Scholar Holler Award
Each month the Center for Student Achievement recognizes an outstanding student for academic excellence. The student is highlighted on our website as a way to encourage other students to achieve their academic potential.
Faculty and staff are invited to nominate students for Scholar Holler. The nomination form should describe the student's academic accomplishments.
Scholar Holler Winners
May 2023 - Jessica Tyler
Major: Early Childhood Education
Hometown: Parksley, VA
Words of wisdom:
Be authentic to yourself, but be receptive to new knowledge. As a non-traditional student, I was nervous about transferring from Eastern Shore Community College to Salisbury University. However, my transitioning to university life has been a wonderful experience because of professors like Dr. Alexia Buono. Dr. Alexia Buono’s pedagogical strategies offer students the support and encouragement needed to feel limitless in our educational pursuits. She engages students with texts and discussions that create a learning experience based on social justice education and causes her students to think more intentionally as a result of what they read. As a student, I have encountered powerful texts in her ELED 301 course that have inspired and impacted me tremendously. In the words of Bettina Love: “Too often we think the work of fighting oppression is just intellectual. The real work is personal, emotional, spiritual, and communal. It is explicit…”. In return, I promise to evoke the same inspiration and impact in the future of education.
Dr. Alexia Buono said, "I highly recommend Jessica for the Scholar Holler award for her incredible work in and across my courses ELED 301 "Diversity in Education" and ELED 317 "Integrating Aesthetic Experiences in Teaching and Learning." Each week this month and semester, I have witnessed Jessica making personal and pedagogical meaning in her at-home reflection projects, where she provides honest and rigorous reflexivity on the content readings assigned and reflection prompts, I provide. I've seen her finding herself inside the readings and bringing that connection into our in-class discussions, activities, and collaborative lesson planning projects. Jessica does an outstanding job of demonstrating her critical awareness of how the major topics of each course apply in both her previous experiences as an aid in classrooms and her current experiences as a parent and teacher candidate. I am continually impressed by Jessica's ability to make cross-curricular connections between our Diversity and Aesthetics courses, particularly in her ability to reference scholars, authors, and ideas from one course in her support of group mates and collaboration projects in another course. Jessica is Freedom Dreaming about building her own school with some of her fellows in the program after graduation, and I can say now, what a powerful school this will be. I myself, a scholar of pedagogy and curriculum, am learning much about my own pedagogy practice by witnessing Jessica's learning journey across both my courses, and I am excited for the teacher she is becoming, and to be a part of her journey. I am honored to nominate Jessica for the Scholar Holler award, as she has many powerful "tips" for academic success and beyond to share to her fellow peers at SU.."
April 2023 - Grace DePanise
Major: Psychology and Gender and Sexuality Studies (IDIS)
Hometown: Queenstown, Maryland
Words of wisdom:
Never think that you know too much! As college students we are attempting to become experts in our fields, but there is always more to learn and the chance to grow. As a queer student who cares about inclusivity and diversity learn, learn, and keep learning. Talk to as many peers as you can that don’t look like you, especially in our current climate we cannot afford to be ignorant about the unseen struggles of certain communities.
Dr. Suzanne Osman said, "Grace DePanise is a scholar and a leader, with a strong interest in diversity topics. She is a double-major (Psychology; Gender and Sexuality Studies), has a minor in Sociology, is a member of Psi Chi (i.e., National Psychology Honors Society) and Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honors Society), and plans to attend graduate school. Grace has been working in my research lab and her interests led her to conduct a literature review, followed by an independent empirical investigation involving sexual minority women and victimization experience. Her project has been accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association this summer, and Grace also presented this project at the Salisbury University Student Research Conference in April. In addition, Grace is currently engaged in a second phase of this project examining outcome differences among several sexual identity groups and she is dedicated to continuing working toward further dissemination of this research, including pursuit of publication. Grace is also an outstanding leader on our campus as the President of the LGBTQ+ Alliance Club, to which she devotes much time and effort. Her leadership abilities and diversity work were also recognized by Salisbury University (SU) administration last semester, as she was invited and served as a student member on the Search Committee for SU’s new Director of Multicultural Affairs. In sum, Grace has done exceptional scholarly and leadership work, and I strongly recommend her for this recognition."
March 2023 - Vicky Vazquez
Major: ESOL K-12 Education and Spanish
Minor: Global and Ethnic Literature
Hometown: Berlin, Maryland
Words of wisdom:
Don’t be afraid to hop out of the boxes that you are rooted in, you are meant to expand beyond the confinement that is placed upon you. Embrace every little part of yourself and know that your success depends on your own perspective.
Para mi comunidad, los que no caben aquí ni allá, many times, you will be the only person without a seat at the table. And even when you grab a chair, no one will make room for you. This should only encourage you to build within, because if you’ve got a community behind you, there is no way you can lose that game of musical chairs.
Dr. Farzad Karimzad said, "Vicky's academic accomplishments are nothing short of impressive. As a junior, she is already double-majoring in Spanish and ESOL K-12 certification, while also minoring in Global and Ethnic Literature. The dedication and hard work required to excel in one major, let alone two, is remarkable, and Vicky has managed to do so with apparent ease. Her passion for language and culture has driven her to pursue a diverse range of courses and extracurricular activities, all while maintaining an exceptional academic record.
In addition to excelling in her coursework, Vicky has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to research and scholarship. At the MACLAS (Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies) conference hosted at Salisbury University in March 10-11, Vicky presented a paper titled “Voice and language as a method of reconquest in Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala” as part of a panel on Poetics of Resistance in Central America and the Caribbean, and was delivered in Spanish with a written translation provided in English. Vicky's paper analyzes the testimony of Rigoberta Menchú and its significance for her Maya-Quiché community, which has faced exclusion and marginalization in a mixed-race society. She specifically explores the ways in which Menchú's narrative serves as a method of reconquest from European colonization and modern-day neocolonialism, and how her cultural identity and bilingualism are essential components of this struggle for social justice. The paper was met with high praise from fellow presenters and audience members. As part of her final project for my Bilingualism class, Vicky is further developing this project into a publishable journal article.
