(left to right) Dr. Dina Borzekowski, Talia Klein, Dr. Seppo Iso-Ahola and Katherine Kim

Pictured left to right: Dr. Dina Borzekowski, Talia Klein, Dr. Seppo Iso-Ahola and Katherine Kim at the 2018-2019 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program Luncheon.

November 26, 2018

Two undergraduate seniors, Katherine Kim (Department of Kinesiology) and Talia Klein (Department of Behavioral Health), were honored at the 2018-2019 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program Luncheon at the University House on Friday,  November 9, 2018.

The award honors the university’s most successful seniors and their mentors from both the university and during their K-12 careers.

Ms. Kim chose department of Kinesiology Professor Dr. Seppo Iso-Ahola and her high school Physics Teacher, Mr. Lee Hirsch as the mentors who have been the most influential in her success. 

In her award statement, Ms. Kim credits Mr. Hirsch with helping her to gain “confidence in myself to persevere through the hardships I encountered during my transition from high school to college.” She credits Dr. Iso-Ahola with inspiring her “to become a professor and strong mentor to undergraduate students.” 

Ms. Klein chose Department of Behavioral and Community Health Research Professor, Dr. Dina Borzekowski and her high school Algebra Teacher, Mrs. Nicole Friedman as the mentors who had the greatest impact on her academic achievement. 

“Ms. Nicole Friedman and Professor Dina Borzekowski have challenged me to excel in new and surprising ways,” Ms. Klein notes in her award statement, “They are the most powerful kind of educators, as they continue to help guide me both academically and personally.”

The luncheon, hosted by the Merrill family and the Office of the President, included a workshop for K-12 teacher-mentors. The workshop was designed to help strengthen the collaboration between the the university and the K-12 schools. As part of the Merrill Presidential Scholars Program, scholarships will be awarded in the K-12 teacher’s name to a new first-year student from the teacher’s high school or school district.

With the newest cohort of scholars and mentors, the Merrill Presidential Scholars Program continues to build a community of scholars, faculty members and K-12 teachers committed to recognizing and celebrating the impact of teaching and mentoring on academic excellence.

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Dina Borzekowski, Seppo E. Iso-Ahola