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The Society of Yeager Scholars announces 38th class of students at Marshall University

The Society of Yeager Scholars is proud to introduce its 38th class of exceptional students at Marshall University. This year, eight outstanding scholars will join the prestigious program, bringing the total number of Yeager Scholars on campus to 35—the highest count since 2011.

The incoming class boasts an impressive average SAT score of 1470 and an average ACT score of 32. These scholars have demonstrated their commitment to learning and achievement, positioning themselves for success in their academic pursuits.

Among the eight students, five are valedictorians of their graduating classes.  They and all of the Yeager scholars bring passion and drive to the Yeager program, enriching the intellectual environment at Marshall University.

“The scholars in the incoming class are an exceptional group of distinct, thoughtful students who are eager to learn at Marshall University,” said Cara Bailey, director of the Society of Yeager Scholars. “The students were selected from one of the most competitive pools of applicants I’ve seen. I’m excited to see them prove their ability as top scholars for the Marshall community.”

The class will be named in honor of Nicki LoCascio, the longtime director of the Yeager program and retired Honors College dean. LoCascio’s contributions to Marshall University have been invaluable, from her early days as a faculty member in Biology to her leadership as associate dean and then dean in the Honors College. Her legacy inspires the next generation of scholars who follow in her footsteps.

The Dr. N.J. LoCascio Class of 2028:

  • Piper Cook (Statistics) is from Wyoming East High School in Wyoming County, West Virginia, where she holds the position of student body president.
  • Jake Derifield (Biomedical Engineering) will graduate from Lawrence County High School in Louisa, Kentucky. Derifield’s leadership in Lawrence County’s engineering program has led to significant contributions in project design and construction.
  • Justin Gainer (Chemical Sciences and Spanish) represents Grafton High School, Grafton, West Virginia. His achievements include a third-place national win in the Introduction to Business Procedures category at the 2022 Future Business Leaders of America National Conference.
  • David Haynes (Music) brings his talents from Capital High School in Charleston, West Virginia.  Haynes actively contributes to his community through music and volunteer work at River Ridge church.
  •  Olivia Kingrey (Biology and Chemistry) comes from Dawson Bryant High School in Coal Grove, Ohio. Her dedication to community service earned her the President’s volunteer service award for over 300 hours of service.
  • Carolyn Koch (Music Education) comes from Blanchester High School in Midland, Ohio. She was selected for the National FFA Chorus in both 2022 and 2023, showcasing her musical talent and dedication.
  • Maria Morgan (Psychology) is from Westside High School in Wyoming County. She serves as the president of her school’s Beta Club, demonstrating her commitment to service and leadership.
  •  Alyssa Thoms (Finance) graduates from Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw, North Carolina. Her exceptional performance placed her among the top 5% of her class, earning her the role of junior marshal at the 2023 graduation.

About the Society of Yeager Scholars: The Society of Yeager Scholars is a prestigious program at Marshall University that nurtures exceptional students, providing them with unique opportunities for academic and personal growth. Named after military pilot and West Virginia native General Chuck Yeager, the program emphasizes leadership, community service, and intellectual curiosity.

For individual images for each Yeager Scholar, click here.

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Clark Davis
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