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Saint Vincent College Announces Winners of Wimmer Scholarship Competition

Saint Vincent College Announces Winners of Wimmer Scholarship Competition

by Public Relations | February 23, 2021

LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College president Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., has announced that six high school students will be awarded scholarships to Saint Vincent College as a result of their performance in the College’s 40th annual Wimmer Scholarship Competition.

As the first-place finisher in the Scholarship Competition, Nathan Caldwell, a home-schooled student from Montgomery Village, Maryland, has been awarded a four-year, full-tuition, room and board scholarship valued at more than $200,000. 

Five students have been awarded four-year, full-tuition scholarships, valued at more than $150,000, by virtue of their performance in the competition, including (in alphabetical order) Ian Buttermore of Mars, Pennsylvania; Giovanni Cicala of Avonmore, Pennsylvania; Iulia Goean of Boca Raton, Florida; Miranda Keller of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Elizabeth Van Pilsum of Columbus, Ohio.

Traditionally, only five scholarships have been awarded annually in the Wimmer Scholarship Competition. However, due to the first documented tie in the competition’s history, six students have been recognized in 2021.

This year’s competition drew 143 entrants.



Nathan Caldwell_Wimmer ScholarshipA National Merit Commended Scholar, Nathan Caldwell scored a perfect 36 composite on the ACT exam, while he has participated in the Science Olympiad since fifth grade and is a three-time medalist in the National Latin Exam, earning silver in both 2017 and 2018 before taking gold in 2019. Through his sophomore year, he was an active member of Boy Scouts of America, before his troop transitioned to Trail Life USA, within which he served as First Officer and was selected for the Horizon Award.

Caldwell is also an accomplished musician, playing both trombone and piano. He plays trombone in both the King’s Cathedral Youth Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band, was selected for the Mid-Atlantic Honors Band and was selected for first chair for trombone in the West Virginia University Honors Blue Band.

He is the son of David and Jennifer Caldwell and a member of Saint Gregory the Great Orthodox Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he is an altar server and substitute organist. He plans to pursue a degree in computer science.



Ian ButtermoreA senior at Mars Area High School, Buttermore is involved in a host of activities. He is a member of the varsity tennis team, German National Honor Society, Spanish Club, German Club, AP Computer Science Club and Computer Club. He has also taken part in the Water Protection Program, in which he and a group of high school students educate groups of fifth graders on the science of streams.  Additionally, he has led the Kid’s Club in Bible study at Northway Community Church and has served as a volunteer for the Fellowship Dinner for senior citizens at Saint Killian’s Roman Catholic Parish in Cranberry Township.

His passion for mathematics and science along with his curiosity to discover why what happens in the physical world around us happens the way that it does has led him to pursue a degree in chemistry with a secondary education certification. This will allow him to share his passion through teaching.

Ian is the son of Joe and Rebecca Buttermore. Several of his family’s friends and relatives have attended Saint Vincent College, including Chris Duboy and Michelle Duboy, graduating in 2014 and 2010, respectively.



Giovanni Cicala with scholarship checkA senior at The Kiski School in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, Giovanni Cicala is involved in speech and debate and school theater, having played the lead role of Clarence in the school’s recent production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” He was recognized with The Kiski School’s 2019-20 King Award for posting the highest GPA in the junior class, while also winning the school’s Science Achievement Award and earning induction into the Cum Laude Honor Society.

Prior to attending the Kiski School, Cicala spent two years at Apollo-Ridge High School, where he took part in Quiz Bowl (twice earning junior varsity Team MVP honors), Enviroquest/Envirothon and varsity track, while he participated in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science, the Penn State University Undergraduate Research and Creative Exposition and the Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Outside of the classroom, Cicala enjoys theater, basketball, tennis, computer programming and electronics repair, as he and his father collect and restore vintage video game consoles and computers.

He is the son of John (a 1988 SVC graduate) and Debra Cicala and a member of Saint Ambrose Roman Catholic Parish in Avonmore. His familial ties to Saint Vincent stretch beyond his father, as his cousin, William Smartnick, is currently a senior accounting major at SVC.

In college, Cicala plans to study accounting and computer science while eventually pursuing law school.



Iulia GoeanA senior at Paideia Classical Academy in Coconut Creek, Florida, Iulia Goean has been named to the Director’s Honor Roll, awarded for straight As, every quarter of every year since third grade. Enrolled in an honors curriculum, she was named the overall high school champion of Paideia’s Classical Education Day, during which students in each class compete in a variety of academic areas. In ninth grade, she placed first among high schoolers in the school’s science fair, while, a year later, she placed first in the school’s academic fair, encompassing various academic subjects. Goean has taken five dual enrollment classes with Florida Atlantic University, finishing with an A average, while her short story “Journeys in the Desert” won honorable mention in the national Writers of the Future competition.

