Honors College recognizes outstanding undergraduates

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Celebrating student success was the focus of an awards ceremony held recently in the offices of the Honors College.

Three students who were endorsed by the University for prestigious, national scholarships were recognized. They were Kristina Drye, a student in the University Honors Program in the Honors College and a double major in global, international and area studies and political science, who was nominated for the Truman Scholarship; her mentor was Cindy Combs in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Krista Smith, a student majoring in physics and mathematics, was recommended for the Goldwater Scholarship; her faculty mentor was Tsing-hua Her from the Department of Physics and Optical Sciences. Special education major Caitlin Vaverek was nominated for the Marshall Scholarship; her mentor was Ian Binns from the Department of Reading and Elementary Education.

Vaverek and fellow Levine Scholar Celia Karp were honored as Fulbright U.S. Student Program recipients.

Karp, who is majoring in communication studies and public health sciences, earned a research grant. She will travel to Ecuador to study maternal mortality in that country. Alan Freitag, communication studies, was her mentor.

Levine Scholar Vaverek received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program grant; she will travel to Nepal to teach English to primary or secondary students for eight months. Binns also was her mentor.

Michael Mills, a student in the Department of Psychology Honors Program, received the Honors College Avenir Foundation Scholarship of $1,000. It is given to a deserving undergraduate who has cultivated a relationship with a faculty mentor and who is actively engaged in a senior honors project/thesis. Jeanette Bennett, psychology, is Mills’ mentor.

Exercise science major Samantha Glenn, a member of both the University Honors Program in the Honors College and the Department of Kinesiology Honors Program, was the recipient of the Honors College Delbridge E. Narron Scholarship, a $2,000 award given a rising junior or senior who is a full-time enrollee of the University Honors Program or who is pursuing departmental honors. In addition, the awardee must present evidence of character as demonstrated through his or her involvement in community service work or reasonably similar extracurricular activities, and the recipient must present evidence of a commitment to learning, an open mind and an acceptance of diverse cultures, genders and sexual orientations. David Verrill from the Kinesiology Department was her mentor.

Truman Scholarship nominee Drye also received a $2,000 Delbridge E. Narron Travel Award, which supports global study. Combs was her mentor.

Malin Pereira, executive director of the Honors College, congratulated the recipients, whose “work went beyond their current obligations and connote excellence, high achievement and evidence of potential only beginning to be fulfilled.” She also expressed her appreciation to honors faculty, scholarship committee members, program directors and mentors for their contributions in support of their students and the University.

rothwellDuring the awards program, UNC Charlotte alumna Casey Rimland, the University’s first Goldwater Scholar and a graduate of both the University Honors Program in the Honors College and the Department of Psychology Honors Program, was recognized for her recent efforts to mentor honors students as part of the scholarship process. She shared her firsthand experience of successfully applying for the Goldwater Scholarship and most recently the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Rimland completed a bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from the University in May 2012 and began medical school at UNC Chapel Hill as part of an eight-year scholarship through the National Institutes of Health Oxford Cambridge Scholars Program.

Also, Connie Rothwell, director of the University Honors Program in the Honors College, was singled out for special recognition. Rothwell, who has been the program director for 11 years, is stepping down to return to full-time teaching in the University Writing Program.

Photos (main): Caitlyn Vaverek, Kristina Drye, Celia Karp, Samantha Glenn and Krista Smith attended the recent Honors College recognition ceremony; (inset) Connie Rothwell.