Penn State York honored the academic achievements and service of its outstanding students, faculty, and staff for the 2011-12 academic year during the 41st annual Academic Awards Program on Sunday, April 22 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort & Conference Center in York, Pa. More than 90 academic and service awards were presented following a 6 p.m. dinner.
Awards were presented by a variety of campus groups and several community organizations including the Rotary Club of York and the York County Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. Highlights of the program were the presentation of the Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award, the James H. Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Penn State York Advising Award, and the Clark E. Fisher Memorial Award.
The Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award, the most prestigious student award of the evening, was presented to Joshua D. Czerski. This award is given annually to a full-time student who exhibits outstanding qualities of character, scholarship, leadership, and citizenship. Each Penn State campus selects a recipient of this award. Czerski is a senior at Penn State York majoring in business. He is from Baltimore, Md. Czerski was recognized for his dependability, hard-work, and dedication to the athletics programs at Penn State York. He not only excelled on the court (basketball) and in the field (soccer) but also excelled in the classroom and participated in a variety of activities to make the campus a better place.
The Clark E. Fisher Memorial Award honors and recognizes outstanding achievement in engineering by a full-time undergraduate student. The award is named for the late Clark E. Fisher, ’83, a Penn State engineering graduate. Fisher’s family members, Precision Custom Components (PCC) - Fisher’s former employer, colleagues from PCC, and friends joined together last year to create an award in remembrance of Fisher. The award is given in the field that Fisher loved, engineering. Zachary Donnelley, Dover, Pa.; is the recipient.
The James H. Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching is given to one part-time and one full-time member of the Penn State York faculty based on nominations by students and other members of the campus community. The award is named in honor of the late James H. Burness, in recognition of his outstanding teaching and service to the campus. Burness died in December 1999. This year's recipients are Sukhdeep Gill, associate professor of human development and family studies, full-time award and Stephen K. Lentz, part-time instructor in meteorology, part-time award.
Gill, of York, Pa., and a native of Punjab, India, received high praise from her students for her dedication, enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of her subject matter, and her willingness to go above and beyond her job duties for her students. One student wrote, “Dr. Gill is the most enthusiastic professor I have ever had. She goes above and beyond to respond to students’ needs, always addresses issues and develops solutions immediately, often requiring extra work on her part.” Another student said, “Out of all four years at Penn State York, I’d have to say I’ve learned the most from professor Gill. She puts a lot of time into the course and makes sure all of her students are learning the information in a deeper manner. She is dedicated to not only her job but mainly her students. I’d have to say, she definitely deserves this award!” Still more praise for Gill and her dedication to her students, “Dr. Gill is such a caring teacher to her students. She always makes herself available if you need extra help or just some clarification. She truly tries to invest herself in you and your learning. Although her classes are challenging, they are the classes I learn the most in.” Finally, another student wrote, “I believe she should receive this award because she is one professor that teaches with passion. The ideas she brings to class and the way she gets the class involved is something to admire. She is an overall great professor. I would be proud to know she is carrying this award.”
Lentz, of Mt. Wolf, Pa., received numerous accolades from his students for his subject knowledge, his teaching style, and concern that students understand the material. One student wrote, “I believe Dr. Lentz should receive the award because he is not just an instructor, but he puts forth an effort to explain the subject matter in terms that are understandable. He demonstrates examples that students can relate to, and make sure that we understand. He also loves what he teaches and shows enthusiasm and tells jokes around the subject matter.” Another student wrote, “He is very interested in the topic at hand and is very good at showing us how this class will impact our daily lives. He is not just teaching us the material but making sure we understand it.” Still more praise for his teaching, “Dr. Lentz goes out of his way to help students be comfortable with the material by providing us with time before and after class to meet with him. He has also been very prompt with returning e-mails at all times, something many other professors do not do. He keeps class interesting with his real life stories of weather and brings excitement to the classroom.”
Emily C. Wenk, of Gardners, Pa., instructor in information sciences and technology, was honored as the winner of the Penn State York Advising Award. The Penn State York Advising Award, given by the campus Academic Affairs Committee, was established several years ago to recognize the importance of advising students. This committee operates separately from the teaching award committee.
