(Posted April 13, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Acer VanWallendael, a sophomore from Phillipsburg, N.J. and the son of Gail Smith and Peter VanWallendael of Phillipsburg, N.J., has been chosen to receive the prestigious Andrew Mutch Scholarship from the St. Andrews Society of Philadelphia.

Only five students from 19 participating colleges and universities in and around Philadelphia are selected to attend one of the five participating universities in Scotland for one year. VanWallendael is the 20th Juniata College student to receive this prestigious award since Juniata's affiliation with the program in 1979. He will study at the University of Aberdeen during his junior year, the 2009-2010 academic year.

"The university has a strong ecology program and I'd like to study the ecology of the Highlands."

Acer VanWallendael '11, Phillipsburg, N.J.

To be considered for the scholarship, a student must first be in the top fifth of the sophomore class. The candidate then completes an application and interviews with the president, provost, dean of international programs, international education committee, and the scholarship committee. From these interviews, each institution selects one candidate who then travels to Philadelphia to compete for one of the five scholarships.

VanWallendael, who is studying biology, will concentrate his studies on ecology during his time in Scotland. "The university has a strong ecology program and I'd like to study the ecology of the Highlands," VanWallendael says.

VanWallendael has accumulated significant research experience in his first two years at Juniata. In summer 2008, he studied the toxic interaction between black walnut trees and native plants and non-native invasive plants. VanWallendael will continue that research this summer with Norris Muth, assistant professor of biology. Throughout this academic year, he also has been involved in a wetlands and stream restoration project in Lancaster County led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
VanWallendael is working on the restoration with Christopher Grant, lab teacher at Juniata.

He has been a member of the Juniata tennis team for two years and is secretary for Kvasir, Juniata's literary magazine. He also was named this semester to Tri-Beta, the national biological honor society.

He is a recipient of the President's Scholarship at Juniata. He is a 2007 graduate of Phillipsburg High School.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.