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Last modified: Friday, May 20, 2011

IU students and faculty receive Sony scholarships

May 20, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Five Indiana University students and two faculty members have been awarded Sony Scholarships designed to support faculty excellence and encourage student success by providing the latest in learning technology resources.

Faculty members Jingzhi Pu and Stephanie Whitehead, along with students Innocent Byiringiro, Dustin Dannerhauer, Virginia Jimenez, Alexandrai Rentschler and Jennifer Wasmund received VAIO S Series Notebooks, full high definition Memory Card Camcorders, Handycam Camcorder Soft Cases, PIIQ Smooth Headphones and a 16GB Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo Media.

Sony Scholars 2011

IU Sony Scholarship winners, from left, include students Innocent Byiringiro, Jennifer Wasmund, Virginia Jimenez, Alexandrai Rentschler, Dustin Dannerhauer and faculty members Stephanie Whitehead and Jingzhi Pu. Also pictured, at right, is Steven Zimmer, a business development manager for education at Sony.

Each package of technology tools is valued at $1,200 and Pu and Whitehead also received 24-inch Sony Internet TVs, High Grade HDMI Cables, Reader Daily Editions and Reader Daily Edition Zipper Cases, valued at an additional $1,100.

Pu is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis whose research involves understanding how biomolecules perform their functions through dynamical motions encoded in their three dimensional structures. He said his new VAIO notebook computer would be used to remotely access and manage a high performance computing cluster dedicated for computational chemistry research, in addition to supporting teaching, conference and workshop presentations.

Whitehead is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Indiana University East in Richmond, Ind., who conducts ethnographic research as a policing scholar, work that often involves riding along with police officers as they patrol neighborhoods. She said the portability and functionality of the Sony VAIO would enhance her ability to do fieldwork and to better serve her students.

IU students who received Sony Scholarships were:

  • Innocent Byiringiro, an IU South Bend biology and pre-medicine freshman who came to the United States from Rwanda almost two years ago to continue his studies. He plans to use the laptop to further his academic success and utilize its capabilities to assist with his research.
  • Dustin Dannerhauer, an IU Bloomington informatics and computer science junior who also works as an undergraduate instructor. He actively pursues research projects and enters national competitions against computer science programmers and plans to use the laptop to further his academic goals and benefit the Indiana University community.
  • Virginia Jimenez, an IU South Bend biology and pre-pharmacy senior who is also pursuing minors in chemistry and Spanish. She plans to use the laptop to help further her studies at IU and to assist her in pharmacy school.
  • Alexandrai Rentschler, an IU Bloomington public affairs and health administration sophomore who is very involved in the community participating in many extra-curricular activities, honors societies, volunteer work, and employment. She plans to use her laptop to continue her academic success and participate in new learning opportunities.
  • Jennifer Wasmund, an IUPUI health and rehabilitation science senior who balances class with work as a full-time radiographer. She plans to use her computer to pursue her academic goals and continue her successes.

To compete in the student Sony Scholarship Program applicants were required to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 at the time of application, demonstrate financial need with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file for the current academic year or explained in a personal statement, and be a fully enrolled undergraduate carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours.

For more information about the awards or the recipients, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or