On Friday, April 20, Wagner College held its annual Undergraduate Awards Banquet. The following students, organizations and staff were recognized:
John Badagliacca of Staten Island, N.Y. won the Political Science Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the study of political science. John Badagliacca is an honor student majoring in government and politics. He has maintained a 4.0 average in his major and is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society. During his time at Wagner, he has worked at the Wagnerian newspaper and helped teach elementary school students who do not speak English as a first language.
Nicholas Bouzas of East Northport, N.Y. won the Leader on the Horizon Award, given to a student who shows promise as a leader on campus. Nicholas Bouzas is a junior business marketing major from East Northport, N.Y. He is the president of Theta Chi fraternity and vice president of scholarship for the Interfraternity Council. Bouzas regularly volunteers with Meals on Wheels, plans intramural events for his chapter, and tirelessly advocates for the fraternity community on campus.
Sarah Collier of Great Falls, Mont. won the Verrazano Memorial Prize, recognizing outstanding academic achievement in the study of history. Sarah Collier has achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.8 over her first three years at Wagner College and has appeared on the Dean’s List every single semester. She has taken classes in three different languages and produced outstanding research papers about funeral practices in Puritan New England and artistic movements in early 20th century New York City. She accomplished all this while commuting back and forth to her job at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street in Manhattan.
Andrew Cordani of Hamilton, Va. won the Dorothy Schaffer Memorial Award, recognizing outstanding achievement in the study of computer science.
Karina Cusumano of Brooklyn, N.Y. won the Community Health Nursing Award, which recognizes a nursing student who demonstrates volunteerism, thoughtfulness, caring and patience while promoting the health of individuals, families and groups within the community. Karina Cusumano is a junior nursing student who has demonstrated exceptional promise as a community nursing leader by assisting the faculty with organizing a campus program promoting education and awareness about organ donation in collaboration with the NY Organ Donor Network.
Alexandra Dmytrow of Staten Island, N.Y. won the Kurt Goedel Award for Excellence in Mathematics, recognizing outstanding performance and achievement in the field of mathematics, based on a student’s GPA and performance in class.
Joseph Fabozzi of Staten Island, N.Y. won the Robert D. Blomquist Memorial Award in Biology, given to an outstanding biology student of good moral character. Dean’s List student and Honors Program member Joseph Fabozzi, a biology major, is an active member of the campus community. He would like to pursue a career in ophthalmology, though he has expressed interest in bench research and higher education teaching. Fabozzi is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Jon Blaize to characterize the mechanisms controlling a crucial step in renewal of the mammalian visual cycle.
Christian Gaeta of Staten Island, N.Y. won the Business Administration Award, which recognizes the student in the Nicolais School of Business with the highest GPA. Christian Gaeta is a junior majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Shanon Harris of Mobile, Ala. won the Sigvart J. Steen Scholarship Award in Music, recognizing excellence in choir performance. Shanon Harris typifies a very special kind of Wagner student who thrives on deep involvement in myriad activities while still excelling in academic work. Harris served this year as vice president of the Wagner College Choir, where she was first soprano section leader and a regular soloist as well as a valued member of the Chamber Singers, Stretto, and the Hildegard Ensemble. She plays bass clarinet and sousaphone in the marching band and is rehearsing with the semi-professional chamber choir, Voyces, for its upcoming concert. Harris is a francophile, loves jazz, cherishes her southern roots, and is contemplating a career in the law.
Daniel Hughes of Spring City, Pa. won the Distinguished Leader Award, recognizing superior qualities of cooperation, decision-making and management. Daniel Hughes is a junior government and politics major. He has served as president of the Student Government Association and helped advocate for mental health awareness, pushed for campus improvements related to facilities, and lobbied on behalf of students who were concerned with rising costs of higher education. In addition to his role as SGA president, Hughes is a member of the men’s lacrosse team, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and the Student Alumni Association. He is also a Student Ambassador for the Admissions Office.
Steven Leone of Freehold, N.J. won the Interfraternity Council Award for exemplary service and leadership to the Interfraternity Council, leadership abilities, good academic standing, and philanthropic leadership. Steve Leone joined Tau Kappa Epsilon in the spring of 2017 and has already become president of his chapter. A sophomore physician assistant major, Leone is dedicated to the improvement and longevity of Wagner’s fraternity community and has been a vocal proponent of fraternity life. In addition to his involvement in the fraternity community, Leone serves as a designated community leader and is a member of Project Sunshine and the Physician Assistants Association.
