Golden Apple Announces Scholars Of Illinois Class Of 2018

Program prepares over 800 aspiring educators to teach in Illinois’ 3,400 schools-of-need

CHICAGO (June 19, 2018) – Golden Apple, a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to developing great teachers, proudly announces the induction of the 2018 class of the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois. The 2018 Scholars include 229 dynamic young people who have chosen to dedicate themselves to a future career teaching students in Illinois schools-of-need.

The Scholars program is uniquely designed to prepare future teachers to thrive in the most challenging school environments where more resilient teachers are desperately needed. In response, this year marks the fourth consecutive year that Golden Apple has accepted more than 200 Scholars into the program, a program which has doubled in size over the past five years.

While pursuing their degree in teaching, Scholars participate in Summer Institute experiences in which they spend time working directly with students, have opportunities to reflect on their teaching practice, and receive instruction and mentorship from Award-winning Golden Apple teachers.

This year, more than 800 Scholars will participate in these Institutes, preparing to serve thousands of Illinois students upon their graduation. Within these Summer Institutes, Scholars will acquire more than two times the classroom teaching experience garnered by traditionally-prepared teachers. Importantly, Golden Apple’s support continues into the first years of teaching with comprehensive on-site mentoring.

Golden Apple Scholars represent a diverse group of high-achieving young people from across the state of Illinois with more than 1/2 being first-generation college students. Newly-inducted 2018 Scholars maintained nearly a 4.0 average weighted high school GPA and over a 3.5 college GPA.

“Golden Apple is thrilled to welcome the high-achieving 2018 class of Scholars, who from diverse backgrounds and circumstance, will grow to guide underserved students from the most challenging environments to long-term success,” said Alicia Winckler, president and CEO of Golden Apple. “In response to the urgent demand for qualified teachers, the Scholars program is poised to deliver exponential growth to meet that need. We are proud to prepare highly effective teachers for schools-of-need.”

The Scholars program improves persistence and graduation rates among participants profoundly. In addition, the program has been shown to have a significant impact on workforce development by helping low-income and underrepresented students gain necessary skill development for a lasting career in teaching - evidenced by the over 80% who begin teaching who stay in teaching for more than 5 years.

Golden Apple Scholars Class of 2018 (Name, Hometown, University)

Marielle Abalos, Onarga, Eastern Illinois University

Weston Acampora, Lake Forest, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Angela Addante, Addison, Lake Forest College

Joanna Alvord, Flora, Olivet Nazarene University

John Anderlik, McHenry, Illinois State University

Jessica Anderson, Argenta, Eastern Illinois University

Fabiola Angulo-Gonzalez, Chicago, Saint Xavier University

Alyssa Anselmini, Addison, Illinois State University

Jordan Bartels, Braceville, Augustana College

Emily Bartle, Blue Island, Bradley University

Benjamin Bedell, Tinley Park, Aurora University

Lee Bell, Aurora, Northern Illinois University

Vanessa Bello, Montgomery, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Ireland Binkowski, Channahon, Eastern Illinois University

Emily Blanchard, Downers Grove, Loyola University Chicago

Emily Blanke, Barrington, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Kaylee Borja, West Chicago, North Central College

Evadne Bowlin, Matteson, Northern Illinois University

Fernando Bravo Garcia, Vernon Hills, Augustana College

Clarice Brown, East Moline, Augustana College

Keegan Brown, Woodhull, Monmouth College

Laura Burkett, Gilberts, Northern Illinois University

Abigail Byrnside, O'Fallon, Illinois State University

Gianna Cairo, Berwyn, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Paula Katrina Camaya, Skokie, Loyola University Camaya

Maria Campbell, Naperville, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Katie Carranza, Round Lake Beach, Illinois State University

Melissa Castillo, Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago

Shannon Cavins, Plainfield, Illinois State University

Cynthia Cisneros, Chicago, National Louis University

Jillian Clifton, Chatham, Augustana College

Shepherd Coventon, Biggsville, Monmouth College

Quincy Cowell, Rolling Meadows, Northwestern University

Taylor Crew, Colona, Western Illinois University

Nina Crowley, Cullom, Augustana College

Breanna Cruz, Burbank, Illinois State University

Rosalia Cucinella, Addison, Elmhurst College

Diamond Dadej, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Kelly Damann, Mascoutah, McKendree University

