WWU Honors Seven Students as Presidential Scholars

Contact: Office of University Communications, (360) 650-3350

BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard honored seven graduates as Presidential Scholars during Commencement on Saturday, June 11.

Presidential Scholar awards honor top students in six colleges and were instituted by President Emeritus Karen W. Morse during Western’s Centennial in 2000 to honor graduates for their exceptional scholarship and service to the university and community.

Shepard presented each of the following Presidential Scholars with a medallion:

Rachael Kiah Chapman, College of Fine and Performing Arts

Rachael Chapman, right, with
her mentor, Associate
Professor of Theatre Arts Deb Currier at Commencement.

Rachael Chapman is a spirited, connected Theatre Arts cum laude graduate whose creativity, scholarship and community involvement have won her the admiration and respect of her professors and peers. A future theatre educator, Chapman is this year’s assistant director of Western’s Summer Youth Theatre Institute. She was also a member of the Multicultural Outreach Tour (MOTley) crew, in which she helped create skits based on tales from around the world and performed them at elementary schools. She played an important role in the Fairhaven Monologue Project, in which she helped teach eighth-graders from Bellingham’s Fairhaven Middle School how to analyze and perform monologues. Chapman’s service has introduced many young people to theatre, offering them experiences as audiences, performers, designers and playwrights, raising community awareness about arts opportunities at Western. Chapman’s roles on stage at Western have included Madhur and Messua in “The Jungle Book,” Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Gabrielle Montez in “High School Musical.” The daughter of Michael and Deena Chapman of Federal Way, she plans to continue her studies at the graduate level and hopes to return to Western someday as an instructor.





Amy Grambo, Woodring College of Education

Amy Grambo

Amy Grambo of Lynden earned her Elementary Education degree, cum laude, this month and returns to Western this summer to complete minors in Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language. Already she shines as a student teacher in a bilingual elementary school in Burlington, teaching in Spanish to 58 Spanish- and English-speaking kindergartners. She even organized an “Introduction to Western” event for her young students and performed in a traditional Mexican dance at the school’s Cinco de Mayo event. Her professors are impressed with the quality of her writing and use her work as a model to be emulated by other students. Grambo is quiet, but asks thoughtful questions that draw others into sharing their knowledge and experiences. Until recently, Grambo was a program lead for the Whatcom County Boys and Girls Club, spending three hours a day with about 50 children. While leading activities and teaching lessons, she served as a role model for building healthy relationships, mediating conflict and fostering a sense of belonging. 






Analiesse Isherwood, College of Sciences and Technology

Analiesse Isherwood received a
standing ovation following her
Commencement speech.

Analiesse Isherwood, a cum laude graduate and a student Commencement speaker, believes it is a privilege to receive a higher education and is determined to use her training, knowledge and potential to improve the lives of others. A Behavioral Neurosciences major and Chemistry minor on her way to medical school, Isherwood has traveled to Haiti three times to help provide medical care to impoverished communities. Closer to home, Isherwood has been a judge and guest coach for Science Olympiad teams, helping middle school students tackle such subjects as epidemiology, forensics and life sciences. At Western, Isherwood’s professors know her as a top-rate student and researcher, focusing on the link between schizophrenia and brain structure. She is the recipient of several prestigious scholarships at Western, including the Alumni Leadership Award, the Rinne Pre Med Scholarship and the President’s Scholarship. After another trip to Haiti this summer, Isherwood will enroll in the University of Washington School of Medicine to focus on providing medical care to underserved populations. She is the daughter of Scott and Teddi Isherwood of Spokane and DeWretha Isherwood of Moses Lake.




