EVANSTON — Supporting academic excellence at the undergraduate and graduate level, the Sigma Chi Foundation will award an organizational-record $521,000 in academic scholarship awards during the 2021 to 2022 academic year.
“We are pleased to honor and recognize another deserving group of brothers and sweethearts in support of their academic endeavors,” said Sigma Chi Foundation President & CEO Ashley Woods, EAST TENNESSEE 2000. “Thanks to the contribution of brothers, sweethearts and friends across North America through the Life Loyal Sig Annual Fund, Thomas Cowan Bell Chapter Challenge and Foundation-specific Donor-Scholarship funds, we have recorded another milestone.”
More than 300 undergraduate and graduate brothers and five sweethearts from chapters across North America will receive awards this fall, including the prestigious International Balfour Award, International Sweetheart Award and the Sigma Chi Foundation’s Founders’ Scholarships (see below) each netting $10,000 per recipient.
Sigma Chi Foundation scholarships are reviewed by a group of more than 70 individuals including members of the Foundation Board of Governors and alumni volunteers at large.
The Foundation’s Grant and Scholarship Committee, with support of Foundation Executive Assistant and Scholarship Administrator Heidi Holley in Evanston, review recommendations and determine awards via a thorough process.
2021 to 2022 FOUNDERS’ SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
Awardees (Listed alphabetically) receive $10,000 each for the present academic calendar year.
Carlos Angeles-Solis, CUMBERLAND 2022 | John & Nancy Peterson Scholarship
A major in Biology, where he is attaining a Bachelor of Science with a Pre-Medicine concentration, Angeles-Solis holds a 2.8 GPA and has landed on the Academic All-Mid-South Conference team three times while twice being nominated as a Champion of Character on behalf of Cumberland University.
A first-generation immigrant from Mexico, who was raised in a single-family household, Angeles-Solis used hard work through academics and athletics to become the first of his four siblings to attend college. His work-ethic is visible on campus, within his chapter and as a collegiate athlete.
While training year-round as a member of both the track and cross-country team, serving as co-captain for the latter, Angeles-Solis served his chapter as both Quaestor, Social Chairman and Greek Council Chairman while maintaining employment at Publix Supermarket and on a local farm. He serves Cumberland University as Residential Advisor and Presidential Ambassador, the latter role leading tours for potential students and serving as a peer mentor to incoming freshmen. He has also volunteered on behalf of the Nu chapter, Baptist Christian Ministries, the Gamma Beta Phi society and abroad through Cumberland University’s mission team in Haiti.
Jordan Ayerza, CAL. STATE-FRESNO 2022 | Bob & Sabrina Johnson Scholarship
A major in Agricultural Biology, where he is working towards a career as a Botanist, Ayerza held a 3.1 GPA entering his senior year at California State University-Fresno while serving as Consul of the Epsilon Eta chapter.
Within the chapter, he has continuously held offices from his date of initiation also serving as Recruitment Chairman, Kustos, IFC Representative, Public Relations, Social Chairman and Assistant Risk Manager, while volunteering annually through Epsilon Eta’s Derby Days and Kids Day events. Through his leadership as Consul, the chapter pulled through the COVID-19 pandemic with strong brotherhood, a full chapter house and collective GPA exceeding the school’s all-men’s average.
His academic pursuits have been entirely self-funded through scholarships and a full-time position at the agribusiness company Wilbur-Ellis, which specializes in agri-chemicals. Ayerza plans to continue work for the company post-graduation as works towards his career objectives.
John Choe, YALE 2023 | Benjamin Piatt Runkle Scholarship
A major in Political Science and Biology, where he is attaining a Bachelor of Arts in pursuit of a career as a non-profit consultant, Choe holds a 3.7 GPA at the prestigious Yale University. An official United Nations Student Ambassador, Choe is a prestigious Yale Club Scholar and recipient of the Annexstad Family Foundation and Yale University Leaders for Tomorrow Scholarship. He serves his chapter as Recruitment Manager.
A first-generation, low-income student from a single-parent household, Choe holds three on-campus jobs alongside his scholarship recognition, using those funds to help support his family in California. On campus he works as Financial Advisory Manager for the Yale Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee and as a student caller for the Yale Alumni Fund. He holds positions within the Scholars of Finance at Yale, the Yale Student Financial Education Group, Yale Entrepreneurial Society and Yale College Council.
