Meet Our 2022-2023 Scholarship Award Winners
Judith Life Ikenberry Fine Arts Award
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.
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 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
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 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.
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.
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
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 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
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.