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>  News Releases >   2004 >   June

For second straight year, Dartmouth Valedictorian hails from Sofia, Bulgaria

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 06/12/04 • Contact Roland Adams (603) 646-3661

Following calculation of final four-year grade point averages for the Dartmouth Class of 2004, which will graduate Sunday, June 13, Savina Rizova of Sofia, Bulgaria, has been named valedictorian. Rizova is from the same town and high school-First English Language School-as last year's valedictorian, Latchezar Benatov.

Melissa Anne Sheiko of Billings, Mont., is salutatorian.

Over the course of her career as a Dartmouth undergraduate, Rizova achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA) on the Dartmouth grading scale. Sheiko earned a GPA of 3.98.

Rizova will give an address during the College's commencement ceremonies, which will be held on the Dartmouth Green beginning at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Biographical Background
Savina Rizova
Savina Rizova

Rizova is a double major in economics and mathematics and has completed an honors thesis in economics titled: Does SMB Stand Only for Size-Related Risk? She was chosen as a presidential scholar research assistant and was the recipient of the Rick Angulo World Experience Award and the first-year summer research project award at Dartmouth. She has earned six academic citations in mathematics and economics, and in April, she received an Undergraduate Research Award from the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

Rizova has had numerous internships both at Dartmouth and with business organizations during her undergraduate years. She worked with Kenneth French, Carl E. and Catherine M. Heidt Professor of Finance at the Tuck School of Business, as a research assistant, looking into equity insurance at S&P 500 companies. As a research assistant in the Department of Economics, she analyzed links between the rice market and child labor in Vietnam. For Citigroup she analyzed Latin American debt capital markets and prepared debt capital market updates for corporate and sovereign Latin American clients. She also participated in the Credit Suisse First Boston Explorer Program.

She has been a member of Alpha Theta Coeducational Fraternity since the spring of 2002, where she served as Treasurer in the fall of 2002. She also participated in the Parliamentary Debate Club in 2000-2001, traveling to debate tournaments at Harvard and Brown. In the fall of 2001, she attended a foreign study trip in Madrid. She has served as a teaching assistant in the Spanish and Portuguese Department and as a study group leader in econometrics at the academic skills center.

Rizova's hobbies include skiing, swimming, tennis and traveling, and she is fluent in English, Spanish and Bulgarian and proficient in Russian and German. After graduation, she plans to enter the private sector for a few years before pursuing her doctorate in finance.


Melissa Anne Sheiko

Sheiko, an environmental studies major who also completed requirements for pre-med, was a Rufus Choate Scholar, meaning that her GPA ranked in the top 5 percent of undergraduates, for all four academic years. She earned three citations, was inducted early into Phi Beta Kappa, and served as a teaching assistant and study group leader in chemistry and a grader in mathematics. She attended a foreign study trip in environmental studies to South Africa and also studied Spanish in Barcelona for a term.

Sheiko is active in the Directing through Recreation, Education, and Mentoring (DREAM) organization, where she mentors two young girls. She served in the student assembly as a class senator in her freshman and sophomore years, and also was active in the Nathan Smith Pre-medical Society, where she shadowed doctors for two terms.

Sheiko is active in outdoor activities, enjoying hiking, skiing, kayaking, horse riding and running in New Hampshire and her native Montana,. She has worked as a ski instructor for Dartmouth's physical education classes and at Big Sky Resort in Montana. She was also a cabin leader for Camp Make-A-Dream in Gold Creek Montana, which serves children and young adults with cancer.

Sheiko plans to work this summer as a cowgirl in Glacier National Park-she won the Quarter Horse Youth World Championships in 1999-and will work in a nursing home and as a ski instructor in the fall and winter, respectively. She hopes to travel to South America to do volunteer work for the spring and summer of 2005 before entering medical school the following fall.

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