– Three Tri-State natives members of 30th class of scholars

HUNTINGTON – The Yeager program at Marshall University continues to see growth in student numbers as the total number of scholars increases for the third consecutive year.

Eight students, from West Virginia, Ohio, Italy, and Japan, three of whom hail from the Tri-State, are the members of the Joseph and Pamela Gillette Class of 2020, and will begin their studies at Marshall this fall, according to a release from the university. The class size remains at eight students for the third year, following several years of just six scholars per class.

Rex Johnson, president of the Society of Yeager Scholars Board of Directors, said the board is committed to expanding the program, which covers room and board in addition to tuition.

“In the face of growing budget constraints confronting the university and tight financial situations for students and families, we are proud of the fact that we have increased our number of scholars from 24 in the fall of 2014 to a total of 30 this fall,” Johnson said in the release. “We intend to expand to 32 scholars by the fall of 2017 and continue to grow the program thereafter.”

The scholarship program provides summer study in Oxford, England, as well as enrollment in rigorous Honors seminars and various leadership opportunities. This is the 30th class of students to receive the Yeager scholarship since the program’s initiation in 1986.

“Each year Marshall University looks forward to selecting and welcoming the incoming class of Yeager Scholars,” Dr. Nicki LoCascio, Honors College dean, said in the release. “All are bright, ambitious and have remarkable potential. I am exceedingly pleased they have chosen to attend Marshall.”

The Yeager class of 2020 was named for Joe and Pam Gillette in recognition of their support of the program. Joe Gillette served as a president of the Yeager board, and he has pledged $100,000 to the program. Gillette is also the 2015 William E. Willis Leadership Award recipient, presented by the Society of Yeager Scholars.

The Joseph and Pamela Gillette Class of 2020 members are as follows, in alphabetical order:

– Luca Brambilla from Missaglia, Italy, plans to major in biology with an emphasis in pre-med. Though an international student, Brambilla is familiar with Marshall due to an exchange year at Wirt County High School. During his year in the United States, he earned first place in both biotechnology and digital forensics and information security at Marshall’s SCORES festival. Brambilla was also a top biology and chemistry student, and a top scorer at Math Field Day. He was also active in the theater program and ran on the track team.

– Alex Canfield from Charleston, West Virginia, will graduate from Charleston Catholic High School. Canfield is an Eagle Scout and continues to be involved in the Boy Scout organization as an assistant troop master. He was the captain of the Charleston Catholic quiz bowl team and director of the school’s theater stage crew. Canfield plans to major in computer science.

– Faith Hensley of Williamson, West Virginia, is the student body president at Mingo Central High School. She plans to major in mathematics. Hensley is a National Merit Semifinalist, an AP Scholar and has earned first place in the Mingo County Math Field Day for several consecutive years. Hensley also is a writer for the Williamson Daily News.

– Paige Looney of South Point, Ohio, will enter Marshall as a political science major. The Fairland High School student is the president of her school’s National Honor Society and serves as secretary for the student council. She is the co-editor in chief of Fairland’s yearbook and online newspaper. Looney is also an AP scholar and received National Merit commendation.

– Tatiana Schrader of Chesapeake, Ohio, attends Huntington’s St. Joseph Catholic School. She plans to enter Marshall in biology or public health as a pre-med student. Among her many activities, Schrader is president of the Key Club, captain of the volleyball and tennis teams, and is a published poet.

– Will Sheils of Barboursville, West Virginia, will graduate from Cabell Midland High School. He plans to major in accounting. Sheils is a Math Field Day winner and a state champion in track. He is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta math honorary and National Honor Society. Sheils is also a National Merit semifinalist.

– Kennedy Snavely of Hurricane, West Virginia, is a senior at Hurricane High School. She plans to double major in accounting and international business. Snavely is an AP Scholar with Distinction, and has earned the Challenge Program Academic Excellence Award and first place in the DECA state competition. She is the National Honor Society president, on student council and was chosen to be the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership ambassador for Hurricane High School at the West Virginia leadership seminar.

– Langley Sonnenberg will graduate from Yokota High School in Yokota, Japan. She plans to double major in economics and international business. Sonnenberg is an AP scholar and attended the Oxford Spires Summer School. She is also an all-star debater and captain of the varsity debate team. Among several leadership awards, Sonnenberg earned the Air Force Association Award for excelling in responsibility, positive attitude, exemplary personal attributes and growth potential.