U. T. Dallas Unveils Fourth Class
of Eugene McDermott Scholars
Group of 16 Students Represent
RICHARDSON, Texas (March 15, 2004) — The
University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) today announced the 16 students from five states who will make up the
school's fourth class of Eugene McDermott Scholars. Selected from more than 100 students nominated, the eight
young men and eight young women include two valedictorians, three salutatorians, three drum majors, two cross-country
runners, several tennis players, a rock musician, a jazz musician and a singer. Collectively, the group speaks
six foreign languages and has an average SAT score of 1480.
As McDermott Scholars, the students will have all educational
expenses - including travel, room and board and supplies - covered for the next four years and will
participate in a wide variety of rewarding cultural and educational experiences. During their tenure
at UTD, they will go on an orientation trip to Santa Fe, visit the nation's capital and have an opportunity
to study abroad as well as a chance to apply for internships at prominent corporations and research
Dr. Charles Leonard, the program's director, observed
that as the McDermott Scholars Program has become better known and appreciated, competition for the
awards has become more intense.
"This year we had more than 100 nominations, and about
90 of those students qualified for some level of merit-based scholarship at UTD," Leonard said. "We're
very excited about this class, with its overall outstanding quality as a group and with each remarkable,
Leonard also noted the growing geographic range of
the nominations - from South Carolina to Oregon, and across Texas from El Paso to Shelbyville. "Our
2004 class represents five states: Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, South Carolina and, for the first
time, Louisiana," he said.
As McDermott Scholars, the students also will participate
in a wide range of educational and civic activities. Among other things, the first three classes
of Scholars have "adopted" three Dallas Independent School District elementary schools, where they
mentor the children and help them with their class work and language skills.
Since the inaugural class was admitted in the fall
semester of 2001, the program has attracted 52 Scholars, about half of them from the Dallas area.
As a whole, the group is composed of 13 valedictorians, and the 52 students have a combined average
SAT score of 1470. The new class of 16, with an even higher average SAT score, will bring the total
number of McDermott Scholars on the UTD campus to 68.
With the new class, the McDermott Scholars Program
for the first time will have a full four-year complement of students, with each academic year - freshmen,
sophomores, juniors and seniors - represented. As early as May, the first of the Scholars will begin
to graduate - ahead of schedule. Since the program is a four-year offering, those graduating in less
than four years will have an opportunity to continue their studies at UTD as graduate students on
full scholarship until they reach the four-year cap.
Many of the current Scholars already have taken advantage
of the opportunity to study and perform service abroad. Currently, there are students from the program
in Germany, France, Spain and South America, and another is in Washington, D.C. working in the Center
for Strategic and International Studies as part of the University of Texas System Bill Archer Fellows
The McDermott Scholars program was made possible by
a $32-million gift - the largest in UTD's history - from Mrs. Margaret McDermott, wife of the late
Eugene McDermott, one of the co-founders of Texas Instruments. McDermott and his TI co-founders,
Cecil Green and Erik Jonsson, both of whom are also deceased, founded the research institution that
in 1969 became UTD.
Those selected as McDermott Scholars for the 2004-05
academic year are as follows:
Mirielle Anderson, Episcopal School of Acadiana. Mirielle
is a representative of her school's honor council and attended the National Youth Leadership Conference
in Washington, D.C. She is an accomplished pianist and tennis player. She intends to major in biology
and wants to teach and conduct scientific research.
Lelia Gowland, Metairie Park Country Day School. Lelia
is an accomplished singer and has performed choral music since junior high across the New Orleans
area, in Washington, D.C., and in Ireland. She has volunteered in local hospitals and schools and
is an advocate for diversity in education. She plans to major in literary studies.
Alexander Raw, Metro Academic and Classical High School.
Alex is a cross-country runner and a musician. He attended Carnegie Mellon University 's pre-college
summer program and won his district-wide mathematics competition and placed first in Academic Olympics.
