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April 10, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


SRU students earn awards

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Seven Slippery Rock University students will have stars named in their honor as part of the Rising Star Celebration hosted Thursday in the University Union.

           The Rising Star Awards, sponsored by AVI Fresh, the campus contract food vendor, includes having a star named for the recipient in the International Star Registry, a sky chart identifying the location of the star and an astronomy booklet.

           The awards, along with a number of others honors, were presented at ceremonies hosted at the University Union.

           The Rising Star Award is presented to students who influence positive change, inspire peers, faculty and professional staff and effectively delegates, communicates and empowers organization members. Recipients must balance academic life with leadership opportunities and stand out within the organization.

            Recipients of the Rising Star Award are:

     Natalee Bufalini, a health and physical education major from Aliquippa, who is president of the 100-member Physical Education Teacher Education Club, secretary of the physical education honorary, Phi Epsilon Kappa, and treasure of the Aquatic and SCUBA Club. She is chair of the 42nd annual PETE Mini-Convention.

  • Shane Ellis, a safety management major from Homesdale, who was cited for inspiring his fraternity brothers and other students to affect positive change for the benefit of others. He was called a “standout leader who empowers others by role modeling and delegating duties while inspiring those around him to achieve.”
  • Sarah Browne, an English major from Cranberry Township, started SRU’s Global Literacy Organization. In its first year, under Browne’s leadership, the organization raised money in support of the Latham Fire Fund, benefitting a school in Missouri that had burned to the ground. She also raised money to contribute to the building of a school in Leer Sudan.
  • Oliver Laniear, a criminology and criminal justice major from Pittsburgh, was cited for his work as vice president of programming for the Association of Residence Hall Students. He helped coordinate all aspects of the 2012 Rave-A-Palooza event.
  • Sydney Carter, a communication major from Verona, who is president of the newly formed Women Empowerment and Leadership organization, which she founded last spring. As president, she planned programs such as resume writing workshops and “Dress for Success” to encourage students to see the possibilities the organization could have.
  • Tresa Gnalian, an early childhood/special education major from Sewickley, whose nomination reports she has been an overwhelming force of positive energy in the Green and White Society. She serves as the organization’s vice president of traditions and has presented a semester’s worth of new ideas for improving school spirit; and
  • Aderonia Foreback, a professional studies major from Warren, Ohio, who has been involved with the University Program Board for four years and has consistently taken additional levels of leadership within the organization. She started as a committee member and moved to president.

            Others nominated for the award were: Kelly Moore, a communication major from Erie; Jessica Smith, a history major from Rochester; Mark Beckwith, a mathematics major from Rixford; Grace Evans, a mathematics major from Apollo; Camilla Tonkin, an exercise science major from Indiana, Pa.; Austin Hawk, an elementary education/early childhood development major from Butler; Shatreece Johnson, a public health/social work major from Erie; Alexandria Evans, a community programs for Americans with disabilities major from Venetia; Carmen Fortunato, a communication major from Clairton; Dan Estes, a psychology major from Mountain Lakes, N.J., Terrell Foster,  a communication  major from Harrisburg; and Adam Katchmarchi, a physical education major from Falls Creek.

Ciarra Karnes, a psychology major from Slippery Rock, was presented the Silent Inspiration Award, which is awarded to a student who has served his or her organization in an unassuming and quiet manner. This award is for a student who has not yet held a leadership role, but through a commitment of time and energy has made an impact on the organization and the University community.

Karnes is an Americorps member who started last semester in the program, but has been dedicated to helping others and working diligently as an ambassador for the homeless. She carries on her work with sincerity, caring for others and is supportive to those with whom she works.

Other Silent Inspiration Award nominees were: Danielle Johns, an early childhood development major from Worthington; and Josh Rodgers, a psychology major from Utica.

Austin Hawk, an elementary education/early childhood development from Butler, was presented the Student Leader of the Year Award. The award is presented to the student recognized by peers as being especially dedicated to activities ranging from scholastic to extracurricular activities. The recipient is required to have made outstanding contributions to campuswide, co-curricular programs, as well as for high-quality leadership and organizational ability in helping plan and present programs.

Hawk is president of SRU’s Green & White Society and has served as a senator for Student Government Association and as a member of numerous clubs and organizations on campus, including Amnesty International, Secondary Education Club, Association of Residence Hall Students, Philosophy Club and the Sophomore Initiative Program.

He was cited for his passion for creating a culture of giving on campus and in society. His ability to handle academics as well as co-curricular activities and to act in a mature, responsible and capable way, making him reliable in all of his endeavors was part of his nomination.

Hawk served as a role model for peers in and out of the classroom.

Other nominated for the award were: Evans; Ashley Taylor, an English major from West Mifflin; Madison Holzman, a philosophy major from Apollo; Jordan Bailley, a political science major from North Versailles; and Carmen Fortunato, a communication major from Clariton.

Evans was named the recipient of the Student Community Service Award, which is presented to an SRU student who makes service a priority. The award is given to a student who has made an impact on an organization, community or agency serving as a positive role model and has boosted courage, spirit and hope in other individuals.

Evans was nominated for her passion for service and for constantly thinking about ways to help others and change the campus culture. She was cited as an inspiration to peers and for encouraging them to reach their ultimate potential. As a member of Americorps, the Green & White Society, the Honors Program and other campus organizations, Evans planned Backpacks to Briefcases, Campus Clean-ups and the Hike for Hope event this spring. She has participated in numerous Care Break programs.

            Karnes was also nominated for the award.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.