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Wells Scholars Program

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Last modified: Monday, August 15, 2005

Reading's Burns named Wells Scholar at Indiana University

AUG. 15, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Adam W. Herbert announced that Rebecca Burns of Reading, Mass., has been selected as a Wells Scholar at IU, one of 19 entering freshmen so honored. She will this fall join more than 300 others who have been named Wells Scholars.

The scholarship, named in honor of the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells, ranks among the most competitive and prestigious awards offered by any American university. Since its inception in 1990, more than two dozen Wells Scholars have gone on to earn prestigious Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Soros, Mitchell, Churchill, Fulbright and Goldwater scholarships for advanced study.

Many previous Wells Scholars today contribute as residents who are attorneys, doctors, school teachers and business people. Others have gone on to clerk for Indiana and U.S. Supreme Court justices, are engaged in international relief and service efforts, and are scholars at other renowned educational institutions such as Harvard Business School and Cornell Law School. There are Wells Scholars currently serving in the Armed Forces and other positions in government.

"This program has a spectacular track record for developing future leaders who reflect the example and vision of former IU Chancellor Herman B Wells," Herbert said. "Its impact is reflected in the achievements of past Wells Scholars who have remained in and contributed to the Hoosier state, and by those who represent the university and our state with great distinction both nationally and throughout the world. Since its establishment 16 years ago, IU also has used the Wells Scholars program as a model for other scholarship programs that enable IU to attract to our campuses more of the best students in the state and nation."

To honor Wells, IU created the Wells Scholars Program, which began with fund-raising efforts in 1988 and the appointment of Professor Breon Mitchell as its founding director. In 1990, IU welcomed its first class of Wells Scholars and on June 7, 1992, Wells' 90th birthday, he was officially presented with the Wells Scholars Program as a gift from his many friends and admirers. After his death in the spring of 2000, this community of talented and dedicated young scholars remains as a permanent legacy of his educational vision.

Wells Scholars receive full tuition and course-related fees, as well as a living stipend for four years of undergraduate study on the Bloomington campus of IU. The program also offers special seminars, an optional year of study abroad, and support for a summer research project or internship. The Wells program emphasizes close interaction with faculty, academic and career advising, opportunities for community service, and contact with distinguished visitors.

Wells Scholars are selected for having demonstrated exceptional qualities of character and leadership and distinction both inside and outside of the classroom.

The first Wells Scholar from Reading Memorial High School, Burns was a member of a National History Day documentary team, which won a state championship for producing Human Rights vs. Government Responsibility: China's One Child Policy and a second state championship the following year for Silenced: The Story of Sudanese Slavery. A three-year member of Amnesty International, she served as club secretary her senior year, and she interned the summer after her junior year with the American Antislavery Group.

She was a leader and events coordinator for her Girl Scout troop and received the Girl Scout Silver Award. She worked actively with the Vernal Pool Association, which is dedicated to wetland preservation and research. She served as its co-president her senior year. In addition, she was a four-year volunteer with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Drumlin Farm, an organic farm and nature center. She received the Mount Holyoke Book Award for her writing talent and participated in the Duke Young Writer's Program.

At Reading, she was a member of the National Honor Society, served as a peer tutor in French, and developed her interest in mountain climbing through the Outing Club. She plans to pursue majors in history, international studies and English.