| ACADEMICS | Provost's Office | Academic Achievement Awards | Academic Department Awards
This award, established in 2017 by a generous gift from the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation in memory of former Worcester State University biology professor Dr. Anthony Thurston, is given to the highest-ranking senior majoring in biology.
After serving four years in the United States Marine Corps, Matthew Hanlon has pursued his biology degree at Worcester State with such ability and commitment that he is the highest ranking senior in the program. After graduation, Matthew will be participating in the University of Massachusetts Summer Research Fellowship Program. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biological/biomedical sciences. His interests include the applications of CRISPR/cas9 and the development of accessible gene therapies. In addition to his own coursework, Matthew has tutored students in organismal biology through Worcester State’s Academic Success Center.
This award, in memory of Dr. Marlin B. Kreider, a former Worcester State University biology professor, is given to a senior biology student who has shown a commitment to a career in biological research.
Julia Fitzpatrick has balanced the great demands of the Commonwealth Honors Program with a double major in biology and environmental science. She has participated in the biology aspect of Worcester State’s interdisciplinary Partridgeberry Research Project. In addition to her top-level academic work, Julia has served the Worcester State community in various ways. She is vice president of the Commuter Activities Board and a Presidential Student Ambassador, while serving as a PAL mentor for ecology this spring. Her honors include memberships in the Tri-Beta Biology Honor Society, the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, and the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. After completing her degree at Worcester State, she plans to go to graduate school.
This award, made possible by a gift from former Worcester State University biology professor Dr. Maureen Shamgochian ’80 and her late husband Edward, is given to a junior or senior biology or biotechnology major with a GPA of 3.5 or higher who is engaged in undergraduate research with plans to attend graduate or professional school upon completion of their Worcester State University degree.
Bernice Mensah has been a stellar student in the Biology Department, while also captaining the Worcester State Track and Field Team. On top of these demands, she has somehow managed to be a COVID-19 vaccination volunteer, and to serve in the Athlete Mentor Program and as treasurer of Tri-Beta, the biology honor society. She also completed high-level research with Professor Aleel Greenan, Ph.D., on “At4g19430: A Floral Specific Gene of Unknown Function.” She was honored with a 2019 Aisiku Undergraduate Summer Research Grant. She has completed the pre-medical concentration in biology and plans to work as a clinical researcher or medical scribe and attend medical school.
This award, established by Kevin and Susan Donohue, the parents of Worcester State University alumnus Lincoln C. Donohue ‘98, who graduated with the highest honors in biotechnology and went on to work at Genzyme Corp. before his sudden passing at the age of 24 in 1999, is given to an outstanding student in the biotechnology program who shows promise, dedication, and academic success.
After coming to Worcester State from Albania, Xhuliana Picari chose biotechnology as her major. She has pursued her passion for this area inside and outside the classroom. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she spent one and a half years as a student assistant in the biology laboratory, where she gained valuable knowledge and hands-on experience from working with the lab technicians. This past fall, she participated in a three-month internship at UMass Medical School, surveying how COVID-19 has affected people in thr Greater Worcester area. After completing her degree at Worcester State this year, Xhuliana plans to join a biotechnology company or research laboratory. After gaining more experience, she intends to pursue her master’s degree.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in biotechnology.
Louisa Noelle Tannous is majoring in biotechnology and in the Commonwealth Honors Program. Beyond the classroom, she is an active researcher, who just presented at the 2021 Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity on a project she completed under Professor Maura Pavao, Ph.D., in which she used qGIS to analyze Chlamydia incident rates over a 12-year period between high school- and college-aged individuals. In addition to volunteering at the Worcester State COVID Vaccine Clinic, Louisa volunteers at Our Lady of Mercy Church and is president of its Young Adults Club. At Worcester State, she is vice president of the Meditation Club and a member of the First-Year Honor Society, the Biology Honor Society, and the Chemistry Honor Society. While maintaining a superlative record of achievement at Worcester State, Louisa has helped care for her elderly maternal grandparents and two younger, elementary-aged siblings while her parents are at work, and held a part-time job herself. Louisa plans to pursue graduate dgree to become a physician’s assistant and to work in the medical field while applying to and attending graduate school.
This award, sponsored by Bollus Lynch, to continue their commitment to community-based support in the Worcester area, is given to the highest-ranking graduating senior majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
Kelly Diep is a high-achieving student majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting and a minor in computer science. In addition, Kelly is in the Commonwealth Honors Program. She has completed a Worcester State Foundation Internship and, after graduation, plans to work as a Tax Associate at CohnReznick, LLP.
This award, named in honor of Dr. William F. O’Brien Jr, ’84 a devoted Worcester State University alumnus and retired faculty member, who received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Education in 2016, is given to a senior majoring in economics who has achieved high academic standing and/or demonstrated a strong interest in applying economic theory internationally through academic course work and/or study abroad experiences.
Hailing from Feeding Hills, Mass., Matthew Lockwood is a senior majoring in economics, with an interest in international issues and a minor in communication. In addition to his strong academic record, Matthew is secretary of Club Lacrosse at Worcester State.
