University Announces Class of 2017 Presidential Scholars

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The University of Scranton has awarded 11 members of its Class or 2017 four-year, full-tuition Presidential Scholarships. Seated, from left: Matthew Owens, Sarah Payonk and University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J. Standing: Karissa Barbarevech, Sean Bassler, Juliana Vossenberg, Ryan Burdick, Kathryn Hoffman, Michael Gilbride, Christa Howarth and Victoria (Tori) Malstrom. Presidential Scholar David Yatsonsky II was absent from the photo.

The University of Scranton has awarded 11 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. 

Karissa Barbarevech, Moosic, is a graduate of Scranton Preparatory School. In high school she was a member of the Classics Club, Culture Club, and Spanish Club. She also bowled for four years and was team captain. Barbarevech is an active member of her community and volunteers at the Good Shepard Church in Scranton. A biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology major at the University, she a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Program. She is the daughter of Teresa and University of Scranton alumnus Christopher Barbarevech, M.D. ’88.

Sean Bassler, Horseheads, N.Y., graduated as salutatorian from Horseheads High School, Horseheads, N.Y. A National Merit Scholar, he served as treasurer of his high school’s drama program for two years. Active in the community, he served as a judge at the local youth court program and volunteered at Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Elmira, N.Y. He served as the youth representative on the St. Mary Our Mother parish’s pastoral council and was a member of the parish’s youth group leadership team. At the University, Bassler was elected to serve as one of the four student senators representing the Class of 2017. A counseling and human services major, he is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honor Program. He is the son of Julie Lynch and Ken Bassler.

Ryan Burdick, Taylor, graduated from Scranton Preparatory School. An AP Scholar with Distinction and president of the National Honor Society in high school, he was also co-captain of the state-champion Mock Trial team, freshman orientation student director, Kairos retreat leader and Scranton Prep entrance exam tutor, among other activities. In the community, he volunteered at Project Hope at Camp St. Andrew, Seasons of Love at Church of the Good Shepherd and St. Francis of Assisi soup kitchen. He also volunteered with the Boy Scouts, where he was an Eagle Scout and completed his Eagle Scout project to renovate steps and benches at the Taylor Memorial Cemetery. A chemistry major, Burdick is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts program. He is the son of Kelly and Ken Burdick.  

Kathryn Hoffman, Jamison, is a graduate of Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Flourtown. An AP Scholar with Distinction and member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, she was member of her school’s varsity and indoor track teams and served as captain of the cross country team. She received the National Spanish Examination Award for Excellence and was an Archdiocese of Philadelphia Diocesan Scholar nominee. She volunteered as a camp counselor for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and at St. Mary’s Medical Center, among other organizations. She is a member of the University’s cross country team. A biology major with minor in Spanish, Hoffman is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honor Program. She is the daughter of University of Scranton alumni Alice ’83 and James Hoffman ’82.

Christa Howarth, Somerset, N.J., graduated as salutatorian from Bishop George Ahr High School, Edison, N.J. A National Merit Commended Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction, She is also a member of the National Honor Society and the Latin Honor Society. In high school, she was captain of the varsity cross country team. She participated in the parish choir and led a religious retreat with members of the youth group. Howarth is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honor Program and plans to double major in psychology and theology/religious studies. She is the daughter of Anthony and Kerstin Howarth. 

Michael Gilbride, Scranton, graduated as valedictorian from West Scranton High School. He was selected as a Times-Tribune Scholastic Superstar and as his high school’s Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit Scholar of the Year. An AP Scholar with Distinction and member of the National Honor Society, he was the student council president, and part of his high school’s Gifted Program, Freshman Mentoring Program, and Scholastic Bowl team. He was a member of the Leadership Lackawanna’s Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, through which he helped to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Gilbride is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honor Program and has not yet declared a major. He is the son of Robert and Diane Gilbride.

Victoria (Tori) Malstrom, Phoenix, Md., graduated from Notre Dame Preparatory School, Towson, Md. An AP Scholar and member of the Science National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society, she received the New College of Florida Math and Science Award. In high school, she was a four-year member of the cross country team and a Gym Meet Poster Committee participant. She also served as president of her school’s Mu Alpha Theta honor society. In the community she served as a peer minister at the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier and volunteered at a center for developmentally disabled adults and at a food/daytime shelter for homeless women and children, among other organizations. Malstrom is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honor Program and has not yet declared a major. She is the daughter of Paul and Catherine Malstrom.

Matthew Owens, King of Prussia, graduated as valedictorian from Upper Merion Area High School, King of Prussia. He received the National German Award, John Philip Sousa Band Award and the Senator Daylin Leach Community Service Award, among others. Vice president of the concert band in high school, he participated in the jazz band, advanced choir, advanced orchestra, and stage crew where he was the head sound technician. He was also vice president of the Interact Club. His volunteer service included working on his Eagle Scout project to repair the playground at Caley Elementary School. Owens is a computer science major. He is the son of University of Scranton alumni Margaret ’80 and Raymond Owens ’78.

Sarah Payonk, Schwenksville, graduated from Spring-Ford Area High School, Royersford. She was a National Merit Commended Scholar, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and received a Certificate of Merit from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A member of the National Honor Society in high school, she participated in Spanish Club, SADD, soccer and lacrosse. She was also captain of the varsity basketball team where she was named to Third Team, All State. She volunteered at Spring-Ford Girls Basketball Campus, Wonderland of Wishes, Girl Scouts and Phoenixville Hospital, among other organizations. She was also Shooting Stars coach. Payonk is a nursing major. She is the daughter of John and Ann Payonk.

Juliana Vossenberg, Fredericksburg, Va., is a graduate of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Washington, D.C. A National Merit Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction, she is a member of the French Honor Society. In high school, she was a member of chorus, Madrigal Singers and the editor-in-chief of her school’s literary magazine, among other activities. She volunteered at numerous organizations, including as a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for the Fredericksburg Rescue Squad. She won first place for an original piano composition entitled “Whither Thou Goest” at the Virginia Federation of Music Club’s Junior Composer Contest. A theology/religious studies major, who plans to pursue a career in medicine, Vossenberg is a member of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honor Program. She is the daughter of Karen and Frans Vossenberg, M.D.

David Yatsonsky II, Jefferson Township, graduated as valedictorian of his class at North Pocono High School. He was selected as a Times-Tribune Scholastic Superstar and as his high school’s Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit Scholar of the Year. An AP Scholar and member of the National Honor Society, he was a four-year member of his school’s baseball team and served as captain of its Science Olympiad team, where he medaled in the state competition. He volunteered at the North Pocono Food Pantry, among other organizations. Research he conducted under the guidance of Wilkes University Professor William Biggers, Ph.D., was published by “The Society of Comparative and Integrative Biology.” At the University, Yatsonsky will major in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology. He is the son of Linda and University of Scranton alumnus David Yatsonsky, M.D. ’87.

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