Distinguished Honors Students

At the Williams Honors College, students have many ways to distinguish themselves. Each year, a select few are awarded Prestigious Buckingham/Orr Scholarships upon admission, others receive the Top Ten Senior Awards at a special Honors Graduation Recognition Ceremony, and one outstanding graduating student receives the Hunter Award for Community Leadership and Service. 

The University of Akron’s Williams Honors College is pleased to announce that the following students been awarded a prestigious Lisle M. Buckingham Scholarship at The University of Akron. This scholarship, named after a former community leader and a senior partner of the law firm of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs in Akron, covers full tuition and fees as well as room and board, for up to four academic years of an undergraduate program.

The Buckingham/Orr Honors Scholarships were established by grants from Akron’s GAR Foundation and the Orr family. In fall, 2018, there will be 20 Buckingham/Orr Scholars studying at The University of Akron. More than one hundred and fifty students have been granted this award since its inception.



Isaac L. Edmonson

Isaac, who attended Stow Munroe Falls High School, in Stow, Ohio, participated in the Senior Executive Committee, the National Honors Society and played varsity football.

As an active community member, Isaac has volunteered as Umpire-in-Chief for Stow YES softball league, served as a basketball referee and softball umpire, and plans to be a camp counselor for the Stow Parks and Recreation this summer. Isaac recently competed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s full marathon finishing in 3 hours, 35 minutes.

Isaac plans to major in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Akron.


William F. Keenan, IV

William, who attended Hoover High School, in Canton, Ohio, participated as a member of the National Honors Society, Track, and Chemistry Club. In addition, he served as an officer of the Spanish Club, captain of the Robotics Team, and President of the Academic Challenge Team.    

As an active community member, William has volunteered for Harvest for Hunger, FLL Tournament, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Senior Citizen’s Prom, the North Canton YMCA Fourth of July Race, the Jackson Night Glow 5K, Taste of the NFL fundraiser for North Canton Meals on Wheels, and Night at the Races. He has been an Eagle Scout since the age of 13, an Esperanto speaker, a National Merit Commended Student, Summa Scholar, and AP Scholar with Distinction.

William plans to major in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Akron.


Collin C. McInnes

Collin, who attended Highland High School, in Medina, Ohio, served as a DARE role model, and team member of Academic Challenge and YDA.

As an active community member, Collin has supported Project LEARN Wadsworth as a Boookshelf volunteer. He is also known as a National Merit Commended Scholar and graduated the top ten percent of his class.

Collin plans to major in Chemical Engineering at The University of Akron.


Eleanor M. Plaster

Eleanor, who attended Hoover High School, in Canton, Ohio, participated as a member in the Symphonic and Marching Bands, Academic Challenge, Teen Board, and Full Orchestra.

As an active community member, Eleanor contributed her talent and skills with the Cleveland Youth Orchestra, Akron Youth Symphony, and The University of Akron Concert Band.  

Eleanor plans to major in Chemical Engineering and French at The University of Akron.


Maddison I. Schutt

Maddison, who attended General McLane High School, in Edinboro, PA, participated in the Marching Band, Robotics Club, Cross Country, Swimming and Diving, Track and Field, and Cheerleading. She also contributed to the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS), Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Science, and Mathematics (TEAMS), the National Honors Society, Battle of the Books, Gifted Program, and the Medical Arts and Engineering.

As an active community leader, Maddison volunteered and participated in Relay for life, and serves as an employee at the Presque Isle Passage RV Park and Cabin Rentals.  

Maddison plans to major in Biomedical Engineering and Pre-Medicine at The University of Akron.


Sarah R. Skiver

Sarah, who attended Ursuline High School, in Youngstown, Ohio, served as a Student Ambassador, participated in Concert and Marching Band, Liturgical Choir, Speech & Debate, and Theater.  

This spring, Sarah will serve as the Salutatorian of the Ursuline Class of 2018. She has also placed as a finalist in the Congressional Art Show in 2016 and 2018.  

Sarah plans to major in Chemical Engineering at The University of Akron.

2018 Recipients


Shelby D. Amatangelo

Accounting with a dual major in Financial Planning

Shelby served as President of the Accounting Association and as President of Beta Alpha Psi. 

For her Honors research project she chose to create a financial literacy program for high school students naming the program “Finance Day at UA.” This program, which Shelby co-founded, has already reached almost 750 Akron Public Schools students.

Shelby will be studying for and taking all four parts of the CPA exam this summer, prior to starting in Assurance Services at Ernst & Young this September.


Christina M. Aronhalt

Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a ertificate in Conflict Transformation and Social Entrepreneurship 

Christina was actively involved in Campus Focus starting in her first semester at UA. Through her participation she was able to lead mission trips to Vietnam.

In 2017, she joined the Rethinking Race Steering Committee which encouraged her idea for the Civil Dialogues, Civil Communities Unclass. Christina also participated in the “Thrive” program to support resettled refugee children. 

