August 14, 2015, BY Paula Cogan Myers

Bucknell's Class of 2019 is getting ready to arrive from as close as Lewisburg, Pa., and as far away as Los Angeles, Calif., and Rose Belle, Mauritius, an East African island nation located in the Indian Ocean.

As pre-orientation programs and New Student Orientation begin, the 947 members of the class prepare to bring what they need to live in a residence hall, dress for changing seasons and connect with their family and friends back home. They'll also bring their intellectual curiosity, commitment to community and varied life experiences from 32 states, the District of Columbia and 39 countries.  

The class comprises more than 250 students who were chosen to receive Bucknell merit scholarships for their outstanding academic performance, talent and potential to contribute to the campus community, including  Arts Merit ScholarsB-WISE ScholarsCampus Enrichment ScholarsDean's Scholars, Mathematics ScholarsPosse ScholarsPresidential Fellows and STEM Scholars, among others. First-generation college students comprise 11.6 percent of the class, which is also the most racially diverse class in Bucknell's history, with 23.4 percent students of color. From a student who built his own log cabin to a student who studied sustainable development in Maldives and those who won scholarships for everything from vocal performance to volunteer work, their accomplishments are impressive. Members of the class include:  

  • Natalya Carpenter from Lebanon, Pa., who works to bring light to the plight of orphans around the world. Adopted from Russia, her mild cerebral palsy was seen as a disability, but she defied stereotypes and was named one of the best and brightest in her high school. She plans to pursue a double major in English and Russian Studies and a minor in Jewish Studies.
  • Jonathan Coleman from Long Beach, Calif., who is an all-league water polo player who combined scholarship and leadership in his school to win a Pursuit of Excellence award every year. He participated in the National Forum for Youth Violence Prevention in Washington, D.C. He plans to pursue a major in the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Jake Malavsky from Yardley, Pa., who explores how trust, humility and passion might inspire students to become more receptive to education, both inside and outside the classroom in his own TEDxGeorgeSchool talk. He plans to pursue a major in the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Yash Mittal from Bihwani, India, who was declared the Student of the Year, 2013 by Times of India, a national daily newspaper. He plans to pursue a major in computer science & engineering.
  • Abbey Roeser from Philadelphia, Pa., who trains her pet rats using clicker training and positive reinforcement and spent part of last summer working at a wolf sanctuary. She plans to pursue a major in animal behavior.
  • Emily Shapiro from Caldwell, N.J., who won a Spirit of a Hero Scholarship from N.J. first lady Mary Pat Christie for her work as founder and volunteer for the Northern New Jersey Chapter of Kids Serving Kids. She plans to pursue a major in early childhood education.
  • Sha-Asia Taylor from Worcester, Mass., who placed first in the state DECA-Emerging Leaders & Entrepreneurs competition for developing a Financial Literacy Promotion Project. She also founded the Black Legacy Youth Program, where she works with students to facilitate the Undoing Racism curriculum with the goal of empowering others to make change in their communities. She plans to pursue a major in management and a minor in music.  

The Class of 2019 was chosen from a record pool of 10,967 applicants, an increase of over 3,000 applicants from the previous year and a welcome challenge for the Office of Admissions, who approached application reading with the same careful, holistic review they always have, said Rob Springall, dean of admissions. "The point of recruiting a larger applicant pool is to reach into communities and groups where Bucknell is not as well-known, not just to have more applications," he said. "If we do it well, that process encourages more students from a diversity of backgrounds to consider Bucknell and apply."  

He added that this year the Office of Admissions refined their mission, which now simply states: Every year, we will enroll the most diverse, talented, and interesting class in Bucknell's history. "The Class of 2019 has already set a new standard for Bucknell," said Springall. "Our goal is to try to top it."

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