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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2003

Two Louisvillians selected as Wells Scholars at Indiana University

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

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Mark Brandon DeLeeuw and Isabel Estevez, both of Louisville, Ky., and incoming freshman at Indiana University Bloomington, are among 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.

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.

Here is information about each new Wells Scholar:

M. Brandon DeLeeuw

A National Merit Finalist and Kentucky Governors Scholar, DeLeeuw is a graduate of Saint Xavier High School. A member of the Academic Governor's Cup team, he earned a regional first place in the Governor's Cup Language Arts Written Assessment. He captained the Saint Xavier Quick Recall Team, which won first place three times in the Louisville Private School Quick Recall League. He was a member of the Greater Louisville Math League, in which his team won district first place three years in a row and he twice won third place. A member of the German National Honor Society, he was the secretary of his school's German club and earned a regional first place and state third place in the Recitation of a German Poetic Passage competition.

For three years, DeLeeuw co-captained his school's Future Problem Solving team, which ranked ninth in the state in 2002. He participated in Western Kentucky University's Gifted Studies Program for Verbally and Mathematically Precocious Youth and was named to the University of Kentucky's Science and Math Accelerated Sophomore Honorary. He was a member of the mock trial team, a contributor and staff member at Tyger literary magazine and a member of the track team. He interned at the Jefferson County Department of Historic Preservation and Archives. He intends to major in chemistry and journalism.

DeLeeuw is the son of Mark and Lynn DeLeeuw, 1860 Douglass Blvd., Louisville, Ky.

Isabel Estevez

A National Hispanic Merit Recognition Scholar and a National Ventures Scholar, Estevez graduated from J.M. Atherton High School with an International Baccalaureate Diploma. She is a winner of the Indiana University Achievement Book Award, as well as the J.M. Atherton High School Excellence Award. She won the Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship and the Kentucky Commonwealth Accountability Testing System Distinguished Award in several areas, including English, social studies, humanities and mathematics.

Estevez is a member of the National Beta Club and has served as co-president of the Spanish club at her high school. In addition, she served as the editor of her school newspaper, The Aerial. Born in Ecuador, she has studied ballet for more than eight years and has performed at the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Ecuador and with the University of Louisville Dance Theatre, the Desrosiers Dance Theatre (of Canada) and the Ballet Ecuatoriano de Camara in Ecuador. She has studied classical guitar for five years and is a two-year member of the Atherton Chamber Singers, an a cappella chamber choir. She plans to major in cognitive science and linguistics.

Estevez is the daughter of Milton and Magdalena Herdoiza-Estevez, 3008 Bradford Grove Lane, Louisville, Ky.