This award, named in honor of Professor Stephen Trimby, a retired Worcester State University faculty member whose dedication to the University and to the success of every student who crossed his path spanned decades, is given to a senior majoring in economics who has demonstrated exemplary work in economics, has shown outstanding potential for graduate studies and/or career success, and/or has demonstrated a commitment to use their economics’ education to advance the betterment of the community at-large.
Heather Larson transferred to Worcester State last year after a 20-year hiatus in her education. Despite the challenges of homeschooling her three children because of COVID-19 and working full time, she has done excellent work in her economics major. On top of all that, she volunteers for the Daughters of the American Revolution. She credits the support of her incredible and dedicated professors as one of the reasons she has been able to succeed at Worcester State. With renewed curiosity, she looks forward to attending graduate school in the fall.
This award, established in 2016 by Dr. Renuka Jain, former Worcester State University chair of business administration and economics, in honor of her parents, Raj and Mahendra Jain, is given to a female graduating senior majoring in business administration, with at least 15 credits through the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education, and a GPA of at least 3.5.
Originally from Albania, Mariela Gjylapi transferred to Worcester State in the fall of 2017. Since that time, she has pursued her major in business administration with a concentration in accounting, achieving a stellar academic record.
This award is given to a current (or former) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) student who has a part-time or full-time job while maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Second preference shall be given to Sigma Beta Delta students with a concentration in accounting and/or finance.
Biserka Gega, who came to the United States from Albania, transferred to Worcester State after receiving her associate’s degree from Quinsigamond Community College when she was five months pregnant. Not only is she about to complete her BS in business administration with a concentration in accounting and finance and a minor in economics, while volunteering at VITA, she has achieved all this while working full time and raising her daughter. It hasn’t been easy, but Biserka has kept pursuing her goals and fighting for her dreams. Everything she does is to make her family, and especially her daughter, proud, and to show her daughter that, if you believe in yourself, you can do anything you want to. Even when life is not easy and there are obstacles in your path, with hard work and determination, there are no limits. She is excited to begin her career as an accountant.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in business administration.
Claudia Ruble has achieved an outstanding academic record majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting and a minor in financial mathematics. Her accomplishments include successfully completing her coursework in the Commonwealth Honors Program and being a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. She has been a leader on campus as well, serving as vice president of the Student Events Committee. She has interned at Goulet, Salvidio, and Associates and looks forward to graduate school at Worcester State, as well as her next internship at Charles River Associates.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in economics.
Emma Collings is the definition of a scholar-athlete, community-engaged student, and leader. In her four years, Emma has achieved at a consistently top academic level, double majoring in economics and business administration with a concentration in finance. What is more, she has played varsity tennis at Worcester State, been an intramural supervisor, and served as treasurer of Worcester State’s Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society Chapter. Her honors include membership in the Tau Chapter of the National College Athlete Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma, and Omicron Delta Kappa, and being named an Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete and to the Little East Conference’s All-Academic Team. She has been a Sippician Women’s Club Holiday House Tour Volunteer and a tennis instructor for the Marion, Mass., Recreation Program. In addition to attending graduate school, Emma hopes to visit her family’s homeland of New Zealand to explore the islands.
This award, made possible by a gift from former Worcester State University biology professor Dr. Maureen Shamgochian '80 and her late husband Edward, is given to a current sophomore, junior, or senior majoring in chemistry with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The student must have engaged in scientific research and plan to continue his or her education in the sciences in professional or graduate school.
Han Nguyen is a chemistry major and an international student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is also a member of the Lt. Col. James F. Sheehan '55 Honors Program, the Commonwealth Honors Program at WSU. She is an exceptional student who has made the Dean's List every single semester. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the IIE-ESF Mellon Award (2020), Olive I. (Lutz) Borgatti Endowed Scholarship (2020), Dr. Imoigele Aisiku Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship (2020), WSU Student Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Grant (2019), Brittany (Holt) ’07 and J. Michael Grenon Family Scholarship for Chemistry (2019) and Lt. Colonel James F. Sheehan '55 USMC Retired Academic Achievement Award (2018). During her time in the Chemistry Department, she has been very active in research under Dr. Xu, investigating the synthesis and evaluation of metabolites of GLS362E as well as in the synthesis of Thielavin T, a natural product that has been reported to have potent antibacterial activity against staphylococcus aureus. She has presented her work at the Celebration of Creativity and Scholarship. During COVID -19, Han worked on a special project to produce videos of experiments in organic lab courses to assist student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Han has been accepted to several graduate programs in chemistry and is excited to continue graduate work in the area of natural product synthesis after graduation.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in chemistry.
Judy Le is a chemistry major from Leicester, Mass., and a member of the Lt. Col. James F. Sheehan '55 Honors Program, the Commonwealth Honors Program at WSU. She is also a member of the Urban Studies Club. She has engaged in research with Dr. Mitroka during her time at WSU, investigating how nitroxyl reacts in different pH with NADH and NAD+. She is also working on a method to increase the yield Angelli's Salt. She presented the results of her research at this year's Celebration of Creativity and Scholarship. Judy is excited to pursue research in biochemistry upon graduation.
