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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2003

Pottsboro's Stephens selected as Wells Scholar at Indiana University

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

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Nola Marie Stephens of Pottsboro, Texas, a junior 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. Stephens will receive full tuition and fees and a stipend for the balance of her education at IUB.

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.

A National Merit Scholar, Stephens is a junior at IUB, pursuing majors in Germanic studies and linguistics, with a special interest in German linguistics. She plans to earn a doctorate in linguistics and hopes to become a member of the university's faculty. She has received an Honors College scholarship and a Faculty Award and twice has won the College of Arts and Sciences' Palmer-Brandon Award, as well as an Edward L. Hutton International Experiences Program grant from the Honors College and an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Partnership Grant.

A member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and a member and former president of the IU chapter of the Delta Phi Alpha National German Honor Society, Stephens will be studying in Freiburg, Germany, during the current academic year. She has worked for Professor Daniel Dinnsen as a research assistant for the Learnability Project, which focuses on child language disorders, and as a teaching intern for a graduate-level linguistics course.

Stephens also worked as an assistant with the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at IU. She serves on the education staff of her church and has volunteered with the IU Auditorium. She is the first Wells Scholar from Durant High School in Durant, Okla.

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:
Nola Marie Stephens is the daughter of Vickie and Barry Ellis, 680 N. Oakland Ave., Bolivar, Mo.; and Larry B. Stephens, 34 Lee Blvd., Pottsboro, Texas. She is originally from Dennison, Texas.