University Announces Class of 2016 Presidential Scholars

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The University of Scranton has awarded 19 members of its Class of 2016 four-year, full-tuition Presidential Scholarships. From left, seated with University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J. are, Alison Gohn; Daniel Clark, Jr.; and John Clark. Standing, from left are Ralph Petagna, Jr.; Norman Frederick, Jr.; Corey Wasilnak; Tricia Leavy; Andrew Hill; Marisa Riley; Shayne Wierbowski; Cecilia Strauch; Jessica Lavery; Christopher Kilner; Julie Dragonetti; Margaret Capooci; Sara Chapin and Krista Ziegler. Absent from photo are Christopher Musto and Vhalla Otarod.

The University of Scranton has awarded 19 incoming students four-year, full-tuition Presidential Scholarships. 

Presidential Scholarships are awarded to incoming freshmen with outstanding records in high school and notable community involvement. The scholarship covers four years of full tuition provided that the student maintains at least a 3.25 grade point average. The following students were awarded Presidential Scholarships.

Margaret Capooci, Jessup, graduated as salutatorian from Valley View High School, Archbald. She was selected as a Times-Tribune Scholastic Superstar. A member of the National Honor Society, she was the co-editor of her yearbook’s club section, secretary of the Math Honor Society and class treasurer.  She also participated in her high school’s Scholastic team and varsity soccer. Capooci is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program and has not yet declared a major. She is the daughter of Evelyn ’86 and Victor Capooci ’86.

Sara Chapin, Yardley, graduated as salutatorian from Villa Joseph Marie High School, Holland. She received honors as an AP Scholar with distinction and was a Diocesan Scholar for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. A member of the National Honor Society, she was also secretary of the environmental club, treasurer of Science National Honor Society and participated in her high school’s science fair and tennis. She was active in the community as a volunteer at St. Mary’s Medical Center and the Villa Joseph Marie community service corps. A neuroscience major in the pre-med program, Chapin is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. She is the daughter of Craig and Claire Chapin.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Daniel Clark, Jr., Scranton, graduated as salutatorian from Scranton High School, Scranton. He placed second in The University of Scranton’s Kane Physics Competition in 2012 and participated in his high school’s Scholastic Bowl club, math club, PennServe club and Spanish club. He was active in the community as a volunteer with the American Diabetes Association and the Multiple Sclerosis Association. Clark is a mathematics major at Scranton. He is the son of Christine '89 and the late Daniel '72 Clark, Sr., and the twin brother of fellow Presidential Scholar John Clark.

John Clark, Scranton, graduated as valedictorian from Scranton High School, Scranton. He received honors as a National AP Scholar, State AP scholar and an AP Scholar with distinction. He participated in the Scholastic Bowl club, math club, PennServe club and Spanish club. He was active in the community as a volunteer with the American Diabetes Association, the Multiple Sclerosis Association and Shopping for Seniors community service. Clark is a biochemistry major. He is the son of Christine '89 and the late Daniel '72 Clark, Sr., and the twin brother of fellow Presidential Scholar Daniel Clark.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Julie Dragonetti, Monroe, Conn., is a graduate of Masuk High School, Monroe, Conn.  Named an AP Scholar with honor, she was also secretary of the Classical Society (Latin club), and participated in National Honor Society, World Language Honor Societies for Latin and Spanish and varsity soccer. She was active in the community as a volunteer at the Monroe Food Pantry and St. Jude’s Religious Education program. Dragonetti is a secondary education-mathematics major. She is the daughter of Debra and Joseph Dragonetti.

A National Merit Scholar Semifinalist, Norman Frederick, Jr., Pittston, graduated from Scranton Preparatory School, Scranton. He received first place on the ACS Regional Chemistry Exam. In high school, he was president of National Honor Society and captain of the Scholastic Bowl club, and also participated in track and field, football, math club and German club. He was active in the community as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in Lexington, Virginia and led a book drive at the Holy Rosary School, Duryea. Frederick is a biology major in the pre-medical program at Scranton. He is the son of Holly and Norman Frederick, Sr.

Alison Gohn, Rocky Point, N.Y., graduated as valedictorian from Rocky Point High School, Rocky Point, N.Y. Named as a National AP Scholar, she was also president of her hight school’s band and participated in National Honor Society and New York Math Honor Society, as well as the concert, marching, jazz and pit bands. She was active in the community as a peer tutor in mathematics, chemistry and physics, while also being a Relay for Life participant. A nursing major, Gohn is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. She is the daughter of Daniel and Margaret Gohn.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Andrew Hill, Harleysville, graduated second in his class and received the John C. Fisher Citizen Scholar Award from Lansdale Catholic High School, Lansdale. He received honors as an AP Scholar with distinction, a Neumann Scholar and a Diocesan Scholar for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He also participated in National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, as well as the concert, liturgy and jazz bands. He was active in the community as a volunteer at Grand View Hospital where he received the Volunteer of the Year Award, the North Penn Rotary Club Service Award and three Volunteer Excellence awards. A nursing major, Hill is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. He is the son of Tim and Suzanne Hill.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Christopher Kilner, Potomac, Md., graduated with the Don Smith History Award and The Jesuit Secondary Education Award from Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C. He received honors as a National AP Scholar and an AP Scholar with honor. In high school, he served as a retreat leader and also participated in the crew and swim teams. He is the founder and chairman of the Woape Foundation Corporation, a non-profit who aids Native American children. A biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major, Kilner is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. He is the son of Mark and Maura Kilner.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Jessica Lavery, Bronx, N.Y., graduated as valedictorian from the Dominican Academy, New York, N.Y. Named as an AP Scholar with distinction, she was the manager of her high school’s volleyball team, and also participated in the basketball, soccer and softball teams, as well as the chorus and social justice club.  She was active in the community as a peer tutor and an assistant to the Riverdale Repertory. She also participated in a student service trip to Camden, N.J. A biology major, Lavery is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. She is the daughter of Andrew and Theresa Lavery.