Danielle Daujatas, Worth, Trinity Christian College

Daniel De La Torre, Bensenville, University of Illinois at Chicago

Nicole DeCastris, Aurora, Illinois State University

Ryan Deetz, Decatur, Illinois State University

Isabella Dehmlow, Naperville, Loyola University Chicago

Steffi Delgado, Hoffman Estates, Northern Illinois University

Max DiPasquale, Belleville, Millikin University

Morgan-Marie Donohue, Batavia, North Central College

John Downey, Lockport, Knox College

Dominik Downs, Chicago, DePaul University

Rachel Edwards, Murrayville, Quincy University

Sophie Elder, Chicago, Loyola University Chicago

Katherine Elvery, Lombard, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

Abbie Eveland, Canton, Illinois State University

Sarah Fisher, Mapleton, Augustana College

Emma Fister, Buffalo Grove, Bradley University

Lidia Flores, Berwyn, Northern Illinois University

Luis Flores, Harvard, Vandercook College of Music

Tea Floyd, Chicago, Columbia College Chicago

Ana Galan, Chicago, The School of The Art Institute

Laila Galecki, Bensenville, Loyola University Chicago

Elizabeth Gallegos, Alsip, University of Illinois at Chicago

Elizabeth Galvez, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Nelson Garcia, Des Plaines, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Mariah Garzee, Bushnell, Monmouth College

Emma Germann, Watseka, Elmhurst College

Elizabeth Gilmore, Springfield, Illinois State University

Lesly Gonzalez, Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago

Vanessa Gonzalez, Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University

Courtney Gordon, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Madison Graham, Palmyra, Illinois State University

Layne Gregory, Pittsfield, Illinois College

Jose Guarda, Waukegan, National Louis University

Elise Guillen, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Liliana Gutierrez, Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University

Vanessa Guzman, Chicago, Loyola University Chicago

Emily Halik, Crystal Lake, Illinois State University

Emma Harris, Streator, MacMurray College

Wendy Hegbom, Rockford, Rockford University

Sophie Henderson, Carbondale, Bradley University

Grace Herb, St.Charles, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Uriel Hernandez, Carpentersville, Elmhurst College

Victoria Herr, Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago

Melanie Hess, Yorkville, Illinois State University

Yureysi Hidalgo, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Jessica Hilario, Itasca, Elmhurst College

Megan Hintz, Beach Park, Illinois State University

Hunter Howard, Georgetown, Eastern Illinois University

Amanyae Hubbard, Belleville, Illinois College

Allyson Huffman, Jacksonville, Illinois College

Andrew Hunter, Batavia, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Allison Huynh, Schaumburg, Illinois State University

Samantha Jegglie, Lisle, North Central College

Scott Johnson, Palatine, Northern Illinois University

Seaneiser Johnson, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hannah Jones, Sesser, McKendree University

Julianne Kauffman, Mahomet, Illinois State University

Hannah Kegg, Bradley, Olivet Nazarene University

Jillian King, Romeoville, Illinois State University

Alexandra Kirchens, Lake Forest, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Kalyn Konrath, Lombard, Elmhurst College

Aliana Kottabi, Godfrey, Illinois State University

Meredith Kull, Effingham, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Sandra Ladzik, Arlington Heights, DePaul University

Morelia Lara, Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lydia Latham, Maryville, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Corey Lavallais, Franklin Park, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Sarah Lee, Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago

Delaney Libit, Arlington Heights, Illinois State University

JD Lindley, Jacksonville, McKendree University

Rosita Lopez, Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago

Jesse Lorenzo, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hugo Luna, Chicago, Dominican University

Karlie MacKenzie, Auburn, Eastern Illinois University

Elizabeth Malenchik, Rockford, Rockford University

Denise Mares, Chicago, DePaul University

Nathan Massa, Roselle, Bradley University

Ethan Masters, Arlington Heights, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Makayla Mathewson, Peoria, Illinois State University

Ellavieve McCarthy, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Mikayla McGill, Buffalo Grove, Loyola University Chicago

Celine McLaughlin, Hickory Hills, Illinois State University

Adolfo Medina, Chicago, Loyola University Chicago

Taylor Mendenhall, Rochester, Illinois State University

Abraham Mendoza, Waukegan, Lake Forest College

Emily Meneese, Marion, McKendree University

Maria Mercado Juarez, Harvard, Rockford University

Alia Miksek, Berwyn, Northern Illinois University

Allyson Miller, Champaign, Illinois State University

Evan Miller, Springfield, Millikin University

Tarryn Monti, Palestine, Eastern Illinois University

Myah Moore, Springfield, Illinois State University

Cristian-Andres Mora, Blue Island, University of Illinois at Chicago

Kaitlyn Moylan, Tinley Park, Illinois State University

Anderson Murfin, Pekin, Olivet Nazarene University

Cashmere Myart, Chicago, Illinois State University

Natalia Narajczyk, Chicago, DePaul University

Sydney Narot, Lisle, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tony Nicolalde, Aurora, Illinois State University

Aleeyah Nieves, Chicago, Concordia University

Ciara O'Malley, Downers Grove, Illinois State University

Kammi Osborn, East Peoria, Eureka College

Emily Owens, Glen Ellyn, North Central College

Nicole Pagan, Chicago, Loyola University Chicago

Erica Parks, Calumet Park, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Jonathan Patino-Sanchez, Chicago, Saint Xavier University

