(April 24, 2013) The College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin has honored eight incoming students with a Dedman Distinguished Scholarship, which provides full scholarships covering tuition, books, room and board, study abroad and internship opportunities.
Thanks to an additional $5 million gift from Nancy Dedman and The Dedman Foundation, selected liberal arts undergraduates will receive awards of up to $20,000 per year, plus one-time awards of up to $7,500 for study abroad, and additional support for unpaid internships and thesis research.
“These students represent the best and brightest of their peers,” said Larry Carver, director of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. “They will contribute greatly to our community during the next four years and beyond.”
Fifteen finalists were chosen from the top applicants to the Plan II and Liberal Arts Honors programs. In making their decisions, committee members considered academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and accomplishments.
The Dedman Distinguished Scholars Endowment was first established in June 1986. It honors Robert and Nancy Dedman of Dallas whose $10 million gift funded the endowment, which has since grown in value. To date, their gift has supported 132 Dedman scholars.
The Dedman Scholars for the Class of 2017 are:
Jessica Bathea (Frisco) Psychology/Liberal Arts Honors. At Frisco High School, Jessica excelled in a wide variety of activities such as band, debate, and Taekwondo, all while working and spending her time volunteering. Ranked in the top ten of her class, Jessica earned top academic honors, as well as state and regional awards for her outstanding performance in band. Jessica developed an intellectual interest in psychology and will pursue that as her major at UT, with a particular focus on counseling and working with adolescents.
Annie Biondi (Houston) Social Work/Plan II Honors – Originally selected as a Dedman Scholar in the Spring of 2012, Annie decided to take a gap year to work with children with special needs at the Shieling School in Redwood, England. Annie worked with an 8-year old girl who had Angelmans syndrome and assisted her in every aspect of daily life. Annie will be joining the incoming Dedman Scholars in the Fall of 2013.
Logan Crossley (Plano) International Relations & Global Studies/Plan II Honors. Recognized at the local, state, and regional level for his outstanding academic achievement at Plano High School, Logan was also co-captain of the “Whiz Quiz” trivia team, which finished in the top ten nation-wide. Logan also played trumpet in the school band, served as a leader in church activities and community service projects, and is an avid recreational soccer player. At UT, Logan will study International Relations in preparation for a career in the Foreign Service.
Nicolas Gatz (Lake Travis) Spanish and Portuguese/Liberal Arts Honors. The valedictorian at Lake Travis High School and president of the Student Council, Nick founded and organized a group to help students with special needs at his school. The group was praised by administrators and special-education teachers for creating a real sense of community and mutual respect for those involved. He also volunteers at a camp for children with autism. After studying foreign languages at UT, Nick hopes to teach English in a foreign country with teaching as his ultimate career goal.
Michelle Guajardo (Mission) Music/Plan II Honors. Second in her class at Veterans Memorial High School, Michelle earned several state, regional, and national awards for her academic achievement. Notably, she was recognized nationally as an “AP Scholar with Distinction” for earning the highest score possible on all six AP tests taken, after tutoring herself in the subjects when classes weren’t offered at her school. Michelle is also a talented musician, playing in both the school’s marching band and their mariachi band and earning awards for her clarinet playing. She plans to continue her music studies at UT and hopes to one day become a teacher.
Trevor Heise (Weatherford) Economics/Plan II Honors. Home schooled, Trevor integrated his academic studies with many travel opportunities and developed wide-ranging intellectual interests. He excelled in speech and debate, being recognized as a national finalist in extemporaneous speaking and winning championships. He also won awards as a model United Nations delegate. Sharing his debate and speaking talents, Trevor served as a coach for other students and wrote the “Dominate Debate” sourcebook, a publication of debate strategies. Trevor plans to study economics at UT with a possible career in law, ultimately working with non-profits.
Shane Rowley (Lufkin) Petroleum Engineering/Plan II Honors. The valedictorian at Lufkin High School, Shane earned academic excellence awards locally and was also recognized nationally for his top scores on all seven AP exams taken. Shane played catcher on the varsity high school baseball team and served as captain of the select/travel baseball team, earning awards for his sportsmanship. Active in the church youth group and service activities, Shane individually organized a community-wide volunteer project to provide baseball equipment to underprivileged children in Nicaragua. Shane will study petroleum engineering while at UT and is interested in a career in the oil industry.
Jennifer Yang (League City) English/Liberal Arts Honors. A talented viola player at Clear Springs High School, Jennifer has won state and regional awards and competitive scholarships for her musical abilities as well as being featured on the national radio program “From the Top.” In addition to her musical endeavors, Jennifer has earned top honors for her academic performance. Active in community service, Jennifer served as president of her schools Culture Club and organized fundraisers for disaster relief and victim support centers. Fluent in Chinese and interested in language itself, Jennifer has nurtured her passion for poetry and literature and will study English at UT, with aspirations for graduate school and a career in university teaching.