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The 2017-18 WWU Presidential Scholars with President Sabah Randhawa are: from left, Honoka Tsutsui, Grace Coffey, Maria Jose Palacios Figueroa, Dalton Jones, Emily Stadt, Clint Sana and Phi Le Nguyen. (Courtesy photo/Western Washington University)

Also, a Lynden student is an Outstanding Graduate

WHATCOM ­— The Nooksack Valley School District has a fair bit of investment in the 2017-18 crop of Presidential Scholars at Western Washington University.

Two of the seven students who received the highest award for graduates on June 16 are alumni of Nooksack Valley High School. “It’s extremely rare to have two Presidential Scholars in the same year come from the same high school,” said Mary Gallagher in Western’s communication office.

The pair of honorees are Emily Stadt from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Dalton Jones in the College of Science and Engineering.

And a third of the seven Presidential Scholars, Phi Le Nguyen from the Woodring College of Education, will be teaching kindergarten in the Nooksack Valley School District come August.

Here’s the standout story on each:

Emily Stadt graduated with a major in kinesiology/pre-physical therapy and a minor in dance.

An excellent scholar throughout her college career, Stadt finished her time at Western with a cumulative 3.89 GPA. She has been described by many of her professors as an outstanding student who always turns in high quality work.

She made the most of her time in the classroom and also in serving the community. Stadt worked with WWU’s Relay for Life as the student in charge of contacting cancer survivors and caregivers to invite them to be honored at the event. She is also a small group leader at The Inn University Ministry, a Bible study group. She has put what she learned in her classes to work by volunteering at Everson Elementary Family Fitness Nights, encouraging students and their families to stay active. She also traveled to Rwanda as a part of WWU’s Global Learning Program and she created her own dance and yoga classes for members of the Bellingham community.

Emily, a daughter of Mark and Sylvia Stadt, also earlier attended Whatcom Community College. Now after WWU graduation, she plans to go to graduate school for a doctorate in physical therapy.

Dalton Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics.

Hard-working, passionate and curious, Jones has the unique ability to make progress on challenging, open-ended and multi-faceted research problems. In his research with assistant professor Armin Rahmani on a project with applications in quantum computing, Jones displayed a good understanding of complex subjects like quantum dynamics and entanglement, making enough progress on the project that he will soon submit results for publication. Outside of his academics, he has been active in the Native American Student Union where he organizes community fundraisers and club trips, such as a trip to the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a rich experience for Native American and First Nations people from across North America. Jones is also involved in the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science and Western’s Ethnic Student Center, coordinating events and outreach to high schools and helping students of color with available resources such as scholarships, research opportunities and support systems.

Dalton is a son of Brad Jones and Cheryl Lolkema. Post-graduation, he plans to pursue graduate studies in theoretical physics at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Phi Le Nguyen graduated in the winter with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education with an endorsement in early childhood education.

She is also a first-generation college student and the first in her family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Nguyen has demonstrated her knowledge of teaching and learning processes in order to support children, teachers and families and has shared her work locally and internationally. For her internship in WWU’s Child Development Center, she adapted the Katz Project Approach to engage children in an inquiry-based study of their community in which art was integrated into learning. She presented her work at a summer symposium with faculty, students and teachers visiting Western from Southwest University in Chongqing, China. Later, Early Childhood Education program director Marilyn Chu invited Nguyen on a collaborative educational study tour to China, where Nguyen was able to present her research at Southwest University.

Phi Le is a daughter of Hoang Phung Nguyen and Le Thi Le and a graduate of Highline High School in Burien.

Also, a Lynden-area man was the Outstanding Graduate in Finance and Marketing — with an interesting story, too. Reece Lodder is a Marine vet who started at Western doing online courses, then came to campus to finish up. But when he was just a quarter or two away from completion, his wife Krissy came down with a brain tumor. He took some time off to support her, but she insisted that he return and finish his degree. Reece and Krissy also have two children, and he runs his own marketing business. He felt incredibly supported by his family and the community.