In addition to her academic achievements and research endeavors, Vicky is deeply involved in extracurricular activities and community service. She serves on the Executive Board of the Organization of Latin American Students and Phi Sigma Iota on campus and has been accepted to join the Delta Alpha Pi chapter of Salisbury University. Vicky's commitment to serving her community is also demonstrated through her regular volunteer work at the Newton Street Community Center in Salisbury. There, she works to foster a connection between students and literature in both their home languages and English. Vicky's dedication to using her talents and skills to benefit those around her is a testament to her character and her commitment to making a positive impact in the world. Overall, Vicky's excellent academic record, impressive research and presentation, and deep commitment to social justice and community service make her an outstanding candidate for the March 2023 Scholar Holler. Her ability to balance multiple academic pursuits and excel in each of them, while also making meaningful contributions to her community, is truly remarkable. Vicky is a scholar and educator with a bright future ahead of her, and her achievements thus far are truly deserving of recognition and celebration."
Dr. Ricardo Vazquez said, "During March, the student maintained her high commitment to learning through her active participation in classes, making valuable contributions to our debate on the development of radio and television in Latin America. In addition, she has continued her work as secretary of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and Phi Sigma Iota (PSI). Furthermore, Vicky Vazquez coordinated and participated in community activities such as the Sobremesa conversation hour at the El Primo Taquería restaurant, organized by OLAS, to offer a cultural meeting space where students can practice Spanish and Latino food. Finally, I would like to highlight that Vicky Vázquez successfully presented a paper at the Middle Atlantic Council for Latin American Studies (MACLAS) conference. Her paper, "Voice and language as a method of request in Me llamo Rigoberta Mench: An Indian Woman in Guatemala" generated a productive academic debate among the scholars attending the event. I must say that Vazquez was one of the only four undergraduate students who participated in this conference held between March 10 and 11 at Salisbury University. I believe that her academic excellence, commitment to research, and community service as a member of OLAS make her deserving of this recognition."
February 2023 - Joshua Killen
Major: New Media Art
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Words of wisdom:
Education is an experience designed to unlock a world of opportunities, all the effort you put in in addition to the connections you make here determine the path you take in the future. Work hard and work with others often, create connections that expand beyond your time here. Stay focused and committed to your studies, and success will surely follow.
Dr. William Wolf said, "Josh has been an exemplary student for four years; he has a 3.927 gpa, and until recently was working to complete a minor in Computer Science (I think he will be one course short, but for life reasons needs to graduate this semester). I first had him in class in Spring 2019, and he has been an A student in four of my classes now. Currently, he is taking a full course load, working towards installing his BFA exhibition and is currently holding a solo exhibition in the Student Art Center. With both of these bodies of work, he is pioneering the use of 3D printing and new technology combined with traditional sculpture while making two unique bodies of work. It’s an impressive feat. Additionally, Josh is a student worker in the Sculpture area. I head the sculpture area and was out with Covid from February 13-21. With no one in the Art department available to substitute for my classes, Josh stepped in and was able to assist students in both of my classes (sculpture is taught in a physical studio with potentially dangerous equipment) and help as a liaison with IT while I monitored classes and was forced to zoom into my own classroom. This was instrumental in keeping my classes going this semester, and he deserves to be honored for this."
December 2022 - Grayson Fipps
Hometown: Mount Airy, Maryland
Words of wisdom:
Surround yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging. Always go the extra mile, do the extra credit assignment, the bonus quiz, and the voluntary work, it is worth it. Remember, hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard (Coach Tim Notke).
Dr. Dawn Chamberlin said, "Being shorthanded with my coaching staff this season I asked Grace if she would be interested in being our Team Academic Advisor. She has done an outstanding job of monitoring study hall hours, helping our first-year student-athletes with any academic issues as well as working through class scheduling, tutoring and SI’s. She has done an outstanding job and no player has missed their hours and are all in great academic standing. Grace is also a 4.0 student! Additionally, she took the lead on our Corners for Cancer game and with her sports marketing class she helped us raise over $4000.00 for SU’s Relay for Life. She has placed 1^st^, 2^nd^ and 3^rd^ in the 3 business marketing competitions. Not to mention committing at least 3 hours per day to field hockey. She is well deserving of this honor."
November 2022 - Kayli Shaw
Major: Elementary Education
Hometown: Middletown, Delaware
Words of wisdom:
Embrace the YOU. Find the path that is unique to you and even if you reach the goal, go further. Test the limits, do it your way and always remember, "I am somebody. I was somebody when I came. I'll be a better somebody when I leave. I am powerful and I am strong. I deserve the education that I get here. I have things to do, people to impress and places to go." (Rita Pierson)
Dr. Alexia Buono said, "I highly recommend Kayli for the Scholar Holler award for her incredible work in my course ELED 317 "Integrating Aesthetic Experiences in Teaching and Learning." Kayli has demonstrated impressive drive to not only learn how to integrate dance learning with social-emotional learning in her elementary teaching field experiences, she also has demonstrated a drive to build her critical consciousness of the field of education, of her own biases, and how to disrupt systems of oppression in the elementary classroom. Kayli engages in our weekly reflective inquiry process project with rigor and curiosity as she reads and reflects upon our multi-media content readings. This autumn, she met with me during my office hours for 3-4 weeks in a row, where she brings critical questions about how to design a culturally responsive arts integration lesson plan, one of the major projects of this course. I am impressed by her willingness and commitment to revising her lesson plan each week based on the feedback she receives from me and the dialogue we engage in each week. Kayli has asked for further resources to support her own (un)learning and practice of self-care, which she applies in her tutoring work on campus, and which is integral to her lesson plan project in ELED 317. Kayli is eager to build her knowledge on topics such as mindfulness, boundaries, consent, cultural appropriation, disability justice, and embodied learning to better develop her capacities as a justice-oriented educator in the lesson plan she has been developing for my course. Kayli's delight in this process is amazing to witness, and I see her sharing this (un)learning and praxis with her fellow classmates during our class times. I am happy to nominate Kayli for the Scholar Holler award, as she has many "tips" for academic success to share with joy to her fellow peers at SU."