Along with her academic activities and achievements, Goean volunteers as a teacher’s aide at Paideia Academy, focusing on Latin, English and mathematics, while she also helps to create and update content on the school’s website. She serves as captain of Paideia’s House of Raven, one of two houses into which students were placed during middle school, and leads her house in academic and athletic competitions. She started the Paideia Strategy Games Club, in which students met bi-monthly to play board games, and is currently working to start a political debate club at the school. In her free time, Goean enjoys helping with housework and home decorating, making espresso, writing, reading and studying literature and history.

She is the daughter of Nathaniel Keeley and Bianca Goean-Keely, and she and her family are active parishioners at the Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Miami.



Miranda Keller with scholarship checkA senior at Bishop McDevitt High School, Miranda Keller is involved in a host of academic and extracurricular activities. The president of her school’s chapter of the National Honor Society, she is also a member of the Mathematics National Honor Society, Foreign Language National Honor Society, Poetry Club, Christian Service Club, Spanish Club, Talitha Koum, Philosophy Club and Campus Ministry. She serves as treasurer on Bishop McDevitt’s Student Council, as well as a Bishop McDevitt student ambassador. A two-sport athlete, she is a three-year starter and one-year captain of both the basketball and soccer teams, while she was named a conference all-star in soccer and has been named to the Central PA Elite AAU Basketball All-Academic Team for seven straight years. She has been named a recipient of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius Servant Leader Award and has earned Colonial Park Rotary Club Student of the Month honors, while as a sophomore at Bishop McDevitt, she finished with the school’s highest average in both Spanish II and English.

Away from the classroom, Keller has worked as an office assistant and cleaner for Fish Window Cleaning, has served as a camp counselor at Bishop McDevitt’s annual girls basketball camp and as teen leader for the Divine Mercy Encounter Retreat.

The winner of the 2017 Diocese of Harrisburg’s Faith Bee, Keller and her family are members of Saint Catherine Labouré Roman Catholic Parish in Harrisburg, where she is an altar server. Miranda is the daughter of Kerry and Gretchen Keller, while her grandfather, Lavern Lenze, is a 1961 graduate of Saint Vincent College.



Elizabeth Van PilsumA home-schooled student enrolled in an AP/honors curriculum, Elizabeth Van Pilsum plans to pursue a degree in English in college. She is one of the founding members of School’s Out Theater, a group she has been acting with since eighth grade, including a pair of leading roles, while she also assisted in leading the first ever team of homeschooled students in Ohio to take part in Model UN. She has written and edited newsletters for Kolbe Academy, a provider of online, classical education, while she is also active in mock trial and was chosen to attend the prestigious Pre-College Creative Writing Workshop at Emerson College.

Away from school, Van Pilsum is a volunteer with the youth group at her home parish of Saint Patrick Roman Catholic Church, while she works as a lifeguard at Sycamore Hills Swim Club. As an American Heritage Girl, she participated at the highest Patriot level, planning and leading a number of events for her troop and earning multiple badges and level awards.

She is the daughter of William and Theresa Van Pilsum.


The Wimmer Scholarship program is named after Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, who founded Saint Vincent College in 1846 as the first Benedictine college in the U.S. The program recognizes high school students with outstanding academic abilities and encourages them to pursue a quality undergraduate education at Saint Vincent College.

The scholarship winners are based on their performance on a written examination administered at Saint Vincent in December and January. The 143 students who participated in the 2020 exam were college-bound and met the academic qualifications of a minimum 3.75 GPA, as well as a documented SAT score of 1,300 or above or a minimum ACT score of 28. Students with no documented SAT or ACT scores were eligible to sit for the exam if they held a 4.0 GPA and have successfully completed six AP/college courses.

This is the 40th year of the Wimmer Scholarship Competition.

Saint Vincent College is a four-year, coeducational, Catholic, liberal arts and sciences college sponsored by the Benedictine monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey. A diverse student population of undergraduate and graduate students hails from 31 U.S. states/territories and eight foreign countries.

Saint Vincent College’s approach to education is rooted in a core curriculum that provides all students with a broad-based education which provides a breadth of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, philosophy and theology. This interdisciplinary view of that knowledge provides the skills to become life-long learners and leaders in their field.


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Saint Vincent College