Eastern Michigan Presidential Scholar dances her way through her freshman year

by Emily Vontom, Published November 15, 2012

Eastern Michigan University freshman Danielle Clevenger of Rochester, Mich. is more than just a dancer.

Clevenger, 18, is one of Eastern's 16 Presidential Scholars and dreams of becoming a forensic psychologist.

The Presidential Scholarship is an elite four-year award that pays for 30 credit hours per year of in-state tuition, housing, food allowance and mandatory fees.

"I'm working on being able to observe a class with Professor Edward Sidlow who teaches in a local prison," said Clevenger, who has a double major in psychology and dance with a minor in criminology.  "I really like how psychology can be used in the criminal justice system."

Clevenger's interest in psychology came after she did research on micro facial analysis coding, she says. She enjoyed the ideas behind it show they were using it in interrogations to spot lies and were working on applying it to other things within the law and in situations like hostage negotiation.

Clevenger is also helping to choreograph musicals at Eastern (including Urinetown) as well as working as a tour guide and volunteering with the Teaching Learning Academy (TLA), an organization dedicated to improving students' learning.

"It is completely true that my majors are an odd combination," Clevenger said. "I absolutely love to dance and teach it as well. I thought I would give it up at the end of high school, but my mom told me that fear was a stupid reason not to try something so I decided to add it as a second major."

She came to Eastern at the advice of her mother who told her to choose a college where she felt the most comfortable, says Clevenger.

"All the different things Eastern has to offer has really allowed me to grow and blossom," she said. "I could see myself living and working and thriving at Eastern. For the record, I was right."

Presidential Scholars are selected during Eastern's annual Presidential Scholarship Competition in December. Awards are based on a competitive exam. To compete, high school seniors must have either a 3.7 GPA, with a minimum of a 25 ACT or 1,150 SAT score. Each scholarship winner must also complete a successful interview.



Emily Vontom

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