Emily Patterson, Wood Dale, Illinois State University

Amanda Payne, Hanover Park, Northern Illinois University

Cassandra Payne, Lombard, North Park University

Matthew Payton, Sugar Grove, Augustana College

Brandon Pease, Justice, Blackburn College

Zachary Peterson, Glenview, Illinois State University

Nathan Petithomme, Chicago, Loyola University Chicago

Gonzalo Pompa, Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University

Kiley Pooler, Downers Grove, University of Illinois at Chicago

Ariana Porras, Brookfield, Benedictine University

Cody Pullium, Peoria Heights, Illinois State University

Matthew Randich, Crestwood, Illinois State University

Jasmine Reed, Palatine, University of Illinois at Chicago

Marina Reutenauer, Streamwood, Northern Illinois University

Jennifer Reyes, Cicero University, of Illinois at Chicago

Julliana Reyes, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Matthew Reyes-Nava, Chicago, Loyola University Chicago

Cyrus Rhodes, Springfield, Illinois State University

Karina Rico, Plainfield, Illinois College

Isaac Riddle, Beardstown, Illinois College

Lucy Rieke, Dwight, Western Illinois University

Lauren Rivas, South Barrington, Illinois State University

Karina Rodriguez, Aurora, North Central College

Jennifer Rodriguez-Gomez, Evanston, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Abbey Rose, Manhattan, Illinois State University

Taylor Rosko, Downers Grove, Illinois State University

Darrin Ross, Kirkwood, Western Illinois University

Amanda Ruiz, Elgin, DePaul University

Niki Safakas, Schaumburg, Loyola University Chicago

Amy Saldivar-Castaneda, Cary, Illinois State University

Molly Salerno, Hoffman Estates, Illinois State University

Bailey Salyards, Gibson City, Illinois State University

Vanessa Sandoval, Chicago University, of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Theresa Schafer, Mount Prospect, Illinois State University

Leah Schoonmaker, Chicago, Wheaton College

Sarah Schultz, Gardner, Eastern Illinois University

Hanna Schuman, New Lenox, Illinois State University

Rodrigo Scofield, Cicero, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Sara Shahein, Bridgeview, DePaul University

Jordan Shake, Homer Glen, Saint Xavier University

Michelle Sharpe, Chicago, Loyola University Chicago

Kelsey Sherman, Frankfort, Illinois State University

Tierra Shickel, Bloomington, Illinois State University

Justin Smith, Oak Park, Illinois State University

Faith Stallard, Noble, Illinois College

Kacey Stockdell, Joliet, Western Illinois University

Nicole Stopa, Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University

Connor Sullivan, Colchester, Western Illinois University

Clare Svoboda, Clarendon Hills, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Katherine Syer, Park Ridge, Augustana College

Giselle Tapia, Chicago, North Park University

Marina Taylor, Champaign, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Bailey Theesfeld, Rankin, Illinois State University

Karina Theobald, Palatine, Illinois State University

Brianna Thomas, Chicago, Illinois Wesleyan University

Amanda Timlin, Barrington, Loyola University Chicago

Anna Tonarelli, Romeoville, Illinois State University

Lucia Torres Perez, Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dylan Toth, Schaumburg, Illinois State University

Carlie Trybom, Monticello, Blackburn College

Weronika Trzaska, Franklin Park, Illinois State University

Dylan VanRoosendaal, New Lenox, University of Illinois at Chicago

Rafael Vazquez, Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Randy Vicencio, Posen, Elmhurst College

William Villaflor, Morton Grove, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Danijela Vranjes, Chicago, Loyola University Chicago

Ethan Wallace, Villa Park, Eastern Illinois University

Juliana Wallace, Joliet, Augustana College

Elisabeth Warden, Beardstown, Illinois State University

Rachel Webber, Lockport, Olivet Nazarene University

Katryna Weingart, McHenry, Northern Illinois University

Ashunti Westbrook, Chicago, Western Illinois University

Tyler Wheeler, Homewood, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Caitlin Whitney, Shorewood, Illinois State University

Ciara Wilkerson, Oak Park, Western Illinois University

Monica Williams, Medinah, Illinois State University

Christa Willoughby, Springfield, University of Illinois Springfield

Toni Wilson, Naperville, University of Illinois at Chicago

Rachel Winslow, Georgetown, Eastern Illinois University

Madalynn Wolfley, Dixon, Aurora University

Cassidy Woodman, Cherry Valley, Illinois State University

Lesley Woods, Newton, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Yulissa Zagal, Chicago, Bradley University

Rosa Zhaleh, Niles, Illinois Wesleyan University

About Golden Apple

Founded in 1985, Golden Apple innovates teacher preparation and leadership to transform both the careers of teachers as well as the lives of students in Illinois. Its signature initiative, the Golden Apple Scholars Program, provides exceptional teacher preparation, resources, and lifelong support to advance educational excellence for Illinois’ most underserved students in schools-of-need. Aspiring teachers/Scholars are recruited from the communities in which they return to serve -- with a passion for teaching and a drive to create positive change for young people in their communities. Scholars commit to teach at an Illinois school-of-need for five years after graduation. More than 1,000 Scholars currently are teaching across Illinois. Visit for more information.

Media contact:

Kellie Kennedy

ScholarsTony Bosma