This award, established in 2021 by Worcester State alumnus and photographer Matthew Wright ’10, is given to the highest-ranking communication senior with a concentration in journalism.
Justin Terry is a communication major with a focus on journalism. Justin's stellar academic achievement is notable, with courses in journalism serving as the core of his studies in the program. His passion for investigative journalism as the cornerstone of democracy has been evidenced in all of his classes, and he brings unique skills to creating strong narratives through multiple media, including photography, video, and audio storytelling. Justin has demonstrated his dedication to social advocacy issues by applying his research and education to inform others and help motivate them to positively impact the future. He is a member of the WSU chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the department’s national honors society, and has served as a videography intern in WSU's Marketing Department throughout his senior year. He is currently pursuing production positions in the video marketing/marketing communication field while working as an AV support tech at WPI. He intends to continue to produce personal video journalism projects after graduation.
This award, established in 2019 by Worcester State University alumna Marjorie Tarmey ’63 and her family, is given to the highest-ranking senior majoring in communication.
Heather Hibbard’s academic achievement is outstanding, earning her a solid 4.0 GPA. The high caliber of her work and dedication to her studies in the program were exceptional, along with her advocacy for social justice and equity issues. For the Fall 2020 semester, Heather served as the marketing and communications intern for Career Services at WSU. Her favorite courses as a communication major were Graphic Design, Media Criticism, and an Independent Study in Sound Recording. Heather is meticulous in her work and has a keen sense for design and color, and the ability to critique and understand the larger implications of visual communication. For her senior capstone project, Heather produced an insightful and well-researched podcast exploring drinking water safety in the United States. Her favorite parts of being a communication major include exploring different forms of media as well as learning new skills that allow her to incorporate her creativity. She is thankful for all of the support that she has received from her professors in the program.
This award, established in 2021 by Lisa Godfrin ’16 and her family, is given to a graduating senior majoring in communication who has shown exemplary leadership and dedication to the department while at Worcester State.
Eddivette Jimenez-Correa has impressed the communication faculty with her dedication to complete her degree with fervor, creativity, and thoughtfulness. For her final project in Introduction to Digital Imaging, she was inspired to honor health care workers addressing COVID-19, including her mother who is a nurse, with imagery of a Worcester hospital that featured nurses at work. Her project, which was featured in Worcester State Magazine, signifies her gratitude and appreciation toward hospital workers who risk their lives every day to help patients. Eddivette’s love for television and film has inspired her to pursue a career in the television and film industry. In all of her advanced television and video coursework, she demonstrated a strong work ethic and attention to detail, earning her the respect of her faculty and peers. Eddivette recently became a new inductee in Worcester State University's chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the department’s national honors society. She is grateful for all she learned in the program and for the opportunity to attend WSU.
This award, honoring the late Massachusetts State Representative John J. Binienda Sr., a Worcester State University alumnus and educator who served in the Massachusetts State House for 28 years, is given to an undergraduate student who will be entering the Worcester State University graduate program in speech-language pathology and will focus on challenges facing children with hearing loss.
Sarah Farnham is a Worcester State University graduate with a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has an excellent academic record and received acceptance into the competitive Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program at WSU. As an undergraduate student, Sarah participated in a service-learning program providing language and literacy enhancement for preschool children. Early identification, intervention, and appropriate amplification have a positive effect on the language and speech development of children with hearing loss. In addition, Sarah and her undergraduate research team lobbied State Senator Mike Moore to cover the costs of hearing aids. Sarah wants to ensure that children with hearing loss receive the intervention they need to reach their full potential.
This award is given to an outstanding student majoring in communication sciences and disorders in recognition of the student’s demonstrated record of leadership, ability, scholastic achievement, and service to the WSU-NSSLHA Chapter.
Benjamin Ratick is an excellent student with a demonstrated record of leadership. Ben graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences & Disorders in December 2020. He was inducted in the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, appeared on the Dean’s List and the Student Involvement and Leadership Development Honor Roll. He also participated in two research projects during his senior year. Ben received this award for his leadership in the WSU chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association. He served on the executive board and as president. Ben was also a track and field athlete at WSU. Due to his stellar academic performance, Ben was accepted into the WSU Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in communication sciences and disorders.
Meagan Perro will graduate in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a concentration on Spanish for the professions. Meagan is in the WSU Commonwealth Honors Program and on the Dean’s List. The past academic year, Meagan conducted research on “Effective Treatment of Tinnitus,” under the supervision of Dr. Keith Darrow. After graduation, Meagan plans to attend graduate school to be an audiologist. As a bilingual audiologist, she wants to work in underserved Spanish communities.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in computer science.
Kelsey Rustin is an outstanding computer science major with a concentration in big data analytics, a second major in mathematics, and a 4.0 GPA. She completed an independent study under Dr. Braynova, learning R and using it to explore statistical methods for data science. Kelsey presented her work Classification of Rocky Images Using a Convolutional Neural Networks at the WSU Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity. The project was also accepted for a UMass Undergraduate Research conference poster presentation. She is professional and works well with classmates. Kelsey graduated in December and is currently working as a software engineer at Staples.
