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March 22, 2011

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




Math/dance major earns PASSHE Ali-Zaidi award nomination


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Samantha Corvino, a senior mathematics and dance major from East Greenbush, N.Y., is Slippery Rock University’s nominee for the Syed Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence, which will be awarded by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Corvino will be recognized at SRU’s 2 p.m., April 3 Academic Honors Convocation in Morrow Field House.

Each of the 14 member universities of the state system submit a nomination for the award.

The award was established by Ali-Zaidi, a charter member of PASSHE’s board of governors and a strong advocate for the system’s universities and inspired by Ali-Zaidi’s memories of his grandfather, Mir Wilayat Husain.

The award is based on outstanding academic performance in the academic major and in other areas of study; recognition of scholarship by members of the University faculty; participation in extra/co-curricular activities during the undergraduate years; and a nominee-submitted essay addressing how the University has prepared the student for the next step.

Corvino’s nomination from faculty in the math department was endorsed by Susan Hannam, dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science.

Corvino will graduate in May with a 3.912 grade-point average and will receive a bachelor of science in mathematics and a bachelor of arts in dance. She minored in community health and will receive a certificate in statistics.

She has served as president of the SRU Math Club and has attended a number of related conferences, including the Joint Mathematics meetings in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, and the Consortium for Mathematics and its Application modeling competition where she received meritorious recognition.

She was inducted into Kappa Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society, in 2009 and serves as vice president of the SRU chapter.

Corvino attended the Research Experiences for Undergraduates at the University of Tennessee, the Summer Institute for Training in Biostatics at the University of Pittsburgh and the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics. At SRU, she has twice contributed to the international Mathematical Contest in Modeling, a program that requires ingenuity, adaptability and strong skills in teamwork. The competition involves 1,700 collegiate teams.

 At SRU, she serves as a math tutor assisting students with difficulties in math by helping them understand the connection between mathematical principles and real-world problems.

An active participant in the SRU dance department, Corvino mentors other dance students. She has performed with and choreographed for the SRU Dance Team and the jazz/tap ensemble.

One math faculty nominator wrote, “She is a very strong, enthusiastic and dedicated student with broad intellectual and social interests and a great talent for inspiring and collaborating with others. She is highly deserving of this honor and recognition. She is the strongest student among our roughly 100 mathematics majors at Slippery Rock University. She has excelled in our program, taking many courses much earlier in her career than most of her peers…Sam is dedicated to understanding deeply, her discipline, thoroughness and attention to detail are outstanding. She has twice been voted Outstanding Mathematics Students by SRU’s mathematics department faculty.”

 “She is one of the strongest and most motivated students I have encountered in more than 40 years of teaching,” wrote another nominator.

She organized the Math Club’s first-ever participation in SRU’s Relay for Life program and has participated in the University’s Care Break Program.

Her awards include the Leadership in Science Scholarship, the Coen Family Scholarship, the Hubert C. Voltz Scholarship, the Mathematics Services Award, the Christopher Bascom Memorial Scholarship and the Spotlight on Youth Award for exemplary leadership and community service.

Convocation will also honor nearly 2,812 dean's list students, 60 Presidential Scholar honorees, 636 academic scholarship recipients, 143 scholar athletes, 11 community service learning volunteers and other 2011 President's Award recipients, including Kimberly Smith, SRU assistant professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, recipient of the 2011 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Alan Levy, SRU history professor and author of “Floyd Patterson: A Boxer and a Gentleman,” the life story of the legendary boxer, recipient of the President’s Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement; and Kathleen Jack, executive staff assistant in Slippery Rock University’s University Advancement Division, recipient of the 2011 President’s Award for Outstanding Service.

            A reception for convocation participants and their guests will follow the event in the field house.


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.