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Intellectually Curious

Rhodes Scholar finalist Matt Tancos

Ball State attracts and retains high-achieving students. Because of a growing pool of applicants—up 34 percent from 2009 to more than 17,000 for fall 2010—we continue to raise our admission standards while also maintaining a healthy enrollment. On-campus enrollment has topped 18,000; total enrollment is more than 22,000.

Our retention rate has increased to 79.6 percent. The number of incoming freshmen with academic honors diplomas continues to grow to 62.3 percent, up 15.5 percentage points since fall 2006. This is especially impressive when you consider that only 32 percent of 2009 Indiana high school graduates earned the distinction.

Rhodes Scholar finalist Matt Tancos, ’11, is just one example of our curious and ambitious students. Tancos of Valparaiso, Indiana, is a biology major and chemistry minor concentrating in genetics and ecology. He previously earned an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship and has completed research internships at both an EPA lab and Cornell University, investigating the microbiological treatment of drinking water for arsenic removal, microbial biofilms on lead drinking water pipes, and pathogen diagnostics, in addition to his studies at Ball State. Tancos is hoping to return to Cornell after graduation to pursue his PhD in plant pathology.

While environmentalism typically emphasizes protection of nature, Tancos says, “I believe protection of people should come first and agree with Indira Gandhi that ‘poverty is the greatest environmental threat in the world.’ Humans will attempt to survive by all means, which include poaching or clear-cutting forests in order to acquire new fertile soil and resources. Plant technology, however, offers one way to alleviate famine and its environmental consequences.”

Since 2005, our Ball State student body has included:

• 2 Rhodes Scholarship finalists
• 4 Harry S. Truman Scholarship finalists
• 8 Student Fulbright Scholars
• 4 Morris K. Udall Scholars
• 3 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars
• 3 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars
• 2 Critical Language Scholars

In addition, our top students have been awarded the Robert Bosch Fellowship, Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship, Jacob Javits Fellowship, David L. Boren Scholarship, Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service, James Madison Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Goal 1, Objective A: By 2012, achieve 80 percent of total incoming freshman class holding academic honors diplomas or equivalent.

Goal 1, Objective A: By 2012, achieve 80 percent first-year retention rate.