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Academic Achievement Awards

April, 25 2014

Kutztown University Honors 2014 Chambliss Award Winners

KUTZTOWN - Kutztown University celebrated the recipients of its annual Academic Achievement Awards in a ceremony on April 4 in the McFarland Student Union.

The ceremony included remarks Dr. Carlson R. Chambliss, Professor Emeritus, Physical Science, and Dr. F. Javier Cevallos, University President.

Faculty members nominate students after they have met one or more of the six areas of achievement. Areas in which achievement can occur include: successfully completed research projects, original artwork of high quality, artistic performances (music, chorus, drama, etc.) of high quality, original writing in literature or meritorious writing in other fields, noteworthy athletics, and outstanding service to the KU community.

The Academic Achievement Award was established through a donation provided by Chambliss, KU faculty member from 1970-2003. The purpose of the awards are to recognize the exceptional individual achievements of a select group of KU graduating seniors. Specially designed coin medallions of gold, silver and copper were presented to the students.

Chambliss Gold

  Spier award
Troy Spier

Troy Spier, from Fleetwood, Pa., is a secondary education-English major graduating this May. Troy receives the Gold Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the categories of Successfully Completed Research Projects and Original Writing in Literature or Meritorious Writing in Other Fields. While still in high school, Troy taught himself the grammar of Ekegusii, a Bantu language of Kenya. His love of linguistics carried over into college, where he is currently working with Dr. Christine Saidi on an independent study of Bantu linguistics and the use of historical linguistics. In Nov. 2012, he presented "Final Vowel Elision in Ekegusii: An Experimental Study," at the Language and Linguistics student conference, and in 2013 presented "Addressing Lynching Historically through African-American Literature" at the 9th Annual Social Research Social Justice Conference at Muhlenberg College. The Social Research Social Justice Journal selected Troy's paper to appear in their online publication. Troy is a finalist for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and is currently awaiting news on his placement. Along with his academic achievements, he is active on campus and within the community. Troy serves as a tutor at the Kutztown University Writing Center, is a member of the Oley Valley School District Strategic Planning Committee and has served as a community volunteer for the Oley Valley Community Library Committee. In the future, Troy plans to attend graduate school for linguistics, and has received a fully-funded admission offer to attend Tulane University's Ph.D. program.

Chambliss Gold Medal

Coco award

Brooke Ann Coco


Brooke Ann Coco, an anthropology and music major from Topton, Pa., graduated in Dec. 2013. Brooke Ann receives the Gold Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the categories of Successfully Completed Research Projects and Artistic Performances of High Quality. While at KU, she conducted original research for two separate projects, and presented the results at four difference conferences. Most recently, her research on "Beating the Odds: An Ethnography of Women in Percussion," was presented at the 2013 American Anthropological Association annual meeting in Chicago. Additionally, she is the recipient of the PASSHE Anthropology Undergraduate Research Conference Outstanding Student Paper Award for "Depression: A Disordered Interpretation," and has presented her research on cross-cultural perspectives regarding depression at the PASSHE Philosophy and Religious Studies Conference and the Undergraduate Conference on Research and Creative Expression. Last year, Brooke Ann was one of two honor students selected to represent Kutztown University in PASSHE's 2013 Summer Study Abroad Honors program. She has performed music compositions around the world, including in Croatia at the invitation-only 2010 International Percussion Ensemble Week. Within the community, Brooke Ann has volunteered with the Reading Music Foundation, the Friend, Inc. (a multi-service social agency), and worked at the Kutztown Pennsylvania German Folk Festival. On campus, she has worked for Kutztown University Housing and Residential Services and the Office of Conference Services, and served in leadership positions ranging from treasurer to president in the student percussion organization. In the future, Brooke Ann plans to attend graduate school.

Silver Medal

 Thudium award 
Kristie Thudium

Kristie Thudium, a psychology major from Lititz, Pa., will graduate this May. She is receiving a Silver Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the categories of Original Writing in Literature or Meritorious Writing in Other Fields and Successfully Completed Research Projects. Kristie has been an active student in the psychology department, and works as a research assistant for Dr. Avidan Milevsky and Dr. Stephen Oross. She is the co-author of "Cross Cultural Variations in Parenting Challenges" and "A Qualitative Examination of Dating Partnerships in Emerging Adulthood," with Dr. Milevsky. Kristie has presented her research at the 2013 Eastern Psychological Association annual conference, and will present at the Association for Psychological Sciences this May. Additionally, she is a co-author for the upcoming book, "The Transitory Nature of Parent, Sibling and Romantic Partner Relationships in Emerging Adulthood," which has been accepted for publication with Springer Publishing. Kristie has achieved Dean's List every semester and was recently the recipient of the psychology department's Academic Achievement Award. She currently serves as the president of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology and the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society. In summer 2013, Kristie was selected to work at the Summer Treatment Program for Children with Behavioral Problems at Florida International University's Center for Children and Families. Extensive volunteer work with Schreiber Pediatric, the Special Olympics, the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters has prepared her for work as a child counselor and researcher. After graduation, she hopes to travel abroad and teach English in children's orphanages. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school and work for a nonprofit organization to assist underprivileged youth and their families.

