Two are academically perfect, while all four of Southern’s recipients of this year’s Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award plan to enter the “helping professions” after an impressive collegiate career.
A total of 12 students are chosen for the award each year from the four Connecticut State University campuses, including a quartet from Southern. It is considered among the university’s most prestigious awards. Criteria include a 3.7 GPA and having demonstrated significant participation in university and/or community life.
Nicole Cassidy, who is majoring in elementary education/special education and Spanish, has a GPA of 3.83. She plans to pursue a career in either elementary or special education.
Cassidy has served as a representative-at-large of the Student Government Association (SGA) and a member of Colleges Against Cancer – both for four years. She currently is the SGA secretary. She was a senior orientation ambassador for two years and currently is a First-Year Experience program peer mentor.
She is a four-year recipient of the Presidential Merit Scholarship and a member of the Honors College. She also was selected to “Who’s Who Among American College and University Students” in 2010 and 2011.
“Nicole represents the very best that SCSU has to offer,” says Michael Alfano, chairman of the Special Education and Reading Department. “She is an exceptionally bright and motivated individual who has made a significant contribution to SCSU and the greater community while in attendance. Her well-rounded academic and civic accomplishments should serve as a role model for other SCSU undergraduate students.”
Cody McClave, who is majoring in mathematics, has a GPA of 3.83. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in special education and seek a teaching job as a high school math teacher.
McClave has served as a member of Colleges Against Cancer and the Future Teachers Organization for the last three years – including a stint as treasurer of both organizations. He also has been a tutor at the math help center for the last year.
He is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and Zeta Delta Epsilon, a service honor society. He also has been awarded the Colebrook Associates Scholarship for four consecutive years.
“Cody has always been a leader in class, while also receptive to other viewpoints,” says Richard DeCesare, certification coordinator for the Math Department. “He looks professional and acts professionally in every sense of the word, from the way he addresses his classmates and instructors, to the way he conducts himself in and out of class. He will make an excellent teacher.”
Angela Read, who is majoring in nursing, has a GPA of 4.0. She plans to become an oncology nurse and eventually return to school to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).
Read is a member of the Student Nurses Association, Zeta Delta Epsilon and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She is also a member of the American Cancer Society and created an annual family fundraiser in honor of her deceased mother to raise money for organizations that support people who have cancer.
She has been awarded a variety of scholarships, including Southern’s AAUP Memorial Scholarship and the Alumni Association 75th Anniversary Endowed Scholarship.
“She is one of the most intellectually gifted, mature, organized students I have had the opportunity to teach and mentor,” says Bernadette Madara, professor of nursing. “Angela stands out as an exceptional student who is conscientious and who consistently displays an enthusiasm for learning and a quest for knowledge. Rather than calling attention to herself or being self-focused, Angela quietly devotes her free time to helping the less fortunate.”
Anna Walters, who is majoring in social work, has a GPA of 4.0. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work and would like someday to work with veterans and their families.
Walters is a member of the League of Extraordinary Veterans Club, which assists with fundraising for the Wounded Warrior Project. She has interned at Continuum of Care, a New Haven-based, non-profit organization that operates group homes and supported living programs. She has been a member of the Beta Rho, Southern’s chapter of the National Social Work Honor Society.
She served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2005, where she earned several awards, including the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal. Walters served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 2005 to 2008.
“Anna is one of the most talented and proficient students we have had in the Social Work program,” says Todd Rufuth, chairman of the Social Work Department. “She possesses the unusual ability to effectively work on multiple levels of any project: from individual and group work, to program implementation and research. She leads with a strong presence and energy that engages clients and other students in their own change efforts.”