KWU Marks Student Achievement for 2016-17 Academic Year

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Kansas Wesleyan students with Dr. Thompson and John Burchill

Kansas Wesleyan University recognized the success of students during the 2016-17 academic year at the Honors and Recognition Dinner on Friday, May 5, in Muir Gymnasium. Below is a list of achievements and those recognized.

Alpha Chi Honor Society Graduating Seniors

Presented by Steven J. Hoekstra, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology

Alpha Chi is one of the two national college honors societies for students from all disciplines. Alpha Chi members rank in the top 10 percent of juniors and seniors and represent the best undergraduate scholarship in all academic fields at their institutions. The Kansas Delta chapter was chartered at Kansas Wesleyan University in 1977 and has served as a visible reminder of our focus on academic excellence.


Brittany J. Clancy

Jenna J. Farris

Bailee J. Fritts

Emily A. Girard

Chelsea N. Kostyak

Jacob J. Lunz

Catherine C. Massey

Emily B. Montgomery

Lindsay J. Rojas

Karlie L. Steinle


Robbin M. Ward Visual Arts Scholarship Award

Presented by Neil G. Ward, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of Graphic Arts

Robbin M. Ward was an outstanding student who tragically passed away in a car accident in 2010. This award is present in her honor to recognize outstanding achievement in the arts while maintaining a positive attitude and friendly personality, just like Robbin did every year. This award goes to a student that resembles those traits.  

Recipient: Emma M. Reitz


Outstanding Accounting Student Award

Presented by Joyce M. Kelley, C.P.A., Associate Professor of Business and Accounting

These awards are given to majors that have distinguished themselves during their time at KWU both inside and outside of the classroom.

Recipient: Colette C. Greene


Outstanding Business Student Award

Presented by Daniel J. Botz, J.D., Professor of Business and Accounting

These awards are given to majors that have distinguished themselves during their time at KWU both inside and outside of the classroom.

Recipient: Mitchell L. Kufahl


Outstanding Marketing Student Award

Presented by Paul H. Hedlund, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Business and Accounting

These awards are given to majors that have distinguished themselves during their time at KWU both inside and outside of the classroom.

Recipient: Marissa L. Henning


Beta Beta Beta New Members

Presented by Stephanie M. Welter, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology

Members of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society, are recognized for their high achievement in the biological sciences. Students inducted as members of this honors and professional society must be biological science majors, have completed a minimum of three semesters and three biology courses at KWU, with at least one course not an introductory biology course, must have a minimum of 3.5 GPA in their biology courses, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall, and be in good academic standing.


Brianna L. Bosley 

Dylan R. Boyd 

Bailee J. Fritts 

Lindsay M. Jones

Chelsea N. Kostyak 

Diego Sanchez 

Kayla M. St. Laurent 


Outstanding Biology Student Award

Presented by Stephanie M. Welter, Ph.D.

This award recognizes outstanding biology students who have not only have an excellent GPA in the biological sciences (minimum of 3.5), but who also fill leadership and community service roles while at KWU.

Recipient: Diego Sanchez               


Chemistry Achievement Award

Presented by Dorothy A. Hanna, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry 

This award is presented to recognize outstanding achievement in academics, service and character. It is given to senior majoring in Chemistry, Chemistry Education or Biomedical Chemistry. To be considered for the award, students must show academic excellence, participate in science outreach activities, provide service to the Chemistry Department and the campus community, show integrity in both their academics and personal life and, finally, serve as role models for other science students.

Recipient: Chelsea N. Kostyak


Communication Student of the Year Awards

Presented by David S. Silverman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication Studies 

This award is presented to recognize outstanding achievement in academics, service to the department, accomplishments and leadership. The award is typically given to a senior (or seniors) majoring in Communications or Public Relations. 

To be considered for the award, students must show academic excellence, participate in internships that will help them beyond graduation and provide outstanding service to the Communication program through their roles in one of our production courses — often serving as a yearbook editor, editor for "The Advance," or for their work on the digital radio station or television program "Newsdesk."


