2013 Undergraduate Awards

2013 Undergraduate Awards

On Friday, May 3, Wagner College held its annual Undergraduate Awards Dinner. Thirty-nine students from around the world were recognized for excellence in scholarship, service and character.

Vanessa Ayllon of Perth Amboy, New Jersey won the Community Health Nursing Award, given to a nursing student who demonstrates volunteerism, thoughtfulness, caring and patience while promoting the health of individuals, families and groups within the community. Vanessa has volunteered her time to work with El Centro del Inmigrante, a nonprofit organization in Port Richmond, Staten Island, by using her Spanish skills to translate wellness presentations to individuals who are faced with health disparities in their community.

Patrick M. Bethel of Waterbury, Connecticut won the Phyllis Andors Award for outstanding performance in the study of history. Patrick is a member of the History Club, Muslim Student Association, College Democrats and Omicron Delta Kappa. He has developed a passionate interest in the history and politics of Ireland. He spent part of his sophomore year in Dublin, where he had a chance to meet with Irish political leaders and study the recent history of “the Troubles” in much greater depth. He hopes to return to Ireland to study for a Ph.D. after graduating from Wagner.

Andrew C. Burt of Cross Lanes, West Virginia won the Leader on the Horizon Award, given to a student who shows promise as a leader on campus. Andrew was recently elected as the incoming Student Government Association president. He has been recognized in the past with both the Gillroy Foundation Scholarship and the Student Government Award. Andrew has been a Peer Leader for two years, and is a member of the Marketing Management Team and the Accounting Business Society. He currently serves as SGA’s vice president for campus activities and the president of WagCAB, the Campus Activities Board.

Michael V. Cataldo of Staten Island, New York won the Biological Sciences Award for demonstrating the highest academic promise in the biological sciences.

Ryan F. Clinton of Staten Island, New York won the Christian P. Holmstrup History Award for the highest grade point average among history majors.

Molly Delbridge of Mission Viejo, California won the Julio Cortazar Spanish Award for outstanding work in the study of the Spanish language and literature. Molly serves as Wagner College’s Port Richmond Scholar for Health and Well-Being and has been one of the most active students at El Centro del Inmigrante, helping day labor workers with their English. She spent two months in Buenos Aires and interned for a human rights organization. To quote Molly regarding the importance of being bilingual, “Being bilingual makes me who I am. I am able to communicate and understand people from different cultures and backgrounds.”

Andrew J. Dunn of Staten Island, New York won the L. Willard Knight Memorial Award, given to the fraternity member with the highest academic average and exemplary leadership performance. He serves as president of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, the vice president of Wagner’s Student Investment Group, and is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon.

Jennifer R. Durso of Howell, New Jersey won the Gertrude Aull Award, given to the undergraduate with the greatest potential as a psychologist. Jennifer is being recognized by the Psychology Department with this award for her superior competence and responsibility as the Department’s Human Subject Participant Pool Coordinator. Jennifer also won the Socrates Prize for outstanding thought that has application to human concerns in a community.

Salvatore A. Emilio II of Brooklyn, New York won the Modern Languages Award for outstanding work in the study of a modern language. Although he is only in his first semester of Italian at Wagner, Salvatore already exhibits great promise for his future endeavors in the language. Not only does he consistently receive near-perfect scores on all his class work, but Salvatore exhibits an infectious enthusiasm for the Italian language and its culture. To quote his professor, “Rarely have I seen a student who seems so completely enthralled to be learning what I am teaching, and from a teacher's perspective this is a gift.”

Mark Fabian of Seaside Park, New Jersey won the Wagner College Instrumental Music Award, given to recognize outstanding musical talent and exemplary dedication to the bands of Wagner College. Mark is recognized for his outstanding work and leadership in both the College Jazz Ensemble and the Concert Band.

Mercedes V. Forrest of Portsmouth, Rhode Island won the Panhellenic Council Award for exemplary service and leadership to the Panhellenic Council and for high academic achievement.

