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Wells Scholars Program

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Arlington's Mirza named Wells Scholar at IU

Aug. 10, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Aasiya Mirza from Arlington, Tenn., has been selected as a Wells Scholar at Indiana University, one of 19 entering freshmen so honored. She will this fall join more than 320 others who have been named Wells Scholars since 1990.

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, 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.

A National Merit Scholar and an AP Scholar, Mirza graduated from St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis, Tenn. She won first place in Tulane University's Humanities Deep South Essay Contest and in the Wordsmith Competition, an essay contest for Memphis area schools, and she placed first at the Mandlebrot regional math competition. The recipient of the Ellen Field Todd Award, Mirza also was honored with a Sewanee Award for Excellence in writing.

An officer for her school's speech team, Mirza won first place in district competition in prose. She served as editor of Belles Lettres, St. Mary's literary magazine, and was a member of Cum Laude Society, National Honor Society, the math honor society Mu Alpha Theta, Beta Club and her school's softball team.

Active in her community, she served on the March of Dimes Youth Leadership Council and as a tutor for Young Women Striving for Excellence. In addition, she was active in Muslim Youth of Memphis, through which she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Memphis Food Bank. At IU, she plans to study speech writing and business.

Many previous Wells Scholars today contribute to Indiana as residents who are attorneys, doctors, school teachers and business people, and even an ordained minister. 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.

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.