October 2022 - Francis LopezChilel
Major: Biology/Pre-Med Track
Minor: Psychology & Chemistry
Hometown: Salisbury, MD
Words of wisdom:
Hard work and dedication is everything in achieving your goals. Never be afraid to challenge yourself as failure is part of every success. Learning from your mistakes will allow you to become a better person and conquer any obstacle you face in the future. Always remember to stay relentless and never give up no matter what.
Dr. Noah Bressman said, "As his academic adviser and research adviser, I want to highly recommend Francis for the award. He has been excelling in all of his other classes, but I mostly know about his research courses because I am his research adviser, so I will speak mostly about that. Francis is an extremely hardworking student that has been succeeding so much at his research project that we've had to add new components to it to keep him busy. Originally, the project involved measuring how fish mucus/slime reduces friction on land for amphibious Northern Snakeheads, a local invasive species that may be able to spread overland into new bodies of water to colonize, to determine if it aids these fish during terrestrial locomotion. We also set out to determine how the orientation of their scales influences anisotropy/the directionality of friction and force transmission. Francis quickly picked up on the data collection methods and has shown tremendous independence in experimentation and data analysis this month. Because he got through so many fish so quickly, we were able to add two new species to the project: the fully aquatic common carp (to compare how snakehead slime compares to a non-amphibious fish) and the scaleless blue catfish (to determine how the presence of scales influences the friction force anisotropy). I think this project is very close to a publishable product, which can be used to help inform my collaborators at Johns Hopkins University that are trying to develop a snakehead inspired amphibious robot but are having difficulty overcoming friction without mucus. To get the last few specimens needed to complete the project, Francis received a Henson Undergraduate Research Award to fund more fish collection excursions. In addition to making phenomenal progress on his project this month, he has aided other students in the lab with their fish processing and data collection. Furthermore, Francis has volunteered to help collect data over the summer and at our public outreach events that teach the public about the effects invasive species are having on our local ecosystem."
September 2022 - Alonzo Strickland
Major: Exercise Science
Minor: Sports Medicine
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Words of wisdom:
Learn to be different and set yourself apart to stand out. When you mimic everyone else, people will not see what makes you unique. Be YOU and believe in yourself because nobody is going to do that for you.
Dr. Tim Werner said, "As a senior member of the Exercise Physiology Research Lab, Mr. Strickland continues to impress me every day. His versatile skill set affords him the ability to assist me in several facets of research. Whether it’s training subjects in the weight room several days a week or testing subjects in the lab, Mr. Strickland remains a vital part of the process. He has gained great proficiency with the Delphi Blood Flow restriction device, blood pressure acquisition, arterial tonometer, ultrasonography, and BOD POD measurements. And he will present our research, Minimum Time Effect of Fish Oil on Arterial Stiffness- A Pilot Study, at the Mid-Atlantic Regional American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) conference in November 2022. And he will present this entire study at the national ACSM conference in May 2023. He is a valuable member of my team, and our research has benefited because of it!
One of the things I find most impressive about Mr. Strickland is his initiative and drive. Whereas the majority of my students and research assistants must be told to do something prior to starting the process, Mr. Strickland takes the initiative to solve the problem and moves on to something else before I had a chance to ask. He knows the battlefield, what needs to be done, and how to execute. You really cannot ask more of a student.
It is also worth mentioning Mr. Strickland was a student in my Exercise Physiology, Clinical Exercise Physiology, and Stress Testing courses during the 2020-2022 academic years. I’ve been an educator for more than 10 years and I cannot remember a student more invested in their education! He showed a genuine interest in learning and retaining the information, always wanting to know more. Mr. Strickland routinely scored in the top 1% of the classes. And because of his academic success, he now serves as the Supplemental Instructor for EXSC 344: Exercise Physiology.
In summary, I highly recommend Mr. Strickland as a candidate for the Scholar Holler. It is extremely rare to find a student like Mr. Strickland. His desire and commitment for knowledge is perhaps what impresses me the most!"
May 2022 - Layla Tiberio
Major: Exercise Science
Minor: Sports Medicine
Hometown: Anne Arundel County, MD
Words of wisdom:
No matter what happens, no matter what obstacles you face, no matter how much life may keep pushing you down, never give up. Believe in yourself, stay positive, and know that everything will work out in the end. You got this.
Dr. Scott Mazzetti said, "Layla has competed on the Salisbury University Varsity Swim Team (all three years at SU) and is currently a Team Captain. She also serves on the Student Health Advisory Board for the College of Health and Human Services. Layla is a member of the Laboratory for Human Performance and participates in undergraduate research activities with me. In her research, Layla is part of a team of 12 undergraduate research students who work together to collect data on metabolic rate and energy expenditure during different exercise activities. Some of the students take on more leadership responsibility than others, and Layla is no exception. She helps to lead the energy expenditure trials, laboratory set-up/clean-up, and study pilot trials. During the summer, Layla also worked as an Orientation Leader during Freshman First Flight. While balancing campus activities and leadership positions, Layla is also a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and has achieved the Dean’s List in all semesters at Salisbury University. Layla is working toward becoming a Physical Therapist, and no doubt that she will succeed at a high level. Her exceptional GPA is even more impressive when you consider all of the above listed activities that she manages, plus her athletics, and the types of advanced courses that she is taking on a regular basis (e.g., Physics I and II, Chem I and II, Anatomy and Physiology I and II, Microbiology, and Developmental and Abnormal Psychology). If that is not enough, Layla is always first to volunteer to help the College of Health and Human Services, the School of Health Sciences and the Exercise Science Program with various additional volunteer activities (e.g., Admitted Students Day, Open House, etc.). Layla rates in the top 1% of pre-PT/OT students that I have worked with over the past 18 years at Penn State, Ball State, Anderson, and Salisbury University. Balancing her exceptional academics, athletics, volunteer activities, and research with such grace and professionalism, Layla clearly represents an exceptional example of the type of student worthy of the honor of SU Scholar Holler!"
April 2022 - Madison Darrah
Major: Business Management and Information Systems
Hometown: Centreville, Maryland
Words of wisdom:
Being yourself and doing what is best for you is so important. College is the place to find out who you want to be and what you want to do with your life. "No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else" - P.T. Barnum. Be you because you can do whatever you want.
