Student excellence in academics and service were recognized during Tusculum College’s annual Honors Convocation Thursday, April 24.
The two top honors for students presented by the College are the President’s Award and the Bruce G. Batts Award. Ashley Sarmiento of Dayton, Ohio, was presented the President’s Award and Jordan Ottinger of Newport, who was presented the Bruce G. Batts Award.
Students were also encouraged to find their passion and follow it by the Rev. Jonas Hayes, a 1999 graduate of Tusculum, who was guest speaker for the Honors
Convocation. Hayes, who is a Presbyterian pastor in Overland Park, Kan., received the Best Short Documentary honors at the 2013 Madrid International Film Festival as executive producer of the film, “Delta 180: Changing Lives in the Mississippi Delta.” The documentary tells the story of the after-school program for youth in Greenville, Miss., that was co-founded by Hayes.
The President’s Award is presented to the graduating senior who has contributed the most to the College and who has been the most outstanding achiever in the combined areas of academic work,
athletics, campus leadership and personality. The selection is made on the basis of the student’s total four-year record at Tusculum.
Dr. Melinda Dukes, vice president of academic affairs at the college, presented the award to Sarmiento, who is majoring in mathematics and mathematics education.
“In her career at Tusculum College, she has been a stand out in the classroom and on the volleyball court,” Dukes said of Sarmiento. “She has dedicated herself to campus
organizations and demonstrated leadership skills and commitment to service.”
Sarmiento has been a Preseason All-South Atlantic Conference First Team member, an AVCA All-Southeast Region honorable mention, an All-SAC second team, a Capital One Academic All-America Second Team member and a recipient of the highest honor bestowed to a league student-athlete, the South Atlantic Conference Presidents’ Award. She has also been named to the NCAA
Southeast Regional All-Tournament Team.
In addition, she has been named to the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll, the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, the Dean’s List, the President’s List and the Charles Oliver Gray Honors List. Sarmiento is a member of Tusculum’s Chapter of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society. She has served as president and vice president of the Pioneer Student Athlete Advisory Council. She has worked in support of Mentor for Kids and the Make-A-Wish 5K run as a mentor and an organizer. After graduation, Sarmiento has a position as a math teacher and a
volleyball coach awaiting her in Williamson County, fulfilling one of life ambitions.
Sarmiento was also presented a Senior Honor Key Award in mathematics education 7-12. The Senior Honor Key Awards recognize students in for their capacities, special abilities, achievements and aptitude in their major field.
Presented in memory of a beloved educator at Tusculum who helped define the college’s civic arts curricular focus, the Bruce G. Batts Award is presented to a student
who clearly demonstrates the qualities that reflect the civic arts ideals.
This year’s recipient, Jordan Ottinger, has served not only campus but the regional community through his activities through the Business Club and the Tusculum College Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.
Ottinger, an accounting major with a minor in
general management, has excelled academically as part of the Tusculum College Honors Program and led the Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship (CEDE), as well as the Help Me Help You program for small business development in the community. Ottinger has been an active member of the Tusculum College Business Club and has participated in Job Shadowing opportunities. He has been a member of the President’s Society and is a member of the Tusculum College Chapter of Alpha Chi National Honor Society.
During the Honors Convocation,
Ottinger was also presented the Honor’s Olympian Award, which is presented to a student who best exemplifies the ideals of the Tusculum College Honors Program through academic success, civic engagement and service to the community. The award is presented to the student in the Honors Program who has been most active on campus and in the community.
Ottinger was also recognized with the Walter R. Johnson Award, which is presented to the graduating senior determined most outstanding in business and economics studies, based on grade point average and academic achievement.
Presented during the convocation were faculty, staff and community awards whose recipients were selected by student vote. Receiving the Outstanding Service to Students Award, a faculty honor, was Dr. David Key, assistant professor of history, to a standing ovation from his fellow faculty members, students, staff and others in attendance.
In presenting the award on behalf of the Greene County Partnership, local industrial leader Bob Leonard thanked not only Key, but all Tusculum faculty, for their efforts to further educational opportunities for their students. Dr.
Key has taught courses in American history and in the Tusculum Commons program. He has supported and encouraged students in undergraduate research and providing opportunities for these students to present their work at the Blue Ridge Undergraduate Research Conference. His has published two books “From Athens to Alabama: Readings in the Political Traditions of the West” and “Theodore Roosevelt: A Life and Legacy.” He has also continued his research on the militia system in the United States.
Dr. Key received his doctorate from
the University of New Mexico after completing his dissertation on the Progressive Era in the Southwestern Territories. He taught at the University of New Mexico and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville before coming to Tusculum in 2007.
The Staff Award was presented to Daniel Green, senior student life coordinator who also manages the residential
program for Mastrapasqua Hall and the other apartments. In presenting the award, Student Government Association President Ryan Barker said that Green, “has enriched the lives of students, faculty and staff. He takes great pride in challenging students to address their own biases, misconceptions and ideologies of intolerance.”
As senior student life coordinator, Green implements and administers programs that contribute to the development of students’ cultural competency, multicultural appreciation, leadership development, academic success and civic engagement as well as
builds community within residential life and promotes a climate of respect for diversity.
Barker also presented the Community Award, which is presented to an individual, organization or business which has made a significant contribution to the Tusculum campus community. This year’s recipient well known and respected local musician John Brown as long ties with Tusculum as a performer. In presenting the award, Barker noted that Brown decided several years ago to find ways to give back to the community, organizing the Dogwood Park summer concert
series in Greeneville. At Tusculum, Brown has been provided support to the College’s Band Program and has been instrumental in the return of the Old Oak Festival to campus as a coordinator of the performers on campus.
