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Wells Scholars Program

George Vlahakis
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Last modified: Thursday, July 29, 2004

Newburgh's Pottanat named Wells Scholar at IU

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Thomas Pottanat of Newburgh, Ind., has been selected as a Wells Scholar at Indiana University, one of 20 entering freshmen so honored. Pottanat plans to pursue his interest in the medical field as a biology major at IU, where he also has been selected to participate in the Department of Biology's Integrated Freshman Learning Experience.

The Wells 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 receive full tuition, fees and a living stipend for four years of undergraduate study on the IU Bloomington campus.

A Hoosier Scholar, Pottant is a graduate of Castle High School, where he was named to the Academic Hall of Fame and received the school's Crest Award and the Cecil Raymond Honorary Scholarship.

Among his science honors, he won the first-place Alcoa Scientific Achievement Award twice, received third place in the Outstanding Junior Scientist Award competition given by the Indiana Academy of Science, and was twice a finalist at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Pottanat also won the Senior Grand Award, as well as first place in medicine and in behavioral science at the Tri-State Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and the Grand Award at the Hoosier State Science and Engineering Fair.

He was a member of his school's Quiz Bowl Team and the Science Olympiad Team, which twice competed at the state level, and he co-captained the forensic team which competed at the state level. In addition, Pottanat was a member of the Latin club, Teen Power, the varsity tennis team and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. A member of Key Club, which he served as treasurer, he volunteered as a research assistant at the Welborn Clinic Nuclear Medicine Lab and the IU School of Medicine.

The Wells Scholars program offers special seminars, an optional year of study abroad and support for a summer research project or internship. It also emphasizes close interaction with faculty, academic and career advising, opportunities for community service and contact with distinguished visitors. Wells Scholars are members of the Honors College at IU, 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:

Thomas Pottanat is the son of George and Jancy Pottanat, 3233 Trailwood Drive, Newburgh, Ind.