2023 academic awards bestowed to Newman students

Apr 18, 2023
2023 Academic Award Winners

Several Newman University students were recognized for their exceptional academics, service and leadership during the annual Academic Awards Convocation April 12.

Director of Music Deanne Zogleman led the Troubadours in singing namesake St. John Henry Newman’s “Lead Kindly Light” in the DeMattias Performance Hall. Newman President Kathleen Jagger then opened the event by acknowledging the “hectic, high adrenaline, culminating time” of the year for current students and soon-to-be graduates.

“Students are sprinting toward several finish lines — completing term papers, passing final exams, planning for graduation, selecting graduate schools, seeking new jobs and even organizing weddings,” Jagger said. “It is time we reflect on and honor students for a joyous year of academic achievements.”

President Kathleen Jagger opens the 2023 Academic Awards event in the DeMattias Performance Hall.
President Kathleen Jagger opens the 2023 Academic Awards event in the DeMattias Performance Hall.

Melanie Flanagan, academic affairs coordinator, said the annual event reminds people that hard work and dedication pay off.

“This event is a chance for us to recognize the students as they excel in their academics, but also to continue to fulfill Newman’s mission beyond the classroom,” Flanagan said. “It is also nice to see that families were also proud, and in a sense, being honored as well through their support.”

Vice President of Academic Affairs Alden Stout emphasized the excitement, thanked family and friends for attending in support, then announced that the awards were to be distributed by school.

Jump to:

School of Arts and Sciences awards

  • Burbage Award – Austin Schwartz  
  • Creative Initiative Award – Hadassah Umbarger
  • Fine Arts Achievement Award – John Suffield
  • Freshman History Prize – Yaremie Duarte
  • Humanities Achievement Award – Averie Ashley
  • Joyce Suellentrop Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in History – Emily Maddux
  • Randall Austin Award – Kathryn Messenger
  • Outstanding Calculus Student Award – Hayley Stewart
  • Outstanding Senior Chemistry Student Award – Kenneth Wright
  • Sister Margaret Knoeber Undergraduate Chemistry Award – Chase Wiebe
  • The Claudine Axman Award – Talia Powers 
  • The Steve Palubicki Award – Elise Helfrich
  • The Surendra P. Singh Outstanding Freshman in Biology Award – Joseph Luebbe
An up-close look at the 2023 Academic Awards.
An up-close look at the 2023 Academic Awards.

School of Business & Technology awards

  • Outstanding Business Data Analytics Student Award – Andrew Nguyen
  • Outstanding Accounting Student Award – Garrett VanDeventer
  • Outstanding Bachelor of Business Administration Student Award – Zachary Boh
  • Outstanding MBA Student Award – Chuka Mekkam
  • Outstanding Nontraditional Student Award – Tanya Triana
  • Robbi and Larry Heck Outstanding Social Science Student Award – Elizabeth Raehpour

Receiving this award means a lot to me because I was recognized alongside so many of my wonderful peers, and I am honored to be compared to such amazing people. I am humbled to be considered as great as they are.

Elise Helfrich, winner of the Steve Palubicki Award

School of Education and Social Work awards

  • Outstanding Intern Award: Wichita – Shawn Whiteker
  • Outstanding Intern Award: Outreach – Perla Batres
  • Sister Susan Reeves Award – Jana Phillips 
  • Sister Sylvana Schulte Award – Ana Carrillo 
  • Sister Vivian Miller Elementary Award – Christina Olson
  • Outstanding Master of Science in Education – Leanna Gleason
  • Excellence in Mastery of Social Work: Wichita – Jacob Miller
Christina Olson and family. Olson won the Sister Vivian Miller Elementary Award.
Christina Olson and family. Olson won the Sister Vivian Miller Elementary Award.

School of Healthcare Professions Awards

  • Distinguished BSN Graduate Award – Michelle Tong
  • Radiology Technology Janie Ward Clinical Excellence Award: Ascension Via Christi St. Francis – Tina Bergkamp
  • Radiology Technology Janie Ward Clinical Excellence Award: Wesley Medical Center – Zachary Myers
  • Radiology Technology Janie Ward Clinical Excellence Award: Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph – Cutberto Pimentel-Rodriguez
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography Sunflower Award – Katherine Melillo

School of Catholic Studies awards

  • Bishop Gerber Graduate Award for Excellence in Catholic Scholarship – Robert Gillmore

This award means so much to me, not only am I a full-time student, I was also employed full time, and have young children and a husband to take care of along with many other duties. It shows my children that you’re never too old or busy to accomplish your dreams.

Jana Phillips, winner of the Sister Susan Reeves Award

Awarding of the St. Catherine’s Medal

Every year, the St. Catherine’s Medal honoree is announced and awarded on stage at the Academic Awards Convocation. 

This year’s recipient was hard at work at a local Mexican restaurant and unable to attend the evening ceremony, but this didn’t stop the Academic Awards committee from surprising the student the next day. 

Lindsay Espinosa-Pablo was surprised with the St. Catherine's Medal in her ASC Service Award class.
Lindsay Espinosa-Pablo was surprised with the St. Catherine’s Medal in her ASC Service Award class.

Geri Tyrell, dean of the School of Healthcare Professions, visited Lindsay Espinosa-Pablo’s ASC Service Award class and announced that she won the 2023 St. Catherine’s Medal.

The medal, which is one of the most prestigious undergraduate student awards at Newman, recognizes the contributions of a student to the university and the larger community.

Tyrell read the words of Espinosa-Pablo’s nominator: “As the first in her family to both learn English and to attend a university, Lindsay serves are a role model for her nieces and she is a constant beacon for education. As a volunteer for (Ascension) Via Christi St. Joseph, she remains busy noticing details that need tending to and taking initiative in between helping care for patients.

“In a way, she has been preparing to become a nurse for years now — through her grit and also through the humility it takes to really listen, to see details enough to respond with kindness and specificity to herself and others. We think St. Catherine of Siena might see this, too, which is why we give our highest recommendation for the St. Catherine medal.”

St. Catherine's Medal
St. Catherine’s Medal

Espinosa-Pablo, a first-generation college student, was surprised to learn she was nominated for the award and “didn’t expect to win it.” 

“There was a big list of people who were nominated, so I’m very shocked,” she said. “I just know there are so many students who have achieved great things, so I didn’t think I would be the one they chose. I’m proud and shocked.”

Honors societies and Ablah Award nominees

In addition to the distribution of awards, students of the following honors societies, St. Newman scholars and ASC Community Leadership Scholars were recognized during the 2023 Academic Awards:

The 2023 Ablah Award nominees were also acknowledged, and the male and female winners will be announced at the Newman University Commencement ceremony May 12. The 2023 female nominees are Lauren Esfeld, Marissa Freshour, Emily Maddux, Talia Powers and Michelle Tong. The male nominees are Marcus Lines, Ian Lee, Minh Nguyen, Austin Schwartz, Garrett VanDeventer.

Special thanks

Flanagan would like to thank the members of the Academic Awards committee for helping make the event a success: Abbi Timmermeyer, Candace Davis, Jill Fort, Hank Lawski, Clark Schafer, Emily Simon and Sister Therese Wetta, ASC.

Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn as we recognize Academic Award Ceremony winners individually.

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