Meet EVS Scholarship Winners

Vongai Tizora, 2018 EVS Scholarship Recipient
2018 Recipient

Vongai Tizora

Freshman, Bioengineering
Forsyth, IL (Huntley High School)

Vongai Tizora chose to attend Illinois Engineering, “because I am pre-med and traditional pre-med majors like biology, chemistry, and biochemistry didn’t appeal to me, but bioengineering certainly did. Bioengineering is exciting for me because I’ll be able to innovate and change the way in which we develop solutions to the biological problems of the world. The Jump Simulation Center of the Carle School of Medicine being housed here on campus also interested me a great deal. Being surrounded by such extraordinary resources and students is a great source of motivation and inspiration for me.”

“My goal is to become a physician with a background in bioengineering. Through accomplishing this goal, I will be able to provide third world countries and low income communities affordable, efficient, and effective health care. Because I am the daughter of two Zimbabwean immigrants, I have witnessed firsthand how great the demand for these services are throughout the world. With my donors believing in me and what I have to offer, I will be able to give back to the larger world.”

Activities and Favorite Classes:

  • National Society of Black Engineers
  • American Medical Student Association
  • Biomedical Engineering Society
  • BIOE 199: Frontiers of Cancer Research

Vongai has become an integral member of the community at Illinois in only one semester. She’s a member of the National Society of Black Engineers where she works as the Vice President of the Junior Executive Board. Vongai also works as a member of the American Medical Student Association where she holds a chair in Recruitment and Marketing. She’s excited to become an even more hands-on member of the community as she intends to volunteer weekly at Carle Hospital next semester. Her favorite course so far is offered through the Cancer Scholars Program and named Frontiers of Cancer Research. She says, “The class has exposed me to cancer research and the precautions we are taking to help win the fight against cancer.” Vongai’s also enjoyed the rigor of her mathematic courses, specifically Calculus II.

In her spare time, Vongai loves to read, write, and shoot videos, “I created a two hour documentary once about my family during my senior year in high school. The process brought me and my family a lot of joy.” Vongai deeply values the connections she has with her friends and family, making sure to prioritize their communication always.

Vongai is grateful to be a recipient of the Engineering Visionary Scholarship. With her scholarship, Vongai is able to maintain active participation in her community as she continues to conduct research, volunteer, and participate in RSO’s.

Lauren Ladehoff, 2018 EVS Scholarship Recipient
2018 Recipient

Lauren Ladehoff

Sophomore, Bioengineering
Kankakee, IL (Clifton Central High School)

Lauren Ladehoff chose to attend Illinois Engineering because it “has an extremely prestigious engineering program and an extensive alumni network,” and receiving the Engineering Visionary Scholarship made it affordable for her and her family. She is currently a sophomore in the Department of Bioengineering, and involved in both research and student organizations on campus.

“I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to study at the University of Illinois and I am excited to continue learning in order to achieve my long-term goal to go to medical school.”

Activities and Honors:

  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Theta Tau
  • Biomedical Society of Engineers
  • Women in Engineering

Lauren is a member of Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society, and Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity. She has also volunteered with the Chemistry REACT Program, introducing younger children to principles of chemistry and encouraging their interest and exploration of the sciences. Lauren currently holds a research position in the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, where she researches cancer cells. She “loves” her bioengineering laboratory course because it “prepares me for future research positions.”

Lauren is honored to be a 2018-19 recipient of the Engineering Visionary Scholarship. In her own words, its generous financial support “will allow me to study abroad in Spain this upcoming semester, which I am extremely excited for because without this scholarship I would have been less likely to attend.” She is “so thankful to have been given this scholarship” and looks forward to attending medical school in the future.

Nicole Johnson, 2017 EVS Scholarship Recipient
2017 Recipient

Nicole Johnson

Freshman, Bioengineering
Melrose Park, IL (West Leyden High School)

Nicole Johnson’s scholarship encourages her to study harder because she knows there is a donor who believes in her and supports her. Receiving a scholarship helped solidify her choice to pursue her degree at Illinois. Illinois was a great option for her because of the wonderful program and opportunities available.

“I know that when I graduate, I will donate money to the University because receiving a scholarship was a very proud moment for me. I want to be able to provide that for others.”


  • Dog Enthusiast
  • Quilting
  • Reading
  • Working Out

Nicole is a freshman in the Department of Bioengineering at Illinois. She is pursuing the biomechanics track with a minor in Spanish. She is also involved in the Society of Women Engineers and serves as the committee chair for Little Sisters’ Weekend. Additionally, Nicole is a candidate for the engineering sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon.

In her free time, Nicole enjoys participating in the Illinois Taekwondo Club. She also loves to relax in her hammock while enjoying a book on the Bardeen Quad.

After graduation, Nicole plans to pursue an MD-PhD in biophysics before opening her own private practice. She feels grateful to receive an Engineering Visionary Scholarship because it helps her achieve her dreams. Without it, her and her family would most likely not be able to afford to send her to the University of Illinois.

Melina Megaridis, 2017 EVS Scholarship Recipient
2017 Recipient

Melina Megaridis

Junior, Bioengineering
Willowbrook, IL (Hinsdale Central High School)

Melina Megaridis is a junior in the Department of Bioengineering at Illinois. She chose to pursue her degree in this field because she wants to make an impact on the world by helping create biomedical devices that improve everyday life.

“I want to make my impact on the world by working for a company that creates biomedical devices, and help people who have trouble just living life every day.”


  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Yoga
  • Playing the guitar
  • Coloring

Favorite Classes:

  • Social Psychology
  • Tissue Engineering

Receiving a scholarship was the most significant factor in Melina’s decision to enroll at Illinois Engineering. Although the Bioengineering program is fantastic, the tuition is expensive, and scholarships helped offset the cost of attendance. Scholarships also take some of the worries off of her and her family. She can focus on school and not worry as much about meeting financial requirements.

Melina is a member of the Cancer Research Scholars program where she can pursue her interest in cancer research through real-world problem-solving. Currently, she works in Professor Dar’s Noise Biology Lab with cell and tissue cultures.

Melina is honored to be a recipient of an Engineering Visionary Scholarship. This scholarship has opened up opportunities for her to grow and study bioengineering.


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