Chancellor's Scholars Hall of Fame - 2015-2017 Graduates

Main Content

MJ posing

Mustapha “MJ” Abdullah, JR: It's been an absolute pleasure spending the last four years of my life here at Southern. Coming here as an ambitious (but silly) freshman, the University provided so many opportunities for me to grow as a person, student, and member of society that I could never say thank you enough. I'm proud to have been of service to my College as well as the University as a whole. Being afforded the opportunity to have the financial stressors of college handled for me allowed me to take advantage of opportunities to partake in service, leadership, and personal development ventures. Thanks to all those who fund this great program and to all the future generations of scholars: "Aim for the moon! Even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars!"

Photo of Suzanne Abell

Suzanne Abell:

During my time at SIU, I majored in Architecture with a minor in History. I participated in eight RSOs, serving as a board member on three of them including Vice President for the American Institute of Architecture Students. I completed three years of architectural research on sustainable building practices as well as the future of digital fabrication. I worked at the School of Architecture’s Digital Fabrication Lab for two years, working closely with students on model building. My favorite experience has been traveling to Oxford, England with the Honors Program where I completed a guided independent study on the history and philosophy of western European architecture. I am going to get my Masters of Architecture from the University of Michigan with the goal of becoming a licensed architect in the state of Illinois.

Gage smiling


Gage Barrows: In the fall, Gage will begin his work at the St. Louis University School of Law where he was named an “1843 Scholar.” This prestigious award affords Gage the opportunity to have a fully funded Law School experience. Congrats Gage!

Annamarie Beckmeyer: Annamarie will be staying in the Carbondale area, as she will soon begin working toward the impressive joint degree in the M.D./J.D. Program here at SIU, in the Schools of Law and Medicine respectively.

alex bennett

Alex Bennett:

My major was in Cinema & Photography with a minor in Animation.  During my time at SIUC I wrote, directed, designed and animated a plethora of short films, and interned at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles in the Summer of 2014.  I plan to return to LA to pursue a career in the film industry.

Steven smiling

Steven Blair A native of Southern Illinois, I decided to remain in the region from my entry into Southern Illinois University in August 2012 to my graduation with degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering and minors in mathematics and physics in May 2016. Over four years of study I had the opportunity to conduct research into the active security of circuit designs and the additive manufacturing of thermoelectric coolers and to develop designs for an autonomous underwater vehicle, a remote medical platform, and an automatic power line inspector; I shared the expertise that I gathered during these projects during my tenure as one of the founding presidents of the Saluki Makerspace. In my spare time I played trombone with the SIU Jazz Combo and the SIU Studio Jazz Orchestra, and I performed in the orchestra for many musicals both on and off campus. With an eye towards a career in academia, I accepted a position to pursue a PhD in Computer Engineering in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Morgan Dillard

Morgan Dillard:

I was pre-medical chair of the Pre-Health Professionals Association and the Logistics chair for St. Jude Up Til Dawn, as well as the recipient of the Jane T Minckler and Ken and Clara Craver Scholarships for excellence in chemistry. After graduation, I am attending University of Illinois Chicago School of Medicine to become a physician.

Miller in Rome

Miller Eaton: Miller landed a prestigious internship at the Naval Research Lab in Washington D.C. and will spend his summer conducting research there. In the fall, he will then begin a graduate program in Physics at the University of Virginia.




Rachel Edgar: 

Following graduation, Rachel will be working as a Staff Intern for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship here at SIUC!


Sarah Gardner

Sarah Gardner:

I studied journalism and photography, and was part of the University Honors Program.​ I worked at the Daily Egyptian for four years and was the editor-in-chief my senior year, while also serving as president of the National Press Photographers Association chapter. I earned awards from the Illinois College Press Association, and was published in the Gateway Journalism Review as well as the Lux art journal.  I will be a photo/multimedia intern at the Peoria Journal Star this summer.

