Chancellor's Past Featured Scholars

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Alycia Carson, Oneida Vargas, Grace Vargas, and Tomas Cortez: "Over spring break, while at home, the four of us visited four Chicago high schools to tell them about SIUC, the academic scholarships available here, and our overall experiences in college and in Carbondale. We came up with the idea a while ago and were happy to finally carry it out! We felt there was a need for this personal outreach because in our experiences, a lot of our high school classmates did not have SIUC on their radar and were not aware of our academic scholarships or the application deadline. We are so grateful and lucky to have this scholarship, and so we wanted to give back to both the university, by spreading the word about SIUC to bring in more students, and also our home communities, to let them know about our school and its opportunities. During this process we got to know each other better, learned more about what we had in common, and each other’s different experiences growing up in the same city. We had a very positive reception at the schools we visited, both from students and counselors. Hopefully, this will turn into a regular event in the future, adding more schools to our list, and more scholars to our team!"

Thank you all!


Kara Starkweather: "I am a junior from Rochester, Illinois, studying Physiology Pre-medicine with a minor in Chemistry and Psychology. I am planning to attend medical school after graduation. I am currently the Vice-President and co-founder of Timmy Global Health of SIUC. Timmy Global Health promotes health in the community and global health equality. This summer I am planning on traveling with Timmy Global Health to Ecuador to aid in setting up a medical clinic in a rural community with no access to health care."

"The past two years, I have volunteered weekly at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. Here, I have been able to give back to the community while gaining valuable experience in the field I am passionate about. I am also a member of Saluki Science Ambassadors and the University Honors Program where I am able to volunteer on campus and in the Carbondale community. Since my freshman year, I have been given the rare opportunity to conduct ovarian cancer research as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in Dr. Dale Hales’ lab. In my free time, you will find me out hiking through beautiful Southern Illinois or baking something sweet. I am so thankful for what SIUC and Southern Illinois has offered me over the past three years and I look forward to the rest of my time at SIUC."

Thank you Kara! 


Zach Myers: is a Junior from Memphis, Tennessee, studying History with a minor in Classical Civilization. After graduation, he plans to return to his hometown of Memphis and work toward his Masters degree through the Memphis Teacher Residency Program. He serves as president of Circle K International on campus, where he has worked extensively with the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale:

"While this semester has been beyond hectic, it could not have been more rewarding. Working at the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale has definitely been difficult, but looking back and recognizing the growth in each of the children I work with makes it well worth it. I never realized that the community around SIU had so much to offer until I met many of the kids that spend everyday in it. Carbondale is certainly more than just SIU and the Boys and Girls Club has allowed me to leave a little stamp on the next generation before I head into the Great Beyond." 

If you want more information about how to get involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, contact Zach directly at

Thanks Zach!


Rachel Edgar: "This summer I traveled to the Land of the Eternal Blue Sky: Mongolia! During my six weeks there, I taught English to 6th-12th graders at a summer camp in the countryside. My aim was to gain experience in teaching English as a second language to prepare for my graduate studies in TESOL, but I also learned a great deal about the unique culture of Mongolia through my students and new friends. Climbing the mountains next to our camp to watch the sunrise and seeing the Milky Way at night were incredible displays of beauty that were only be rivaled by the beautiful hearts of the Mongolian people. We experienced incredible amounts of hospitality, and were able to see glimpses of what a 21st century nomadic lifestyle looks like.

During my time at SIU and this summer, I have learned stepping outside of your comfort zone to experience more of the world is always worth it. Despite any difficulties you may face through it (the exhaustion/awkwardness of being culturally displaced, or the unglamorous sides of global adventures such as squatty potties and traveling for 42 hours straight), you will bring back a richer view of the world and a better understanding of yourself. My hope is that others will see the necessity of both, finding ways they can step outside of their comfort zone in order to contribute more to the world, and the SIU family."

Thank you Rachel!