DRC Director, Candace Henry said, "Madison has truly taken a lead role in student leadership and disability awareness over the last year. Madison is a Senior majoring in Information Systems and Business Management. In addition to her Executive Board role as Secretary of Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society, Madison is a member of the Clarke Honors College and the Honors Student Association. Madison has been on the Deans every semester since transferring to SU. This month, Madison spearheaded Access Week, a social media campaign designed to educate the campus community about disabilities, accessibility, and resources. Last week, Madison participated in the SU Student Research Conference where she presented Access Week and data related to the services and resources available to students with disabilities at Salisbury University. I couldn’t be prouder of Madison."
March 2022 - Shemar Watts
Major: Exercise Science
Minor: Sports Medicine/ Athletic Coaching
Hometown: Mardela Springs, MD
Words of wisdom:
Anything in life worth having won't come easy. Only worry about what you can control. The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. Outwork everyone, stay persistent and have grit and perseverance when faced with adversities. It's not always about the hours of work you put in, it's about the hardest kind of work. Focus on the things you don't know, identify your own weaknesses and work on that. Also, remember hard work always beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
Professor Amy Vennos said, "Shemar, a junior Exercise Science major, is currently in my Math 140 class this spring. He values academics, and he hopes to further his education by applying for Doctorate programs in Physical Therapy. I cannot think of any other student who is as deserving of Scholar Holler than Shemar is. I hope this recommendation conveys just how much his work ethic, leadership capability, confidence, and responsibility has impressed me this semester.
Shemar is passionate about academics, and he strives to put his best effort into his schoolwork. He knows what study techniques work for him, and he shares these methods with his peers in an effort to help them succeed as well. So far, Shemar has received perfect scores in all departments: tests, quizzes, and homework. He has over a 100% in the class. He is also my “office hour regular.” He has attended every single one of my office hours prepared with questions that he had already worked on. He also works on ungraded practice worksheets from the internet to study even more. He is a great role model for his peers that are afraid to ask for help: I believe he inspires his classmates to also speak up and ask questions during class and to attend office hours.
It brings me joy to see a student who not only succeeds but is also self-aware of what works for him. I have never seen a student who could so easily self-identify their own strengths and weaknesses, and then create techniques that worked uniquely to themselves.
Shemar has a great work-life balance, and he represents the CSA well. His diligence and self-awareness make him a great leader and scholar. Shemar is also very personable: whenever I see him on campus, he has a friend waving to him or giving him a high five. I also overhear him talking with his classmates about tips on studying for the GRE and applying for schools before and after class. Shemar surrounds himself with friends that are energized by his drive and passion for schoolwork, which makes him a positive light inside and outside the classroom.
Shemar is the most responsible, goal-driven, respectful, and balanced student I have ever had. His qualities truly reflect the CSA’s values, and he is a strong candidate for Scholar Holler this month."
February 2022 - Tieryn Gingerich Heishman
Double Major: Psychology & Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution
Hometown: Greenwood, Delaware
Words of wisdom:
“May your character not be writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock. May you be rooted and grounded in love. May your convictions be deep, your love real, your desires earnest.” - Charles Spurgeon The measure of your success as a human being is not the sum of the tasks you have completed or how much money you make. True success is found in deep convictions and enduring character.
Dr. Suzanne Osman said, "Tieryn has a dual major (Psychology and Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution), has taken an average of 19 credits each semester, has a perfect GPA, has made Dean’s List every semester and belongs to the Psi Chi National Honor Society. This is her second semester working in my research lab and she has been extremely driven in her role as an undergraduate scholar. Her contributions to the lab have been invaluable, especially when she took the initiative to teach herself the technology and build an online survey from scratch. She has also been focused on an independent empirical project examining sexual assault tactics, which has led us to conduct another project replicating and extending our findings in a second sample. Based on these two projects, Tieryn has been working on four presentations. She was selected to present to Maryland legislators at Posters on the Bay in February. She also prepared two student grant applications and was awarded both a USARA and Fulton Student Research Grant to support her travel to NYC to present at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association in early March. In addition, she submitted proposals to present at the Salisbury University Student Research Conference this April and at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association this summer. Meanwhile, she is actively writing to co-author a manuscript we plan to submit for publication. She also has plans to pursue a summer research grant to gain more qualitative research experience working in a colleague’s lab this summer. Tieryn is a true go-getter with aspirations to attend a doctoral program in clinical psychology, which is also reflected in her off-campus work experience (e.g., 16 months at a domestic violence shelter and newly hired at an inpatient psychiatric hospital)."
December 2021 - Caitlyn Edman
Minor: Chemistry & Honors College
Hometown: Framingham, MA
Words of wisdom:
Aim to exceed in all that you do. Give your best effort, always, and never settle for less. Be curious. Help others. Seek opportunities and try new things. It is better to try than to never know. Learning is a lifelong process that requires perseverance. You are more capable than you think!
Dr. Michael Carter said, "Caitlyn has maintained the highest academic standards and performance since beginning in the Biology department. Caitlyn was a classroom leader as a student in my Microbiology and Molecular Microbiology classes. By all accounts, Caitlyn continues to lead in all of her current classes. As a student, Caitlyn is disciplined and adaptable as she works to understand operation of biological systems. Caitlyn is constructive as she tests her understanding while working with peers to help them better develop their own understanding. Caitlyn's skills as an academic and mentor have also enabled her to be a remarkable SI for Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology, a course in its first semester. Caitlyn has applied her remarkable skills as a learner as a remarkably productive member of my research lab, earning herself a publication in Laridae. Caitlyn has been constructing a thoroughly developed Honors thesis about the effects of the gut microbiome on health. Notably, Caitlyn's progress on her thesis has developed by a schedule that she designed and implemented without fail. Caitlyn's successes as a student learner and researcher have all occurred in parallel to her work as a captain of the SU volleyball team that earned a second place finish in the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference (C2C) Tournament. Caitlyn's organization, perseverance, and adaptability are remarkable and deserve the highest commendations."
November 2021 - Soleil Darbouze
Minor: Gender & Sexuality Studies
Hometown: Harford County, Maryland
Words of wisdom:
Becoming who you want to be takes a lot of determination, dedication, and self-discipline to get there. Define who you want to be and don't accept no one's definition of who you are.