Silver Medal
 Jackson award
Chloe Jackson

Chloe Jackson, from Mertztown, Pa., is a fine arts major with a minor in art history. She earned her bachelor's degree in Dec. 2013. Chloe is receiving a Silver Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the categories of Successfully Completed Research Projects, Original Artwork of High Quality, and Outstanding Service to the Kutztown University Community. In fall 2013, she presented a paper entitled "Church Architecture of the Sixteenth Century Conversion Efforts in News Spain" at the Southeastern College Art Association's annual conference in Durham, N.C. Chloe was awarded a Neag Undergraduate Research Grant for her travel to the conference, and will be honored with the Art History Award in spring 2014. As a requirement for her minor in art history, Chloe sought and won a competitive internship at the Allentown Art Museum, where she worked for the museum's curator, and assisted with the research and writing of didactic panels for the exhibition "Paul Harryn: Essence of Nature." As a result of the work conducted during her internship, Chloe was hired as a research assistant for an exhibition catalogue the Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery is publishing in honor of KU's sesquicentennial celebration. Chloe has been featured as an emerging artist by the Red Raven Art Company in Lancaster, Pa., and her work has been shown throughout campus, as well as at the Dixon Center in Harrisburg, Pa. and on the website. On campus, Chloe has served the KU arts community by working as an assistant for the art gallery. In the future, Chloe plans to pursue a career as a painter or art historian.

Silver Medal

Reynolds award 
Erin Reynolds

York, Pa. native Erin Reynolds will graduate this May with a degree in elementary education. Erin is receiving a Silver Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the category of Noteworthy Achievements in Athletics. Erin has become one of only seven field hockey players in KU's history to receive multiple All-American honors. Among her titles, she holds four All-PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) honors; was named the 2010 PSAC East Freshman of the Year; played on the 2010 National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-Rookie Squad; started in 70 of 72 career games played; played in the 2013 NFHCA North/South Senior Game; and was a three-time NFHCA All-Academic Squad player and three-time PSAC Scholar-Athlete. In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Erin has served as treasurer for the KU Student Athlete Advisory Committee and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society for the field of education. Erin plans to pursue a fulltime elementary education teaching position, and coach field hockey at the high school or collegiate level.

Silver Medal

 Musa award

Dea Musa

Dea Musa, from Catasauqua, Pa., will receive her bachelor's degree in geology in May 2014. Dea receives the Silver Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the category of Successfully Completed Research Projects. She has researched three-dimensional mapping of glacial deposits in central New York state; identified stream flow loss in a watershed impacted by abandoned mine drainage near Minersville, Pa.; and conducted geophysical mapping of brine springs in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. Dea is the recipient of KU's Physical Sciences Faculty Scholarship; the Carole and Ray Neag Undergraduate Research Grant; and a scholarship from Geometrics, a geophysical equipment company, to present her research the annual Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems. In Feb. 2012, she won first place in the 2012 Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists Scholarship Award program for her essay on the significance of geology in Pennsylvania. Dea is the parliamentarian for the geology club, and has served as president of the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society (EEGS) student chapter, which she helped establish at KU. In the future, she hopes to obtain an internship at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Copper Medal

Sechrist award
Guy Sechrist

Camp Hill, Pa. native Guy Sechrist, graduating in May 2014, is a history major with minors in philosophy and sociology. Guy receives the Copper Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the category of Successfully Completed Research Projects. For his interdisciplinary research project, Guy investigated the interrelationship between medicine, the criminalization of social deviance and the persecution of social minorities in modern Western civilization. He has presented papers on his work at several regional undergraduate conferences, including the Moravian College Conference for Medieval and Early Modern Studies and the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honors Society Conference. His paper presentations cover a wide array of subjects, including the persecution of lepers and Jews in the Middle Ages; the development of mental asylums during the Enlightenment; galley servitude in the Early Modern Era; and the persecution of Algerians in the French Empire. Guy is the recipient of the Department of History's Anthony J. Mazzaferri Award and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty Scholarship Award, and is a member of the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society and the Alpha Kappa Delta International Honor Society of Sociology. While at KU, he has served as a supplementary instructor for an undergraduate history course, and was hired by the Army War College to maintain and oversee mobile online applications for the Army Heritage Education Center in summer 2011, and by the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command in summer 2012 to conduct archival research and recovery. In the future, Guy plans to attend graduate school to study history. 