The younger brother of a McDermott Scholar, Alex is uncertain on a major but intends to study medicine
Erica Neiser, Manzano High School. Erica is captain
of her varsity cross-country team and plays violin in the Albuquerque Youth Symphony. She has won
local and regional awards in mathematics and science competitions and has interned at Sandia National
Laboratories. Though she excels in physics and chemistry, Erica is considering a major in neuroscience.
Rachel Markowitz, Armand Hammer United World College.
A native of Overland Park, Kansas, Rachel attends this internationally focused boarding school in
Northern New Mexico. She is a three-sport athlete, participates in orchestra and the National Honor
Society and has been trained in the "Constructive Engagement of Conflict" program. Rachel is interested
in international relief work and is undecided on a major.
Benedict Voit, Wando High School. Benedict is his high
school's salutatorian, plays trumpet in the school band and is involved in Math Club and the Latin
Forum. He also is active in Junior Classical League, Quiz Bowl, National Honor Society and Show Choir.
Both of Benedict's older brothers also are McDermott Scholars. He plans to major in government and
Hannah Frank, James Bowie High School. Hannah is her
school's salutatorian and has wide-ranging interests across the academic spectrum. She has won awards
in literature, science and language. She speaks Russian, plays in the marching band and is an avid
and very talented photographer. Hannah is undecided on a major, but is considering art and performance
and historical studies.
Zac Cox, St. Mark's School of Texas. Zac is an accomplished
student mathematician who has won numerous awards at his school and statewide. He plays the guitar
and enjoys camping and hiking. He has volunteered as a math team coach in DISD elementary schools
and has been a youth leader in his church throughout high school. Zac intends to major in mathematics.
Alessandro Gregorat, Trinity Christian Academy. Alessandro
was first chair saxophone player in his school's band and currently is a drum major. He is a tennis
player, an expert skier, speaks fluent Italian and has spent considerable time as a hospital volunteer.
He plans to major in physics.
Iris Kwong, Frisco High School. Iris is involved in
National Honor Society, Spanish Club and peer assistance and leadership program. She has volunteered
at local elementary schools and in Head Start programs and has been on mission trips to Hong Kong,
China and Tijuana, Mexico. With an eye toward a career in law, Iris plans to major in government
and politics or economics.
Liam Skoyles, Cinco Ranch High School. Liam is an Eagle
Scout, a varsity soccer player and an enthusiastic participant in Destination ImagiNation creative
problem-solving competitions. He has received his school's top physics and computer science awards.
The sibling of a McDermott Scholar, Liam plans to major in electrical engineering.
James Fickenscher, Monahans High School. His high school's
salutatorian, James is a timpanist in the school band, an actor, class president and active in UIL
academic competitions. He also is in a local rock band that plays charity performances in Monahans
and Odessa. He plans to major in mathematics.
Holly Kwan, Plano Senior High School. Holly is an accomplished
musician. She plays guitar, piano and saxophone. She is a volunteer tutor with the Asian American
Youth Association and has competed in science fair at the school, district and state levels. Though
she excels in science and mathematics, Holly intends to major in art and performance.
George Graham, Rowlett High School. George is Rowlett's
drum major and plays in his school's jazz band. He has won numerous musical and academic awards and
is active in computer education association and robotics competitions, and he maintains his school's
Web site. George is undecided on a major.
Kerri West, Shelbyville High School. Kerri is her high
school's valedictorian and is active in Junior Chamber of Commerce, student government and UIL journalism
and debate. She is Shelbyville's drum major and has won numerous academic competitions. She is interested
in a career in journalism and intends to major in literary studies.
Jordan Youngblood, Weatherford High School. Jordan
is his school's valedictorian and is active in mock trial, physics club, computer science club and
National Honor Society. He has won awards in art and English. Jordan wants to be a secondary school
teacher and plans to major in literary studies.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence
of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations
known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 13,700 students. The school's freshman class
traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores.
The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For
additional information about UTD, please visit the university's web site at http://www.utdallas.edu.