Wenk received high praise from students for willingness to talk with student and share information about the major. One student wrote, “Throughout all the troubles I had with my major, she helped me all along the way to get everything organized so that I could start every semester strong. Also, every question I sent her was answered in a timely manner.” Another student wrote, “It is always nice to meet with her to talk about how I’m doing in classes and what I should look for in career opportunities and internships to what classes I should try to take next semester.” A colleague wrote, “Emily has always been extremely conscientious with her advising. She is proactive, contacting her advisees, makes time to meet with them and meets with her advisees until all their questions have been answered. I’ve witnessed numerous times where she has met with students and their parents.”
The Penn State York Honors Program provides challenging opportunities for academically superior students. Students who complete nine credits of honors work are recognized. Recipients are: Hannah J. Barlow, York, Pa.; Shaquille George, York, Pa.; Walker D. Huso, Parkton, Md.; Christopher M. Lawyer, York, Pa.; Caitlin D. Markline, Glen Rock, Pa.; Cameron S. Nelson, York, Pa.; Carley E. Richardson, Mountville, Pa.; Stephanie M. Shoff, York, Pa.; Shehzad H. Siddique, York, Pa.; Natalia A. Snyder, Stewartstown, Pa.; Matthew B. Wharton, Forest Hill, Md.; and Ai Zhao, York, Pa.
Graduating with honors are Matthew L. Dunlap, Shrewsbury, Pa.; Crystal L. Kimball, York, Pa.; Kaitlyn S. Kosalek, York, Pa.; and Carrie A. Lilley, York, Pa.
The Evan Pugh Scholar Award is for those juniors and seniors who are in the upper 0.5 percent of their respective classes and have completed at least 48 graded Penn State credits at the end of the fall semester of the academic year the award is given. Candidates are eligible if they have been full-time undergraduate students for at least four semesters prior to selection. The Penn State York recipient is Basil J. Hartman, Hanover, Pa.
The President's Freshman Award is presented annually to full-time undergraduate students who have earned a 4.0 grade-point average for the first semester of their freshman year of study. Recipients are: Christian R. Bohn, York, Pa.; Thomas Boyer, Dover, Pa.; John Brubaker, Manheim, Pa.; Walker D. Huso, Parkton, Md.; Joo Won Kim, York, Pa.; Darla J. Link, York, Pa.; and Stuart O. Reilly, Mt. Wolf, Pa.
The President Sparks Award is presented annually to those undergraduate candidates who have earned 4.0 (A) cumulative grade-point average based on at least 36 graded Penn State credits completed by the end of the fall semester of the academic year the award is given. The President Sparks Award recipient is Andrew J. Patterson, Shrewsbury, Pa.
Freshman Press Chemistry Award recipient is Komal Shaikh, York, Pa. This award is presented to a freshman based on outstanding academic achievement in chemistry.
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi recognizes superior scholarship in all fields of study and only inducts the highest-ranking students from any branch of learning. The inductee is Shehzad H. Siddique, York, Pa.
Keystone Honor Society Awards were presented to full- and part-time students with the highest grade-point average (GPA) at or above a 3.50 GPA in each associate and baccalaureate degree program offered at the campus. Part-time students are eligible to receive the award one time in their major. There are also requirements for the time in the degree. Honorees are: Marjorie L. Alquist, Dillsburg, Pa.; John C. Arthur, York, Pa.; John Brubaker, Manheim, Pa.; Tara C. Burgess, York, Pa.; Joseph M. Cabrera, York, Pa.; Shibani R. Chadha, York, Pa.; Virginia A. Clousher, Hanover, Pa.; Gordon L. Coggins, Hanover, Pa.; Matthew L. Dunlap, Shrewsbury, Pa.; James E. Ehrlinger, Dover, Pa.; Kathryn B. Frey, York, Pa.; Rebekah A. Gross, Manchester, Pa.; Rose A. Harless, York, Pa.; Basil J. Hartman, Hanover, Pa.; Warren L. Hursh, York, Pa.; Mihir L. Jadhav, York, Pa.; Crystal L. Kimball, York, Pa.; Kaitlyn S. Kosalek, York, Pa.; William D. LaViers, Bel Air, Md.; Amber C. Lawson, Perryville, Md.; Carrie A. Lilley, York, Pa.; Caitlin D. Markline, Glen Rock, Pa.; Christine M. Miller, Mt. Wolf, Pa.; Dave E. Shaffer, York, Pa.; Kevin A. Sheffer, Dover, Pa.; Shehzad H. Siddique, York, Pa.; and Meher Tabassum, Red Lion, Pa.
