August 16, 2016, BY Paula Cogan Myers

Class of 2020

If you wrote a book, learned a third language, helped organize a medical mission, saved a life or participated in on-site geology research, you probably didn't do it in high school. Bucknell's Class of 2020, set to start New Student Orientation on Aug. 17, includes members who have done all of these and more.

This year, the Office of Admissions received 10,487 applications from talented students around the world who were interested in attending Bucknell. Of those, 955 will arrive on campus from 35 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 55 countries, including 17.8 percent students of color and 9.2 percent first-generation college students. The class also includes more than 200 students who earned merit scholarships and 162 varsity athletes.  

"We're looking forward to welcoming the Class of 2020 to campus," said Dean of Admissions Rob Springall. "The class was crafted from a stellar applicant pool, and they bring a wide variety of interests, experiences and perspectives with them from as close as Lewisburg and as far away as Tanzania."

Who are these newest members of the Bucknell community? Meet some of them here.

Claire Andrews '20
Claire Andrews '20

Claire Andrews
Hometown: Ridgewood, N.J.
Plans to study: dance, and is interested in economics and fine arts
Merit Scholarship: Arts Merit Scholar – dance

A dancer with eclectic interests, Claire Andrews is excited that she will have the opportunity to explore them all at Bucknell. "I'm looking forward to continuing my passion as a dancer while I discover new interests, regardless of what academic department I end up in — economics, art or wherever my interests take me." she said. "As a dancer, actress and visual artist, thinking about the arts at Bucknell is thrilling."

Andrews is a lead dancer for the Ridgewood Performing Arts Center, performed at Disney World three times and even had the opportunity to dance with the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School.

Shishir Budha '20
Shishir Budha '20

Shishir Budha
Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
Plans to study: philosophy
Merit Scholarship: Presidential Fellow

After three years of research, Shishir Budha wrote a book about philosophical rhetoric related to faith called The Melting Candle: A Critical Inquiry to Faith. While he was doing research on morality during his junior year of high school, he came across articles and lectures by Professor Gary Steiner, philosophy, and decided to get in touch with him.

"When Shishir contacted me with some questions about my work on animal rights, it became apparent to me immediately that he is an extremely insightful, hard-working and concerned individual — just the kind of person who would do a great deal to enhance both diversity and the level of intellectual discourse at Bucknell​," said Steiner.​ "I am excited to work with Shishir this fall in my introductory philosophy course, titled Gods, Humans, Animals."

Budha is equally excited. "I can't wait to meet Professor Steiner in person," he said. "I'm really looking forward to working with Professor Jason Leddington on his project as a Presidential Fellow as well. I can't express how grateful I am for all these opportunities."

Ericson Etienne
Hometown: Couva, Trinidad and Tobago
Plans to study: computer engineering
Program Participant: STEM Scholars Program

Ericson Etienne spent the summer on campus as a STEM Scholar working with Professor Chris Martine, biology. "Ericson had a great five weeks in the lab," said Martine. "He's smart, curious and inquisitive — and his enthusiasm is contagious. I can't wait to see what he achieves in the next four years here."

Etienne is glad he'll have the opportunity to pursue the arts and humanities while he studies computer engineering. In high school, he not only acted in theater productions, but pursued learning six languages. He speaks advanced French and Spanish, intermediate Japanese, and basic German, Korean and Russian.

"When I think about college at Bucknell, I see myself as starting an adventure, and as a result of Bucknell being a liberal arts college I will be introduced to many people embarking on adventures that have the potential to be very different from mine," said Etienne. "The opportunity to learn new things from all of those people is what excites me the most."

Kyle Fouke '20
Kyle Fouke '20 collecting bacteria samples at Mammouth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.

Kyle Fouke
Hometown: Urbana, Ill.
Plans to study: geology
Merit Scholarship: Presidential Fellow

Kyle Fouke worked as a research assistant for the Institute of Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign during high school. This summer, he spent a week doing research analyzing extreme thermophiles (organisms that thrive at high temperatures) and teaching high school students through the Youth Conservation Corps in Yellowstone National Park.

Now, he's ready to explore Bucknell and the region. "I am looking forward to meeting new people from different walks of life and starting lifetime friendships that last beyond college," Fouke said. "Bucknell is my place to be because it offers wilderness areas and major urban cities within a few hours from campus."

Alyssa Kirby '20
Alyssa Kirby '20

Alyssa Kirby
Hometown: Carmel, N.Y.
Plans to study: accounting & financial management
Merit Scholarship: PwC Scholar

Fascinated with accounting and finance, Alyssa Kirby plans to continue to develop her leadership skills and understanding of the business world at Bucknell. In high school, she had many leadership roles, including student council president and varsity soccer and lacrosse captain; served the community through her county's peer youth court; and started her own face-painting business.

Kirby says she's looking forward to studying management at Bucknell because it's different from a traditional undergraduate business education. "As an accounting & financial management major at a liberal arts school, I will have the unique opportunity to take classes outside of the management program," she said. "It will broaden my worldview and allow me to analyze information in a variety of contexts."

Bennett Lunceford
Hometown: Potomac, Md.
Plans to study: mathematics
Merit Scholarship: Dean's Scholar, Army ROTC Scholarship

Bennett Lunceford was awarded a Boy Scouts Medal of Honor for saving his father's life. While snorkeling during his first Boy Scouts High Adventure in Florida, he surfaced to find his father, a hemophiliac, alone in the water away from the boat, struggling against the current. He made his way through the water and pulled his dad close enough to the boat to access a life ring, and kept him calm until help arrived.

Lunceford's says he's excited to get to know campus even better than he has come to know it through his mom, an alumna; and his sister, a member of the Class of 2017. "What I am most looking forward to is forming bonds with other students and professors that go beyond just going to the same school or having them as a professor," he said. "I am also looking forward to the strong bonds that I will form in the Army ROTC program."

Effiem Obasi '20
Effiem Obasi '20

Effiem Obasi
Hometown: Gardena, Calif.
Plans to study: psychology
Merit Scholarship: Posse Scholar 

Effiem Obasi received the Outstanding Medical Volunteer Service award from the Abiriba Communal Improvement Union, an organization that supports cultural, medical and educational service in Nigeria. She has assisted in organizing and participating in 12 medical missions to Nigeria and spent many hours volunteering in her local hospital and serving as her school's student body president.

She is looking forward to studying psychology and sharing her leadership skills with the campus community. "I'm looking forward to meeting the faculty and staff of this prestigious institution," she said. "I plan to learn many valuable ideas at Bucknell and take advantage of that by creating invaluable connections and opportunities that will help me enhance my community."  

Miyah Powe
Hometown: Bowie, Md.
Plans to study: English – creative writing
Merit Scholarship: Arts Merit Scholar – creative writing

A writer with a commitment to service, Miyah Powe plans to continue to develop her artistic voice in college. "I am eager to experience all that Bucknell has to offer," she said. "I plan to enter with an open mind and open heart."

As director of operations for her local chapter of Top Teens of America, a youth development and service organization, Powe volunteered more than 200 hours organizing fundraisers, serving her community and writing for their newsletter. She has won a national essay competition, published two of her original poems, and was the founder and president of her school's poetry club.

Stay up-to-date about the class as they join Bucknell at Class of 2020.