Fenwick High School senior student Garrett Mulcahy is the proud recipient of a Beering Scholarship from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. The 18-year-old, who resides in Elmhurst and attended Bryan Middle School, plans to study mathematics in the fall of 2017. Garrett’s father, Patrick, is head of the Theology Department at Fenwick.

The generous Beering Scholarship will pay for all of Mulcahy’s educational expenses, including undergraduate tuition, room and board, and extends beyond his bachelor’s degree to cover graduate-school expenses: either a master’s degree or MBA as well as one doctoral degree or medical school degree (the latter through Indiana University). Each year, only eight students from around the country are chosen to receive the honor, based on their high school credentials and leadership skills, explains Catharine Patrone, student services director in Purdue’s Honors College.

“Garrett Mulcahy truly is an interdisciplinary student who loves everything from literature and languages, to science and math, and looks forward to reading French existentialist thinkers in their own tongue,” says Diane Facinelli, Ph.D., assistant dean for recruitment and admissions at Purdue and a clinical professor in the university’s Honors College. “His plan at this stage in his life is to eventually obtain a Ph.D. in mathematics, but currently he is looking forward to absorbing as much of Purdue’s rich academic and extracurricular culture as possible as a member of the Purdue Honors College’s class of 2022.

“We chose Garrett because he is not only a good student, but also a good person,” Facinelli continues. “He embodies the ideals and values portrayed by Purdue’s ninth president, Dr. Steven C. Beering,” who created this scholarship program by raising private funds for the endowment, which approaches $200,000 annually for the eight students selected.

In the recent American Mathematics Competitions, Mulcahy received the top Junior-Senior score of 100.5, which qualified him for the super-challenging American Invitational Math Exam. At Concordia University (River Forest) in February, he was among 32 students representing Fenwick’s State Math Team, which won the regional competition and qualified for the state math finals next month in Champaign. (Fenwick won seven of 10 events.) Individual first-place awards were won by Mulcahy in Pre-Calculus, sophomore Spencer Gallagher in Geometry, and juniors Jacob Mazur and Jamie Heneghan in Algebra 2. Led by esteemed mathematics instructor Roger Finnell, this marks the 24th consecutive year that the Fenwick Math Team is headed downstate to compete. (Read more: www.fenwickfriars.com/math-team-wins-regional/?F_All=y)

Two years ago, Mulcahy won a $5,000 scholarship from the American Chemical Society in the 55th annual Chicago Section Scholarship Exam in Chemistry. He was the only student of a private Catholic school to receive a scholarship. Even as a 14-year-old freshman at Fenwick, Mulcahy showed high potential, placing second in the state of Illinois in the Biology category at the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) competition.

“In addition to performing at the highest levels in class, Garrett looks for all additional STEM enrichment opportunities,” says physics teacher David Kleinhans. “He was a valuable member of our WYSE team, which finished first in the Illinois state competition in the 2015-2016 academic year. Garrett was a key contributor and has earned a top-three individual medal in each of his prior years.” Last year as a junior, he placed second in chemistry. For this year’s WYSE team, which scored a perfect 500 and won its sectional at North Central College (Naperville), he placed first in chemistry and mathematics (www.fenwickfriars.com/wyse-takes-1st-at-sectional/?F_All=y). The team travels to the state competition in Champaign on April 20.

Excelling in the classroom and laboratory is only part of Mulcahy’s dossier. Athletically, he demonstrates his versatility in Fenwick’s storied swimming pool. A four-year letterman on the Friars’ swim team, Garrett specializes in the butterfly stroke and went to the state sectional meet as a sophomore. He was named a team captain this past season.

About Fenwick High School

Fenwick High School, founded in 1929, is a Dominican college preparatory secondary institution with a co-educational enrollment of approximately 1,200 students. Guided by its Dominican Catholic values, its mission is to inspire excellence and educate each student to lead, achieve and serve. Today, Fenwick has four Golden Apple teachers on its faculty — more than any other Catholic school in Illinois — and an alumni list that includes an astronaut, Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners and other leaders making a positive impact locally and internationally.  

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