.
  • Robert McGehee Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.; Maureen Morse, Kempsville High School; Saul Teukolsky, physics, mathematics.
  • Philip Perrone, Merrick, N.Y.; Sean Formato, Sanford H. Calhoun High School; Derk Pereboom, philosophy, psychology.
  • David Sadoff, Tallman, N.Y.; Robert Wilson, Suffern High School; Isaac Kramnick, history, government.
  • Emily Shearer, Lafayette, Calif.; Edward Seelenbacher, Acalanes High School; Sean Nicholson, biology, government.
  • Jillian Strayhorn, Ithaca, N.Y.; Susan Richman, Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency; Harry Segal, psychology.

College of Engineering

  • Dennis Chua, Singapore; Chee Keong Lee, Raffles Institution; Lynden Archer, chemical engineering.
  • Walker Grimshaw, Boise, Idaho; Tatia Totorica, Boise High School, Monroe Weber-Shirk, environmental engineering and biological engineering.
  • Manita Herlitz-Ferguson, Larchmont, N.Y.; Christopher Allen, The Masters School; Tracey Brant, operations research and information engineering.
  • Victoria Klug, Benicia, Calif.; Marie Barde, Benicia High School; Monroe Weber-Shirk, environmental engineering and biological engineering.
  • Sung Min (Sam) Park; Mark Guggisberg, Singapore American School; Ramin Zabih, computer science.
  • Natali Vannoy, Lyndhurst, Ohio; Norm Althausen, Beachwood High School; Charles Williamson, mechanical and aerospace engineering.
  • Beth Wright, Parsippany, N.J.; Robert Stevenson, Parsippany High School; Derek Warner, civil and environmental engineering.

School of Hotel Administration

  • Silvie Cohen, Marblehead, Mass.; Debora O’Reilly, Essex Agriculture and Technical School; Mark McCarthy, hotel administration.
  • Nicholas Vasko, Columbus, Ohio; Sara Brdar, The Wellington School; Jan deRoos, hotel administration.

College of Human Ecology

  • Andrew Freiman, Hewlett, N.Y.; Martin Kilkenny, George W. Hewlett High School; Rosemary Avery, policy analysis and management.
  • Scott Kim; Enzo Vitullo, St. Michael’s College School; Barbara Strupp, human biology, health and society.
  • Hannah Zalusky, Chanhassen, Minn.; Sonia Labs, Minnetonka High School; Rhonda Gilmore, design and environmental analysis.

ILR School

  • Danielle Abada, Woodbury, N.Y.; Robin Stanton, Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island; Jack Goncalo, industrial and labor relations.
  • Simon Boehme, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Von Washington Jr., Kalamazoo High School; Alex Colvin, industrial and labor relations.

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