NAC&U To Present First Award for Student Excellence to Recipients from St. Edward’s, Ohio Northern, and Sage

The New American Colleges and Universities are proud to announce the recipients of the inaugural NAC&U Award for Student Excellence, recognizing students for their knowledge and experience in liberal arts, professional studies or experiential learning, and/or civic engagement.

The 2017 recipients are:

Amy Ontai
St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas
Fly Sci with Miss Ontai: An interactive science web-series to engage middle school students

Fly Sci with Miss Ontai in an interactive web-series designed to help combat the rampant disengagement of middle school students with science and the lack of content teaching time faced by teachers under standardized testing deadlines by having a zany, exciting science web-series structured by standardized testing objectives.

Advisor: Steven Fletcher, associate professor, secondary education

Introduction to Fly Sci with Miss Ontai
Amy Ontai’s honors senior thesis

Amy Ontai Videos:
Teaser: (see above)
Episode 1:
Episode 2:

Rebecca Carman
Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio
Design for Good

When addressing social issues, Ms. Carman’s designs tackle societal challenges by encouraging people to change old habits, preserve nature, establish community relationships, and recognize the importance of sustainability through design thinking and problem-solving.

Advisor: Brit Rowe, associate professor, art and design

Introduction to Ms. Carman’s designs
Samples of Ms. Carman’s designs

Samantha Tirrell
Russell Sage College, Troy, N.Y.
Ugwu’s Biafra: Individual and national modes of sovereignty and resistance in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun

Using post-colonial theory, Ms. Tirrell’s article seeks to draw parallels between a fictional character in Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and the secession of the sovereign state of Biafra from Nigeria, exploring the methods by which colonized people inadvertently mimic the behavior of their colonizers in their movements of resistance.

Advisor: Shealeen Meaney, associate professor, English and modern languages

Ugwu’s Biafra: Individual and national modes of sovereignty and resistance in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun

The recipients will travel to Valparaiso University in June 2017 to attend the first day of the NAC&U Summer Institute where they will receive their awards and present their work.

“There may be no better way to celebrate our shared approach to higher education — the integration of liberal arts, professional studies and civic engagement — than by recognizing our students’ achievements in these areas,” said Nancy Hensel, president, NAC&U. “As we gather as a consortium for our annual Summer Institute, we will be honored to have these three young women share their work with us.”

Last fall, seniors at NAC&U’s 24 member institutions were invited to apply for the award, and each campus was eligible to enter one submission. Ultimately, NAC&U received 13 outstanding submissions.

The awards process and committee were organized by Keith Koster, assistant professor of music, Nazareth College; Heidi Laudien, associate professor of English, Manhattan College, and David Salomon, professor of English, The Sage Colleges. Additional evaluators included Marie Bell, assistant professor of nursing, Nazareth College; Brad Wile, assistant professor of chemistry, Ohio Northern University; and Jeannetta Williams, associate professor of psychology, St. Edward’s University. Evaluators assessed all submissions except for the one from his/her own campus. The multidisciplinary committee also leveraged their backgrounds to particularly critique entries from their fields. NAC&U is grateful for their time and dedication.

2017 NAC&U Award for Student Excellence Finalists

California Lutheran University
Christina Sharkey
The Effect of Amino Acids on the Feeding Response of Freshwater Snails, Lymnaea stagnalis and Helisoma trivolvis

Manhattan College
Caitlin Sullivan
Creating Compassion in the Criminal Justice System

Nazareth College
Jacob Murphy and Alyssa Merrill
Phytoremediation potential of Blue Bush Lake Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and Switchgrass (Panicum Virgatum), native plants, to clean-up Bisphenol-A (BPA) contaminated aquatic systems

North Central College
Marissa Post
Evaluating Employees Following FMLA Leave:  Negative Personality and Financial Biases Against LGBT Employees

Ohio Northern University
Rebecca Carman*
Design for Good

Pacific Lutheran University
Anna Parker
Supporting materials for the book, Meerkat Mail, by Emily Gravett

The Sage Colleges
Samantha Tirrell*
Ugwu’s Biafra: Individual and national modes of sovereignty and resistance in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun

St. Edward’s University
Amy Ontai*
Fly Sci with Miss Ontai: An interactive science web-series to engage middle school students

University of New Haven
Cassidy Haigh
Police Perceptions of Mental Illness

Valparaiso University
Jennifer Mitchell
Alcohol and Binge Drinking Behaviors Among Students

Wagner College
Noah Wolthausen
Oral Microbiome Diversity: The Future of Preventative Health Care, An Anthropological Perspective

Westminster College
Katie Panushka
Witnessing through Weed, Laughter and the Munchies: The Stories of Illness and Caring

Widener University
Taylor Brown
Revelations in Darkness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Byron’s ‘Darkness’

*Denotes NAC&U Award for Student Excellence Recipient


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