Caroline J. Gelling of Ridge, New York won the Wagner College Physician Assistant Award for earning the highest overall grade point average in the junior class among P.A. students.

Charlotte V. Giese of Amherst, New York won the Academic Excellence Award in Music. Charlotte has impressed the Music Department faculty with her commitment to serious writing and critical thinking about music in both her first-year Learning Community and subsequent music courses. Charlotte has demonstrated outstanding work in music theory.

Gary P. Giordano of Staten Island, New York won the Education Department 5 Cs Award, given to the education major who best personifies care for others, curiosity, competence, commitment and community orientation. Although singling out an individual for the 5 Cs is a challenge, Gary shines in ways that truly merit this award. A junior from Staten Island, New York, Gary is a democratically oriented leader of the Association for the Supervision of Curriculum Development, our student chapter of one of the nation's leading educational research groups for practitioners. In class, he questions with a wonderful combination of grounded understanding of the field of education and an openness to new ideas. As a member of the department, he brings students and faculty together, inspiring us all to be our best selves.

Kellie Griffith of Riverhead, New York won the Class of 2008 Scholarship, given to a model student who is involved in various community activities. She serves the college in many capacities, including her role as a Resident Assistant and her involvement in College Republicans, Nubian Student Union and Amnesty International. Kellie also participated in the Expanding Your Horizons program in Madrid, Spain.

Shanti A. Hellerich of Munich, Germany won the Gertrude Aull Award, given to the undergraduate student who demonstrates the greatest potential as a psychologist. She has the highest GPA (a perfect 4.0) of all underclass psychology students and is a member of Psi Chi. She also has a history of charitable and environmental work spanning the globe in such places as Germany, Namibia and South Africa.

Carrie E. Holt of Fort Mill, South Carolina won the Sigvart J. Steen Scholarship Award in Music for excellence in choir performance.

Ellen K. Huffman of Lima, Ohio won the Business Administration Award for the business student with the highest GPA.

Thomas W. Kendris of Staten Island, New York won the Douglas Gee Morton Award in Economics, given to recognize academically outstanding work in the study of economics.

Jesse L. Leston of Brooklyn, New York won the Student Government Award for outstanding work, dedication to the student body, and exemplary leadership abilities. Jesse was recognized by the Student Government Association for her work as a sophomore senator. She brings forward a truthful approach to analyzing a situation and solving problems during Student Government Association meetings. Jesse was recently appointed SGA vice president for campus events for the 2013-14 academic year.

Nicole M. Link of New Hyde Park, New York won the Greek Senate Award for service to the Greek community, developing unity and direction. Nicole is the president of Greek Senate and a sister of Tau Kappa Sigma.

Danielle Lucchese of Staten Island, New York won the C. Wright Mills Award, given to recognize a student with outstanding academic potential who embodies the spirit of sociological imagination.

Kristen D. Matteoni of Reno, Nevada won the International Affairs Award for outstanding academic achievement in the study of international affairs.

PatriciaAnn G. McCaffrey of Hauppauge, New York won the Community Service Award, given to a student who demonstrates commitment to community service through campus organizations. Involved with the Port Richmond Partnership, she is president of the Student Advisory Board, treasurer of Project Sunshine and fundraising chair for Alpha Phi Omega. She is a member of the Wagner Christian Fellowship and the Philosophy Café.

Keila M. McCracken of Bemidji, Minnesota won the Resident Assistant Award, given to recognize strong social skills, ability to work with a diverse student population, supervise day-to-day operations in residence halls, and create well-rounded programs for residents. Keila is the R.A. for the Green Community in Guild Hall. She is dedicated, driven, positive, hopeful, organized, fearless, mature, poised and caring. From the start of the year, Keila took the time to discover how knowledgeable and engaged each resident was with environmental sustainability, and then planned her programs accordingly. Her focus on the needs of her residents embodies the idea of care we try to instill in every R.A. Keila’s confidence, intelligence and willingness to challenge herself, along with a good sense of humor, make her a joy to work with. It is through the work of students like her that we are able to confidently say that we are fulfilling our mission of educating residents outside of the classroom.