Copper Medal

Nicholas Imbesi

Nicholas Imbesi, from Mohrsville, Pa., will receive his bachelor's degree in public administration in May 2014. Nicholas receives the Copper Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the category of Outstanding Service to the Kutztown University Community. Nicholas was elected president of the Student Government Board (SGB) in spring 2013, for the 2013 - 2014 academic year. As president, he advocated for SGB participation in TURBOVOTE, a voter registration and participation organization, and through this effort more than 1,200 KU students registered to vote using the service. Furthermore, he has been an avid proponent of socially conscious action on campus, and at the request of the provost, established an ad hoc committee within the SGB to address enrollment concerns. His leadership in the SGB has also led to a number of enhancements to the campus, including Wi-Fi access in the residence halls and a degree audit system within MyKU, the institution's student information system. Nicholas has also participated in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Advocacy Days at the State Capital and arranged for state Sen. Judy Schwank to give a presentation to the SGB on the impact of recent decreases in state funding. During spring 2014, Nicholas was accepted for an internship with the borough manager of Kutztown, where he was able to gain further knowledge of how municipalities function and hone the skills necessary for effective civic engagement. Nicholas is the recipient of the Rosa Parks Scholarship for Civic Engagement and the Student Leadership Scholarship. Following graduation, Nicholas will enroll in a master's of public administration program, and he hopes to become an elected official at the county or state level, in order to best serve the public.

Copper Medal

Rock award 
Marlena Rock

Shermans Dale, Pa. native Marlena Rock, graduating in May 2014, is a geology major with a minor in chemistry. Marlena receives the Copper Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the category of Successfully Completed Research Projects. In summer 2013, Rock traveled to West Chester University and used their scanning electron microscope to analyze thin section slides taken from the Grasberg ore body in Indonesia, to determine the mineralogical association of gold inside the ore body. KU professor Dr. Kurt Friehauf collected bore hole samples for the slides in 2002. Marlena's individual research is supported by a Neag Undergraduate Research Grant; she also assists on other students' projects and recently collected data on the Schuylkill River and abandoned mine drainage. In March 2014 she travelled to the Argonne National Laboratory in Northern Illinois to use their Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer, and requested beam time on their Synchrotron X-ray Fluorescence Microprobe. Marlena has presented her research at the National Geological Society of America meeting in Denver, and has co-authored two research projects with classmates.

In addition to her extracurricular research, Marlena is secretary for the student geology club. Following graduation, she plans to pursue graduate studies in order to become an economic geologist.

Copper Medal

 Warren award
E. Justin Warren

E. Justin Warren, from Marietta, Pa., will graduate this May with his bachelor's degree in marine science and biology. E. Justin receives the Copper Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the category of Successfully Completed Research Projects. During his time at KU, he developed and tested a novel methodology to measure the metabolic rate of very small individual zooplankton. This approach allows scientists to accurately assess the response of individual organisms to a variety of changing environmental conditions, and E. Justin has proven that it can also be used to effectively measure the effect of hydrostatic pressure. He presented this research at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu Hawaii in February 2014. In addition to his research, E. Justin has been active in the campus community, both in the Department of Biology and the university's Honors Program. In the future, E. Justin plans to attend graduate school.

copper medal

McCormmick award

Mary McCormick

Sinking Spring, Pa. native Mary McCormick will earn her bachelor's degree in music this May. Mary receives the Copper Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the category of Artistic Performances of High Quality. She has performed Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim," from Samson with the University Orchestra; a soprano solo in Brahms Requiem; and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," from "Phantom of the Opera," with the University Orchestra. She was also the soprano soloist with the Jazz Ensemble I at the Celebratory Concert Gala Dedication for the renovated Schaeffer Auditorium and for Jonathan Willcoks' Magnificat. In Feb. 2012 she won first place in the classical division at the Lehigh Valley National Association of Teachers of Singing Annual Auditions, held at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., and is the recipient of the Isabel W. Sondheim Scholarship from the Reading Music Foundation for Outstanding College Division Singer. In addition to her vocal accomplishments, Mary has served as a tutor for the Department of Music, and assists students in all levels of music theory, aural skills and class piano. In the future, Mary plans to attend a master's degree program in vocal performance.