This award recognizes a student of a diverse background who has good academic achievement, professionalism, and a record of community service, and exhibits superior potential and commitment to the field of criminal justice.
Alexandre De Almeida is a native of Brazil and criminal justice major with a minor in mathematics. He has had a lifelong dream of a career in law enforcement. He has an interest in forensic science, transferring to Worcester State University from WPI. Alexandre is tri-lingual and looking to work in a summer camp to help young students where English is their second language. He is planning to use his education to work in a criminal justice agency.
This award, established by Dr. Stephen A. Morreale, Worcester State University chair and professor of criminal justice, is given to a high achieving junior or senior majoring in criminal justice who demonstrates a thirst for lifelong learning while also serving as an active employee in a criminal justice agency.
Tamu Brobbey is a non-traditional student of criminal justice. A transfer student from University of Arkansas and Mount Wachusett Community College, she began her studies in social work. She has worked with sex offenders and youthful offenders for 20 years. After coming to WSU, Tamu began her studies in criminal justice and has earned a perfect 4.0 GPA. She has a paralegal certificate and believes in the value of restorative justice and rehabilitation. Her work with the Massachusetts Department of Correction, through Spectrum Health Systems, allows her to facilitate groups that focus on substance abuse, anger management, and criminal thinking. She also works to assist released offenders in finding community support for housing, substance abuse, and mental health issues. Once she completes her studies at WSU, Tamu intends to pursue a law degree to practice family and criminal law. She believes, “It’s never too late to be where you want to be.”
This award, given in memory of Vanessa Anne Dunn, a Worcester State University student in the criminal justice program who lost her life in 2010, just months before she was scheduled to graduate, is given to the senior majoring in criminal justice with the highest overall GPA.
Riley Brown is a senior criminal justice major with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He transferred from Quinsigamond Community College, having completed an associate degree in 2019. He comes from a policing family and was voted “most likely to become a police officer” in kindergarten. He has volunteered in the summer as an instructor at the Borough’s Junior Police Academy, serving young citizens from Northborough, Westborough, and Southborough. Riley intends to serve in policing upon graduation, and hopes to become a detective in a Massachusetts police agency.
This award, endowed by a student of the late Dr. Earl B. Shaw, a former Worcester State University geography professor, is given to an outstanding senior majoring in geography, in recognition of the student’s academic achievement and service to the University community.
Lucas Ferreira embodies the fiercely inquisitive nature and joyous determination we hope for all WSU students. He is majoring in geography with a concentration in Geographic Information Systems, and minoring in computer science and sociology. His Brazilian mother and grandmother raised him in Milford and he is the first in his family to attend college. An active community member, he has contributed geospatial work to projects at the Worcester Historical Museum, been a leader in the LGBTQ+ Alliance, and is a widely sought-after speaker for expertise on LGBTQ+ issues. He plans to pursue graduate work in GIS and environmental issues.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in environmental science.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in geography.
Melanie Meadors is a true Renaissance woman: a geography major with a minor in history, whose work has spanned the Department of Earth, Environment and Physics. Melanie received a NASA Summer Grant to study astrophotography, and was part of the Aisiku STEM Center-funded study of Partridgeberry growth. She is a member of the Gamma Theta Upsilon geographic honors society. Already an accomplished science and technology writer, her honors research at WSU has explored the lives, works, and places of Benjamin Franklin and Robert Goddard. She plans to continue writing and pursue graduate school in science and technology studies.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance minoring in physics.
Joshua Buck has a double major in chemistry and psychology and a double minor in physics and philosophy. He was a Presidential Student Ambassador, worked for the Office of Military Affairs, and belongs to the Phi Eta Sigma, Psi Chi, and Gamma Sigma Epsilon honor societies. Originally from Rutland, Mass., Joshua has been active in research in both chemistry and physics and completed an internship at UMass Medical School in the Psychiatry and Law Program. He is a decorated former paratrooper in the U.S. Army. He was trained as a sniper and achieved the military rank of staff sergeant.
This award, in honor of the Worcester State University Class of 1952 and its many esteemed educators and devoted alumni, is given to the highest-ranking graduating senior majoring in elementary education.
Caroline Root is a double major in elementary education and sociology. Her exemplary academic record includes a wide range of courses.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in early childhood education.
Rosemary Blair is double majoring in early childhood education and visual and performing arts, with a theater concentration. Her academic record has been exemplary. After graduation, she plans to finish her MTELS and finding a job in early childhood education.
This award, given in memory of Professor Helen Shaughnessy, a highly esteemed teacher, faculty member, chair, and administrator at Worcester State University and the surrounding school district, is given to recognize a junior or senior elementary education student who demonstrates good academic achievement, professionalism, and outstanding potential in the field of elementary education.
Emma Poplawski, as a junior in the Elementary Education Program at Worcester State, has already distinguished herself with a stellar academic record, double majoring in elementary education and mathematics for elementary education. In addition to being on the Worcester State Women’s Basketball Team, she is president of the Athlete Mentor Program, member of the Student Events Committee, and a tutor in the Math Center. She has also achieved membership in the Chi Alpha Sigma National Honor Society.