"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair" - Shirley Chisholm, The first black woman elected to Congress.
Dr. Yuki Okubo said, "Soleil is a great student who is an active member of SU community. She is part of the Accelerated Mentoring Program (AMP), a comprehensive mentoring program for psychology majors who are interested in social justice and antiracism topics. With other AMP students, she has worked with community youths on Participatory Action Research (PAR), and this year, we are collaborating with Bennett High School. She was also a member of Racing & Coping Research Lab that I supervise in Spring 2021. Soleil also keeps herself busy by assuming leadership positions in Kinks and Curls for Boys and Girls, and Psychology Club. Recently, she was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the National Leadership Honor Society. Soleil is hoping to pursue a PsyD degree in Clinical Psychology upon graduating from SU.."
October 2021 - Gabrielle Swilley
Major: Psychology and Art
Hometown: Prince George’s County, MD
Words of wisdom:
Be the person that makes others feel special. Be known for your kindness and grace” - unknown. In other words, stay true to who you are as an individual despite what you may be faced with and you will be successful.
Dr. Michele Schlehofer said, "Gabby is an exceptional student who is double majoring in psychology and art and aspires to become an art therapist. In addition to her heavy academic load, Gabby is a student in the Psychology Department's Accelerated Mentoring Program (AMP) in which she receives intensive training in social justice theory and community-based participatory action-research. As part of her work in AMP, Gabby is taking the lead on designing graphics for a series of recruitment flyers for an after-school program at Bennett High School, the Step Up! program. Bennett administrators are looking to "rebrand" and recruit high school students into Step Up! Gabby has the perfect combination of artistic skills and knowledge of psychological concepts such as attitude change, persuasion, and motivation to lead a successful rebranding and recruitment into the Step Up! program. Gabby is a dedicated student who is projected to complete her degree a semester early, despite the fact that her double major requires taking additional coursework exceeding the required 120 credits. She is a bright, hard-working student."
September 2021 - Ethan Robbins
Major: Exercise Science
Hometown: Denton, MD
Words of wisdom:
Never stop believing in yourself. You are going to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and as if your situation is impossible to overcome. But, I know you are capable and I also know that you deserve to give it everything you have to offer. Take a deep breath, focus, and go be great.
Dr. Scott Mazzetti said, "Ethan represents just about everything that can be great about a young investigator on his way to a very successful career in research/academics in Exercise Physiology. In the lab, Ethan is leading all aspects of our student research project which is examining the influence of varying the contraction intensity and load of super-sets of squat exercise on resistance exercise energy expenditure. Ethan has authored or co-authored several scientific abstracts, and attended International, National and Regional research conferences in the Exercise Sciences. In fact, he just presented an abstract at the SU Summer Research Showcase entitled, “Comparing energy expenditure during and after different squats with matched work but varying contraction intensities and loads”, after having spent the summer working in the research lab as a result of his Summer Research Fellowship award. If that is not enough, Ethan was just elected to the Presidents Student Advisory Board as the representative for the College of Health and Human Services. Ethan will be representing SU at the upcoming MARC-ACSM regional research conference in both the Fitness Challenge and the College/Quiz Bowl competitions, and he is studying daily for his Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for grad school. He will be applying for graduate research assistantships at Ball State University, The University of Alabama, and The University of Utah. His intellect, competence and competitiveness are elite, and his relentless yet kind approach to taking on life is something to be desired by all. I am personally improving in every way with each passing day that I get to work with him in the lab."
April 2021 - Kamryn Tross
Major: English Secondary Education
Hometown: Waldorf, MD
Words of wisdom:
Grades DO NOT equal your self-worth. If you didn't get the grade you wanted, then, set a goal, and reach it. But remember that the grade that you get doesn't matter. What matters is that you tried your best.
Dr. Suk said, "Secondary Education majors are required to take a classroom management course. The culminating project consisted of students conducting a functional behavior assessment and designing a behavior intervention plan. While these procedures are often not the responsibility of general education teachers, Kam used this opportunity to hone her skills and critically problem-solve a real-world challenge with student behavior. Kam chose the extremely relevant and challenging behavior of an 8th grade boy who instead of being on-task in school/zoom, would put his head down and not attend to learning. Kam’s analytical skills shined as she went beyond expectations by collecting expansive amounts of data. She was able operationally describe the behavior, identify antecedents and consequences related to the behavior, and visually represent the occurrences of the behavior in a graph. Using the data, Kam then identified desired replacement behaviors, specific reinforcers for the student, and a plan to assist the student in generalizing desired behaviors while fading the reinforcers. I was so impressed with her detail to the final project. In all honesty, her assessment and plan was better than ones I reviewed of teachers who have been in the field for years! I am so excited for her future students - with her knowledge and skills, students will be in an amazing learning environment and be supported through any challenging behaviors."
March 2021 - Marrissa Izykowicz and Kayla Wagerman
Hometown: Stroudsburg, PA
Words of wisdom:
I once said, “Nothing like thinking you understand something and then realizing you actually do not.” And I meant it. Learning is a lifelong process, and making mistakes is not indicative of failure. If anything, learning from your mistakes is a measure of success.
Dr. Rojas said, "Every month, Marrissa is an absolute superstar. This month though, Marrissa's academic and research prowess was on full display as they presented their independent research at SU's Posters on the Bay, the National Meeting for the American Chemical Society, and the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. What's more, Marrissa also is listed as first author on a recent submission to the Journal of Chemical Education. Marrissa maintains an excellent GPA, taking a rigorous course load, and working >25 h/week to pay for school and living accommodations independently. Finally, Marrissa has just this week become a member of the Henson Student Advisory Council aimed at improving the student experience in the Henson School of Science and Technology by communicating with peers, faculty, and the community to provide guidance directly to school leadership. Marrissa has previously served as Chief of Staff for SU's Student Government Association and has been an excellent role model and peer leader on campus.."
Major: Elementary Education
Hometown: Keymar, MD
Words of wisdom:
What helps me be a successful student is to always stay confident and embrace challenges instead of avoiding them. Don't get discouraged when things get hard and remember that it is okay to make mistakes and struggle. Ask for help when you need it and remember that all your hard work will pay off in the end.