Pakinam Mekki of Staten Island, New York won the Robert D. Blomquist Memorial Award in Biology, given to an outstanding biology student of good moral character.

Sandra G. Minchala of Staten Island, New York won the Wagner College Award in Chemistry for academic excellence. The chemistry faculty looks forward to seeing Sandra’s progress over the next 2 years.

Jeremy C. Nowakowski of Delta, British Columbia won the Promising Gerontological Nurse Award, which recognizes a junior nursing student who demonstrates promise as a gerontological nurse as reflected in evidence-based clinical performance. Jeremy works in a long-term health care facility where he provides care for the elderly and chronically ill population. Jeremy is currently completing his baccalaureate education in the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing, which will provide him eligibility to take the Nursing Licensure Exam to practice as a registered nurse. Jeremy’s instructors have reported that he consistently demonstrates genuine kindness, compassion and patience in the clinical area.

William J. Pegg of Madison, New York won the Academic Excellence Award in Music. William has impressed the music faculty with his commitment to serious writing and critical thinking about music in both his first-year Learning Community and subsequent music courses. Will has been particularly accomplished in music history.

Noah J. Perito of Bradford, Connecticut won the Sigvart J. Steen Scholarship Award in Music for excellence in choir performance. He is an invaluable member of the Wagner College Choir, and the department is thrilled to recognize his contributions this year.

Erika T. Rauscher of Surprise, Arizona won the Gordon McEwan Endowed Award in Archaeology for students whose studies will include an experiential learning component in the field of archaeology. With the support of the McEwan Award, she will be traveling to the central highlands of Peru as a member of the Andahuaylas Bioarchaeology Project. Building on her strong academic performance, she will receive training in archaeological methods and human and skeletal analysis, as well as Spanish and Quechua.

Ralen Robinson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania won the Ministerial Prize, given to the pre-ministerial student who has made singular progress in his or her chosen field of study.

Jan Saroch of Prague, Czech Republic won the Modern Languages Award for outstanding work in the study of a modern language. His professors feel that he has shown deep insight into the materials discussed in class, has worked diligently to improve his writing skills in German, and has a contagious enthusiasm for the language.

Carly D. Schmidt of Royersford, Pennsylvania won the Richard Gaffney Memorial Grant, given to support student work in art, as well as the Wagner College Award in Art for the highest grade point average among art majors. According to her professors, Carly is a terrific art historian. She is a wonderful writer with excellent skills in visual analysis.

Jacqueline M. Simonson of Staten Island, New York won the Wagner College Physician Assistant Award for the highest overall grade point average among P.A. students in the junior class.

Amanda M. Spira of Rocky Point, New York won the Robert D. Blomquist Memorial Award in Biology, given to an outstanding biology student of good moral character.

Amalia M. Vargas of Rodeo, California won the Distinguished Leader Award, given in recognition of superior qualities of cooperation, decision-making and management. She is a Student Government Association senator, a member of the Nubian Student Union, and the current copy editor and next year’s editor of Nimbus, the college’s literary magazine.

Julia F. Zenker of Port Davis, New York won the Internationalization Action Council Award, given to a student who has furthered, exemplified or supported internationalization efforts at Wagner College. She volunteers her time at El Centro del Inmigrante, has spent a semester studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico, and can often be found promoting study-abroad opportunities to her peers.

Francis E. Zuniga of Levittown, New York won the Diversity Action Council Award, given to a student who has furthered, exemplified or supported diversity at Wagner College. She is a member of the Women’s Cross Country and Track Team, president of Wagner College’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and is involved in the Circle K Club, Nubian Student Union, French Club, Psi Epsilon Alpha, Pre-Health Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Francis also studied abroad in Spain last spring.