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Meet Our 2022-2023 Scholarship Award Winners

Judith Life Ikenberry Fine Arts Award

Jaylon Muchison

The recipient of this year's Ikenberry Fine Arts Award is Jaylon Muchison. He is an actor dedicated to sharing the multi-faceted human experience through art. Jaylon's "art-ivism" aims to uplift (his/other) marginalized communities, social justice efforts, and tell the stories of those who are forgotten. He has a genuine curiosity of the world and emphasizes empathy, community, and "truth" in his work. While performing is one of the most satisfying moments of a process, his favorite part is the spiritual impact of the story on the audience. Good theatre moves the soul, and theatre that moves the soul is what Jaylon strives to create.

STEM Award

Joseph Caruana

Joseph Caruana majors in Brain and Cognitive Science. A former professional dancer, he is thrilled to now be learning about the mind and intelligence through academic engagement and research at Illinois. To this end, he has just begun a bachelor's thesis that will explore amotivation and its associated neural substrates as an effect of psychoactive drug withdrawal. Upon graduating, his goal is to enter a PhD program in neuroscience, so that he can continue asking questions about human cognition and the nature of consciousness.

Richeek Dutta

Richeek Dutta is majoring in aerospace engineering and has diverse interests from electric space propulsion to sustainable aviation. He works on experimentally characterizing ion thruster performance with alternative propellants, which could drastically reduce costs for missions using electric propulsion technologies. Closer to the ground, he works on developing the cryogenic system for a superconducting electric engine for mid-range flights. He is extremely excited to have the opportunity to study aerospace engineering here at UIUC, which has leading research programs in these fields.

Isabelle Purnell Education Award

Konrad Freymiller

This year's winner of the Isabelle Purnell Education Award is Konrad Freymiller. Konrad grew up with a stutter and developed a passion for numbers and algebra, which allowed him to express himself in a way that words couldn't. Today, he is committed to teaching high school math - empowering himself and others to find their voice through the beauty of mathematics.

Brynne Kenner

Brynne Kenner is this year's Isabelle Purnell Education Award winner. She is majoring in Special Education and plans to teach in a high school in the Champaign community. She is determined to create a difference within her classrooms starting with her student teaching placements.

Humanities Award

Abbigail Kepp

Abbigail Kepp, is majoring in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications with a concentration in communications. She is determined to advocate for the agriculture industry and its producers. She plans to use her education to spread factual information about agriculture through her future communications career. One of her goals is to advocate for better mental health resources for farmers and rural communities by spreading awareness of the lack of available support.

Emma Kuhns

This year's winner of the Humanities/Social Sciences Award is Emma Kuhns who is majoring in Agricultural & Consumer Economics with plans to attend law school. Growing up on a farm in southern Illinois, 15 minutes from the nearest town, she witnessed the hardships that rural people and agriculturists face when trying to access resources such as education, healthcare, and welfare. This developed her insatiable drive for advocacy and education. Her goal is to capitalize on her obvious passion and ability to communicate to work with others in order to create sustainable solutions to these issues using the legal system.

Global Focus Award

Tiatia Aluka

This year's global focus award winner is Tiatia Aluka. She is majoring in Finance and plans to begin her career in investment management before pursuing a role within international relations. Tiatia's Togolese heritage has influenced her interest in 1. educating those of the Togolese diaspora so that they can reinvest in their native country and 2. joining the Togolese advocates in their fight for a new national currency.

Manav Patel

Manav Patel is the winner of this year's Global Focus Award. He is a junior majoring in finance and information systems with a minor in psychology at UIUC, however, he is currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain at the University Pompeu Fabra and the Barcelona School for International Studies. On campus, he is a member of the Gies Scholar Program, Illinois Investment Banking Academy, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, Prime M&A, and the Gies Ambassador Program. This summer he will work at Lincoln International as an investment banking summer analyst where he hopes to gain a variety of finance experiences that will allow him to interact with diverse businesses across the globe.

Please consider contributing to The Illinois Club Scholarship Fund

The Illinois Club provides financial support to worthy University of Illinois students. You can donate securely online at http://theillinoisclub.org/donations.php OR by check made payable to University of Illinois Foundation. Mail to: PO Box 2782, Champaign IL 61825. Please write The Illinois Club on the memo line.

All donations go directly to U of I Foundation. They send a thank you and your form for your taxes. The funds are deposited in The Illinois Club Scholarship Fund as you have indicated on the form or with your check.

The Scholarship Committee is informed of the amount available for scholarships each year but not the name of the donor(s) or the amount(s). Any donation of any size is welcome.

Be comfortable and thank you for helping to fund more scholarships.