Dr. Davis said, "Kayla is an outstanding undergraduate student in the Elementary Education program completing her final internship in Mrs. Chaibou’s 5th grade classroom at East Salisbury Elementary School. As Kayla’s internship supervisor, I had the opportunity to observe Kayla’s expectational work as she planned and implemented math and science lessons for the 5th grade students. I am most impressed with Kayla’s reflective practice. After each observed lesson, Kayla and I met to debrief the lesson with a focus on evidence for student learning. Kayla easily identified successes and areas to improve her pedagogical practices. Each week Kayla set goals based on feedback from evaluations, observations, and self-reflections. Kayla’s goals focused on instructional strategies to support student engagement and the development of students’ conceptual understanding in math and science. Working toward these goals, Kayla made instructional decisions to allow for student choice and created a virtual space for students to share their thinking with peers. It was with great admiration that I observed Kayla seamlessly navigate synchronous instruction to both virtual and in-person students. Her kindness and compassion were received by students, with one student saying aloud, “you do a good job” in the midst of a math lesson. Kayla has demonstrated an exemplary disposition as a Salisbury University undergraduate and her exceptional work makes her an excellent candidate for the Scholar Holler Award. She is intelligent, curious, hard-working, and exceptionally committed to elementary education. Kayla is the ultimate professional and will be a wonderful representative of SU."
Ms. Warner-Chiabou said, "Kayla has been a phenomenal intern. She works diligently to perfect her teaching craft. As her mentor teacher, it is a pleasure to have her in my classroom. She builds effective relationships with students and teaches lesson effectively. Kayla is also in other activities, but she has never allowed that to get in the way of her passion for becoming a teacher. She is simply amazing."
November 2020 - Isabella Gordon
Hometown: Berlin, MD
Words of wisdom:
How to be successful: Find a balance in having both pride and humility. Have faith in your own intelligence while remaining curious about new ideas. Build up your confidence but know that you are one person with a particular perspective who can gain so much by opening yourself up and listening to other people.
Dr. Ratti said, "Isabella Gordon has demonstrated the skills, talent, motivation, hard work, conscientiousness, and discipline characteristic of a high-achieving student. Her term paper in my course ENGL 365 (Literature of the Global South) is to be commended for its brilliance in what is a notoriously difficult and complex field of study: postcolonial theory and literature. Isabella’s scholarship shows not only her talent for critically analyzing postcolonial literature, but her exemplary sensitivity, empathy, humility, and respect for international literatures and cultures. Isabella has carefully read articles in leading scholarly journals (and has cited them with mastery and elegance), has assiduously completed extra credit assignments, and has diligently pursued further readings and videos I have recommended to her. Each of these achievements and attitudes on their own would be impressive. Their combination shows Isabella's insatiable curiosity, genuine openness to new knowledge and perspectives, and profound love for learning. Isabella’s numerous successes are evidence of her efficient time-management, her welcoming of and rise to intellectual challenges, her pride in presenting polished and professional written material, and her overall high standards for herself, her work, and her undergraduate studies."
October 2020 - Bilal Chaudhry
Major: Exercise Science
Minor: Psychology, Sports Medicine
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Words of wisdom:
In my experience becoming a successful student isn't extremely difficult. SU provides us with a plethora of opportunities to prosper, all we have to do is take advantage of these opportunities as they present themselves. Though we must be careful as to not overload ourselves to a point where we can't adequately perform our duties, it's all about balance and time management. Lastly, make sure you're having fun. There are more than 150 clubs and organizations on campus, you're bound to find one that you're interested in and if you don't you can always start one.
Dr. Mazzetti said, “Mr. Bilal Chaudhry is an obvious and deserving nominee for the upcoming Salisbury University Scholar Holler award because of his numerous roles (volunteer and otherwise) across campus and in the community, his demonstrated leadership skills in the SU Laboratory for Human Performance (LHP), his continued academic commitment and accomplishments, and his persistence in serving others. Bilal is graduating with his B.S. degree in Exercise Science this May 2021. He has been one of three student leaders in the LHP for about 2 years now, taking on all of the responsibilities necessary to allow us to conduct our research project examining the effects of short-term, intense anaerobic sprint and resistance training on sport conditioning and power output. Bilal has also been instrumental in leading the lab during the pandemic, where he has led us in implementing numerous cleaning and other modifications for our lab. More importantly, Bilal has been an Orientation Leader for the Office of Student Transitions, Event Staff in the Guerrieri Student Union, Captain of the Salisbury Wrestling Club, VP of membership of Alpha Phi Omega, and he is the Founder and Coordinator of the SU Mental Health Support Group. He has volunteered for “I Love Salisbury”, the Human Society of Wicomico County, HALO Center of Hope, The Big Event at Salisbury, and a Special Olympics Soccer Tournament at Crown Sports Center. Thus, it should not surprise you that Bilal desires to earn his Masters in Exercise Physiology with emphasis on studying the benefits of regular physical activity on mental health. Bilal is a tremendously mature and professional young man who represents the LHP, Salisbury University, and our community with great effort, dignity and pride, and he is an amazing example of the type of student, giving the types of exceptional efforts, that we should celebrate at Salisbury University.
September 2020 - Jamie Nicholson
Hometown: Betterton, Maryland
Words of wisdom:
Something that has helped me the most while going through college is staying positive and knowing everything will work out eventually. Understand that setbacks could happen, but it'll make you stronger and wiser once you overcome them.
Dr. Osman said, “I enthusiastically recommend Ms. Jamie Nicholson for the Scholar Holler Award. Jamie has been active in two research labs, and this is her third semester working as a dedicated undergraduate researcher and lab assistant. Her work in independent study courses has included literature searching, data collection, processing and analyzing, and scientific writing to report on an empirical study. Jamie’s efforts are currently reaching fruition. Her work has significantly contributed to a manuscript submission for publication, which has been invited by a professional peer-reviewed journal for revision and resubmission, and to a proposal submission for presentation at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association. Jamie’s academic strength is also evident across all of her courses with an almost perfect overall GPA and her membership in the Psi Chi Honor Society. Her academic achievements are especially impressive given the time constraints of her demanding on and off-campus job schedule throughout the past three semesters, including giving campus tours for Salisbury University, holding office hours for SOAP, and basic training for the army.”