Trail A. Spears

Grant F. Sylvester 


Outstanding Achievement in Computer Studies Award

Presented by Annie M. Hoekman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Computer Science

This award is given to a student who demonstrates excellent academic achievement. This includes excellence in the classroom, research opportunities, special projects and internships.

Recipient: Cole M. Loewer


Debate National Championship Awards

Presented by Barbara J. Marshall Nickell, M.A., Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts


Megan E. Kline 

William A. Vore

Dakota Yates

Autumn D. Zimmerman


Brian Andrew Hodson Memorial Scholarship Award

Presented by Michael R. Russell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History

The Brian Hodson Memorial Scholarship is named for Dr. Brian Hodson, who was a former faculty member in the KWU History Department who tragically passed away at a very young age. His family provided funding so that a scholarship in his name could be established. The award is given to a student who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement in the KWU Department of History.

Recipient: Autumn D. Zimmerman


Outstanding History Graduate Award

Presented by Michael R. Russell, Ph.D.

This award is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and a consistent commitment to the ideals of the Department of History throughout their time at KWU.

Recipient: Dustin T. Mayfield


Phi Alpha Theta New Member

Presented by Michael R. Russell, Ph.D.

Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society, was founded at the University of Arkansas in 1921. There are currently over 900 chapters in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Membership in the society requires a minimum number of History courses taken, a minimum GPA of 3.1 in the History courses, and a 3.0 GPA overall. Members are nominated and elected on the basis of these requirements and of excellence in the study and writing of History. The society seeks to bring students and faculty together both intellectually and socially for mutual understanding and encouragement in their common interest in the study of History.

Member: Autumn D. Zimmerman


Arete Honors Program Designation 

Presentecd by Michael R. Russell, Ph.D.

Wesleyan Fellows, as those enrolled in Arete are called, sharpen their already excellent creative thinking, critical analysis and problem-solving skills while developing a greater intellectual curiosity and engaging in a free exchange of ideas with their professors and fellow students. The Honors Program is an interdisciplinary program featuring unique courses, seminars, colloquia and the opportunity for independent research or performance that support the mission of the program and of Kansas Wesleyan University. Admission to the Honors Program is by invitation through nomination by faculty and approval by the Honors Program Committee.

Member: Michael P. Price


Outstanding Math Graduate Award

Presented by Jacob A. Ogle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Recipient: Zhichen Liu


Outstanding Young Physicist Award

Presented by Kristin L. Kraemer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physics


Zhichen Liu

Darren L. Woodson


Music Department Distinction Award

Presented by Kensuke Hakoda, M.M., Associate Professor of Music

This department distinction is the highest award to be presented to one graduating senior from the Music Department each year. The student demonstrates a high level of musicianship, commitment to the department and KWU, and service to the community. The recipient is nominated by and voted on by the Music faculty.

Recipient: Angelica E. Reinert


Donald B. Olsen Sociology Award

Presented by John K. Burchill, M.A., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice 

This award celebrates Dr. Don Olsen’s many contributions to sociology and in particular to the undergraduate Sociology Program at Kansas Wesleyan University. Started in 2010, The Donald Olsen Sociology Award honors excellence in undergraduate research or activities that demonstrate an application of Sociology to questions about social life.


Louis C. Edmiston

Alissa K. Kim


George Taylor Criminal Justice Award

Presented by John K. Burchill, M.A.

The Reverend George Taylor, Ph.D. was a United Methodist Minister and Professor of Sociology at Kansas Wesleyan University. Dr. Taylor was instrumental in the creation of a criminal justice degree at KWU and a strong supporter of Law Enforcement Education Program.

Started in 2010, The George Taylor Criminal Justice Award honors excellence in undergraduate research or activities that demonstrate an application of the standards of excellence within the criminal justice profession.

