University of Arkansas Honors College Announces New Bodenhamer Fellows

University of Arkansas Honors College Announces New Bodenhamer Fellows
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Honors College has awarded Bodenhamer Fellowships to six top incoming freshmen. The fellowship, one of the most prestigious undergraduate awards that the university offers, awards $70,000 in financial support and cultivates a strong sense of community among current and alumni fellows.

The 2014 Bodenhamer Fellows are James “Jay” Hudson from Lake Hamilton High School; Stephen Komar from Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Missouri; Naseer Naseem from Fayetteville High School; Kaylee Rauso from Hot Springs High School; Will Richardson from Little Rock Central High School; and Madison “Maddie” Shaw from Conway High School.

“We look forward to welcoming this new group of fellows to the Bodenhamer family of scholars, who represent a strong tradition of academic achievement, leadership and service,” said Bob McMath, dean of the Honors College and chair of the Bodenhamer selection committee. “We expect great things from each one of them, and the Honors College is here to support them as they explore their many interests.”

In addition to covering the normal costs of attending the university, the Bodenhamer Fellowship may be used for study abroad, attendance at professional and educational conferences, research and any special equipment that a fellow may need.

The Bodenhamer Foundation, acting through its trustee, Lee Bodenhamer (B.S.B.A. 1957, M.B.A. 1961), established the Bodenhamer Fellowships in 1998. Competition for the fellowships is intense. Students must score at least 32 on the ACT and have a grade point average of 3.8 or higher to be considered. Extracurricular activities, community service, and evidence of leadership, intellectual curiosity and creativity are also considered. Students are selected following an on-campus interview with University of Arkansas professors.

The new Bodenhamer students will join a group of 114 fellows who have benefitted from the generous support of the Bodenhamer family. Bodenhamer alumni are excelling in a wide range of career paths, from medicine to physics research to opera singing. Many are pursuing advanced degrees at universities such as Harvard, Vanderbilt and Yale.

This summer the new Bodenhamer Fellows will travel to Washington, D.C., for a five-day trip that includes tours of the Capitol, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress and the Holocaust Museum. The Washington trip is an annual tradition funded by Bodenhamer that builds community among the new fellows.

2014 Bodenhamer Fellows


James “Jay” Hudson, a graduate of Lake Hamilton High School, plans to study chemical engineering. He is a National Merit Scholar, AP Scholar with Honor and Arkansas Governor’s Distinguished Scholar. Music has been central to his extracurricular activities: He was lead trumpet in the Lake Hamilton High School band, helping the band win the state championship three years in a row, and was selected for All State Band twice. Hudson has also worked weekly with a junior high band, teaching them the fundamentals of playing and marching and helping them prepare for competitions. In his senior year Hudson joined the high school choir, where he was a section leader and selected for the All State choir. Hudson has also performed with the Hot Springs Community Band as part of a summer scholarship program. He was selected to attend Arkansas Governor’s School and has also been active in the youth group at his church, participating in numerous community service and mission projects. He is the son of Byron and Lisa Hudson.

Stephen Komar, a graduate of Park Hill South High School, is a National Merit Finalist and AP Scholar with Distinction, and plans to study economics and international relations. He has been actively involved in scouting since the third grade, serving as patrol leader and senior patrol leader. To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, he designed and built a playground for his church, enlisting the help of more than 100 volunteers to complete the job. Komar has run cross country for three years, serving as team captain his senior year; he has also competed in track and field. He has competed on the varsity debate team since his junior year, and was selected for Missouri Boys State. He has contributed more than 60 hours of community service as a member of the National Honor Society, and also helped freshman students transition to high school through the Freshman Mentor Program. He is the son of David and Monica Komar.

Naseer Naseem graduated with distinguished honors from Fayetteville High School and is an AP Scholar. He plans to study biomedical engineering and become a physician. He has volunteered more than 200 hours at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Fayetteville. Naseem also traveled to Moore, Oklahoma, following the tornado last year as a member of the Humanity First Disaster Relief team. He was selected to participate in the Teen Leadership Experience, a program sponsored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, and attended Arkansas Governor’s School. Naseem has been active on the Quiz Bowl team since seventh grade, and was captain of the Academic Challenge Event team. In his senior year, he founded and became president of the Science National Honor Society. He also served as treasurer of ASTRA, a student branch of Altrusa International, a non-profit organization focused on community service. Naseem has also played on the FHS ultimate Frisbee team since his sophomore year, serving as captain of the team his senior year. He is the son of Hameed and Mubarka Naseem.

Kaylee Rauso graduated with high honors from Hot Springs High School, where she was valedictorian of her class and earned an International Baccalaureate diploma. She plans to explore computer engineering and other topics once she arrives on campus. Her passion for dance and cheerleading led her to captain the Hot Springs varsity cheerleading squad, where she was responsible for choreographing routines and leading practices and sideline performances at games. Rauso is also a teacher and competitive dancer at DanceArts Studio. As a member of the senior competitive dance team, she competed in numerous competitions and placed in the top 10 for solo, duet, small group and large group competitions. Rauso is also a member of the Spanish Club and Leadership Hot Springs, an organization that educates high school juniors and seniors about community issues ranging from law enforcement to public health. Since age 12, Rauso has volunteered at Jackson House, a community crisis center that provides food, clothing, shelter and medicine to anyone in need. She is the daughter of Sandy Rauso.

Will Richardson graduated from Little Rock Central High School. He is a National Merit Scholar and a National AP Scholar, and plans to study chemical engineering. An accomplished cellist, Richardson was a member of Central High’s orchestra and string trio and was selected for All-State Orchestra and All-State Chamber Orchestra. He is the principal cellist in the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra and participated in the Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony Vocal and String summer camps three times. In the academic arena, he won the AP U.S. History top student award; the Hendrix College Odyssey Book Award; the top student award for Latin I, II, III and IV; and twice earned the National Latin Exam Silver Cum Laude Award. He and three teammates won the AP Psychology Quiz Bowl Championship in the Little Rock School District. Richardson has also tutored a diverse group of students in math, science and history since his junior year, and volunteers weekly at his church. He is the son of Ben and Allison Richardson.

Madison “Maddie” Shaw, a graduate of Conway High School, plans to major in chemistry to prepare for a career in medicine. She is a National Merit Scholar, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and was selected to receive the “Real Proud of Real Wampus Cats Award,” a district-wide honor. Shaw also won the National Spanish Exam Award and participated in her school’s Quiz Bowl team. She has been active in band since the seventh grade, winning All-Region and All-State honors as an oboe player, and serving as drum major of the marching band in her senior year. She has played on the varsity softball team since 9th grade, winning All-Conference and All-State player awards in her sophomore year. Shaw has also traveled the country as a member of Arkansas Xtreme, a competitive softball team, and was selected to play in two Academic All-Star games. She is a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society, and participates annually in the Turkey Basket Project, which provides Thanksgiving meals for families in need. Her parents are Collie and Vicky Shaw.


Bob McMath, dean
Honors College

Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College


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