Students, staff and faculty celebrated at Honors and Academic Awards Banquet


The Honors and Academic Awards Banquet was held on Wednesday, April 17. More than 50 students, faculty and staff were recognized for their academic achievements and involvement throughout the year.

The banquet started with an opening from Provost Kim Long, prayer by University Chaplain Fr. John Fogliasso and comments from President Noreen Carrocci. The ceremony began as dinner was served.

The first award of the night, Club of the Year, was presented to the STEM Club. The award came as a surprise as the club only knew that they were nominees.

President of the club Kristin Lau spoke for herself and Vice President Swati Tamrakar by saying, “Winning this award really meant a lot to us as it felt like recognition of all of our efforts this year and was just all in all the most amazing way to wrap up the semester.”

The STEM Club has worked hard to make their presence known, doing multiple fundraisers throughout the year and using the funds to buy a 3D printer that is now housed in the library. The 3D printer was the main concentration for the club in terms of fundraising, acquisitions, logistics and the inauguration. They have made it available for project requests from the whole of campus at no cost for small projects.

Lau said, “We also managed to have a couple other events that we were very proud of such as inviting Erin Grenier, a clinical field applications scientist from Illumina, to talk about career opportunities in the field of DNA sequencing and also collaborating with ISA (International Student Association) on the Murder Mystery Dinner Party by creating a website from scratch to supplement the gameplay.”

The clubs sponsors are Professor of Mathematics Barbara Sponsel, Associate Professor of Inst. Technology Sandra Hambrick and Assistant Professor of Chemistry John Leveritt.

The St. Catherine Medal is one of the most prestigious awards given at the banquet. This award is presented to a sophomore or junior who has demonstrated outstanding service to the university and has established an excellent record of scholastic achievement. This is one of only a few awards that are kept anonymous until the announcement at the banquet.

This year’s award was given to seminarian Matthew Nguyen.

“I was surprised and honored to receive the St. Catherine Medal,” said Nguyen. “I remembered hearing about it last year’s banquet and for me to receive it was a huge surprise.”

Matthew Nguyen – St. Catherine Medal recipient

Nguyen has placed a large focus on connecting with other students and spreading Jet pride throughout campus during his time at Newman.

“Winning the award, I would say, is a positive sign that what I am doing to build community is good and is working.  It really encourages me to continue my goal of building community because others at Newman recognize that what I am doing is not a waste of time or just a phase.  It is a real impact for the future.”

Each division presented multiple awards and honored students for their high achievements.

Awards were presented as follows:

  • Club of the Year – STEM Club
  • Organization of the Year – Diversity Round Table Ambassadors
  • Student Leader of the Year – Sydney Triggs
  • Organization/Club Advisor of the Year – Yelando Johnson, advisor to Black Student Union
  • Student Employee of the Year – Kayla Garvert
  • Creative Achievement Award – Amy Emerson
  • Fine Arts Achievement Award – James Leggett
  • Outstanding Accounting Student Award – Robert Paul Rupnik
  • Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award – Kathleen Garrison
  • Outstanding BBA Student – Kristin Fimple
  • Outstanding IT/MIS Student – Alexandra Elson
  • Teacher of Promise (Western Kansas) – Megan Sloan
  • Teacher of Promise (Western Kansas) – Delaney Galpin
  • Teacher of Promise (Secondary Education) – Luke Entz
  • Teacher of Promise (Elementary Education) – Colleen Howland
  • Outstanding Intern Award (Western Kansas) – Rebekah Garrison
  • Outstanding Intern Award (Southeast Kansas) – Taylor Spear
  • Sister Susan Reeves Award – Brenda Whelchel
  • Sister Sylvana Schulte Award – Anna Peters
  • Sister Vivian Miller Award (Elemetary) – Alexis Reed
  • Outstanding Graduate Award for Building Leadership – Janelle Roland
  • Outstanding Graduate Award for District Leadership – Kimberly Woolf
  • Outstanding Graduate Award for ESOL – Manual Rios
  • Outstanding District Leadership Student – Kimberly Woolf
  • Outstanding Reading Specialist Student – Chani perret
  • Outstanding Building Leadership Student – Janelle Roland
  • Freshman History Prize – Luke Meyerhoff
  • Randall Austin Senior Schoalar Award – Linnea Ristow
  • Joyce Suellentrop Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in History – Nathan Yeager
  • Distinguished BSN Graduate Award – Khoi Nguyen
  • Outstanding OTA Student Award – Lindsay Wehkamp
  • Outstanding Student Award (Radiologic Technology) – Cecilia Foster
  • Janie Ward Clinical Excellence Award (Wesley Medical Center Clinical Site) – Edith Jaquez
  • Janie Ward Clinical Excellence Award (Via Christi St. Joseph Clinical Site) – Delanna Ho
  • Janie Ward Clinical Excellence Award (Via Christi St. Francis Clinical Site) – Robert Carter
  • Sonography DMS Sunflower Award – Annemarie Hammersky
  • Excellence in Mastery of Social Work – Diana Morford
  • Sister Margaret Knoeber Outstanding Lower Division Chemistry Award – Koki Takemoto
  • Surendra P. Singh Outstanding Freshman in Biology Award – Shayla To
  • Steve Palubicki Outstanding Sophomore or Junior in Biology Award – Claudius Ciecko
  • Sister Claudine Axman Award in Biology – Marisa-Nicole Zayat
  • Distinguished Service in Biology Award – Jonathan Wayne Serrano-Ramsey
  • Outstanding Calculus Student Award – Dante Rodd
  • Outstanding Senior Chemistry/Biochemistry Student Award – Andy Le
  • Bishop Gerber Award for Excellence in Catholic Scholarship – Caleb Kuestersteffen
  • Kappa Gamma Pi Inductees – Nicole Beck, Regan Casey, Annie Dang, Angela De Souza, Amy Emerson, Khoi Nguyen, Debra Haslam, Scott Mudloff, Nikki Zdrojewski
  • St. Catherine Medal – Matthew Nguyen
  • Ablah Award Nominees – Robert Paul Rupnik, Joel Sponsel, Brandon Steiner, Angela De Souza, Amy Emerson, Laura Shine
  • Staff Excellence Award – Morris Floyd, director of security
  • Teaching Excellence Award – Megan Cook, DNAP, CRNA, assistant director/clinical director of the CRNA program

A full album of photos from the evening can be found on Newman University’s Facebook page.



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