The Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin

Congratulations to our 2019 Scholarship Award Winners!

30 Apr 2019 3:33 PM | Joyce Statz (Administrator)

At its May 5, 2019 Spring Meeting, the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin awarded its 2019 scholarships.  Congratulations to these outstanding winners! Best of luck in your next adventures!

2019 PBKAAGA Scholarship Winners

Philip F. Patman Memorial Baccalaureate Scholarship

Melissa Wolter    $2,000

Melissa Wolter was born in The Woodlands, Texas, and grew up living in Austin, Katy, and Freeport, Texas. She is a non-traditional student, returning to Texas State University after spending ten years in the workforce. During this time, she lost her father and her brother, and she experienced three miscarriages. She also became a mother through adoption of a son Abel, who is now six years old, and after returning to school, gave birth to a daughter Amelia, who is now two years old. Through these struggles she developed strength, perseverance, and clear goals for her future and that of her family.

She is a member of Texas State’s Honors College majoring in Biology with a minor in Secondary Education. She plans to teach high school biology after the completion of her bachelor’s degree and to return to Texas State for her master’s in wildlife ecology.

When not focusing on her academic coursework, Melissa enjoys spending time with her children, camping, hiking, and swimming as much as possible. Growing up, her mother and father instilled in her a love of nature that she’s passed down to her own children. She also has five rescue dogs and nine nieces and nephews with whom she spends all of her free time. She coaches Little League Baseball in Luling, Texas; is an active member in multiple student organizations on campus, including Texas State Wildlife Society; and she has served as a Texas State Park Ambassador with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Scholarship for Academic Excellence

Helen He    $2,500

A graduate of Westlake High School, Helen hopes to pursue college study at the intersection of technology and society, so that she can develop solutions to complex challenges. Inspired by her internship experiences at the Austin City Hall, Helen founded the Austin Urban Institute, a for-benefit think tank that uses big data analytics to investigate solutions to Austin's affordable housing and other urban issues. She was a Simons Summer Research Program research fellow in 2018, where she conducted research on public housing placement strategy and nutrition labels. Helen is also a recipient of a National Aspirations in Computing Honorable Mention from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

Helen has been the webmaster for the school’s Latin club and for the Texas State Junior Classical League, one of the largest student-run organizations in the world. During her tenure, both websites won third place in the National Junior Classical League website competition. Helen is also heavily involved with the school’s robotics organization and has served as team captain for a robotics team.

When she’s not coding or conducting research, Helen enjoys exploring her creative side. As one of the founding members of a Destination Imagination team, Helen and her teammates have performed for eight consecutive years, where they have competed at the state and global levels. An avid artist and designer, Helen is the design director for school's news magazine, The Featherduster, which won a Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown. Her artwork has been featured in numerous national and international publications. In her spare time, Helen likes to draw while listening to music.

Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Scholarship for Academic Excellence

Danika Luo     $2,500

Danika Luo is a graduate of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, excited to attend Harvard University, where she plans to study computer science and math.

Since the age of five, swimming has been Danika's favorite sport and hobby. As swim captain during her junior and senior years, Danika led dryland workouts, planned swim meets, and organized team bonding events.

Danika’s passion for STEM is exemplified by her role as a LASA Science Olympiad team captain. She competed in events including Disease Detectives (which focuses on epidemiology and public health surveillance) and Protein Modeling (which involves studying the CRISPR Cas-9 system). Danika contributed to the LASA community as Treasurer of Student Council and as an ambassador for her high school. One of four elected Student Council officers for her class, she planned events to promote class and school spirit, such as socials, homecoming, and prom. As a LASA Ambassador, she recruited middle schoolers from around Austin and helped incoming freshmen adjust to the high school experience.

During the summers, Danika attended Honors Summer Math Camp, a six-week residential math camp at Texas State University. She has conducted research projects on lossless integer data compression as well as on hypergraphs. She loves the camp experience and is excited to work as a counselor this coming summer.

In her spare time, Danika enjoys spending time with her family, playing ping-pong, tennis, badminton, and visiting nice restaurants around the city of Austin. 

Phi Beta Kappa Physicians’ Scholarship for Academic Excellence

Jenny Lu         $2,500

Jenny Lu, a graduate of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, is a native Austinite. Jenny is most passionate about math and helping others, and hopes to combine her interests in the future either through biostatistics research or a career in medicine.

In high school, Jenny competed in Science Olympiad and during her senior year, served as a team captain. Through Science Olympiad, Jenny was able to delve into a variety of sciences, from epidemiology to materials science to anatomy. The most valuable aspect of Science Olympiad for Jenny was the celebration of learning science as a team effort.

Jenny is incredibly passionate about music. She has been playing the piano for 12 years, playing the cello for seven years, and teaching herself to play the ukulele for two years. Jenny was a member of her school’s orchestra and participated in All Region Orchestra all four years of high school. She has also served as Vice President and Secretary of her school’s orchestra.

Jenny also held leadership positions in Chinese Club, LASA Ambassadors, and Sending Out Support Club (a volunteering club). Jenny was also on the LBJ Swim Team for all four years.

Jenny’s summers have been spent working on research in algebraic topology and hypergraphs at the Honors Summer Math Camp at Texas State University, working with children with cerebral palsy at Camp in Motion, meeting incoming freshmen at orchestra camp, and traveling with her family.

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