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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2003

Des Plaines' Kapolas selected as Wells Scholar at Indiana University

EDITORS: Publication-quality photos of all of the Wells Scholars are available online at

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Nicole A. Kapolas of Des Plaines, Ill., an incoming freshman at Indiana University Bloomington, is one of 21 young people who have been selected as Wells Scholars for the upcoming academic year. 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.

Wells Scholars who are incoming freshmen receive full tuition and fees, as well as a living stipend for four years of study on the IUB campus.

The scholarship is named in honor of Wells (1902-2000), who devoted his extraordinary life to IU. Wells came to IU as an undergraduate, returned as a faculty member and then served as a dean before becoming president of the university for a quarter century. He remained the university's chancellor until his death.

An Illinois State Scholar and first in her class, Kapolas is the first Wells Scholar from Maine West High School. She has received the President's Education Award, the Maine Scholar Award for academic excellence and an honorable mention award on suburban Chicago's Daily Herald Academic Team.

A violist, Kapolas is a member of the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra. A recipient of the National School Orchestra Award, she has played principal viola in the Metropolis Youth Symphony and twice been named Best Section Leader. She was a member of the Midwest Young Artists Symphony and served as concertmistress in the Maine West Orchestra. She was given awards of excellence at four Illinois Music Educators Association district festivals and received three IMEA Honors All-State Orchestra citations as principal viola.

Kapolas was an Oberlin Piano Competition semifinalist and has taught viola and violin to junior high students for three years. She was twice awarded certificates of merit in the American Mathematics Contest and was cited for outstanding achievement by the Illinois Association of Chemistry Teachers. She has been a member of her school's math team, French club and Tri-M Music Honors Society. She plans to pursue her passion for music with a major in viola performance.

The Wells Scholars program also offers special seminars, an optional year of study abroad and support for a summer research project or internship. The Wells Scholars Program emphasizes close interaction with faculty, academic and career advising, opportunities for community service and contact with distinguished visitors.

Examples of past summer experiences include serving with Outreach Kenya Development Volunteers to provide AIDS education and build a public library in western Kenya, conducting research at the National Institutes of Health, performing in the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop, and interning at the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Canadian Parliament and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wells Scholars are also members of the Honors College, where they have the opportunity to apply for grants in support of research, teaching internships, professional experience, creative activity, conference travel and honors thesis work.

They are selected for having demonstrated character, leadership and distinction, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Hometown information:
Nicole A. Kapolas is the daughter of William and Linda Kapolas, 671 Longford Dr., Des Plaines, Ill.