Becoming a Badger: Adam Villanueva
Bay View High School Class of 2013 valedictorian Adam Villanueva started his high school career at Ronald Reagan High School. He decided it wasn’t a good fit for him, so he headed back to the Milwaukee neighborhood of Bay View, where he had gone to Fritsche Middle School.
Adam liked the larger size of Bay View High School – and the greater variety of clubs and activities – especially in music. Adam plays percussion and was captain of the Bay View High School drum line for three years.
Bay View proved to be the place, too, where Adam excelled academically, eventually rising to the top of his class, while also establishing himself as a leader. After considering engineering programs in Michigan and Minnesota, Adam opted for UW-Madison, where he had participated in a six-week engineering camp last year. Adam was awarded a LEED (Leaders in Engineering Excellence and Diversity) scholarship – and was selected for UW–Madison’s prestigious merit-based Chancellor’s Scholarship.
The UW–Madison Chancellor’s Scholarship is highly selective program that offers undergrads from underrepresented minority groups with an instant circle of support – a critical component at a school with an undergrad enrollment of more than 42,000. The Chancellor’s Scholarship establishes a collaborative network with monthly peer meetings. Applicants are selected for academic records, leadership skills and sense of purpose and the program includes a service component, which also appeals to Adam.
At Bay View, Adam organized regular school blood drives to benefit the Blood Center of Wisconsin, where his mother works. On the organization’s website, Adam said his reason for donating was “to help without reason.”
At Madison, Adam plans to study chemical engineering. He had always been interested in building things but the chemical part of it didn’t even occur to him until his sophomore year. Then he took AP chemistry his junior year and was hooked.
He credits his chemistry teacher, Mr. Anderson, with piquing his interest in the subject. “He was strict but not too tough,” says Adam. “He is open-minded and willing to listen.”
Mr. Anderson would provide Adam with one of the recommendations he needed during the college and scholarship application process – always a hectic time for high school seniors – and even more so for Adam.
“I found out about the Chancellor’s Scholarship a month before the deadline and submitted the application the final week,” says Adam. In mid-March, he got a phone call around 9 at night. Instead of letting the call go to voicemail, as he usually does, he answered it and heard the other person on the end talking about the Chancellor’s Scholarship. It took a minute for Adam to realize this wasn’t just an informational call, but that he had been selected. And with that call, Adam joins an elite group of Badger scholars.