Celebrating the 2022–2023 Alumni Association Senior Scholarship Award Recipients
Words: Eliana Chow ’21
Photos: Mike Hudson ’89
Alumni Association Senior Scholarship recipients with Board directors: Priscilla Barclay Kibler ’12, Association President Beverly Liefeld Hancock ’84, Isaac Kyeremateng ’23, Cade Rex ’23, Meghan Kwong ’23, Amelia Miller ’23, Mary Ashley Miller ’69, Jim Wilkes ’79 (Not pictured: Sienna Oates ’23).
Since 1976, the Wheaton College Alumni Association has awarded annual academic scholarships to rising seniors who demonstrate excellence “academically, in Christian character, and in the life of the campus.” Designed to encourage active student engagement in and out of the classroom, these scholarships have helped inspire far-reaching impact even beyond a student’s time at Wheaton.
In the following profiles, this year’s five scholarship recipients share more about their Wheaton experience and what they’re looking forward to as they head into the culminating year of their undergraduate education.
Meghan Kwong ’23
During one of her initial visits to Wheaton as a high school student, Meghan Kwong sat in on a seminar class called “Teaching Diverse Students.” It was the first time she had ever heard an instructor acknowledge the fact that students come from different cultural backgrounds and describe how teachers ought to welcome those perspectives rather than push them to the margins. Since then, Kwong has forged strong relationships with her professors to hone her writing craft and allow herself to be sharpened academically, artistically, and spiritually. “In particular, Dr. Alison Gibson introduced me to the idea of writing as hospitality: inviting someone into the space on the page and caring for them,” Kwong said. “That transformed the way I think about writing and laid a foundation for the rest of my studies in the major.”
During her senior year, Kwong will serve as a student mentor for incoming freshmen who identify as racial minorities. The mentorship program, called 1-2-1, is nested within the Office of Multicultural Development (OMD), a space Kwong had yet to connect with. “I have always been the minority, in terms of race, on every other team I’ve been a part of,” she said. “So I think it will be a growing experience to collaborate with students who are wrestling with similar questions as me.”
Isaac Kyeremateng ’23
Since embarking on his Wheaton journey three years ago, Isaac Kyeremateng has passionately pursued the liberal arts. In addition to earning a degree in philosophy, the integrated nature of his major allows him to study biology on the pre-medicine track while taking Bible and theology classes. Despite this weighty course load, Kyeremateng has intentionally given his time to supporting his peers. From serving on Orientation Committee to working as a resident adviser in McManis-Evans Hall, he has gleaned valuable skills in leading communities amid stressful seasons of life. “I’m continuing to learn how to take each day as it comes and be more honest about where I fall short,” he said. “Allowing others to hold me accountable is key to successful leadership.”
To kick off his senior year this fall, Kyeremateng will be studying abroad at Uganda Christian University, splitting his time between a clinical practicum at a local hospital and coursework in infectious diseases and epidemiology. He will also take a class that explores faith topics from within a cross-cultural framework. “There’s a growing global need for medical providers to serve diverse patient demographics and be a bridge between cultures,” reflected Kyeremateng, who was born and raised in Ghana and has lived in the U.S. for the past decade. “I’m really excited about gaining valuable experience toward that goal and furthering my understanding of how to bring faith into my medical studies and later practice.”
Amelia Miller ’23
Applied Mathematics and Economics
Amelia Miller is no stranger to Wheaton. Born to alumni parents, she grew up visiting Wheaton’s campus, wandering across the grassy quad and among the magnolias outside Blanchard Hall. When the time came for her to choose a college, she initially leaned away from Wheaton in the hope of experiencing something new. But then she heard about the Aequitas Fellows Program, an opportunity that would allow her to apply her gifts in STEM to an on-the-ground, urban ministry context. “I’ve always been interested in incarnational ministry, but it wasn’t until I came to Wheaton that I understood how I could incorporate STEM into an active church space,” Miller said. “As a math major, I appreciate how willing my professors are to engage in interdisciplinary research. That doesn’t tend to happen at large research institutions.”
As she enters her final year at Wheaton, Miller plans to complete an honors thesis on public housing as part of her Aequitas senior project and in collaboration with the economics department. She hopes to focus on studying the factors that influence how people decide where to move when a public housing project closes. In addition, she will be serving on the cabinet of Wheaton’s student chapter of World Christian Fellowship. “I want to start asking questions about how we conceptualize mission work through the lens of the many academic disciplines we have at Wheaton,” she said. “I see it as an opportunity to think through how we can better integrate academia with the church.”
Cade Rex ’23
Cade Rex is quick to emphasize his time working in the Chaplain’s Office as one of the most impactful aspects of his time at Wheaton so far. Although he doesn’t plan to go into full-time ministry, his sights instead set on non-profit policy work, his recent role as student chaplain of scriptural engagement gave him an inside look at what spiritual leadership looks like in different contexts, especially in an explicitly Christian environment. “There can be a ‘culture of Christianity’ at a place like Wheaton, where it’s very easy to just go through the motions of faith,” he said. “Part of my role as a chaplain was to encourage my peers, and myself, to go beyond that. Let’s personally pursue the Lord and let him be the most important part of our lives.”
Recently, Rex identified a need among undergraduate men for solid teaching on biblical masculinity. He and a few close friends are hoping to start a men’s fellowship group in the fall, dedicated to the study of scripture and other topical books, learning practical life skills like how to change the oil in a car, spending time together through hiking and other adventures, and ultimately wrestling through what it means to be a Christian man. “So often, the rhetoric around masculinity in our current cultural moment is focused on toxic masculinity and what men shouldn’t be,” Rex said. “There are understandable reasons for that, but men need something to run forward to, not just away from. I hope this group can provide a healthy place for guys on campus to truly follow Jesus together and apply those lessons to our day-to-day lives.”
Sienna Oates ’23
Community Art and Urban Studies
Sienna Oates entered Wheaton with the intention of studying how small non-profit organizations engage the arts in their advocacy work among local communities, and she has taken full advantage of the opportunities available to her. From participating in the Aequitas Program and Wheaton in Chicago, to creating under the guiding hand of Wheaton’s art faculty, Oates has remained eager to explore the possibilities of being a faithful Christian in the arts. “I’ve learned a lot about myself as a narrative artist from faculty like Professor Joonhee Park,” Oates said. “I’ve also developed artistic practices that help me understand how to be a Christian in justice-oriented spaces.”
Oates has also dedicated significant time and care to Unidad, the Latinx student organization on campus. With her passion for inspiring intercultural connection, she has played a key role in establishing events like the Hispanic Heritage Festival. These cultural initiatives present opportunities for all students to celebrate one another while engaging campus and local community members in dialogue and worship. “My involvement with Unidad has been super transformative for me,” said Oates, who will be serving as president of Unidad in the coming academic year. “Scholarships like this really make a difference for working students like myself because they allow us to focus on being authentically involved on campus with time that would otherwise be spent working to pay for tuition. Moving into senior year, I want to prioritize rest, healing, and affirmation among those in the communities under my care.”