April 2020 - Nathaniel Sansom
Major: Political Science and Conflict Analysis & Dispute Resolution (Double Major)
Minor: European Studies and International Studies
Hometown: Salisbury, MD
Words of wisdom:
As students, academic success is something we all strive to achieve. Rather than focusing solely on grades or GPA, which are undoubtedly important, I believe it is imperative that we simply put our best foot forward in all that we do. My advice to fellow students is straightforward and simple: Do not allow yourself to be defined by your worst day (or exam score), we all have bad days. Complementing this point, don't rest on your laurels or grow complacent in your journey towards academic success either. Wake up each morning, be yourself, do your level best, and don't let anybody tell you what cannot achieve.
Dr. Brittany Foutz said, “As the former Assistant Director of the United Nations Diplomatic Training Institute and working now as the Executive Director of a UN location in the U.S., I have worked with thousands of individuals – but Nate is one of the best students and research fellows that I’ve ever seen since my time at the UN and he has been a phenomenal student in my International Law class. I began as a grant writer for the UN and worked my way up through the organization, and through these experiences I have never seen such a hard-working and dedicated individual as Nate. It was just yesterday that I was video chatting having a conversation with the former President’s Senior Advisor for Latin America and we were conversing of Nate's extraordinary exceptional language skills and ability to accomplish his dreams and helping with the dreams of others – inspiring other students and young leaders wishing to make a difference in the world. I was speaking, also, of his openness to learning other languages and cultures. Nate has been a phenomenal research fellow with us also at the United Nations, and how serves as a UNESCO research fellow with us at the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution and leads our United Nations Association Salisbury Chapter. Our research fellows undergo a highly competitive process competing globally to become selected even for our limited positions. He is a rarity of a student with the best exemplar of an academic, professional, and personal background and is unquestionably an exceptional candidate for the Scholar Holler Award. His broad range of interests speak well of his potential as an individual. Following his academic and professional interests, I have been fortunate enough to keep track of his progress so that, when the opportunity arises, I could help in opportunities such as these. The same characteristics that convinced me to seek and discuss academic collaborations with him are also why I am happy to provide him with an endorsement for this award. This student and research fellow has accomplished all these tasks with great initiative and with a very positive attitude. He has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages and backgrounds. What I find most engaging in Nate are his interests outside of the classroom. He brings all of his activities with energy, enthusiasm, and commitment. This is to be expected in any successful student, and in this regard, he fits in so well. His combination of intelligence, commitment, perseverance, creativity, and a compassionate character will certainly make him a great candidate for this application.”
March 2020 - Ashley Olortegui
Minor: Gender and Sexuality Studies
Hometown: Riverdale Park, MD
Words of Wisdom:
“Knowledge, like air, is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it.” ? Alan Moore
No matter how challenging things get, this quote constantly reminds me of how valuable our education is and how lucky we are to even be here. Remember to do what you love can sometimes be stressful but extremely rewarding. Stay positive and never lose sight of your academic goals!
Dr. Schlehofer said, “The March semester has been very disruptive. Ashley is a research assistant in my research lab. Ashley has gone above and beyond that expected of students during this time. Despite having to quickly leave campus housing, she managed to submit two proposals to a virtual psychology conference. She has maintained research productivity, including tracking down several articles and assisting in writing a research paper. Ashley’s dedication to her education and professional development make her an excellent student exemplar at Salisbury University.”
February 2020 - Andrea Cottingham
Minors: Mathematics & Biology
Hometown: Salisbury, MD
Words of Wisdom: You can truly do everything, just not all at the same time.
Dr.’s Dewald, Howard and Habay said, “Andrea is an outstanding all-around student in the chemistry department. In addition to her excellent academics (she earned a 4.0 fall semester and regularly makes Dean’s List), Andrea does undergraduate research in the chemistry department and has presented her work last spring at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Orlando, FL. Andrea also conducted research as an Undergraduate Research Fellow last summer in Prof. Ryan Pearson’s lab at the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Her research focused on the synthesis of nanoparticles for biomedical applications.? She plans to pursue her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences after graduation. Andrea has been a lab assistant for three years, preparing teaching labs for the department. Not only has her work been outstanding, she has also been a leader in the lab, training younger lab assistants.”
February 2020 - Austin Dabbs
Majors: Chemistry and Interdisciplinary Studies
Minor: Business Administration 4+1
Hometown: Columbia, MD
Words of Wisdom:
“I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I think we could all do with calling our parents and grandparents more often."
Dr.’s Egan, Woodis, Clark and Ms. Jackson said, “As an OURCA Undergraduate Research Fellow for two years, Austin has emerged as a strong, skilled leader among the very top research students on campus. As one example, last week Austin organized and led a two hour meeting of the eight URFs and two faculty co-directors to generate ideas for advancing the office and programs. He set the schedule, took us through the agenda, shared the minutes, and assigned action items for the next meeting. Austin held a leadership role with the inaugural edition of Laridae, SU’s first student journal. He served as a section editor to review submissions from Business and Science. He also participated as an author in the thorough editing process to have his own work published as a Laridae article and was selected as one of only two students to present their work at the Laridae Launch event. Because of his ability to engage with people, Austin is one of most frequent student ambassadors to represent undergraduate research in classes, at donor events, with prospective students and their parents, at faculty meetings, and other opportunities.”
November 2019 - Amar Naboulsi
Major: Exercise Science
Hometown: Marlboro, NJ
Words of wisdom: The long term goals we hope to achieve while attending college tends to undermine the daily, seemingly trivial, things we achieve each day. Every step forward, no matter what it is, should be viewed as a win. Otherwise, we will get caught up in the notion that all is for nought if we never reach our final destination, forgetting the steps we took to get there.
