SRU celebrates its ‘Rising Stars’ at award ceremony


Rising Star Award Winners 2016-17

May 4, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - It was easier than ever to "count your lucky stars" May 3 as a group of Slippery Rock University students gathered in the Smith Student Center Ballroom to be recognized at the 2016-17 "Rising Star Ceremony."

The Rising Star awards, sponsored by AVI Fresh, the University's contract food vendor, are presented to students that influence positive change, inspire peers, faculty, and professional staff that effectively delegate, communicate and empower organization's members. The recipients are required to balance academic life with leadership opportunities and stand out within their organizations. Each recipient received a certificate naming their star and a map showing where their star is located.

This year's AVI Rising Star awards went to:

  • Aaron Carr, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Erie;
  • Alexandra Foster, a junior exercise science major from Goffstown, New Hampshire;
  • Riley Keffer, a junior secondary education major from Grove City;
  • Karina Montgomery, a senior secondary education major from Indiana;
  • Leanna O'Hora, a sophomore exercise science major from Lake Ariel;
  • Jenna Temple, a senior psychology major from Gettysburg;
  • Scott Vogelgesang, a senior integrated marketing communications major from South Lake Tahoe, California; and
  • Zackary Weismann, a sophomore secondary education major from Pittsburgh

Rising Star Awards were also presented in the Student Leader of the Year and the Silent Inspiration categories.

Odell Richardson, a senior public health major from Philadelphia, was named SRU's Student Leader of the Year at the event, which also recognized a number of University organizations for their programming and campus and community service.

In receiving the Student Leader of the Year Award, Richardson, who has served as president for SRU's chapter of the Black Action Society, was recognized by his peers for his continued involvement as a Jump Start mentor; work as a student assistant in SRU's Office for Inclusive Excellence; participation in the Gospel Choir; and his role as an SGA senator.

Niyah Pope, a sophomore early childhood education major from Turtle Creek, was presented with the Silent Inspiration Award, given to an SRU student who has served his or her organization in an unassuming and quiet manner. The award is for a student who has not yet been in a leadership role, but through a commitment of time and energy he or she has made an impact on the organization and the University community.

Brittany Fleming, assistant professor of communication, received the Club Adviser of the Year Award, created in recognition of an adviser who goes beyond the required duties of the adviser position and provided consistent service and guidance to the students in their organization while serving as a role model. Fleming was honored for her work as the faculty adviser for WSRU-TV.

Bruno Zuccala, instructor of music, received the Exceptional Service to Students Award for his commitment and devotion to mentoring and caring for students; providing consistent and extraordinary guidance and professional support; providing special attention and mentoring to those he worked with, regardless of status or setting, as it pertained to his work with the SRU Marching Pride and Winter Guard.

A number of awards were presented to campus organizations, including:

  • Student Organization of the Year: Student Organizations for Latinos, Hispanics and Allies for the impact made through sponsorship of various cultural events, collaboration with other clubs and organizations and efforts to spread awareness of Latino/Hispanic culture on campus;
  • Outstanding Cultural Event Award: Black Action Society for "Poetry Slam";
  • Service Project Award: Building E community assistants for "Gifts of Giving" Salvation Army gift drive;
  • Collaborative Event Award: Musical Therapy Club and Slippery Rock University Project to End Human Trafficking for "Depictions of Struggle: Expression of Modern Day Slavery" benefit concert;
  • Entertainment Event Award: Sustainability Living Learning Community for the McConnells Mill repelling event;
  • Educational Event Award: Kings Org for "The 'N word' Discussion;
  • Fundraising Event Award: St. Jude Up 'til 2 for raising more than $18,000 for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital;
  • Residence Life Event Award: Jacquelyn Stubenraugh, a junior chemistry major from South Park and HOPE Peer Educators for the "I Know What You Did Last Night" sexually transmitted disease awareness event;
  • Outstanding Greek Organization Award: Pi Kappa Alpha for philanthropic involvement with Race to Anyplace, St. Jude Up 'til 2 and SGA events including Rock Olympiad;
  • Living Learning Community of the Year: The Gender Studies LLC Community Assistants for promotion of various gender studies events and helping students to face issues related to and/or studying of the topic.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |