SRU celebrates achievement, announces Ali-Zaidi Award finalist at annual awards ceremony


Celebration of Achievement graphic

More than 70 Slippery Rock University students were recognized as part of the University’s Celebration of Achievement event, conducted virtually, April 19.

April 20, 2021

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University conducted its 2021 Celebration of Achievement awards ceremony, April 19, via Zoom. The annual event recognized faculty and students for their outstanding contributions in the areas of academics, research, scholarship, creative activities and more.

The highlight each year is the announcement of SRU's finalist for the Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence, which is given to a graduating senior in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education who exemplifies academic excellence and involvement. SRU's 2021 finalist is Morgan McIntyre, a senior petroleum and natural gas engineering major from Templeton.

"It really means a lot that I was chosen from a bunch of great, talented students to be recognized as SRU's nomination for this statewide award," McIntyre said. "I'm very honored and grateful for this opportunity and I want to thank everyone from my department for nominating me."

Among McIntyre's achievements, she established a student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers at SRU and served as president. She led a group that organized the SPE's North America Student Symposium, an event attended by more than 200 students and for which she organized a panel of executives and professionals from several oil and gas companies. She was a two-time recipient of an SPE merit-based academic scholarship and, because of her leadership and encouragement, five other SRU students have received $2,000 SPE scholarships.

McIntyre has completed reservoir engineering and production engineering internships with Advanced Resources International and CNX Resources Corporation, respectively. She's conducted research as part of a group that will present at the next SPE Eastern Regional Conference. As the study's lead author, she discovered ways to optimize friction reducers used in hydraulic fracturing that reduced operation costs and the amount of chemicals being used at drilling sites.



"Morgan possess a brilliant mind, a stellar work ethic and innate leadership qualities," said Athula Herat, associate professor physics and department chair. "No matter what task Morgan takes on, she demonstrates a genuine sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn. I have no doubt in my mind that Morgan will become a leader in the energy industry, especially in the petroleum engineering field, which is a male-dominated industry that needs new, female leaders with a fresh outlook about (the industry's) impact on the environment and society."

McIntyre, who plans to work as an analyst or engineer in the energy sector after graduation, has also volunteered outside of her academic and professional work with organizations such as Raegen's Journey, which supports children with disabilities, and with the Pittsburgh School for the Blind.

Other awards presented as part of the Celebration of Achievement were:

  • Outstanding Students in Research, Scholarship or Creative Activity: This award recognizes a student from each of SRU's four colleges -- College of Business, College of Education, College of Health, Engineering and Science and College of Liberal Arts -- based on their involvement in a variety of research, scholarly and creative projects. Winners were Delanie Amerson, a senior history major from Butler; Karla Kruger, a senior resort, recreation and hospitality management major from Erie; Haley Wells, a senior early childhood/special education major from Waterford; and Michael Zirpoli, a senior mathematics/physics major from Butler.
  • Outstanding Student Academic Leader Awards: This award recognizes a student from each of SRU's four colleges based on their outstanding leadership within an academic department or college. Winners were Paxton Fetterman, a senior biology major from Apollo; Erin Lee, a senior sport management major from Shippensburg; Hannah Nurse, a junior health and physical education major from Dayton, Ohio; and Taylor Pattison, a senior political science major from Erie. 
  • Student Engagement and Leadership Awards: Spencer Kahley, a junior mathematics major from Milroy, received the Board of Governors Scholarship as an SRU student who successfully graduated from the Emerging Leadership Experience Program with consideration given to their campus leadership experiences. Hannah Trithart, a sophomore early childhood/special education major from Kittanning, received the Sheryl Smith Leadership Award, which is awarded to the student who successfully graduated from the Emerging Leadership Experience Program with consideration given to their campus leadership experiences.
  • Global Engagement Award (International and Domestic): These awards are presented to students who exemplify the desire to grow from a truly global education through committed involvement in the opportunities provided by SRU for global learning, global experiences and meaningful engagement with people from other countries and cultures. Lois Page, a junior psychology major from Guisborough, United Kingdom, was named the International awardee. Priya Patel, junior public health major from Bensalem, received the Domestic honor.
  • President's Awards for faculty, staff and community partners included Sarah Kuehn, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice, receiving the President's Award for Teaching Excellence; Lyn Miller, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and Mark Hogue, assistant professor of secondary education and foundations of education, receiving the President's Awards for Outstanding Academic Advising; and the President's Awards for Civic Engagement, honoring Pattison; Courtney Gramlich, manager of SRU's Storm Harbor Equestrian Center; and Early Learning Connections.

Also recognized at the event were the Presidential Undergraduate Scholars, which are given to the top 20 seniors, juniors and sophomores based on overall grade-point average of those who meet a minimum credit hour requirement at SRU.

All certificates, plaques and ribbons will be mailed to the recipients.

For more information about the Celebration of Achievement, contact SRU's Office of Academic Affairs and Integrated Learning at 724.738.2186 or email

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |