Department of Mathematics and Philosophy

Mary Olive Woods 2013 Winners

Crystal Cho MACOMB, IL – Two Western Illinois University students have been awarded the Mary Olive Woods Academic Excellence Award. 

Crystal Cho Jones, of Carthage, IL, a senior double majoring in religious studies and sociology with minors in art and anthropology, and Brett Furmanski, of Barrington, IL, a senior double majoring in philosophy and law enforcement and justice administration, were chosen by the selection committee. 

For a student to be considered for the $6,000 scholarships, they must be a full-time WIU student with a declared major in religious studies and enrolled in a philosophy course or a declared major in philosophy and enrolled in a religious studies course. The students must also have a grade point average of at least 3.5 and have a minimum of 30 hours of coursework completed. 

Jones is the co-founder and vice president of Western's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Alumni Association, vice president of the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society and vice president of the Asian American Student Association. She has organized numerous campus events, including Global Youth Service Day, "The Places You Go through Reading," with the Golden Key Society and "College Student for a Day" with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. 

Brett FurmanskiThroughout her academic career, Jones has done research on familial relationships and depression among Korean students. She has broad interests, including religions/spirituality, philosophy and cultures and spent the Fall 2012 semester studying abroad at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea. 

Jones plans to continue on to graduate school with coursework in education, religious studies, sociology and anthropology, with the intention of becoming a teacher or professor. 

Furmanski is involved with Western's All Volunteer Effort, volunteering in a variety of places around campus and Macomb, including the Headstart program and in assisted living centers. He has been a peer mentor in WIU's First Year Experience program, is a member of WIU's men's tennis team and received the WIU Provost Student-Athlete Achievement Award in 2013. 

Furmanski hopes to attend law school at the University of Illinois and to complete an MBA. He plans to work in corporate law. 

There were also three Mary Olive Woods Religious Studies Minor Scholarships given out this fall. The three recipients, each receiving $500, are Alyssa Detrick, of Macomb, a senior majoring in biology and Spanish and minoring in chemistry and religions studies; Jed Hill, of Nauvoo, IL, a sophomore majoring in general studies and minoring in religions studies and history; and Dani Waddle, of Rock Island, IL, a junior majoring in psychology and minoring in religious studies.