Although her future is not set, Christina knows that she would like to address conflict and problem solving in tangible ways - whether that be through policy, diplomacy, or nonprofit work.


Michelle R. Ayers

Chemical Engineering

Michelle regularly volunteered as a member and officer of various campus and community organizations including Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Tau Beta Pi, Rhythm and Roos a cappella, as well as doing musical outreach to the Akron Public Schools. 

As an officer of Alpha Phi Omega, Michelle organized retreats at Camp Y-Noah. 

Named as a co-inventor for 2 invention disclosures with Bridgestone Firestone during her undergraduate studies, Michelle now works as a chemical engineer at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron.


Neil L. Bernard

Biology with a minor in Chemistry

During his sophomore year, Neil joined Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity allowing him to connect with fellow medical interested students.

He expanded his real-world experience by joining Dr. Becker’s Laboratory for Functional Biomaterials in the Polymer Science department.

Neil’s community service includes volunteering at Akron Children’s Hospital, the OPEN M Free Medical Clinic, and serving as a judge in the BEST Medicine Science Fair.


Olivia L. Cole

Mechanical Engineering with minors in Business, and Applied Mathematics

Olivia was a member and leader of the Engineering Service Design Team and served as Event Director for Akron Against Cancer: Relay for Life.

Through the Engineering Service Design Team, Olivia participated in projects for the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio, the Summit County Historical Society, and Let’s Grow Akron. She also volunteered through UA’s Habitat for Humanity alternative spring break in 2014 and 2015.

Olivia now works at Karpinski Engineering in Uniontown, Ohio.

Dana C. Cressman

Chemical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science

Dana participated as a member of the Competitive Pistol Team, and served as Vice President of the NASA Robotics Mining Challenge Design Team.

She got involved in community service through a variety of extracurricular activities including Tau Beta Pi and the Society of Women Engineers. She also helped to coordinate over 20 community service events focused on encouraging underrepresented children to pursue STEM careers.

Dana is now continuing her passion of helping people by becoming a part of “The best part of waking up,” as a chemical engineer in the Folgers Plant in New Orleans.


Carlisle (Carli) R. DeJulius

Biomedical Engineering

Carli contributed to the biomedical research lab as leader among both undergraduate and graduate students. She is highly skilled, incredibly smart and willing to fail – all traits that will serve her well in a research career. 

She has presented at three competitions including the SB3C in 2016 (an international bioengineering conference), the BMES Regional Meeting, and at the 3rd National Academy of Engineering Global Grand Challenges Summit Student Poster Session. Carli will leave her undergraduate career with three journal publications - an uncommon feat for an undergraduate student.

Carli was selected to give the student commencement address at graduation in May, demonstrating both her communication skills and her ability to connect and engage with her fellow graduates.

Katherine E. Holcomb

Political Science

Dr. Ron Gelleny, Associate Professor of Political Science says of Katherine “I have encountered few students at The University of Akron matching Katherine’s intellectual curiosity and her desire to help others.” 

She has served as Senate Chair and Senator-At-Large on UA's Undergraduate Student Government and has volunteered for various positions with Pi Sigma Alpha and the World Masters Games in New Zealand. Katherine has also served as a Court Advocate at the Akron Battered Women’s Shelter.

Katherine intends to continue her efforts to help others by pursing a law degree with a concentration in environmental law with the goal of working with a non-governmental organization focusing on sustainable solutions to water quality and supply in the United States.


Jenna R. Jamil

Biology with a minor in Spanish

In fall 2016, Jenna began working in Dr. Renna’s biology lab where she assimilated into the lab wonderfully and has been an extremely hard worker. Her Honors research project was a complete success and she is now a co-author on a manuscript that is In Press.

Jenna was actively involved in the Akron Chapel college ministry as well as the Neuroscience club, serving as the club secretary and helping organize events such as Brain Awareness. Her biggest contribution has been with the Pre-Optometry Club where she has served in a leadership capacity as Vice President and President. 

Jenna has been accepted into The Ohio State School of Optometry.

Travis D. Pero

Biomedical Engineering

Michele Stasitis, Associate Director of Admissions, and Travis's supervisor where he worked as a student assistant in the Office of Admissions says “Travis is truly an exceptional student. He is our ‘go to’ student especially for campus tours and student perspective presentations.”

Travis is a difference maker whose work has truly impacted the lives of others. Examples of this include his work with the Biomedical Design Team in creating a prosthetic leg for a young child, a tandem wheelchair for siblings, and a bicycle for a young boy.

Travis is currently preparing for the next phase of his education in dental school at The Ohio State University.

Hunter Bowl
To learn more about the Hunter Award, click here.

2018 Recipient

Hunter Recipient 2018

Michelle R. Ayers

Chemical Engineering