Recipient: Zachary J. Kyle


Campbell/Hurd Emergency Management Award

Presented by Lonnie J. Booker Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Emergency Management

Aaron Hurd, a business student and baseball player at Kansas Wesleyan University, suffered sudden cardiac arrest while in class on Dec. 6, 2016. He survived the cardiac event due to the courage and prompt response from fellow student and teammate Rex A. Campbell, KWU faculty and staff, and the Salina EMS team.

The purpose of the Campbell/Hurd Emergency Management award is to recognize students who demonstrate great courage, preparation, prevention and/or response to a disaster or an emergency situation. Nominations are reviewed and the selection made by Center for Public Policy and Safety Faculty. 

Recipient: Rex A. Campbell


Department of Sport and Exercise Science Achievement Award

Presented by Bryan K. Minnich, M.S., Associate Professor of Sports and Exercise Science

The Department of Sport and Exercise Science Achievement Award is presented to a student for his/her outstanding achievements in Exercise Science.

Recipient: Jacob J. Lunz


Teacher of Promise Awards

Presented by Kristine A. Rodriguez, Ed.D., Director of Teacher Education

This honor is awarded by the Kansas Department of Education to two seniors each semester who demonstrate promise entering the field of education, meeting the criteria of nomination by the institution, including full acceptance into Teacher Education, GPA of 3.0 or higher, participation in professional organizations and community service, and demonstrated potential to be an effective beginning teacher. 

Fall 2016 Recipients:

Elementary – Rachel A. Thaemert

Secondary – Keara K. Lenard

Spring 2017 Recipient:

Elementary – Heather A. Koester


Latin Honors Summa Cum Laude*

Presented by Damon Kraft, Ph.D. 


Cassidy R. Cook

Chania A. Kirby

Heather A. Koester           

Chelsea N. Kostyak            

Jacob J. Lunz                       

Lindsey J. Rojas                   

Karlie L. Steinle                  

Rachel A. Thaemert


Latin Honors Magna Cum Laude*

Presented by Damon Kraft, Ph.D.


Bailee J. Fritts     

Hannah N. Leal  

Cole M. Loewer                  

Emily B. Montgomery      

Trail A. Spears


Latin Honors Cum Laude*

Presented by Damon Kraft, Ph.D.


Layne E. Broeker

Jared R. Bushnell

Christeen B. Campbell      

Jennifer K. Carpenter        

Brittany J. Clancy               

Jenna L. Farris                     

Michelle M. Fisher             

Tammy J. Garner               

Nicole C. Himes                  

Jessica A. Holling

Taylor M. Johnson             

Lindsay M. Jones

Zachary A. Koppelmann   

Michael J. Laramie            

Keara K. Lenard                 

Zhichen Liu                          

Catherine C. Massey         

Dustin T. Mayfield             

Katie S. McLaughlin          

Jose F. Mijares                    

Elizabeth H. Nims              

Tori E. Pfertsh                     

Mark L. Price                      

Diego Sanchez                    

Kristin A. Schneweis          

Kayla M. St. Laurent         

Tyler D. Welch


Armed Forces Veteran Honors

Presented by Damon Kraft, Ph.D.


Tammy J. Garner, Army

Merlin W. Hollis, Army

Matthew J. Sharpton, Army

Lee R. Smith-Whaley, Air Force


Student Hall of Fame Awards

Presented by Matthew R. Thompson, Ph.D., President and CEO

This award is presented to at least two graduating seniors (one male and one female) who have demonstrated excellence in balancing campus involvement, community service and academics. Students selected for this honor will have made a difference through their involvement. The criterion for the academic portion of this award is to have maintained at least a 3.25 GPA throughout their time at Wesleyan. Students submit an application and letter of interest to the Hall of Fame Panel consisting of administrators and students, who will review all applications and narrow the pool to six applicants who are invited to a final interview with another panel. That panel selects the students who are recognized. 


Jacob Lunz

Asaria Ramirez


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