This award, established by George ‘65 and Lillian (Brooks) ‘65 Albro, lifelong educators and benefactors of Worcester State University, is given to a junior or senior majoring in elementary education or minoring in middle or secondary education with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Preference is given to students who graduated from Leicester High School, or are from the town of Leicester, Massachusetts.
Emily Hastings, a graduate of Leicester High School, is majoring in English, with minors in communication and business administration. Through her writing concentration, she does creative fiction and poetry writing.
This award, in memory of Worcester State University Professor Madelin A. Wilmarth, a pioneer in the field of early childhood education, is given to the junior majoring in early childhood education with the highest GPA.
As a junior majoring in early childhood education, Kayla Morrison has distinguished herself by her high level of achievement, not only in her education courses but in her second major of psychology, since transferring from Quinsigamond Community College,
This award is given to a student majoring in early childhood education with a minimum GPA of 3.5. The recipient must show exceptional abilities in working with and teaching young children.
Kelsey Nicole Kingman is completing her degree in the Early Education and Care Program. In addition to her top-notch course performance, Kelsey has participated in a professional documentation panel. Her exceptional ability in and commitment to working with children is evident in her work as a Sunday School teacher and fundraising for low-income students. Kelsey looks forward to a career as a teacher, where she will continually deepen her educational practice.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in English.
Julia Konow is an exceptional student by any standard. A Commonwealth Honors Program student, Julia has majored in English with concentrations in writing and journalism. As an undergraduate, she has been published in The Dangling Modifier international tutoring newsletter, and written and edited for The New Worcester Spy magazine. She has been a media relations intern for Worcester City Councilor Matthew Wally, a copywriter and communications intern for the Worcester State Marketing Department, a grant writing intern for both Southwick Zoo’s EARTH, Ltd., and the Sterling Animal Shelter, both a science writing intern and a narrative change intern at the City of Worcester’s Department of Health and Human Services, and a writing consultant as well as assistant director at the Worcester State Writing Center She has received numerous awards and honors, including memberships in the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, as well as receiving a Worcester State Foundation Experiential Learning Award, an Esther Forbes Scholarship, a DCU Reach Out for Schools Book Scholarship, and the Debora K.S. Dias Nawn Scholarship. After graduation, she plans to embark on a career in technical and professional writing.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in health education.
As Commonwealth Honors student, Allison Woeller has distinguished herself as a top-achieving student in a range of challenging courses. A health education major with a minor in secondary education, Allison plans to teach health at the secondary level once she completes her Master of Education in Health Promotion, which she will begin working on at Bridgewater State University this coming fall. In addition to five semesters as a resident assistant at Worcester State, Allison served two years on the executive board of Peer Health Educators. Her Residence Life work included three opportunities to participate in Camp Sunshine.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in public health.
Since transferring from Quinsigamond Community College, Mahlet Negewo Kelecha, an immigrant and first-generation college student, has pursued a public health major combined with a minor in Geospatial Information Science. Mahlet’s exceptional academic record has included an internship with the Worcester Health and Human Services Vaccine Equity Community Clinics and multiple research projects, including “Spatial Analysis of Worcester Food Access in Environmental Justice Communities,” “Analysis of the Relationship Between Childhood Obesity and Poverty,” and “Incidence Rate of HIV/AIDS in Low Income Communities in Massachusetts–A Geospatial Analysis.” Mahlet has also found time to share her public health expertise with others, by serving the Massachusetts Responds/Worcester Regional Medical Reserve Corps as a Covid-19 Testing Volunteer. After graduation from Worcester State, Mahlet plans to earn her Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology and global health.
This award, established in memory of former Worcester State University Professor of History Cheng Yuan and his wife, Christina, is given to the highest-ranking junior majoring in history.
Chris Semanki is the highest ranking junior history major at Worcester State. His interests range from medieval and modern European history to U.S. economic and foreign policy history.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in history.
Jaymi-Lyn Souza is a history and liberal studies major with minors in computer science and pre-law. She is extensively involved both at Worcester State and in the overall community. She has been involved in numerous organizations at Worcester State including SGA (president), Student Senate (chair), AUC, and the Academic Success Center and Writing Center (tutor). She has completed research on topics such as the Chinese legal system and the social implications of data mining and has completed internships in the legal department at FORMA Theraputic and Joseph Kennedy III's U.S. Senate campaign. She is an advocate for food insecurity, and Title IX. She has received many other awards, including the Lt. Col. James F. Sheehan Junior Academic Achievement Award, the Lt. Col. James F. Sheehan Senior Academic Achievement Award, and the Professor Cheng & Christina Yuan Award. In her junior year, Jaymi-Lyn was diagnosed with ADHD and PTSD, which made it more difficult to maintain her academic and social performance. While she was hesitant to accept accommodations, she has found that they have helped her overcome these barriers to her success. After graduation, she plans to work as a paralegal and pursue a law degree.
This award, honoring Dr. Richard Bisk, former Worcester State University faculty member and chair of the Mathematics Department, is given to a junior or senior with at least a 3.6 GPA, who demonstrates outstanding achievement in mathematics, along with a commitment to teaching for understanding.
