The Bucknellian

Annual ceremony honors student leaders

Elizabeth Worthington, Editor-in-Chief

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Each year, student leadership awards are presented at a ceremony to recognize students who demonstrate excellence, leadership, advocacy, and other notable attributes. This year’s ceremony was held on April 22. Thirty-seven students, and one organization were honored.

The Student Organization Award was given to the Badminton Club. Chandler Houldin ’20, who presented the award, praised the club for its “desire to teach and include others in an activity that is popular amongst many international students.” Houldin also recognized the club for its partnerships with the South Asian Student Association (SASA), the Outing Club, and Athletics and Recreation which allowed it to install permanent lines on a court in the Gerard Fieldhouse.

The Gerald W. Commerford Orange & Blue award was awarded to John Quinn ’18. Director of Campus Activities and Programs Mike Duignan presented the award by drawing parallels between Quinn’s success on campus and the 1995 film “Back to the Future.” For example, both Quinn and the film’s protagonist, Marty McFly, “had to make self-discoveries throughout their journey to create a transformative experience.”

The Bridge Builder Award was given to Laura Poulton ’18 in recognition of their work to build support for marginalized genders within the College of Engineering, engagement with Common Ground, and their roles as Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) president and house leader of Fran’s House, which provides University members with a safe living space for LGBTQ individuals and allies. Presenter Bill McCoy, Director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources, says Poulton has “created an exemplary model” for the students they have mentored.

Nneoma Ibezim ’18 was awarded the Community Outreach Award. The presenter of this award, Director of Civic Engagement and Service Learning Janice Butler, highlighted Ibezim’s success on campus as president of Black Student Union, a facilitator for the Empowering Voices, a residential treatment program for young females, a volunteer leader for the ClearVersion facility, participant in Bucknell Advancing Communities, Educating and Serving (B.A.C.E.S.) service trip to the Dominican Republic, and a recipient of a research grant that allowed her to research local affordable housing programs.

The Don Stechschulte Change Agent Award was presented to Amarachi Ekekwe ’18, who has enjoyed roles such as Panhellenic President, Vice President of Black Student Union, executive intern for the Dean of Student’s office, Residential Adviser, Peer Adviser, and a member of the Concert Committee. During the award presentation Ekekwe was praised for “appropriately push[ing] for structures and systems to make Bucknell a more inclusive campus.”

Brishti Mandal ’20 was awarded the Emerging Leader Award for being an “active participant and advocate for diversity and inclusion” at the University, in the words of her presenter, Associate Dean of Students Denelle Brown. Mandal’s leadership extends to Common Ground, the Career Development Center, SASA, and the Energy Management Department.

The Civility and Respect Award was given to Soni Madnani ’20 for her positive attitude and support lent during the Bucknell Brigade’s trip to Nicaragua. Assistant Director of Service-Learning Kyle Bray, who travelled with Madnani on the service trip, presented the award and said that “in the year since I traveled with her, I have been so pleased to see her efforts to foster an inclusive campus environment as she continues to connect with both the Bucknell community and the community-at-large through her service efforts.”

The Student Leadership Mentor Award was presented to Anna Millar ’18 in recognition of her efforts “to make students feel at home at Bucknell,” in the words of her presenter, Director of Residential Education Jackie Cetera. Millar’s supervisor said, “One of the most inspiring components of her leadership is that there is truly no way to measure the extent to which this individual has impacted their peers or the university as a whole.”

A member of each class year was also presented with an Award for Excellence. Amanda Battle was awarded the 2018 of Class Award of Excellence; Ariana Fisher for the Class of 2019; Chandler Houldin for the Class of 2020; and Olivia Cabrera for the Class of 2021.

The Bison Award for Co-Curricular Excellence recognizes seniors for their breadth and depth of leadership over their four years at the University. The award was presented to 25 seniors: Amanda Battle, Meghan Belinsky, Mikayla Berliner, Amarachi Ekekwe, Chris Gregory, Bailey Harris, Allan La, Anna Millar, Alexander Murph, Leo Orozco, Nigesh Prajapati, Reid Sanchez, Suzie Zubkoff, Laura Poulton, Anushikha Sharma, Sam Greenberg, Nneoma Ibezim, Nancy Ingabire Abayo, John Quinn, Trey Johnson, Sharon On, Anthony Scrima, Maddie Boone, Parker Watson and Shirah Moffat-Darko.

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Annual ceremony honors student leaders