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Wells Scholars Program

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Last modified: Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Four from Central Indiana named Wells Scholars at IU

Aug. 10, 2006

Robert Bercovitz image

Robert Bercovitz

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Robert Bercovitz and Eva d'Ambrosio from Indianapolis and William Huster Jr. and Thomas Wachtel from Carmel, Ind. have been selected as Wells Scholars at Indiana University, joining 15 other entering freshmen so honored. They 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.

Robert Bercovitz

An AP Scholar and a Hoosier Scholar, Bercovitz graduated from North Central High School with an International Baccalaureate Diploma. Named to the Academic All-Conference and the All-State All-Academic soccer teams, he won the Indiana High School Athletic Association's C. Eugene Cato State Mental Attitude Award for soccer and was named Top Team Player of his school's state champion varsity soccer team.

Bercovitz also received a Yale Book Award and, for four years, the North Central Leadership Award. At North Central, he co-founded the Independent Film Club, which he served as vice president, and was a member of National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Key Club. Twice elected as class president, Bercovitz co-directed PantherQuest freshman orientation, and he co-wrote and directed a short play that won the Best Act award at Junior Spectacular, a class fund-raiser.

He was a member of his school's athletic council, peers mentoring program and ambassador program. A member of Nationalist political club, he was a delegate in Model United Nations and represented his school at Hoosier Boys State. He also served as a peer tutor and was a member of United Synagogue Youth and Alpha Zedeck Alpha. He plans to study psychology.

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Eva d'Ambrosio

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Eva d'Ambrosio

A National Merit Scholar, d'Ambrosio graduated from Broad Ripple High School as valedictorian and was named an Indianapolis Star Academic All-Star. Among her accomplishments, she won a Science Olympiad regional gold medal and placed first in her school in the American Math Contest for three years. She received the Edward Kassig Mathematics and Science Award, the Ralph Bedwell Scholarship for exceptional knowledge and ability through the written word and second-place honors for creative writing in the Preludes Awards.

D'Ambrosio also captained her school's Brain Game team and served as vice president of its chapter of National Honor Society. Throughout her high school career, she participated in many theatrical productions as an actress, set designer and director, and served as president of Thespian Society and captain of the speech team. A versatile athlete, she was captain of Broad Ripple's varsity soccer team, a member of its varsity cross country and track teams and an Indianapolis Public Schools Athletic Conference champion.

Active in her community, she volunteered for four years with the Indianapolis Art Center and sang in a gospel choir. An intern with the Indianapolis Mexican Consulate and a participant in Tufts University's Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship program, d'Ambrosio plans to major in international business.

William Huster Jr.

A National Merit Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction, Huster graduated from Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, where he was in the Global Scholars program. His awards include the National Forensic League Degree of Excellence; the National German Examination Award and an Award of Excellence from the IU Honors Program in Foreign Languages for High School Students for his studies in Krefeld, Germany.

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William Huster

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Huster was also honored by the Library of Congress and U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar for his contributions to the Veterans Oral History Project. Accomplished in a wide range of visual and performing arts as well as computer programming, he received state Gold Key Awards for painting and art portfolio and a national Silver Key Award for art portfolio.

Co-president of the symphonic band, he earned a superior rating in state saxophone solo competition and was twice recognized as outstanding soloist at jazz festivals. Active in theatre, he received the International Thespian Society Honor Bar Award, and he won the State Media Fair original computer program competition. In addition, his team placed second at the Rose-Hulman Tri-State High School Math Contest. A columnist and cartoonist for the school newspaper, he also was on the Park Tudor yearbook staff. He is an Eagle Scout and an active volunteer with his church. He plans to study German and business.

Thomas Wachtel

A National Merit Scholar, Wachtel is the first Wells Scholar from Westfield High School in Westfield, where he helped lead the Brain Game team to the final four at the state level. Selected as a member of the Academic All-State Cross Country Team, he ran for Westfield's varsity track and varsity cross country teams, both of which he captained his senior year; and he received multiple awards for his performance, including the Ironman Award and Best Mental Attitude for Cross Country. His relay team ran a school record in regional competition and competed at state in the 4x800-meter relay.

Wachtel participated in the American Invitational Mathematics Examination. He was founder and president of Westfield's chapter of Amnesty International, editor of its newspaper and a member of National Honor Society and the chemistry club. A member of his school's Spanish club, he served as a literacy volunteer, teaching English as a second language. He was nominated for several prestigious councils and awards, including the Congressional Youth Leadership Council. At IU, he plans to major in journalism and political science.

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Thomas Wachtel

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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.