Choe is a national award-winning poet through the Get-Lit(erate) program, where he shared and performed original poems to middle and high schools across California to increase literacy rates in underprivileged neighborhoods. He is also a site leader and board member for the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project, managing weekly shifts at the Yale Community Kitchen and leading communications efforts on behalf of the organization.
Brandon Coughlin, BOSTON 2022 | Joe & Judy Durzo Scholarship
A major in Human Physiology, where he is attaining a combined Bachelor and Master of Science, Coughlin holds a 3.54 GPA and has landed on the Boston University Sargent College Deans List on four occasions.
Through his leadership within the Sigma Chi Upsilon colony and on campus, Coughlin played a major role in the colony’s re-chartering as the Iota Upsilon Chapter in April 2021 serving as Consul, Pro Consul, Risk Manager and IFC Representative.
On campus, he has served as a lifeguard and swim instructor, student facilitator and undergraduate researcher. In the community, Coughlin is a founding member of the Boston University American Lung Cancer Society, serving on both the education and engagement committees, and also volunteers for both the Boston University Human Systems Neuroscience Lab and the Boston Red Cross Food Bank.
Lukas Kawano, IDAHO 2022 | Isaac M. Jordan Scholarship
A major in Environmental Science with a certificate in climate change, Kawano holds a 3.62 GPA and has landed on the University of Idaho’s Dean’s List on four occasions.
Kawano is actively involved in Sigma Chi, having served the Gamma Eta chapter as Editor, House Manager, IFC Representative, Philanthropy Chairman, Social Chairman, and, most recently, as Recruitment Chairman, helping the chapter successfully recruit 16 new members under COVID-19 restrictions. He also serves internationally on Sigma Chi’s Chapter and Member Accountability Committee (CAMAC) as an undergraduate representative and is a graduate of the Horizons Huntsman Leadership Summit. Overcoming significant challenges in his early life and teenage years, he credits Sigma Chi for helping make significant positive changes in his life.
On campus, Kawano is a member of the Environmental Science Club which undertakes frequent cleanups on campus and within the Moscow, Idaho community. Alongside the Vandal Excellence Academic Achievement and Gamma Eta’s Seven Lights Endowment Scholarship, Kawano has supported his academic efforts with full-time work during the summer as a forklift driver and part-time employment as a subcontractor for University Tees during the school year.
Grant Sisk, OKLAHOMA STATE 2022 | Chuck & Kim Watson Scholarship
Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a major in Finance and minors in Economics and International Business, Sisk holds a 3.78 GPA at Oklahoma State, where he has earned an Out of State Achievement Award, made the President and Dean’s lists and been named member of the Order of Omega for his academic efforts.
Sisk has been actively involved on campus and within the Gamma Delta chapter, where he has served Recruitment Chairman, IFC Representative, Homecoming Director and Philanthropy Chairman. Serving as Vice President of Philanthropy and Community for the school’s Interfraternity Council, he helped the Greek community at Oklahoma State collectively raise over $200,000 during a pandemic year. He has also held roles within Junior Greek Life, Spears School of Business ambassadors and the Homecoming Big Committee.
In the community, he is an active volunteer within his hometown of Grapevine, Texas and presently serves Stillwater, Oklahoma as a volunteer at Into The Streets and Our Daily Bread. He presently works on campus as a student worker, having prior served as a teaching assistant and also a package runner for FedEx between semesters.
Porter Windell, MONTANA STATE 2024 | Greg & Carol Harbaugh Scholarship
A major in Architecture with a minor in Environmental Design, Windell holds a 3.83 GPA entering his sophomore year at Montana State University.
Growing up in a single-parent household, Windell has completely financed his education through the Pell Grant and savings via employment from the age of 14. He worked 33 to 37 hours per week during his first year on campus to help lower costs as an out-of-state student and save money to assist with a larger class load once he gained residency in Montana.
In the community, Windell participated in a traveling community service program that included tutoring fifth grade students and highway cleanups in Montana. In the future, he hopes to study abroad in Africa and help improve infrastructure in impoverished environments.
2021 to 2022 MILTARY SERVICE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
Awardees (Listed alphabetically) receive their designated amounts for the present academic calendar year.
