Hughes STEM High Graduate Earns Scholarship to University of Montana 

July 9, 2019

By UM News Service

Photo of Katherine WendelnKatherine Wendeln is one of 32 top-tier students who will receive a Presidential Leadership Scholarship to attend the University of Montana in Missoula this fall.

Wendeln graduated from Hughes STEM High School, the Zoo Academy, in Cincinnati, Ohio, this spring. She is the daughter of John and Linda Wendeln of Mason, Ohio.

UM’s Presidential Leadership Scholars are chosen based on leadership, service and academic merit, and their scholarships are renewable for a total of four years. This year's incoming PLS cohort had an average GPA of 3.92 and an average ACT score of 31.

In addition to joining UM's Davidson Honors College, Wendeln will major in organismal biology, ecology and evolution while also pursuing a minor in wildlife biology. She said the academic programs and the environment made UM the right choice for her.

"UM's location will allow me to study wildlife, conservation and ecology in numerous national, state and local parks and, coupled with my zoo background will give me well-rounded experiences and education," she said. "The student center, filled with tropical plants and trees, reminds me of the greenhouse outside the zoo academy classrooms. UM is the best place for me to continue to pursue my interests."

Wendeln said attending UM will put her in the best position to pursue her future conservation and animal-related career goals.

"I love science and want to spend my life researching, discovering new things and sharing my passion with others," she said.

Wendeln said transferring to the Cincinnati Zoo Academy was the best decision she ever made.

"Ever since I was little, I have had a passion for wildlife and the outdoors, and this program was a perfect match for my interests," Wendeln said. "I have watched bonobos undergo medical checkups, hand-fed an Indian rhino, analyzed leopard cell samples at the zoo’s research facility and bathed Asian elephants. I have worked with multiple people in biology and conservation fields, and my experience has solidified my decision to pursue a biology degree."

"Thanks Hughes High School/Cincinnati Zoo Academy and the Cincinnati Zoo for the best education and hands-on experience possible. It is a unique and wonderful program and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities provided."

Read more about UM’s incoming class of Presidential Leadership Scholars.