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Nine Widener Freshmen Named Apogee Scholars

Nine Widener University freshmen have been named the first Apogee Scholars by the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener for their high potential for leading change on campus and in their communities. The students are also recipients of the Widener High School Leadership Award and received a $20,000 scholarship to attend Widener.

  • Apogee Scholars

The Apogee Scholars include:

  • Zach Bates, a communication studies major from Clarksboro, N.J.
  • Shijo Benjamin, a biochemistry major from Franklinville, N.J.
  • William Dahm, a psychology major from Oreland, Pa.
  • Nicole Cavalier, a nursing major from Burlington City, N.J.
  • Anya DeBlasio, a nursing major from Wilmington, Del.
  • Lake Greene, a psychology major from East Fallowfield, Pa.
  • Justin Jackson, a history major from Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Joann Klein, a communication studies major from Broomall, Pa.
  • Tyler Virgilio, a hospitality management major from Sewell, N.J.

Widener and the Oskin Leadership Institute are excited to welcome the inaugural class of Apogee Scholars to campus," said Arthur J. Schwartz, executive director of the Oskin Leadership Institute. "They have already proved themselves to be leaders in their high schools and in their communities, and we look forward to helping them reach their leadership potential."

As Apogee Scholars, the students will complete the 15 workshops required for a LEADERworks Certificate, a leadership development certificate program offered through the Oskin Leadership Institute, by the end of their sophomore year.

Once they complete the workshops, they will create their own leadership portfolios with the help of a coach from the Oskin Leadership Institute. The portfolio is designed to help students reflect on their insights about leadership—especially lessons learned through their own leadership experiences at Widener.

Students will present their leadership portfolio at a ceremony and receive their LEADERworks Certificate. The Apogee Scholars will also serve as coaches for younger students working toward their certificate.

The mission of the Oskin Leadership Institute is to perpetuate the university's long and noble tradition of inspiring students to be strategic leaders and responsible citizens who possess the character, courage and competencies to affect positive change throughout the world.

As Widener High School Leadership Award recipients, all of the students were nominated by their high school for their abilities to stand up for what is right, address a wrong and make a difference in their communities or schools.

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve more than 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university's website,