Tricia Leavy, North Bellmore, N.Y., graduated with the Math Excellence Award from W.C. Mepham High School, Bellmore, N.Y. A National AP Scholar, she was also captain of her high school’s cross country, winter track and spring track teams.  She served as vice president for Math and Art Honor Societies and participated in National Honor Society, as well as honor societies for English and Spanish. She was active in the community as a volunteer at Winthrop Hospital, teacher of children's Liturgy of the Word and S.A.D.D. Benefit walker. A nursing major with a minor in philosophy, Leavy is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. She is the daughter of Michael and Patricia Leavy.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Christopher Musto, Pittston, graduated as valedictorian from Pittston Area High School, Pittston. He received honors as an AP Scholar and a member of the National Society for High School Scholars. He was also captain of his high school’s varsity soccer team and lettered in varsity track and football.  He was president of National Honor Society and the advanced math club, and won a gold medal in the Science Olympiad. He was active in the community as a referee for youth soccer, as well as a volunteer for Geisinger Wyoming Valley and Toys for Tots.  Musto is a biology major. He is the son of Alice ’84 and Gerard Musto.

A National Merit Finalist, Vhalla Otarod, Clarks Summit., graduated from Scranton Preparatory School, Scranton.  She was the founder and president of the Scranton Prep History Club, secretary of the Prep Political Union and a writer for the Cavalier Chronicle. She also attended a service trip to Virginia to work with Habitat for Humanity. An English major, Otarod is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. She is the daughter of Jila and Masood Otarod.

Ralph Petagna, Jr., Robbinsville, N.J., graduated from Robbinsville High School, Robbinsville, N.J. He was president of National Honor Society and Student Council, as well as captain of the varsity soccer team. He also served as the chief financial officer for the FIRST robotics club.  He was active in the community as a volunteer for the youth recreational basketball team, Heaven’s Handyman-Urban Promise and St. Gregory’s Church Community Carnival. Petagna is an accounting major. He is the son of Ann ’86 and Ralph Petagna, Sr. ’86.

Marisa Riley, Haymarket, Va., graduated from Battlefield High School, Haymarket, Va. Named as an AP Scholar with honor, she was secretary of National Honor Society, chapter vice president of the Mu Alpha Theta National High School Honor Society for Mathematics, as well as captain of the varsity golf team. She also participated in the National Science Honor Society, varsity tennis team and medical club. She was active in the community as a peer tutor for mathematics and English and as a volunteer at Alvey Elementary School. A biology major, Riley is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. She is the daughter of Marion ’79 and Robert Riley ’79.

A National Merit Scholar Semifinalist, Cecilia Strauch, Factoryville, graduated as salutatorian from Lackawanna Trail High School, Factoryville. A member of the National Honor Society, she served as the woodwind captain for the marching band and participated in the Spanish Honor Society and ski club.  She was active in the community as a volunteer for food and clothing drives through the Interact volunteering club and youth group. A biology major with a minor in Spanish, Strauch is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. She is the daughter of Cathy ’79 and Joseph Strauch.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Corey Wasilnak, Endwell, N.Y., graduated from Maine-Endwell High School, Endwell, N.Y. He received honors as a National AP Scholar and an AP Scholar with distinction. He was also captain of his high school’s varsity cross country team and vice president of Student Council, and participated in National Honor Society, varsity track and Science Olympiad at the state and regional levels. He was active in the community as a volunteer at Lourdes Hospital in the surgical/pharmacy unit and the Church of the Holy Family. A biology major, Wasilnak is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. He is the son of John ’83 and Mary Ann Wasilnak.

A National Merit Commended Scholar, Shayne Wierbowski, Owego, N.Y., graduated as valedictorian from Seton Catholic Central High School, Binghamton, N.Y. A National AP Scholar, he was also president of National Honor Society and participated in track, cross country, Academic Challenge and Mathletes. He was active in the community as a volunteer at Camp Ahwaga, a local summer camp. A member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program, Wierbowski is a biochemistry, cell and molecular biology and computer science double major. He is the son of Judy ’82 and David Wierbowski ’81, and brother of University of Scranton student Bradley Wierbowski ’13, who is also a Presidential Scholar and a Goldwater Scholar.

Krista Ziegler, Old Bethpage, N.Y., graduated from St. Anthony’s High School, South Huntington, N.Y. Named as an AP Scholar with honor, she was also captain of the Plainedge soccer team and participated in National Honor Society, Mathematics Honor Society, sports medicine club and symphonic band. She was active in the community as a volunteer for clubs that made sandwiches and visited the elderly. A member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program, Ziegler is an exercise science major who plans to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree in physical therapy. She is the daughter of James and Lillian Ziegler.

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