Sgt. Beau Andrea, SOUTH FLORIDA 2022
A major in Information Science, with a concentration in Information Security, Andrea holds a 3.4 GPA at South Florida. He was honorably discharged as Sergeant within the United States Army, which he served for more than five years including a nine-month tour of duty in Iraq.
Andrea received 15 awards during his enlistment including the Joint Service Commendation Medal. He enlisted as a Military Police Soldier but worked through a selective process to become a team leader guiding military working dogs. As Sergeant serving the Military District of Washington, he conducted various explosive missions for the United States Secret Service and Department of State with Military Working Dogs serving the President and Vice President of the United States and other principles.
Within Sigma Chi he has served his chapter as Assistant Magister. He plans to utilize his degree to work within the rapidly growing world of cybersecurity and technology.
Sgt. Benjamin Hanks, WILLAMETTE 2018
A 2018 Psychology graduate at Willamette and Master of Arts graduate at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, Hanks is presently attaining his Doctorate in Psychology with long-term goals including work to improve mental health treatment among veterans.
Hanks was honorably discharged as a Sergeant within the United States Army where he participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom from both Kuwait and Baghdad. He received multiple awards, including two Army Commendation Medals, during his service. During his service, he was stationed in Germany and also spent 14 months in the United States Army National Guard working for the 187th AVCRAD aviation unit out of Fresno, California.
During his two years at Willamette, Hanks served his chapter as Kustos, Judicial Board President and Community Service Chair. As alumni, he’s served as Chapter Advisory Board Member. A now three-time recipient of the Military Service Scholarship, Hanks has been actively involved volunteering within the homeless community in Oregon and is presently working within the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon.
Capt. Taylor (Jeff) Lockwood, SOUTH FLORIDA 2014
A graduate of both South Florida and Liberty University, Capt. Lockwood is presently attending Harvard University where he is pursuing a Master of Art in International Relations to further help contribute towards solutions on the international stage.
In his seventh year of active-duty service with the United States Army, with six deployments during his career, Lockwood has spent the majority of his service in the airborne and special operations communities. He has led troops in combat in two war zones as well as complex operating environments within Asia. After serving in Afghanistan, he was selected to serve as the first-ever intelligence officer in the 1st Battalion, 5th Security Forces Assistance Brigade, a unit created by the Army specifically focused on training and advising foreign security forces.
At South Florida, Lockwood served the Theta Beta chapter as Consul, Quaestor, Magister, IFC Representative, Philanthropy Chairman and Assistant Magister. He was an intern at J. Dwight Peterson International Fraternity Headquarters and served as an undergraduate representative on a number of International Fraternity committees. As an alumnus, he has served as a program facilitator, chapter advisory board member and on a number of international committees.
He has volunteered for the United Nations’ Tanzania Development Program, the United Nations’ Ocean Action Campaign and as a volunteer consultant for a private non-profit intelligence firm countering human trafficking in the United States.
Cpl. Eugene Pliska, RIPON 2022
A double-major in Finance and Sports Management, Corporal Pliska holds a 3.29 GPA at Ripon College. He is actively serving within the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
Entering his fifth year of active duty, Pliska has served overseas in both Afghanistan and Kuwait earning medals for his service in the Global War on Terrorism. He joined the military following his junior year of high school, and completed training in Fort Benning, Georgia. He was promoted to Corporal and presently serves as a Team Leader in C Company 2-127.
On top of his military duties, Pliska is actively involved on campus and within Sigma Chi. Within the Epsilon Lambda chapter, he has served as Consul, Pro Consul, Tribune and Assistant Magister. He has been a member of both the Men’s Soccer and Men’s Tennis teams and has earned recognition on the Dean’s List.
SPC Ryker Rex, A COLLEGE IN LOGAN, UTAH 2021
Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in History, Specialist Rex holds a 3.4 GPA at Utah State University. He is actively serving as a member of the United States Army Reserves.
Entering his fourth year of active duty, Rex has served overseas in Iraq, Jordan and Syria, earning nine awards and honors for his service. On campus and in the community, he has helped raise money for charities such as Little Lambs, for children who are orphaned, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute on behalf of Sigma Chi.
Within the Gamma Kappa chapter he has served on the Judicial Board.
Howard Acosta, TULANE 2014
Josh Brewer, TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE 2017
Kewei Hu, CARNEGIE MELLON 2023
Bryce Vandenburg, ALBION 2022