Student Government Association (SGA) Campus Service Awards were presented to Amy L. Hammonds, Spring Grove, Pa. and Madeline E. Snyder, Dallastown, Pa. This award is given annually to students whose services have benefited the campus. The award is chosen by the student body.
The Student Appreciation Award is given to faculty or staff person for outstanding service to students. The recipient was Donna L. Godfrey, York, Pa., tutor coordinator in the Nittany Success Center.
Gary L. Collison Community Service Awards were presented to Ginia M. Moorehead, York, Pa. and Aida I. Santos, York, Pa. The service awards are named to honor the late Gary L. Collison, professor of English and American Studies at Penn State York, whose idea it was to recognize students for their volunteer service. In addition to community service, recipients must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA.
The Unsung Hero Award is a new award on campus and recognizes a Penn State York faculty or staff member for unselfishly providing outstanding service to the campus and its students, often with limited recognition. Selection is made through student, faculty, and staff nominations. Sharon E. Christ, director of enrollment management and strategic recruitment and retention initiatives,York, Pa., is the first recipient of this award.
The Campus Diversity Award is presented to the student who best reflects the values of diversity and intercultural understanding expressed in the campus statement on diversity. The recipient will have participated in and promoted multicultural activities on the campus and within the University as well as in the community at large. Wareesha Tariq, York, Pa., is the award recipient.
The Rotary Club Award is presented to an outstanding second-year student, chosen by the faculty, for having made a significant contribution to the campus and community. Matthew L. Dunlap. Shrewsbury, Pa., is the recipient.
The Student Leadership Award is presented to an organization or club officer based on outstanding leadership within the organization, achievements while in office, and service as a role model and motivating force within the organization. Rollin W. Apgar, Glen Rock, Pa., is the award recipient.
The Manufacturers’ Association Award honors a second year associate or baccalaureate degree student who has displayed academic excellence in an engineering or science program. The recipient was Gordon L. Coggins, Hanover, Pa.
The Academic Achievement Award is given to a student or students in recognition of academic accomplishments. The recipient(s) cannot have been otherwise honored with an academic award. Minimum qualifications are second year standing by spring semester of the year in which the award is presented and a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade-point average. Only Penn State credits are considered. Elizabeth M. Edkin, Columbia, Pa., is the recipient.
Penn State Alumni Association (PSAA) York County Chapter Award is presented to any Penn State York student who possesses outstanding qualities of scholarship, leadership, and service to the campus. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and participate actively in the Blue & White Society and/or Lion Ambassadors. This is a monetary award of $250. Salem K. Soni, Mechanicsburg, Pa., is the recipient.
The Tutor of the Year Award is presented to the tutor who has made the greatest impact on students who came to the Nittany Success Center for extra help with their course work. Christopher M. Lawyer, York, Pa. is the recipient.
The Tau Alpha Pi National Honor Society recognizes high standards of scholarship among students in engineering technology programs. Campus engineering faculty selects the award recipients. Recipients are: Gordon L. Coggins, Hanover, Pa.; Rhoi J. Fajardo, Dover, Pa.; and Dixie L. Pennington, Crownsville, Md.
The Lambda Pi Eta Award is the honor society of the National Communication Association that recognizes, fosters, and rewards outstanding scholastic achievement while stimulating interest in the communication discipline. All persons considered for membership must exhibit high standards of personal and professional character and support the purposes of the honor society. Recipients of this award are Elizabeth L. Hardesty, York, Pa.; Warren L. Hursh, York, Pa.; Robert D. Reynolds, York, Pa.; and Rachel I. Wolf, Upperco, Md.
The National Communication Association (NCA) Student Undergraduate Research Award encourages recognition of undergraduate student scholarship within each communication department. The selection of the recipients is guided by the award criteria established by NCA’s Research Board. Kaitlyn S. Kosalek, York, Pa. and Caitlin D. Markline, Glen Rock, Pa. are the recipients.
The Edward M. Elias Award is presented to the first- and second-year baccalaureate students moving to a campus within the Penn State system with the highest GPA. Erik S. Bailey, York, Pa.; Ronald P. Mack, York, Pa.; and Andrew J. Patterson, Shrewsbury, Pa. are the recipients.