Lacey Gibson

Lacey Gibson:

I double majored in French and Physiology. All four years while studying at SIU, I worked as a research assistant in an ovarian cancer lab, led an Alternative Spring Break group for Habitat for Humanity, and ran distance for NCAA Division I track/cross country. I conducted public health research in France for my Honors Thesis (“A Tale of Two Cities: Differences in Wine Drinking Habits in France and London”), I taught teaching Kenyan schoolchildren while studying abroad, I was a University of Colorado Cancer Center Summer Research Fellow, worked as Executive Assistant for an environmental education organization in London, and published a paper titled “The Science of Romantic Love”. Next year I will attend Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health to begin a Master of Science in Global Health and Population. I eventually hope to earn a Ph.D. in a related field and commence a career in which I can continue to research global nutritional inequalities.

Cecily Haase

Cecily Haase:

As a Human Nutrition and Dietetics major at SIU, I served as president of the Student Nutrition Academic Council and an Agbassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences. I received the Outstanding Junior Award of the College of Agricultural Sciences in 2014 and the Outstanding Senior in 2015. Next year I will attend St. Louis University's dietetic internship/graduate program in Pediatric Nutrition in order to become a Registered Dietitian.

Nicole Hanke: After graduation, Nicole will be moving to Portland, TN where she will begin her career as a structural engineer, working with Kirby Building Systems.

blake smiling

Blake Jerrells: During my time at SIU, I have served as the president for the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, I have volunteered for the Saluki Ambassador Program, and I have had the unique opportunity to work alongside many faculty members in the College of Engineering. After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in both Computer and Electrical Engineering, I will be working for Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Florida as a Software Engineer while also pursuing a master’s degree in Engineering Management at the University of Florida.



Hollis Johnson:

During my time at SIU, I double majored in Biological Sciences and Biochemistry while also completing the requirements for my honors degree. I competed four years as a member of the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving team and served as a captain during my junior and senior seasons. I received the Charlotte West Scholarship Award and the Presidents Council Academic Award for the combination of my academic and athletic accomplishments. Additionally, I spent a time doing research through the SIU Research Rookies and REU programs. Ialso served as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Kinesiology Department through the Strong Survivors Program. My plans for after graduation are to take time to work in the biomedical research field before eventually attending medical school. 

Student Holden Jones

Holden Jones: 

During my time at SIU I worked on countless student films and served two years as Executive Producer of 26:46, which earned me an Emmy award in my final year. Additionally, during my time at SIU I had the opportunity to complete two internships, one of which was working on the Oscar-nominated film "Anomalisa", and the other was working with a television entrepreneur and SIU alumnus to form a new online streaming service. Additionally, I studied abroad during my final semester at the University of Roehampton in London. This summer I will be an intern for the Television Academy Foundation in Los Angeles.

Mandi Jourdan: Mandi will soon begin a graduate program here at SIU, where she will be pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing! As part of her graduate assistantship, she will be teaching classes in the English department!


Jake Ludlow:

Starting in August, Jake will be working full-time with Deloitte & Touche, LLP in the St. Louis area, as an advisor in the Technology Risk department.


David Lynch

David Lynch:

I was 2014 SIU Lincoln Laureate and 2015 SIU Service to Southern Award recipient. I also received the 2015 National Interfraternity Conference Award of Distinction. I am a University Honors Program Diploma Graduate and Kappa Alpha Order Alumni. Next year I am headed for the Peace Corps.


Sloane Lynch

Sloane Lynch: 

I was on the executive board for Up ‘Til Dawn, participated in the University Honors Program, was awarded the Betty and John McDaniel’s Scholarship by the English Department, and was an Undergraduate Assistant and tutor at the Writing Center.  My future plans include attending the University of Tennessee School of Law as a Tennessee Law Scholar and Research Assistant with hopes to pursue a career in family and adoption law.


Gabrielle Nelson:

Gabrielle will also be staying in the Carbondale area, as she will begin her work in a graduate program focusing on Communication Disorders and Sciences this fall! Good luck!


