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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2003

Zionsville's Overley selected as Wells Scholar at Indiana University

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

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Zachariah Ross Overley of Zionsville, Ind., 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.

A graduate of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, Overley is a four-year recipient of the Mildred S. Compton Memorial Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement. A recipient of the Fred McCashland Endowed Scholarship, he also won the Brebeuf Jesuit Leadership Award. He participated in the IU Honors Program in Foreign Languages for High School Students in Ciudad Real, Spain, and served as the president of his high school's Spanish club. A winner of the Harvard College Book Prize, Overley was a four-year member of both the White River Academic League and the Brebeuf Jesuit Brain Game team.

Overley served as an elected class representative on the student council and as chair of its elections and its honor council committees. A clarinetist, he performed with the Brebeuf Jesuit wind ensemble. During his high school career, he was a member of Model United Nations, the National Forensics League, the Student Ambassador Program and Future Problem Solvers. He volunteered as an Alzheimer's unit aide at an assisted living facility. He intends to pursue a career in international diplomacy, with majors in Spanish and international studies and a minor in political science.

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:
Zachariah Ross Overley is the son of Melanie Overley, 6527 Hunters Ridge North, Zionsville, Ind.; and Kevin Overley, 672 W. Russell Lake Dr., Zionsville, Ind.