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Barnard scholars

Four Southern students were honored recently as the recipients of the Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award.

Each year, 12 students are selected for the award from the four universities in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. Four of the 12 students come from Southern. All 12 students were feted to a dinner at the Aqua Turf in Southington.

Criteria include a GPA of 3.7 or better, and having demonstrated significant participation in university and/or community life.

The four students are:

*Jessica Holman, an English major with a GPA of 3.79. She is an Honors College student and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa. Holman earned SCSU’s Top Owl Social Justice Award, the Multicultural Legacy Award and the Outstanding Women’s Studies Student Award. She received the Gail Burns-Smith Dare to Dream Scholarship from the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

She is a resident assistant and president of the Peer Educators Advocating for Campus Empowerment (PEACE). She is a peer educator at the Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy and Support Center, and the Support and Resource Team for survivors of sexual misconduct. Her thesis project, “Empowering a Community of Active Bystanders: The Expansion of Bystander Intervention Training at SCSU,” involved helping to train students to safely intervene in problematic situations.

“Social justice has been a core part of Jessie’s experience,” said Julia Irwin, professor of psychology. “She has volunteered with Amelia’s Light, an organization that helps survivors of human trafficking develop their own businesses. Most importantly, her honors thesis was the development of a Bystander Intervention Program to prevent sexual misconduct on campus.”

*Rebecca Harmon, an elementary and special education major with a GPA of 3.75. She graduated in December as an Honors College Student, and was a recipient of many scholarships. She is a member of Zeta Delta Epsilon, as well as the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, the Golden Key International Honour Society and the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success.

She plans to continue presenting research related to LGBTQ and other social justice issues in educational practice. Rebecca was a student teacher, and is a long-term substitute at an elementary school in New Haven.

“She embodies all that we stand for here at Southern: scholarship that deepens knowledge; service to our community; and as Mahatma Gandhi famously said, ‘a commitment to being the change we want to see in the world,’” said Jessica Powell, assistant professor of curriculum and learning. “Rebecca’s work here at Southern and in the larger New Haven community captures these qualities.”

*Kanita Mote, a French and political science major with a GPA of 3.86. She is an Honors College student and a recipient of the Tarini Foundation Scholarship and Roberta Willis Scholarship. She is a member of the Pi Delta Phi French Honors Society.

Mote, whose family was granted political asylum to the United States in 1999 from Indonesia, is an organizing committee member from New Haven Rising, and established the International Socialist Organization as an official SCSU club. She was a French tutor at the SCSU Academic Success Center and spent a semester in France, tutoring students in both English and French.

“Few students exemplify Southern’s commitment to social justice in the same way that Katina does,” said Luke Eilderts, assistant professor of world languages and literatures. “Not only does she demonstrate a real commitment to Southern’s home city of New Haven, fighting for those who often do not have the resources to fight for themselves, but also to Southern itself, as well as the CSU system, going to the capitol to educate our state legislators on the importance of higher education in Connecticut.”

*Kevin Redline, an interdisciplinary studies major with a 3.79 GPA. He is an Honors College student, peer mentor and resident assistant. He is circle president of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society and president of the SCSU Pre-Law Society.

Kevin earned the Crescent Players Scholarship and was costume crew manager for the Crescent Players. He performed at the Kennedy Center College Theater Festival (KCACTF), and presented at KCACTF for original costume design for a SCSU’s production of “35mm: A Musical Experience.”

“Kevin has been an exemplary member of the SCSU community through the meaningful participation in clubs and organizations,” said Sobeira Latorre, director of the interdisciplinary studies program. “He has done so while maintaining an impressive academic record and achieving academic honors regularly…I cannot think of a more deserving student for the award.”





Four student recipients of the Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award

Four Southern students were recently honored as recipients of the Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award.

A total of 12 students are chosen for the award each year from the four universities in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. It is considered among the university’s most prestigious awards. Criteria include a 3.7 GPA or better and having demonstrated significant participation in university and/or community life.

The four Southern students are:

Kristen Dearborn

*Kristen Dearborn (pictured far right), is an English major, who has a GPA of 3.71. She is president of the Golden Key International Honour Society; is recipient of the Study Abroad Academic Merit Scholarship; studied abroad in Rome; and wrote a series of poems she intends to publish.

What makes her academic accomplishments even more impressive is that she struggled as a high school student. She participated in the SCSU Proof of Ability program during the summer between her senior year in high school and her freshman year at Southern. But she was determined to overcome her challenges and carved out a path to success. She intends to pursue a master’s degree in a health-related field.

“Dearborn’s story is among the most inspiring and fascinating I have heard from a Southern student…her journey of personal growth…is the kind that inspires all of us who work with students at Southern and in the CSU system,” says Michael Shea, chairman of the English Department.

Kelly Gunneson

*Kelly Gunneson (pictured second from right), is a secondary education major in mathematics, who has a GPA of 3.91. She is a student-athlete, having served as a captain of our women’s volleyball team and was named to the Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Gunneson received many academic honors, including the Beatrice H. Rockwell Endowed Scholarship and the Dr. George J. Collins Academic-Athletic Scholarship. She also participates in many community service activities, serving as the head coach of the Connecticut Juniors Volleyball Association, and is a Praxis core math test prep instructor for Southern’s Academic Success Center.

“Her greatest strengths are her professional attitude, her willingness to grow as an educator, her excellent math knowledge, and her good rapport with students,” says Marie Nabbout-Cheiban, assistant professor of math. “She accepts constructive remarks in a professional way and strives to improve them.”

Gunneson intends to pursue a teaching career.

Caitlin Hansen

*Caitlin Hansen (pictured second from left), is a physics major and math minor, who has a GPA of 3.97. She has received the SCSU Honors College Scholarship, the Pathways to Academic Success Scholarship and the NASA Connecticut Space Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

In addition, Hansen coordinates outreach programs for the New Haven Public Schools as part of Southern’s STEM-Innovation and Leadership program. She is a nationally certified tutor for physics, scientific writing and writing. She also is a runner who two years ago completed her first half marathon. Last summer, she went on a scuba diving expedition in the Great Barrier Reef.

“She is an exceptionally strong and dedicated student who has exemplified outstanding community service and leadership qualities,” said Christine Broadbridge, director of STEM initiatives.

Hansen is planning to continue her studies throughout the next year before applying to a Ph.D. program in a physics-related discipline, most likely either medical physics or biomedical engineering.

Megan Mancinelli

*Megan Mancinelli (pictured far left), is a psychology major, who has a GPA of 3.91. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and vice president of the hall council in the Office of Residence Life.

Mancinelli tutors middle and high school students from New Haven, Hamden and Cheshire, and was involved with the Gear-Up program, in which she worked with children from New Haven.

She also has been involved with many community service activities, such as the Special Olympics.

She intends to earn a master’s degree in social work and hopes to work with children and adolescents.

“Students such as Megan are extremely rare and an absolute pleasure to have in class,” said Michael Nizhnikov, assistant professor of psychology. “Megan challenges not just the other students, but the professor, with her insight and thoughtfulness.”