2007 Student Achievement Citations

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 9:24am
Posted: February 13, 2007

Recognition of Student Leaders

Sava Asmelash '07
The overarching theme of Sava's involvement on campus has focused on creating a campus community that is truly inclusive. Sava has achieved this through her participation in a range of organizations: Class Board, APAU, SGA, and the Black History Month Committee. One of her greatest leadership qualities has been her focus on connecting to and mentoring others, as her nominator states: "She has the gift of drawing your passions out slowly and appreciating them for what they are."

Tamara Bullock '07
Here are some of the words that Tamara's nominators used to describe her: bridge-builder, activist, coalition creator, committed, tireless, trailblazer. It would be impossible to list all of the organizations, projects, and events that she has made significant contributions to, but I will try: MHACASA, the Weissman Center, Cultural Heritage Month Committees, Committee against Gender Violence, and many, many more. Again, I will turn to the words of one of her nominators, "Tamara is not just someone who talks about her interests, but is someone who lives her causes." Mount Holyoke has benefited greatly from her passion and dedication.

Katherine Greenier '07
Katherine supports active engagement with the world through her work with the Mount Holyoke ACLU. She has coordinated several important educational campaigns around the Patriot Act, the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy of the U.S. armed forces, and opposition to torture abroad. As her nominator shares, "She has been willing to engage others in difficult conversations and debate issues with them. I believe her dedication to these issues comes from true convictions and that her passion arises from a desire to serve the best interests of our community."

Megan Herzog '07
Megan has been a consistent contributor to campus life through her work with SGA, athletics, and several key campus committees including the Student Conference Committee. I want to highlight her particular contribution to MHC as the chair of All Campus Elections committee. Her nominator states, "the design and implementation of the first all campus elections process might have made UN negotiations look easy ... Megan was most valued for her friendly, compassionate, levelheaded decision making and follow-through." Her work helped create greater visibility for and investment in the election process.

Mufaro Kanyangarara '07
Mufaro has been a consistent and dedicated member of several campus committees including the MCCL and Student Planning and Budget Committee. She is the cochair of the International Student Orientation Committee and an active member of MHACASA and Daughters of Zion. Mufaro is not the type of leader who seeks the limelight--she is very humble about her many accomplishments. But her impact has been great as she leads by example and is always willing to give assistance to others. She is dedicated, hard working, open-minded, and honorable in all she does.

Rebecca Lenn '07
When asked to describe her leadership and service qualities Becca stated, "My fixation on inclusiveness in our community stems from a strong belief that a true community is one in which all members are engaged equally and are given equal opportunity to carry influence into every decision and debate that affects the community at large." Becca has realized her passions through her commitment to being a bridge between students and the SGA through her publicity work and involvement in cultural heritage months and the multicultural student forum.

Michelle Moon '07
I think one of Michelle's nominators says it best: "When Michelle was a first-year the Environmental Action Coalition (or EAC) just handed out light switch plate magnets and begged people to recycle. But through Michelle's leadership EAC is now widely recognized within the MHC community as a pivotal student organization." Michelle has done similar work in reviving the MHC Outing Club. Michelle attributes her success to networking skills and delegation. EAC and the Outing Club will continue to thrive thanks to Michelle's contributions.

Weissman Center Leadership Award for Excellence

Laura Trutoiu '08
Laura Trutoiu is simply a joy to know and a wonder to behold when she is at work in the center. There are four words that she utters on many an occasion, and it is these that inspired us to recognize her today. "I can do that," she says, with a mischievous grin or a knowing glance as various members of the Weissman Center engage with her on technology projects, and ambitious and vital Web design efforts.

A computer science major who is completing a minor in mathematics with a current GPA of 3.92, Laura continues to thrive here at Mount Holyoke. This multilingual citizen of our twenty-first-century world speaks English, Romanian, and French, and is embarking now on fluency in German and Turkish. A recent recipient of the Starr Foundation Scholarship Award for Outstanding Academic Performance and a newly minted Sarah Williston Scholar, she shapes the world as we know it both here and beyond Mount Holyoke. She has worked as a lead software engineer at Hampshire College, as an undergraduate researcher at Vanderbilt University and the University of Utah School of Computing, and as a research assistant at Smith on the Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technologies. We benefit from her tenacity, her passion for computers and innovation in technology, her never-failing diplomacy, and her love of sheer possibility--virtual and otherwise. Laura, thank you for bringing your gifts and insights to bear so positively on the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts.

Laura Obuobi '07
Laura Obuobi simply beamed when we began to talk about the Weissman Center and the possibility of her joining our staff of administrative fellows. Her gracious bearing, penchant for quiet work that resonates emphatically with the goals at hand, and unfailing dedication to the center all contribute to our recognition of her today. A psychology major and member of the class of 2007, she brings rich perspectives to bear on the current events and historical matters on which recent Weissman Center programs have focused. A native of Ghana who is fluent in Twi, English, and Spanish, she has endeared herself to many through her work as treasurer of the student organization Daughters of Zion, as a student adviser in Safford, and as a student assistant in the financial services office. It was Laura who presided over the center this summer---and used her time to conduct vital foundational research that allowed our fall programs on migration to succeed.

Stephanie Kim '08
The Weissman Center has had the benefit of Stephanie Kim's enthusiasm and ideas for two years. This year, she became one of our three administrative fellows. A politics and biology major with a GPA of 3.965, she has been recognized as a Sarah Williston Scholar. Her activities at Mount Holyoke have strengthened the contributions that she has made to the center. We have benefited from her experience as chair of organizations with the SGA, her service as secretary of the 2008 Class Board, and her work as Hall senator in 2004-2005, which included a substantial discussion with residents on controversial contemporary topics. This past summer, she brought all those talents to bear, no doubt, during her internship in the office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, where she not only organized and delivered confidential mail addressed to himself, but also communicated the governor's policies and agenda to constituents, including state, regional, and local VIPs.

In many ways, Laura Obuobi and Stephanie Kim arrived at a mutual point of excellence this past fall term. Both of them have accepted the invitation to work on substantial projects, ones that have the potential to enrich the center's programs. In November, both Laura and Stephanie confirmed for many of us who call Porter home, that their intellectual curiosity, midsemester stamina, and purposefulness will help our world to regain a steady course. Our November 2006 event on the Sudan, its refugees, and the complicated issues of human rights and returns to ravaged nations, began with a stunning multimedia presentation. That piece, which many still are clamoring to see and hear, provided all who gathered for the keynote lecture by Dr. Gloria White-Hammond with an illuminating view of a nation and its peoples. Laura and Stephanie combed through acres of data, sorted through numerous images, and confronted hundreds of sobering, difficult, and vital facts. Together they crafted a mini-documentary that reminded us that culture, peace, prosperity, history, and the power of women cannot and should not be obscured or undone by civil war, rampant evil, or genocide. Their research, work ethic, and broad capacity for joyous collaboration, unrelenting pursuit of facts and fictions, and their inspiring commitment to share knowledge more than justify our recognition of their multifaceted excellence.

The Mount Holyoke College Community Service Award

Yedalis Ruiz FP '08
Almost as soon as you set foot on campus in the spring of 2005, you became involved in community-based learning. You were a stellar CBL mentor in the educational psychology course and eventually became an administrative fellow for CBL, where your dedication and work ethic went well beyond the call of duty. A year ago, you worked with two students documenting the process of community outreach for the reconstruction of a park and schoolyard in Springfield. During the same semester you worked with a new theater group in Holyoke to put on a play about domestic violence in the Puerto Rican community. Not only did you act and sing in the play, but you fundraised as well so that the theatre group would have the necessary costumes and props.

This year, you played a key role in CBL and CAUSE's mutual endeavor, the Festival for Community Action in September, in CBL's first Community Forum in November, and in the ongoing DeBerry Schoolyard Fundraising Project. In addition to your duties at CBL, and as copresident of the Frances Perkins Student Association, you are an active mentor to students at Holyoke Community College who hope to transfer to Mount Holyoke to complete their bachelor's degree. In January, you were honored to participate on a panel with President Creighton at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, speaking about "Preparing Women for Public Policy Leadership through Service Learning Partnerships."

Your background as a member of a Puerto Rican neighborhood while growing up, along with your extensive work for nonprofit organizations, has influenced and enhanced your unique perspective and contribution to CBL and to this campus. With your combined drive, intelligence, dedication, and genuine concern for the Mount Holyoke community and communities off campus, there is no doubt that you are truly deserving of this year's Community Service Award.

Tina Cardone '07
Tina, one of your outstanding contributions to Mount Holyoke's campus is your long and sustained commitment to Habitat for Humanity, a commitment that has acted as a model and incentive for other students to participate. First as a volunteer, and then as a project coordinator, you have organized, led, and participated in numerous local and national construction projects that have helped to change the face of poverty housing for many. You have easily given up spring breaks to build nationally with Habitat in West Virginia and Georgia. Along with other Mount Holyoke colleagues, you have used your mentoring and organizational skills so effectively that you have recruited and motivated large numbers of students to participate, so much so that there is now a long list of those wanting to join local Habitat projects, more than the Pioneer Valley currently offers. There is no doubt that you have helped to put Habitat for Humanity on the map at Mount Holyoke.

Your other accomplishments including organizing and participating in Relay for Life, a fundraiser for cancer victims, for three years; your challenging work for two years in overcoming numerous obstacles to organize and make successful the Tax Coalition Project which involves Mount Holyoke math students in assisting low-income seniors; not to mention your position as cochair of CAUSE, in which you work with large numbers of people, including the CAUSE leadership board, project coordinators, community representatives, and people searching to be involved with CAUSE to effect change--all demonstrate your range and depth of dedication and your capacity to easily interact, to influence, to delegate, to listen, and to learn. Tina, I am proud and grateful to have had the privilege of working alongside you these past years. Without a doubt you are truly deserving of the Community Service Award.

The Maurice L. Rabbino Award

Margaret A. Maggio '07
Maggie, as the Student Government Association treasurer, you are responsible for the funds that fuel a vast array of student activities and keep the Mount Holyoke community vibrant and alive. You are the first student in recent memory to serve two terms in this role, which speaks volumes about your effectiveness and the respect you've earned from your peers. You are thoughtful, patient, and organized. You hold yourself and those with whom you work to the highest ethical standards. In your second term, you have taken on the daunting project of overhauling the entire accounting system and creating the new SGA Business Office. Thanks to your hard work and your vision, your legacy will be felt on campus for years to come. It is my pleasure to name you the recipient of the Maurice L. Rabbino Award.

The Helen Warren Smith Award

Cydney C. Forrest '07
Cydney, your leadership and tireless work on behalf of the Mount Holyoke community are commendable. You have committed yourself to fostering compassion and acceptance both within and between numerous student organizations. As the chair of the Association of Pan African Unity, you have been a visible and productive figure on campus, and we have all benefited from the work that has occurred under your leadership--from dinners, programs, and social events to the celebration of Black History Month. You approach all your endeavors with integrity, candor, and a generous spirit. Cydney, your dedication to the community on multiple fronts is inspiring to us all. I am pleased to name you the recipient of this year's Helen Warren Smith Award.

The Frances Harriet Williams Award

Janice V. Arellano '07
Janice, you call yourself a "Jersey Girl," and you are rightly proud of the hard work and initiative that brought you here to Mount Holyoke. You are philosophy major with a special minor in ethnic studies, and you studied abroad in Ecuador. You've been a leader in numerous student organizations, and you care deeply about the disadvantaged and silenced communities here and at home. You helped initiate the Festival for Community Action, and you edit the literary magazine VIDA. You have served as a volunteer in Vieques, Puerto Rico, where you mentored young adults transitioning out of drug culture and into education. After Mount Holyoke you hope to pursue a dual degree in American studies and law, and in the future to become a defense lawyer, scholar, and educational activist. It is my pleasure to present you with the Frances Harriet Williams Award.

Lucy Sanchez Covarrubias '07
Lucy, you are an English major and chemistry minor and the first in your family to attend college. Despite academic difficulties in your first year, you never gave up on your goal of becoming a pediatrician. At Mount Holyoke, you have discovered a love of scientific research, which has inspired you to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in medical pharmacology. As cochair of Sistahs in Science, you have worked to create a supportive network of student and faculty for ALANA students pursuing careers in science- or health-related fields. By encouraging students to take advantage of the many resources on campus, you are helping your peers attain the skills necessary to succeed not only at Mount Holyoke, but in whatever field they choose to pursue. It is my pleasure to present you with the Frances Harriet Williams Award.

The Karen Snyder Sullivan Memorial Travel Award

Cheyenne M. Gleason '09
Cheyenne, you are a native of New York State, but you yearn to see the world, with all the independence and opportunity for adventure that entails. You studied Spanish in high school and developed a deep interest in its history and its people. Your fascination with the diversity of human culture has drawn you toward the field of anthropology. You have wanted nothing more than to go to Spain and experience its culture firsthand, from its historical foundations to its recent economic and artistic resurgence. Women come from all over the world to be together at Mount Holyoke, and with this award, we are returning the favor by sending you out. Cheyenne, I am pleased to name you recipient of the Karen Snyder Sullivan Memorial Travel Award.

Related Link:

MHC Celebrates Student Achievement

2007 Phi Beta Kappa Citations

Photo Gallery