Kaitlyn Olmstead is majoring in mathematics, with a minor in education studies. In addition to stellar coursework, Kaitlyn tutors for MA 105 – Survey of Math through the Mathematics Department. Her honors include receiving Lt. Col. James F. Sheehan ’55, USMC Ret. Academic Excellence Awards both her sophomore and junior years. After graduation from Worcester State, Kaitlyn plans to earn her Master’s Degree in Education and teach mathematics at the middle school level.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in mathematics.
Pasquale Doucimo is an exceptional student majoring in mathematics with a concentration in traditional mathematics. His work in the discipline includes advanced study of group theory, topology, and complex analysis, and he just presented is his research in mathematical logic at the 2021 Worcester State University Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity. Winner of the Francis Crimmins Endowed Scholarship, he feels his Worcester State experience has prepared him to pursue his Ph.D. in Mathematics. Always eager to help others, Pasquale not only works in the Worcester State Math Center, but outside of the Math Center he volunteers as a math tutor.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in mathematics for elementary education.
Cayce Pappas is double majoring in elementary education and mathematics for elementary education. At Worcester State, Cayce was an orientation leader in 2019 and 2020, and served as a mathematics tutor from 2018 to 2020. Cayce’s time working for the YMCA and as a student teacher and substitute teacher has shown her that she feels very much at home in the classroom. She has loved going to school each day and is excited that she will be able to share her passion with her future students. In addition to teaching, Cayce plans to get her master’s and eventually doctorate in elementary education.
This award, given in memory of Ann “Annie” Dolan, M.S.N. ‘13, who was a labor and delivery nurse who returned to Worcester State University to earn her master’s degree in nursing education shortly before her death in 2014, is given to a nursing student who has demonstrated an enthusiastic and compassionate bedside manner, and a passion to advance the art and science of nursing.
When Katrina Garbacik had the opportunity to thrive and grow, she did just that. She had a tough and challenging sophomore year as she broke through her shyness and was able to do her head-to-toe physical assessment with precisional professionalism. As she continued to experience growth in the semesters ahead, Katrina purposely decided to become a champion and mentor to undergraduates. Knowing her own challenges with the first year of nursing school, Katrina reached out with enthusiasm and extreme compassion as she helped other students in the sophomore year overcome their individual struggles with uncertainty. Her passion for the success of her fellow nursing students, paired with her innate kindness, helped her to guide those that needed mentoring in confidence. It was truly inspirational to hear Katrina say to other undergraduates just starting out, “Believe it or not, I felt just like you and now I can do it and so can you.” With her determination and leadership, many other undergraduate sophomores overcame their first-year nerves and succeeded. For her amazing selflessness and compassion in a very defined way to motivate students coming up and into nursing studies, Katrina is deserving of this award. She is the epitome of what we want to see in compassionate mentorship.
This award, established in 2015 by Dr. Jean A. Campaniello, Worcester State University professor emerita and former chair of the Nursing Department, to recognize M.S. in Nursing students for their service and community engagement, is given to a student with a minimum GPA of 3.25, who is completing a graduate course of study in community health nursing.
Diane Moffat will graduate in May with an M.S. in Nursing with a concentration in community/public health nursing. Diane has demonstrated outstanding leadership in her community through a wide variety of service activities that improve the quality of life for residents of Leicester, Mass. In this very challenging year, Diane has not hesitated to stand up for her community. She has served her community throughout the pandemic as a member of the Leicester Board of Health and as a school nurse, volunteering countless hours as a COVID-19 contact tracer for Leicester and Worcester. Diane provides COVID-19 updates at the Leicester School Committee meetings. She is a member of the Leicester Task Force for Reopening Schools. Diane and her team wrote the health and safety protocols and policies for Leicester’s safe return to school.
This award, in honor of the late Dr. Lillian R. Goodman, founder of the Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Department of Nursing at Worcester State University, and pioneer in the field of nursing education, is given to a registered nursing student who exemplifies leadership, caring, a strong commitment to professional nursing, and a vision for the future.
Ann Kristin as she is a quiet person with a heart of gold. Ann is a mother, a student, a wife, and student. She immigrated to America long ago from her homeland and has worked hard as an R.N. to raise her children and give them every opportunity this country has offered to them. After her children were older, Ann started to look at her opportunities to advance professionally and set her eyes on the WSU R.N. to B.S. program. She had some major medical challenges along the way, including a very debilitating surgery during her first year in the program. Despite her inability to be mobile during her recovery and intense pain and rehabilitation, she continued to work and study hard and communicated with faculty every step of the way to constantly validate her commitment to the program and her goals. Even after her excruciating recovery, and still with a ways to go on healing, Ann insisted that she come back to the program to “fight” the rest of her way through the last couple of classes. Her determination brought tears to eyes and warmth to souls. She said once “I am not giving up, this is too important.” She achieved the highest GPA of her peer group and still does not believe that this is her greatest accomplishment. She truly believes that her greatest accomplishment is raising her children and being the best nurse everyday. She is deeply proud that she has overcome her challenges and did not succumb to excuses to prevent her from achieving her goals. Ann would never say or share this out loud. Her spirit is that which we know is a nurse. Ann is truly deserving and has worked harder than anyone to achieve this award (and many others).