Ijeoma Miracle Nwobu of Staten Island, N.Y. won the Diversity, Inclusion & International Action Council Award, given to a student who has furthered, exemplified or supported diversity issues at Wagner College. Miracle Nwobu is a mentor in LEAD, a leadership and mentorship program aimed at helping freshmen students of color navigate their first year at Wagner College. She is also a Women of Color Dialogue member, a designated student leader in the areas of diversity and social Justice, a mentor for the Port Richmond Partnership Leadership Academy, a track and field athlete, and a nursing major. She is an active member of the Black Student Union working to engage more female athletes and women of color in campus activities.
Ashley Paik of Brooklyn, N.Y. won the C. Wright Mills Award, recognizing the outstanding academic potential of a student who embodies the spirit of sociological imagination. Ashley Paik is a sociology major with a minor in childhood education. She has volunteered with immigrant women in the Park Hill housing project. Paik is looking forward to starting a career as a school counselor after she graduates.
Renata Pastuszak of New Britain, Conn. won the Film and Media Award in Art, which is given to a student in recognition of their artistic output as a filmmaker, rewarding dedication, innovation, and experimentation within the field of cinematic production. For her energetic production of audiovisual projects in classes and beyond — including those that serve the wider Wagner community — the originality of her work and the promise that this shows, and her wider commitment to the program, the Film & Media Studies program is happy and proud to present this award to Renata Pastuszak.
Liana Ribaudo of Staten Island, N.Y. 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. Liana Ribaudo takes time to learn more about the diagnoses of her older adult patients who are hospitalized with acute life-threatening, life-changing illness. Moreover, she listens to them and their family members while providing a needed empathetic presence. During her clinical rotation last semester at Eger Nursing and Rehabilitation, Ribaudo was diligent and extended above and beyond. Most impressive was that she visited residents even after her rotation ended to provide additional social interaction.
Kaitlyn I. Ross of Sayville, N.Y. won the Resident Assistant Award, recognizing strong social skills and the ability to work with a diverse student population, supervise day-to-day operations in residence halls, and develop well-rounded programs. Resident Assistant Katie Ross “is a joy to be around,” says the professional staff in our Residential Education office. She is authentic, caring, and follows through. She takes initiative and goes above and beyond the duties assigned to her. Ross shows that she cares deeply about residents, staff and the Wagner community. She’s even provided a Keurig coffeemaker and k-cups for her floor so they can have coffee during late-night study sessions in the common area. She will drop anything she is doing to lend a helping hand to residents, fellow RAs, and her supervisors. Her love for her job and for Wagner College have been the catalyst for the strong community that is the 11th floor of Harborview Hall.
Winona Scheff of Vernon Rockville, Conn. won the Outstanding Service in Communication Award, given to a student who has contributed mightily to one or more of the media organizations on campus. Winona Scheff is sophomore with a double major in English and government and politics. As a contributor to the HawkTalk blog, her writing has highlighted issues of diversity, social justice and community engagement as well as taking her readers along on an alternative winter break trip to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Scheff is also the Campus Life senator for the Student Government Association, a writing intensive tutor, a community leader, a member of the Student Alumni Association and is heavily involved in the “It’s on Us” Pledge campaign to raise awareness of sexual abuse.
Scheff also won the Student Government Award for outstanding work, dedication to the student body, and exemplary leadership abilities. She has brought many great proposals to the college administration, almost all of which are being considered for implementation. She shows her passion for service and leadership in the many other roles she plays on campus.
Matthew Sefcik of Towaco, N.J. won the Gertrude Aull Award, for the undergraduate who has the greatest potential as a psychologist. Matt Sefcik is a member of the Psi Chi national psychology honor society as well as the Psychology Club. He and his family formed an organization, Remembering T.J., to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide risk factors in teens. Since its inception, the Sefciks have presented to over 20,000 students, parents, educators and mental health professionals. Next year, Matt will be applying to Ph.D. programs in counseling and clinical psychology.
Richard Spinosa of Staten Island, N.Y. won the L. Willard Knight Memorial Award, given to a fraternity member with the highest academic average and exemplary leadership performance. Richie Spinosa has the highest GPA in the fraternity community, with a cumulative GPA of 3.96. A junior business administration major from Staten Island, he currently serves as vice president of Theta Chi.
Deryn Susman of Winchendon, Mass.G won the Community Service Award, given to a student who is committed to community service through campus organizations. Deryn Susman works on many community service projects, both outside and inside the Wagner community: the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, professors Gonzalez and Frumkin’s afterschool literacy program, and theater workshops. She joined Alpha Phi Omega, the national co-ed service fraternity, which requires at least 20 hours of service, and she volunteered with the Wagner College Holocaust Center.
