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Presidential Scholars Named

Presidential Mentoring Scholars Named

Seven Creighton students recently received the University’s Presidential Mentoring Scholarships. The scholarship program, initiated two years ago by Creighton President the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., is designed to encourage and develop some of Creighton’s top students to be competitive in applying for national and international scholarships and fellowships. The program has produced early success. Anastasia Yanchilina, a 2007 mentoring scholar, was a 2008 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, and Danae Mercer, a 2008 mentoring scholar, was awarded this year’s Davies-Jackson Scholarship for two years of postgraduate study at Cambridge University.

 Below, meet this year’s accomplished mentoring scholars.

Adam KarnikAdam Karnik is a junior from Omaha majoring in mathematics and classical languages with a minor in mathematical logic. He is involved in a number of research projects and colloquia in mathematics, political science and philosophy – covering such topics as the propagation of the West Nile virus, the spread of democracy in post-Soviet democracies, Lie isomorphisms on incidence algebras, and the role of hope in the virtue ethics of Thomas Aquinas. Karnik serves on both the student advisory board and the executive board for the Creighton Honors Program. He has acted in two Creighton Theatre productions, The Laramie Project in February 2007 and Rumors in April 2008. He has been inducted into Creighton’s honorary societies for classics, mathematics, theatre and Alpha Sigma Nu (the national Jesuit honor society). He also has served as a Magis Ambassador, a Decurion for the Ratio Studiorum Program, and a leader for Campus Ministry’s Encounter retreats. He has traveled to Mankato, Minn., on a spring break service trip, and he founded the Creighton Certamen Invitational, an exhibition tournament for area high school Latin students. Karnik’s future plans include studying mathematics in graduate school, continuing mathematical research and teaching at the university level. He recently learned that he was a recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship.

Ana Heck – Ana Heck is a sophomore from Plymouth, Minn., majoring in philosophy and Spanish with minors in justice and peace studies and applied ethics. This semester, Heck is studying abroad in the Dominican Republic with Creighton’s Encuentro Dominicano program. At Creighton, Heck is involved with the Honors Program Student Advisory Board, Campus Kitchen, Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network and Spanish Club. Future plans include applying for a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Latin America or pursuing a master’s degree in education. She wants to teach English as a second language.

Kristin Wakin – Kristin Wakin is a junior biochemistry major from Omaha. She is a member of the Honors Program, a tutor for the chemistry department, and was recently inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu. As a freshman, Wakin became a member of the STAR collaboration, an international collaboration group consisting of hundreds of scientists, graduate students and undergraduates interested in studying data taken at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y. Wakin’s research involves ultra-peripheral collisions, in which nuclei in the collider miss each other completely but still undergo an intense electromagnetic interaction. Through her research, Wakin hopes to determine the probability that a certain particle (the “rho-meson”) will be produced during these collisions – advancing the current understanding of the structure of the nucleus. Wakin received honorable mention for this year’s Goldwater Scholarship.

Brian Martens – Brian Martens is a senior honors student from Missouri Valley, Iowa, majoring in classical languages, classical and Near Eastern studies and art history. Recently, he returned from Athens, Greece, where he spent eight months studying classical art and archaeology. This summer, he will be returning to Athens, assisted by a Bisenius Summer Research Grant, to participate in an archaeological dig at the prestigious American School of Classical Studies Excavations of the Ancient Athenian Agora. He has also excavated at the ancient site of Aixiondes-Halai, just outside of Athens. Martens has served as president of the Creighton Democrats and the Eta Sigma Phi Classics Honor Society. Martens will be completing a fifth year at Creighton to hone the languages necessary for future graduate study, namely: Ancient Greek, Latin and French. Following graduation, he hopes to pursue a joint degree in art history and law, preparing him for a future career in international antiquities law. His current research explores the imagery of Asklepios, an ancient Greek healing deity.

Paul Akre Paul Akre is a junior majoring in biology and French from Pewaukee, Wis. Akre has participated in a variety of activities since coming to Creighton, including Welcome Week, the Cortina Community, academic research and hospital volunteer work. He is currently in the process of applying for a Fulbright Scholarship. His goal is to become a physician. His particular area of professional interest is in women’s health and pediatrics.


Dan Meyer – Dan Meyer is a junior philosophy major and English minor from Sioux Falls, S.D. He enjoys 20th century American philosophy and literature. Some of his favorite philosophers are Richard Rorty and G.W.F. Hegel, and his primary interest in philosophy is epistemology, or the philosophy of truth and knowledge. Meyer is the president of Creighton University’s chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the international philosophy honor society. Meyer is also active in Creighton’s Philosophy for Children program, which sends philosophy students to local schools every week to practice critical-thinking exercises with elementary-age children. After graduation, Meyer plans on attending graduate school for philosophy and hopes to someday be a professor.

Sumit Kar – Sumit Kar is a sophomore biochemistry and biology major from Omaha. Kar was the recipient of an American Physiological Society Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship and was a finalist for the David S. Bruce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. He is a member of the Creighton Honors Program Student Advisory Board, Math Club and Indian Cultural Society. Kar also founded the Compassion in Action mentoring program. He has been researching cardiovascular disease at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for three years with Irving Zucker, M.D. Kar’s future plans include earning both a doctorate and a medical degree. He would eventually like to conduct translational research on the neuronal control of cardiovascular disease and its treatments and teach at an academic research institution.

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