Senior Honor Key Awards were presented to students who have earned a 3.25 grade point average or higher in their major, shown achievement and aptitude in the major and possess strong character. The following are the award recipients and their degree programs:
Art and Design, Studio Art Concentration – Hilary Nowatzki;
Art and Design, Graphic Design Concentration – Jacenta Holtsclaw;
Athletic Training – David Montes
Biology – Sara Howard and Jacob Norris;
Business Administration, Management Concentration – Cierra Ockstadt;
Digital Media – Jeff Roberts;
English, journalism and professional writing concentration – Jonathan Nash;
English, literature concentration – Angel West;
Environmental Science/Field Guide Naturalist – Kristen Lane;
General Management – Codie Fleming;
History – Lindsay Firster;
Interdisciplinary Studies K-6 – Jennifer Rossiter;
Interdisciplinary Studies PreK-3 – Shaquita Harris;
Interdisciplinary Studies 4-8: Ona Elisha Wilder;
Management Accounting – Sarah Clabo;
Mathematics – Jamie L. Rossman;
Mathematics, computer science concentration –John Zach Conlon;
Museum Studies – Emily Shipsey;
Physical Education – Kim Brown;
Political Science – Jarrod Cupp;
Psychology – Robert Arrowood;
Sport Management – Ryan Byars and
Sports Science – Katelyn Brennan.
Recognized as Honor Students for having the highest grade point average of their class were:
seniors – Robert Arrowood, Ryan Byars, Sarah Clabo and Martin Jorgensen;
juniors – David Cooper, Ash
Dorrbecker, Madilyn Elliott, Leif Ratliff and Lukas Winkelmann;
sophomores – Elizabeth Coberly, Samuel Davis, Calley Lawson, Zachary Shirah, Britney Turner and Nicholas Wasylyk, and
freshman – Sarah Baker, Andrea Bowles, Callie Casteel, Eliza Davis, Hunter Foreman, Rachel Garnett, Kelli McCalla, Jalesa Perkins, Chesley Reed, Jonathan Spicher and Blake Tallman.
Senior members of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society were also recognized. Upperclassmen ranked in the top 10 percent academically of their classmates are invited to join the honor society. Recognized were:
The Alpha Chi Academic Excellence Award, which honors the highest academically ranked member of the junior class, was presented to David Cooper.
Students inducted in the Tusculum College chapter of the Psi Chi psychology honor society were recognized. They include Victoria Hill, Zoe Holcombe, Bailey Lawson, Hannah Lefler, Tiffany Rednour and Brianna Werder, who are students in the Residential program. Students from the Graduate and Professional Studies program inducted included Nyki Britton, Amanda Brooks, Sara Cedillo, Tara A. Cox, Tracy M. Ealy, Lori Hull, Toni Kingerly, Tracy Vandiver and Jacquelyn Waddell.
Robert Arrowood was presented the Undergraduate Research Excellence in Psychology Award. This new award recognizes a student who has completed a research project and presented it in a public forum. Arrowood has completed three research projects, presented at two conferences and has had his work accepted for publication in Modern Psychological Studies, a journal showcasing the work of undergraduate psychology students across the country.
Students who were chosen for the 2014 Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Prizes were honored. Students submit original, creative works in the annual writing competition. Joseph Borden was selected as the award winner in the poetry, scriptwriting and fiction categories. Britany Menken was chosen as award winner in the nonfiction category.
The Dr. Shirley Beck Award for an outstanding Master of Arts in Education major was presented to Kelley Adkins.
The Outstanding Education Student Award was presented to McKayla Myers.
Vicki Sweeton and Danielle Warren were presented the Jean Hixon Memorial Award, named in honor of a long-time member of the Graduate and Professional Studies staff. Hixon’s sister Anne Hall and her husband, James Hall, presented the award. The award recipients are chosen by Tusculum faculty as students who have demonstrated academic achievement with a GPA of 3.50 or better and dedicated community service.
The E.H. Sargent Award in Science was presented to Addie Hancock. In choosing the recipient, science faculty members consider overall grade point average, total hours in science and variety of areas covered in the sciences.
The Barnett, Conley and Davis Award in Natural Sciences and Mathematics was presented to John Zach Conlon as a graduating senior outstanding in the combined fields of natural sciences and mathematics. The award is based on overall GPA, science and math GPA, depth of interest in science and math and academic service to the college such as tutoring and/or research.
Kayla Gillispie was the recipient of the Doug Ratledge Environmental Science Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to an outstanding student majoring in environmental science or the field guide naturalist program.
Three students were recognized for the new “Nursing Student of the Year” award, Anjelica Bolden, Mindy Hirsch and Katrina Holder. The award recognizes a student who demonstrates high moral values, communicates and acts with integrity, provides safe and effective nursing care, promotes and practices life-long learning, demonstrates a commitment and passion for the practice of nursing, demonstrates high professional standards of conduct and has demonstrated academic excellence.
The Theatre Award was given to DeAundra Bowker, who is serving as shop foreman for the theater program this year. She has performed on stage as well as worked backstage in set construction, lighting and sound.
The Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Outstanding Major Award is selected by the physical education faculty and was awarded to Martin Jorgensen.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education Award was presented to Brian Alexander.
The Pinnacle Award for highest scores on annual comprehensive examinations taken by athletic training education majors was presented to Amanda Grempel.
The Service-Learning Award was presented to Felicia Waters. The award is presented to a student who has shown excellence in a service-learning class by performing service beyond the norm and exhibits sound reasoning and reflection while maintaining enthusiastic and positive attitude and showing creativity, self-direction and respect for diversity.
The Bonner Leaders Program Award was presented to Maria Nesbitt. The award is presented to a student within the Bonner Leaders Program, who has exhibited exemplary long-term dedication to the six keys of the program – community building, civic engagement, diversity, international perspective, social justice and spiritual exploration.