This award, established in 2019 by Dr. Paula L. Dufresne-Sullivan '86, is given to a graduating senior in Nursing Track 1, 2, or 3 who has demonstrated special qualities of compassion and leadership, and a commitment to humanitarian service to all patients, especially those in disenfranchised populations.
Rachel Stelmach has had many opportunities to involve herself in extracurricular opportunities related to the profession during her undergraduate studies. She has shown true leadership and humanitarianism in her voluntary pursuits, including leading the charge in feeding the underserved through her partnership with our on campus food services. She helped to organize the packaging and delivery of food overages; and, instead of this food being thrown out, it was provided to the hungry through her efforts. In the true spirit of humanitarianism, Rachel saw a need in the community and sought out readily available resources to do something about it. During her studies at WSU, she has also volunteered and actively participated in open houses, white coat ceremonies, and cancer awareness initiatives.
This award is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in a nursing clinical setting and has an interest in orthopedics or rehabilitation medicine.
Anita Swift is an energetic and positive leader. She has consistently maintained her studies while actively participating in departmental activities. Her spirit is infectious as she involves herself and encourages others around her to become better persons through engagement. Anita has provided support and leadership in many endeavors--some that are things that no one else wants to do; “the heavy lifting” so to speak. Many events are always complete successes because of those that are behind the scenes, who are not commanding the frontline attention, but are always there to make sure things go as they should. She is the epitome of the unsung hero. Anita is deserving of this and many other recognitions. She is a student who looks for a solution and resolve in her role as a class representative, while maintaining strong clinical and academic skills.
This award was established by Edward ‘67 and Eileen Bolesky. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Worcester State, Ed went on to earn a master’s degree from UNH and a Ph.D. from Boston College. Eileen graduated from Boston College in 1971, earned her master’s degree in nursing from Yale University and became a pediatric nurse practitioner in Worcester. It is given to the highest-ranking senior majoring in nursing.
Mackenzie Pelletier is the top GPA performer to date and has been active in the student body and program in various ways. She has participated in cancer awareness initiatives, ceremonies for undergraduates, and has shown her leadership in other forums for students in her time here at WSU. She is strong academically and inspires others with her positive attitude.
This award was established by the late I. Robert Freelander, charter member of the Worcester State Foundation Board and a 2002 recipient of an honorary degree from Worcester State University, and his wife, Aviva, a Worcester-area philanthropist. It is given to the highest-ranking senior majoring in occupational therapy.
Brittany Marchetti is a dedicated student as evidenced by her outstanding grades. She is well respected by the faculty and her peers. She was on the Dean’s List every semester, participated as a Lancer Lifter each year, an ESL tutor, and a four-year member of SOTA and of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She plays the piano and volunteers at yearly food drives in her community. Brittany is a triplet from Providence and has intentionally chosen OT as her career to help her brother and others with autism. She will begin graduate studies in the Master of Occupational Therapy Program this summer.
This award, in honor of Worcester State University Professor Emeritus Dr. Daniel C. Shartin, is given to a student who has taken multiple philosophy courses and most exemplifies the spirit of the philosophical endeavor in all its logical rigor and creativity.
Gina Endres is an exceptional leader and community member on campus. Gina is a history major with minors in philosophy and pre-law, and an accomplished student leader, who is involved in many co-curricular activities at Worcester State University. Over the past four years, Gina has been a member of Enactus, the competitive entrepreneurship organization on campus. During her time in Enactus, she completed service projects in the Worcester public school system involving anti-bullying awareness, and she developed a food pantry program called “Project Shelves” at one of the local schools. Having a passion for inclusivity and multiculturalism work, Gina has served on the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) and the Campus Climate Committee and was active in the planning of the “Rally for Unity” in the spring of 2020. Her passion for volunteerism continues in the community. She first became involved with a non-profit called Angels.Net that assisted immigrants and refugees into the Worcester community. She also continues to volunteer in soup kitchens within the city. Gina has also been inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Eta Sigma and is a member of the Sheehan Honors Program at WSU.
This award, endowed by former Worcester State University Admissions Director Beth Axelson ‘70, who graduated from Worcester State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, is given to the highest-ranking graduating senior majoring in psychology.
Anna Grady is an exceptional psychology student with a developmental processes concentration from Bellingham, Mass. Anna excelled academically while balancing multiple part-time jobs and work study as a valuable member of the Psychology Department. Anna also completed four semesters of independent study, earning a competitive summer undergraduate research grant for her work examining the role of self-reference in the memory of young children. Through this project, she met with more than 100 children and adults, and has been a leader and mentor to newer students joining the project. After graduation Anna will continue her work as an ABA therapist.
This award, established by a former student of Dr. Lawrence A. Averill, late Worcester State University psychology professor, is given to a senior majoring in psychology.
Lauren Conners’ sterling academic record was built while supporting a family of essential workers by taking on childcare and homeschooling duties for four children (in four different schools). In her professional life, Lauren has developed a close and productive relationship with her clients through Autism Allies and is now mentoring new employees at Central Mass Clinical Associates. During her time at WSU, Lauren consistently raised the level of discussion in her classes with her goal-oriented approach and focused engagement. Looking ahead, Lauren plans to attend graduate school in the fall with the goal of becoming a licensed clinical social worker.