Josephine Jackson, College of Humanities and Social Sciences – Humanities Division

Josephine Jackson, left,
with Western President
Bruce Shepard at
Commencement June 11

Josephine Jackson earned her Communication degree, cum laude, in March with the department’s top grade point average and a minor in Spanish. But her work in the Communication department isn’t finished; she’s collaborating with Associate Professor Michael Karlberg on revising and eventually publishing her senior thesis, the topic of which is an examination of the relationship between public service media and the implementation of public health care coverage in Western liberal democracies. While at Western, Jackson was employed in the Office of Financial Aid and was a member of the university’s highly ranked parliamentary debate team. A polished presenter and public speaker, Jackson was a member of a top-ranked four-person debate team representing Western at the 2010 World Universities Peace Invitational Debate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Jackson also has a passionate commitment to public service and was instrumental in organizing the Communication Department’s annual CASCAID Social Justice Conference. On campus, she served as the Communication Department’s “Student Ambassador,” representing the department at many campus and community events. The daughter of John S. Jackson and the late Catherine L. Jackson, both of Eatonville, Josephine Jackson has been accepted into the Middle East and Central Asian Security Studies master’s degree program at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After completing her master’s degree, she aspires to work in the U.S. Foreign Service.





Kelliann Kelly, Huxley College of the Environment

Kelliann Kelly

“Motivated,” “organized,” “methodical” and “analytical” are words faculty members use to describe Kelliann Kelly, a magna cum laude Geography-Resource Management graduate who also earned minors in Geographic Information Systems and Spanish. Kelly excelled in challenging courses. After completing a detailed field study of soil crusts in Eastern Washington she presented her research in a poster at the Association of Washington Geographers’ spring meeting. Kelly has put her GIS skills to good use creating trail maps for the U.S. Forest Service as an intern with the Mount Baker and Darrington ranger districts. Her maps will be posted at trailheads in the popular hiking areas. Kelly, who is fluent in Japanese, also used her language skills in service to others as a bilingual assistant in Western’s Asia University America Program. She assisted many Japanese students during their time at Western and earned a nomination for the Student Employee of the Year award. The daughter of Tamie Uehara and Timothy M. Kelly, Kelly plans to use her skills in languages and resource management in the GIS profession in an international setting.






Brooke Summerfield, College of Business and Economics

Brooke Summerfield, left,
with Western President
Bruce Shepard

Magna cum laude Accounting graduate Brooke Summerfield is an outstanding and well-rounded scholar with a nearly perfect grade point average. Her academic honors include a Presidential Scholarship and a Clothier and Head Scholarship. Known for her teamwork, poise, communication skills and ability to think on her feet, Summerfield was selected by Accounting faculty to join a four-student team that took first place at the regional KPMG Case Competition in 2010. Summerfield also volunteers in Western’s Accounting Tutorial Center and with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. But her interests stretch beyond the field of accounting. She volunteered at Sehome High School in Bellingham assisting Spanish language teachers and encouraging students to continue to study the language. Summerfield also spent a summer in Peru, studying Spanish and learning about Peruvian culture. At Western, she was also a leader in the INN University Ministry and participated in community service activities with Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary society for accounting students and professionals. Summerfield is the daughter of Maria and David Summerfield of Federal Way.






Douglas Clinton Dyson Weckerly, College of Humanities and Social Sciences – Social and Behavioral Sciences Division

Douglas Clinton
Dyson Weckerly

Douglas Clinton Dyson Weckerly, a graduate in Sociology and Spanish, has already begun using his research skills to promote the educational advancement of others. Weckerly, of Albuquerque, N.M., developed a sophisticated study for his senior thesis exploring the educational achievement of student migrant workers. He hopes the research, funded by a prestigious Western undergraduate research grant, will lead to more effective programs to reduce dropout rates among migrant workers. Weckerly’s professors have been impressed by his ability to understand and synthesize abstract concepts – and effortlessly weave those concepts into classroom discussions. And while he is a steadfast advocate for diversity, he is always respectful even as he challenges classmates to rethink their positions on controversial issues. He received several scholarships at Western, including the Ingeborg Paulus and the Herbert L. Baird Spanish scholarships and a tuition waiver from the Sociology Department. Off campus, Weckerly taught English and citizenship test preparation to Spanish-speaking adults at A Watered Garden Family Learning Center in Everson and worked as a caregiver at Sean Humphrey House, a Bellingham non-profit adult family home for low-income people living with HIV and AIDS. After graduation, Weckerly is headed to Peru with the Peace Corps to work as a community health educator. He is the son of Doug Weckerly of Fort Collins, Colo., and Annette Bleakly of Farmington, N.M.