Mahina R. Taglies of Honolulu, Hawaii won the International Affairs Award, recognizing outstanding academic achievement in the study of international affairs. Mahina Taglies’s strong passion for civic engagement brought her to Wagner College, where she works with the Bonner Leaders Program, the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and Generation Citizen. During her time at Wagner, Taglies has taught political engagement to middle and high school students around Staten Island, interned with El Centro del Inmigrantes, Project Hospitality, and Catholic Charities. Her work continued abroad, where she served as a mentor with PeaceJam Greece and taught English at Dankook University in South Korea.
Ermin Tale of Staten Island, N.Y. won the Wagner College Award in Chemistry, recognizing academically excellent work in chemistry. Ermin Tale has performed exceptionally well in all academic courses. He started research during his freshman year in the computational chemistry laboratory and has worked on projects in computational biophysics and environmental chemistry. Tale has presented his research at multiple national conferences and is co-author of an article published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry.
Jessica Trieste of Staten Island, N.Y. won the John ’53 and Gloria Deane Award. The Deane Fund provides an annual award of $500 to a deserving student who demonstrates the strongest level of academic excellence in, and desire to pursue work in, the field of environmental sciences. Dean’s List student Jessica Trieste, an anthropology major and environmental studies minor, has distinguished herself not only through her academic achievement but also through her off-campus work at a number of local zoos, including the Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium. Her senior capstone project builds on research she conducted at the Staten Island Zoo with capybaras. Her dedication to environmental issues, particularly wildlife conservation, makes her the perfect candidate for this award.
Lucille E. Whisler of Boulder Creek, Cal. won the Kappa Mu Epsilon Award, recognizing excellence in service and leadership as a mathematics or computer science major. Lucille Whisler, president of the Kappa Mu Epsilon national mathematics honor society, was chosen to attend the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics this semester with Wagner professor Zohreh Shahvar. The conference is a national showcase for the research of undergraduate women in the mathematical sciences; its primary purpose is to encourage undergraduate women to pursue graduate study in mathematics and seek mathematical careers.
Angela Zagami of Freehold, N.J. won the Class of 2008 Scholarship, given to a model student involved in various community activities. Angela Zagami is a junior nursing major. She has served as chief of staff for the Student Government Association, president of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, a community leader for the Center for Health and Wellness, and a contributor for the HawkTalk blog. When she is not serving in her leadership roles on campus, she is actively working to educate our community about ways to reduce incidents of sexual violence and raise awareness about sexual violence through the “It’s on Us” pledge campaign.
Jenna Zerino of Staten Island, N.Y. won the Biological Sciences Award, demonstrating the highest academic promise in the study of the biological sciences. Dean’s List student Jenna Zerino, a biology major with a chemistry minor, is an outstanding student in the Honors Program. “If an A+ grade existed,” said one of her professors, “she would have earned it in Biodiversity & Ecology.” In that course, she catalogued photos of microscope slides and specimens for the instructor to share with the class.
Alpha Omicron Pi won the Chapter of the Year (Greek Senate) Award, which is presented in recognition of service to the Greek community for developing unity and direction. AOΠ knocked it out of the park this year by achieving a Greek accreditation score of over 100%, exceeding its goals for service hours, and partnering with its national office to achieve success. The sisters of AOΠ served 1,200 community service hours this year and raised nearly $1,000 for various charitable causes. Finally, AOΠ has had the highest GPA in the Greek community for the past two semesters.
Alpha Omicron Pi also won the Elsie N. Delo Award, given to the sorority achieving the highest academic average during the year. AOΠ has a cumulative GPA of 3.54, giving it the highest GPA in the sorority community for the second consecutive semester as of Fall 2017.
Tau Kappa Epsilon won the David M. Delo Award, given to the fraternity achieving the highest academic average during the year. TKE has a cumulative GPA of 3.44, giving it the highest GPA in the fraternity community for the sixth consecutive semester as of Fall 2017.
The Asian American Student Council won the Organization of the Year, given to an SGA-recognized organization on campus that actively participates in both the Wagner community and the surrounding communities, excelling in both social and civic work and serving as a model for other campus organizations. The Asian American Student Council is the “poster child” for what a club or organization should be. It does everything with the level of professionalism that is expected in the workplace. Its members never miss meetings, turn documents in late or forget their community service events. The Asian American Student Council is a club that loves what it does, something that is apparent whenever you see the work they produce.
Curtis Wright, Dean of Campus Life, won the Advisor Recognition Award, given to an advisor who has dedicated valuable time and energy to a student organization. Curtis Wright has been “the man behind the curtain” at Wagner College for a long time. It’s a hard task, sometimes, to act as liaison between the students and the administration. It takes a very open-minded person to see problems from both perspectives. Dean Wright has continued to help not only the Student Government Association, but every organization on campus. He is an important part in the success of many organizations, especially SGA.