This award, in memory of Professor Faith Zeadey, late Worcester State University professor of sociology, social activist, and humanitarian, is given to the highest-ranking senior majoring in sociology
Caroline Root is a double major in elementary education and sociology. Her exemplary academic record includes a wide range of courses.
This award, in memory of Dr. Vincent “Jake” Powers, a highly respected urban historian and founder of the Worcester State University Urban Studies Department, is given to an undergraduate urban studies student who is an innovative, original thinker, and whose time in the department has emboldened them to pursue personal and professional opportunities they may not have previously considered and to achieve them with determination, grit, and courage.
Katherinne Cornejo’s time as an urban studies major has truly transformed her and her career focus. With a second major in Spanish, she is president of the Spanish Club and the Alpha Mu Gamma Honor Society for foreign languages, the SGA Commuter Senator, and an intern with Ascentria Care Alliance. She is also a student advocate with the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice, working on asylum cases with immigration attorneys. At WSU, her research has focused on Central American immigration, a topic that relates to her own personal journey from El Salvador seven years ago. Katherinne hopes to pursue graduate studies and work in the nonprofit sector.
This award, in honor of Nathan Schwartz, founding donor of the Schwartz Charitable Foundation, who was a business visionary committed to supporting small businesses and community endeavors in Worcester County, is given to the highest-ranking undergraduate senior majoring in urban studies who best represents the mission of the Foundation.
Originally from Worcester, Sara Stoja is a double major in urban studies and psychology and is the vice president of Amnesty International at WSU. Sara completed a transportation planning internship at the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission with a focus on bikesharing and micromobility. Sara is also a member of Psi Chi Honor Society, a recipient of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, and a volunteer at the LGBTQ+ Task Force and the Hawden Congregational Church food pantry in Worcester. Sara plans to pursue a career in transportation planning, continue volunteering for different organizations, and later pursue graduate study.
This award, established by Worcester State University alumnus Alan Gordon '80 in memory of his father, Malcolm Gordon, former Worcester resident and nationally renowned magazine gag cartoonist, is given to the highest-ranking senior in visual and performing arts.
Rosemary Blair, originally from Bedford, Mass., has been an outstanding visual and performing arts student. She has maintained excellent academic standing while double majoring in visual and performing arts and early childhood education. In VPA, she focused on theater and sang with the Chorale, VPA’s advanced, a cappella chorus. She would often be found in the costume shop or backstage during several productions. VPA faculty noted the excellence of Rosemary's capstone project – a Theater for Young Audiences lesson plan for the adaptation of a storybook into a play, thus tying her two majors together.
This award, established to honor the late Worcester State University professor Mary Cosgrove Dolphin, a dedicated art educator and artist who touched many Worcester State University students during her service, is given to a studio art student who has demonstrated exceptional creative accomplishment in the visual arts.
Emily Cawley is a graduate of Worcester's Burncoat Arts Magnet School and Becker College, where she received a degree in animal science. Her passion for art and animals has greatly influenced her creative life, presently synthesizing itself in her Senior Capstone Thesis, a series of painted portraits and narration expressively depicting human perceptions of "aggressive" versus "friendly" breeds of dogs. Emily has appeared on the WSU Dean's List every semester since 2015. An entrepreneurial spirit complements her studies by way of her business, GLITZDGEAR, producing hand-made roller skate accessories and stickers. Nevertheless, animal advocacy remains the core of her ongoing artistic production, research, and broadly informed ethical concern.
This award, established by former Worcester State University Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Dorothy A. Escribano, is given to a full-time student with a major or a minor in Spanish. The recipient must be a non-traditional sophomore or a junior with a minimum GPA of 2.7 and demonstrated financial need. The student must have participated in community and/or extracurricular activities, and demonstrated outstanding academic improvement.
From Pennsylvania, Greg Martinez-Torres is a Spanish major with a concentration in Spanish education and a minor in secondary education. In addition to a superlative academic record, Greg is a tutor in the Spanish Clinic, a mentor for the Early College Program, and appeared on a Latino Education Institute panel discussion about raising Hispanic/Latinx students voices on campus. As a sophomore, Greg won the prestigious Lt. Col. James F. Sheehan ’55, USMC Ret. Academic Excellence Award.
This award, given by the University with financial support from the Worcester State Foundation, is given to the graduating senior with the top academic performance majoring in Spanish.
In addition to her major in communication sciences and disorders, Meagan Perro is earning a concentration in Spanish for the professions. She is a Commonwealth Honors Program student and recently completed her Commonwealth Honors Project based on serving as an undergraduate research assistant to Professor Keith Darrow, Ph.D., for a study of patient perceptions of tinnitus with F.D.A.-approved hearing technology. She also completed an internship in the Innovative Services for Latino Achievers program of the Latino Education Institute and studied abroad for the Spring 2019 semester in Costa Rica. In addition to her impressive academic achievements, Meagan works 25 hours per week in a part-time position. She will next be pursuing her Clinical Doctorate in Audiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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