Shanan Riley, from Illinois, will be attending Smith College in the fall.
Olivia Antolak, also from Illinois, will be attending St. Mary’s College this fall.
Please join us in welcoming them to TSI’s family of scholars!
Shanan Riley is a 2023 graduate of the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA), an academically advanced residential program for grades 10-12 focused on developing talent and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Prior to her acceptance into this highly-competitive program, she attended Belleville Township Highschool – West. She will be attending Smith College this fall.
Shanan’s academic career included a well-rounded mix of classes, with a clear focus on STEM topics but additional forays into the arts and three years of Mandarin Chinese. She had a year-long research internship at the University of Chicago, where she worked with a professor to research the economic impact of variations in career advice based on gender and other socioeconomic factors. She is passionate about social justice and workers’ rights and plans to continue researching the intersections of economic policy and the advancement of women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.
While at IMSA, Shanan was involved in a range of activities, with a consistent focus on representation and gender. As the co-president of the Gender Equity Association, she organized an assembly for over 300 students and advised the school’s administration on female representation in STEM. During her time on the Student Advisory Committee, she served as a voice for students to the administration, focused on removing gendered language and expectations from the student handbook and calorie counts from cafeteria displays. She was the Publication Director of IMSA’s chapter of Junior State of America and co-founded a new
publication, Zeitgeist, focused on publishing student political writings.
In her scholarship application essay, Shanan tied her interest in attending a woman’s college to a transformative summer job working at a local greenhouse, where she worked with a group of women who “opened my eyes to the power of surrounding yourself with empowered, kind, intelligent women.”
Olivia Antolak is a 2023 graduate of Lemont Township High School, and she will be attending St. Mary’s College this fall, where she plans to major in Economics as part of her preparation for attending law school.
In high school, Olivia balanced a heavy load of honors and AP courses with multiple fine arts courses and an extracurricular focus on music. She founded a Polish Highlander violin group, playing for masses at her church and treating the local community to their music during the Christmas holidays. In addition, she was named Champion in the 14-18 category of the Polish Highlanders Alliance of North America Musician Competition. You can see a video of Olivia playing with her cousins here (Olivia is in the black t-shirt, second from right).
Her high school activities included serving as a class representative to the student government, President of the National English Honor Society, member of multiple discipline-specific honor societies, and regional champion in Future Business Leaders of America competitions. In addition to these activities, she has been an active member of her church, leading youth groups and serving on a mission trip.
As the second oldest of nine children, Olivia has played a significant support role with her siblings, taking on many of the primary caregiver responsibilities. In her scholarship essay, she wrote vividly about the lessons she has learned from her life as a surrogate mother, and how she already understands the connections between her life experiences and her goals of becoming an attorney who works to “improve our nation’s welfare and foster care system, being a champion to all future first-generation college students experiencing adversity at home.”
Her interest in St. Mary’s College grew out of her search for a college where she could be surrounded by “others who are motivated by service, leadership, and faith.” She is excited about entering this new sisterhood that will help her prepare to be “a leader, advocate, mentor, and above all a dreamer for more.”
In addition to our two new scholars, TSI continues to support five continuing scholars.
Alena Rooney, Smith College
Kennedi Malone, Agnes Scott College
Julia Rademacher-Wedd, Agnes Scott College
Quinn Katayama-Stall, Scripps College
Alyssa Richardson, Spelman College