Maddy Pfaff

Madeleine Pfaff:  

During my time at SIU, I presented several wildlife research projects, worked for the US Forest Service in Montana, took two trips to Panama for class and a medical service trip, and completed my Emergency Medical Technician certification.  I accepted a job with the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database and plan to attend graduate school to pursue a career in veterinary public health.

Carissa smiling

Carissa Ray: After graduation, Carissa will be moving to the Chicagoland area, where she accepted a job with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois!



Meagan Rottman:

Less than a week after I graduate, I am heading out to Brigham City, UT for the summer to participate in an internship with Nucor Steel.  When those twelve weeks are over, I will return to Illinois to begin a graduate program at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.  I have received a full assistantship to pursue a MS in Civil Engineering through the CEE Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems program.

Kevin Schrader

Kevin Schrader: 

I majored in Physiology with a Minor in Chemistry. I served as president of Kappa Alpha Order, researched ovarian cancer with Dr. Hales, and played rugby. I will be attending SIU School of Medicine in the Fall. 

Morgan Schulte

Morgan Schulte: 

I came to SIUC from Breese, IL. I majored in Forestry. My next step is getting a Master's degree in Forest Hydrology at Virginia Tech.

Rachel Slick: I am graduating with a B.S. in Social Work and a B.A. in Spanish Language and Culture. My four years at SIU were spent working in the classroom, researching with two awesome professors, teaching group fitness classes at the Rec, collaborating with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Up 'til Dawn, and enjoying southern Illinois and its unique natural opportunities. My next step is to move to Urbana-Champaign and start my one year Advanced Standing Masters in Social Work program.  It is a clinical track with a mental health focus and my goal is to work with veterans who suffer from mental health disorders and/or addictions. I would love to be able to combine both of my degrees to reach even wider populations.

Meredith Stamberger: In the fall, Meredith will enroll in a graduate program here at SIU, where she will work towards a Masters degree in Plant and Soil Science with emphasis in Horticulture. Her graduate assistantship will allow her to continue her work at the SIU Farm.

Trevor Stanley: Next year Trevor will be teaching high school mathematics at Sesser-Valier High School, and he is very much looking forward to it.  Though not immediately, he also plans on earning a Masters in Mathematics at Texas A&M, one of the only Universities to offer a Masters in pure Mathematics strictly online. 

Nicole Staples

Nicole Staples:

I was honored to receive an Undergraduate Research Assistantship under Dr. Gregory Budzban for Mathematical Modeling in Sports Performance, working with basketball statistics from the Missouri Valley Conference. I was elected as Vice President of Membership and became a national qualifier in several competitions for Phi Beta Lambda. I was a member of the Mathematics Leadership Committee.  After graduation I plan to pursue a career as an actuary.


Jim posing

Jim Tobin will graduate this May with dual degrees in Agricultural Systems & Education and Political Science with minors in Agribusiness Economics and Animal Science. I've been fortunate enough to be part of many student groups including a new Collegiate Farm Bureau, Agriculture Student Council, the Undergraduate Student Government Judicial Board, and more. Upon graduation I’m moving with my fiancée, Mershon (whom I met moving into the dorm freshman year), to Lafayette, Indiana, where Jim will begin his career as a commodity merchandiser with Archer Daniels Midland.

Sidney Brothers-Waring: During my time at SIU, I majored in Communication Disorders and Sciences and focused largely on conducting my own independent research study. My research involved developing dynamic language assessment tools for children that have English as their second language. My research has allowed me to present at 3 local, 3 regional, a state, and a national convention where I have earned numerous awards.  I also earned the REACH grant in 2014, had the opportunity to work as an undergraduate research assistant, earned the Volunteer of the Year award twice at a local Migrant Education Head Start, and am planning to publish my research with my faculty mentor within the next year. After graduation, I will be pursuing my Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology."

Austin smiling

Austin Weigle: Austin will soon begin a graduate program in Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this fall. Good luck!



 Kyle Whittington: Kyle will soon continue his work here in Carbondale, as he will begin his work in SIU’s Medical School this coming fall!