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Reprinted from: Green Bay Press-Gazette

May 14, 2004

UWGB student leads his way to graduation

Sandhu volunteers, holds 3.99 GPA

By Cynthia Hodnett

A day before he receives a bachelor's degree in human biology from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Neil Sandhu will receive another accolade for his leadership on and off campus.

Sandhu, 21, of Ashwaubenon, will be one of 23 UWGB students who will receive Chancellor's Leadership Medallions during a ceremony today. The award is given to students for leadership and academic achievement.

He was nominated for the award by his biology professors.

Sandhu was active on campus and in the community, including volunteering as an advocate for the Sexual Assault Center, Brown County Mental Health Center, American Red Cross, St. Vincent Hospital and Special Olympics.

On campus, Sandhu was president of the Bioscience Connection, a student organization that plans activities to increase knowledge of career opportunities in the biological sciences. He also has been active in Tri-Beta, the national honorary society for biological sciences.

"I wanted to get involved as much as I could, but at the same time, I wanted to do well academically," he said. "I'm really excited because everything that I've done has gotten me closer to my goal of becoming a doctor."

Big honor

Sandhu will get a little help toward reaching his career goal thanks to a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship that he received recently. The award will defray some of the nearly $20,000 in tuition that Sandhu will have to pay during his first year at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison.

Sandhu, who is graduating with a 3.99 grade-point average, is one of 60 students nationwide and the first from UWGB to receive the fellowship. The fellowship rewards academic performance, campus/community leadership and evidence of success in graduate study. He is one of two UW students to receive the fellowship.

"I was very pleased and surprised. Pleased in that I was selected for it and that it will help me out in my first year of medical school," he said. "I'm surprised and proud that I was the first UWGB student ever to receive the fellowship."

Giving time

Sandhu was nominated for the award by Donna Ritch, a human biology and biology associate professor and chairwoman of the Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences Department at UWGB.

"Neil is probably one of the top students in the human biology program," Ritch said. "A lot of students will focus on one or two volunteer activities, but he's involved in a whole range of things."

Dr. Gerald Bannasch, a neurologist and chairman of the Neurology Department at Prevea Clinic, worked with Sandhu on research on epilepsy in children.

"Neil was very enthusiastic about doing the research, and he's got a curiosity about things," Bannasch said. "He follows through on things and he's a very pleasant guy. He likes to work with people and is good with making them feel comfortable. I believe he'll do well in medical school and he will make a good doctor."

Volunteering at St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center while a student at Ashwaubenon High School and at St. Vincent Hospital as a college student motivated Sandhu to purse a career in medicine.

Inspired by family

He was also motivated by his paternal grandfather, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a disorder of the central nervous system. His grandfather passed away two years ago.

While Sandhu credits hard work and determination for his success, he also attributes his family for helping him achieve his goals.

"My dad was the one who has given me the advice to work hard," Sandhu said. "He was the one who showed me that whether it's with grades, gratitude, respect or honesty, you will be paid back for doing your best. Once I entered college, I really stuck by that and it's paying off."

Leadership Awards

Thirty-two students will receive University Leadership Awards in ceremonies today at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The awards acknowledge leadership activities on and off campus.

The winners are:
Rachel Abhold, North Fond du Lac; LeBrena Bouillion, Osseo; Sarah Douglas, Oak Creek; Christopher Ehlers, Janesville; Megan Gibson and Deanna Kratzke, Appleton; Aimee Hein and Ellie Roets, Merrill; Aaron Hulse, Menasha; Brian Jicinsky, Spencer; Tou Ya Khang, Wausau; Heidi Lou Kleinhans, New Holstein.

Tracy Kranzusch, Florence; Krystle Lange, Abbottsford; Juny Lee, Rebecca Pasterski, Nicole Radosevich, and Nou Yang, Green Bay; Rebecca Levy, Kaukauna; Kerstin Martwick, Crystal Falls. Mich.; Michelle Missall, Suring; Theresa Okokon, Milwaukee; Nathan Petrashek, Two Rivers; Jessica Powers, St. Paul, Minn.

Amber Pyne, Franklin; Tim Schmidt, Rothschild; Mary Sponholz, White Lake; Jonathan Virant, Sheboygan; Sarah Voss, Burlington; Lara Wiersum, Kenosha; Maigan Wipfli, Wisconsin Rapids; and Melissa Wojtanowski, Slinger.

Leadership Medallions

UWGB will also present 23 students with the Chancellor's Leadership Medallions. The awards recognize leadership and academic achievement during the student's college career.

Award recipients are:
Elizabeth Anderson, Kiel; Nicholas Bandoch, Wausau; Derek Behmke, Plymouth; Matt Bonson and Sunam Ellis, Appleton; Sara Boyer, Rapid River, Mich.; Vincent Czahor, Gilman; Kacee Des Jarlais and Neil Sandhu, Green Bay; Julie Eller, Afton, Minn.; Megan Habermann, Aloha, Ore.

Nathanael Isaacson, Shawano; Jennifer Keene, Saukville; Hope Krepline, Chilton; Amanda Maki, Waukesha; Kristin Murphy, Wauwatosa; Angela Paul, Athens; John Rumpel, Beloit; Trisha Senkbeil, Sheboygan; Michelle Stark, Franklin; Leah Szott, Mt. Prospect, Ill.; Amber Wiinamaki, Medford; and Andrew Williams, Oshkosh.

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