Dr. Martino: “Amar is a graduating senior majoring in Exercise Science, with a minor in Psychology. Over the course of her entire academic career at Salisbury University, Amar has received a 4.0 GPA. In addition to her outstanding academic record, she is also a student worker for the Honors College, as well as working two additional part-time jobs. She is active in the Honors College on multiple levels, and is one of the brightest, most likeable students I have met. Amar has managed to keep a 4.0 GPA throughout her entire academic career. She has accomplished this also while working 35 plus hours per week. Her commitment to her academic life, as well as her ability to continually push the boundaries of her knowledge, is astounding. Amar is a stellar student who has beaten the odds time and again. She is a role model for every student on campus, and is the epitome of what an honors student can be. She is one of the hardest working individuals I have ever come across, and is a passionate and careful thinker, as well as a thoughtful individual. She is wise beyond her years, and displays an ability to overcome in the face of adversity. She excels not only in the courses required by her major, but in all courses in which she enrolls. Her GPA is a testament to her character and her grit, something which cannot be taught. Amar has brightened the halls of Salisbury University with her academic performance, her willingness to help others, and her ability to overcome adversity.”
October 2019 - Harrison Leon
Major: Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution
Hometown: Paoli, PA
Words of wisdom: Constructively challenge the status quo by asking probing questions about the topics and subjects that you are most passionate about. It's vital to focus on passionate subjects because passion is the fuel for sustained commitment, which is the impetus for social change.
Dr.’s Clark and Egan said, “During Harrison’s first year at Salisbury, he launched a non-profit that would serve the underprivileged youth in the surrounding area. The non-profit sought to offer free physical training sessions in exchange for study time with volunteer student-tutors. During his second semester at SU, Harrison was named an Honors Ambassador the following semester. During that same semester, Harrison was selected to be a part of the first cohort of UNESCO-Bosserman Fellows. This past year, Harrison was overwhelmingly peer-elected to serve as the inaugural editor of the new Laridae undergraduate research journal. The student Laridae members made an ideal choice in electing Harrison because we cannot imagine anyone else succeeding so well with the overwhelming task of launching the first edition of a student journal. Harrison has worked non-stop, without pay, for a year on this journal with a sense of pride, responsibility, and trailblazing. This past summer, Harrison took part in the DC Policy Scholars program administered by Pepperdine University’s graduate school of public policy. This program included a graduate-level public policy course on the relationship between US public policy and religion in, both, foreign and domestic policy. Harrison completed all these activities, while also managing to maintain an overall GPA of 3.95 while majoring in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution and Minoring in Sociology and Law, Justice, and Advocacy. He is the definition of an exceptional student, and Salisbury University is better because he is one of ours.”
September 2019 - Courtney (Nicole) Hammond
Minor: Environmental Studies, Earth Science
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD
Words of wisdom: Always believe in yourself and everything that you do. You never know who you might inspire. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "...be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
Dr. Bradley: “I wish I had nominated Nicole sooner. She has been a student in several of my classes and always works hard to persevere and overcome any difficulties that may arise. She maintains a high GPA and a packed course load of the Honors program, a science major, and double minor while still managing a research project that she has designed and oversees. This semester in particular, Nicole has demonstrated her commitment to academics. She has taken it upon herself to be an unpaid student advisor for a course of mine. Nicole took the course last fall and worked very hard to be successful in a difficult course that stumped most students with a high content of complicated material (quantitative and abstract thinking combined with self-guiding work of a hybrid course). At the beginning of the semester, she offered, unprompted, to serve as help for other students. She attends optional meetings and has led the students in creating a study guide and worksheet. Nicole sees this as a way to enhance her own understanding of the topic and assist others in theirs. It is admirable for her altruism but also for recognizing that she can gain even more knowledge from teaching others. This is a true scholar – working hard to continue learning even after the grade has been issued.”
April 2019 - Jade Gomez
Minor: Spanish and Latin American Studies
Hometown: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Words of Wisdom: No one gets anywhere on their own. Recognizing and utilizing support networks is crucial to success, especially these that can be found all throughout campus in professors, mentors, and everyone who wants to see you succeed!
Dr. Fritz: "Jade is a stellar student who has demonstrated exceptional poise, determination, and brilliance this month. She is our Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society president and just helped to pull off a large and flawless induction ceremony and luncheon for 30 new inductees and their families. I just finished reading Jade’s penultimate thesis draft and it is truly excellent. Jade is also an exceptional Psychology Department citizen and volunteers to help with study sessions and recruitment activities whenever she can"
Dr. Okubo: "Jade is a bright, dedicated, and active student both in and outside of our department. She is a psychology major with a minor in Spanish, and she is graduating this month. As an honor student, she has been a wonderful student to have. Jade started working with me in My Racism & Coping Research Lab. Last summer, where she received Summer Mentoring grant to work with me."
Dr. Bemis: "Jade is a graduating senior and has worked in my lab since her sophomore year. She is the kind of student who always takes advantage of every opportunity SU can provide. For example, during her time at SU she has presented research at 6 academic conferences, studied abroad, did a year-long internship (and then was hired to work at that internship site during her senior year), is president of Psi Chi (the honors society in psychology), applied for a Fulbright, applied for and received a Summer Research Grant, and wrote an Honors Thesis. Honestly, any opportunity we can offer Psychology majors at SU, Jade has completed. Further Jade’s work in all of these projects is stellar."
- March 2019 - Taylor Garner and Robert Guy
- February 2019 - Gina Santoriello
- October 2018 - Noah Cline
- September 2018 - Lauren Delong
- May 2018 - Nelcy Denice Avila
- April 2018 - Brendan Wille
- March 2018 - Kelly Surkovich
- February 2018 - Diamond Brown
- November 2017 - Storm Galloway
- October 2017 - Arthur Lembo
- September 2017 - Danielle Amanda Walker
- April 2017 - Nicholas Anthony Carlini
- March 2017 - Juliet Vapsva
- February 2017 - Kristy Trojan
- November 2016 - Brittany Bursa
- October 2016 - Aaron Wall
- September 2016 - Megan Newcomer
- April 2016 - Nicholas Carlini
- March 2016 - Katherine Potvin
- February 2016 - Aaron Wilson
- December 2015 - Christy Bertolaccini
- November 2015 - Alex Potocko
- October 2015 - John Talbot
- September 2015 - Megan Mahedy
- May 2015 - Zach Grogan & Rachel Lisk
- April 2015 - Kirsten Hawkins
- March 2015 - Andrea Korell
- February 2015 - Maryam Aboul-Enein