Skip to main content

IU President Whitten Welcomes 34th Class of Wells Scholars

President Pamela Whitten welcomed the 34th class of Scholars at a reception on Sunday, August 13th at the Solarium in the Indiana University Memorial Union.

Sep 21, 2023

President Pamela Whitten welcomed the 34th class of Scholars at a reception on Sunday, August 13th at the Solarium in the Indiana University Memorial Union. The cohort of 18 students joins the WSP community encompassing over 700 current students and alumni around the world. Following the tradition of the Wells Scholars Program, half of the new class are Hoosiers. Other states represented include Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Tennessee. Three international Scholars (two from Mexico, one from Turkey) enrich the new group, continuing the success of the international selection process that was added five years ago. They will be joining current international Scholars from Brazil, India, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Thailand, Myanmar, Turkmenistan, and Zambia. In addition, a current IU student, a rising Senior, was selected through the Internal process for IUB students.

Interim Dean of the Hutton Honors College and Distinguished Professor of History Rebecca Spang greeted the new students, expressing her gratitude to their parents, families, and past teacher and expressed her enthusiasm for “education in all its forms.” IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Rahul Srivastav, who was also in attendance, welcomed each of the new Scholars personally. “It was a joy to meet this class of Wells Scholars, as well as their families,” he said. “I look forward to seeing how they utilize the robust resources of this program to grow as scholars and professionals while inspiring and uplifting their peers.”

President Whitten stands at a lectern to address a seated crowd

President Whitten addressing the new class of Wells Scholars


Whitten, the event’s main speaker, voiced her admiration for the accomplishments of current and former Wells Scholars. Remembering the man for whom the program was named, President Whitten pointed out that Chancellor Herman B Wells lived the best values of IU in each role he occupied and encouraged the new Scholars to do the same. “Each of these outstanding students selected for the Wells Scholar Program continue to honor the great legacy of Herman B Wells,” said President Whitten. She specifically singled out the opportunities Wells Scholars have for close interaction with faculty members and the importance of engaging in community service with fellow Wells Scholars.

During the event Wells senior Maia Ruiz Law and recent alum Maeve Whelan performed the three movements of the Divertimento for violin and viola by Adolphus Hailstork.

Wells Scholars can study any field offered at IU, and the focuses of the new class range from accounting and biology to political science to psychology and viola performance.

WSP Director and Distinguished Professor of English Christoph Irmscher thanked WSP faculty who had interviewed the students, the staff who had supported the selection process, and the alums and current Scholars who had recruited the new members of the program: “This has truly been a community effort, and I can’t wait to see how the incoming Scholars will transform our campus over the next few years. Each new class teaches me new things about the possibilities of the human spirit. It is such a privilege to continue to be able to serve as the director of this wonderful program.”

Wells Internal Scholar Poorabi Nanda

Wells Internal Scholar Poorabi Nanda


First-year Wells Scholars are nominated by their high schools, through the IU Office of Admissions, or through the Office of International Services, and are selected for having demonstrated exceptional qualities of character, leadership and distinction both inside and outside the classroom. Internal Wells Scholars are nominated by IU Bloomington faculty and selected for similar qualities.

The 18 first-year students and their hometowns are:

Brandon Anderson, Carmel, Indiana

Esha Aras, Columbus, Indiana

Jesus Enrique Castañeda Buitimea, Esenada, Mexico

Natalie Carlson, Indianapolis

Karin Dağ, Istanbul, Turkey

Alejandra Carolina Dávalos Valadez, Guadalajara, Mexico

Simon Cian, Nashville, Tennessee

Anna De Four, Farmington Hill, Michigan

Maya Gaidoo, Indianapolis

Sam Greenfield, Indianapolis

Abby Greenwell, Evansville, Indiana

Cathlene I. Horwege, Knoxville, Tennessee

Aika Noguchi, Bloomington, Indiana

Julia Pfeiffer, Weldon Spring, Missouri

Ravi Shah, Palatine, Illinois

Jackson Shinkle, Louisville, Kentucky

Elijah Taylor, Farmland, Indiana

George Young, Marietta, Georgia


The new Internal Scholar is:

Poorabi Nanda, Bloomington, Indiana

Detailed bios are available on the website of the Wells Scholars Program.

The competitive award of the Wells scholarship was created to honor the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells and guarantees the full cost of attendance for up to four years of undergraduate study on the Bloomington campus. Other benefits include generous support for overseas study, close interaction with faculty and distinguished guests, special seminars and academic opportunities, alumni networking, and grant support for a summer project. Scholars are also involved in a roster of extracurricular events and activities, including opportunities for public service with the registered student organization WAVE (Wells Activism and Volunteer Effort).

More stories