About

Outstanding Student Awards

Each spring the departments and programs in COLA select their top graduating students. They are recognized at the Spring Outstanding Student Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to this year’s honorees.

On this page:

2020–21 Recipients

Undergraduate Students

Hunter Johnson

Urban Affairs
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Hunter Johnson is from the Dayton region and says he is very glad he chose the Urban Affairs program at Wright State as it allowed him to grow in his passion for public service while also serving his community.

Hunter Minor

Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

From Pickerington, Ohio, Hunter Minor is your everyday, midwestern, charcuterie-loving, older brother, who happened to fall in love with the world of Theatre.

Alexandria Hines

Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Alexandria Hines started her academic career about six year ago with the intentions of receiving an undergraduate degree in nursing.

Morgan Laprete

Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Morgan Laprete graduated with her BA in Women’s Studies and has gone on the University of Florida as a grad student studying Health Education and Human Behavior.

Alex Bylczynski

Liberal Studies, Sociology
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Alex Bylczynski graduated from WSU with a double major in Liberal Studies and Sociology and has been selected as the Outstanding Graduate for both!

Magdalen E. Meyer

Religion, Philosophy, and Classics
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Magdalen E. Meyer is a perfect choice to represent the Departments of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics as its outstanding graduate for 2021.

Taylor Ronnebaum

Political Science
Recognition Year: 
2020-21
Taylor Ronnebaum is a Political Science graduate. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Taylor first became interested in politics when Obama ran for office in 2008.

Jackson Riffle

Music
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Jackson Riffle graduated with a major in Percussion and Piano Performance. He is an active performer, educator, composer, and arranger.

Megan McKarns

Modern Languages
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Megan McKarns graduated with majors in both Spanish and International Studies. Megan started learning Spanish in high school and grew not only a passion for the language but as well as the culture and the people who speak it.

Kaylee Arbogast

International Studies
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Kaylee Arbogast is this year’s Outstanding Graduating Senior from International Studies. Kaylee was nominated for this honor by her professors, who described Kaylee as a true pleasure to teach.

Alexis Voisard

English Language & Literatures
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Alexis Voisard is considered by the English faculty to rank among the very best students that they have taught in recent years.

Tionna Clyburn

Communication
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Tionna “Tia” Clyburn completed a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies at Wright State University and will start work as part-time Digital Content Producer for the Springfield News-Sun.

Kennedy Fitzgerald

Crime & Justice Studies
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Kennedy Fitzgerald graduated Spring 2021 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Crime and Justice Studies and a minor in Psychology. She transferred from Bowling Green University to Wright State in the fall of 2018.

Emma Smith

Art & Art History
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Emma Smith was born and raised in Tipp City, Ohio. She attended Tippecanoe High School and, following graduation in 2017, enrolled at Wright State University to pursue her passion for art.

Anna Fox

Anthropology
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Anna Fox graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in both Anthropology and Art, and aspires to earn a certificate in museum management as well as a master’s degree to become a Biological Anthropologist.

Karen Knight

African & African American Studies
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Karen Alena Knight is the African and African-American Studies program’s Outstanding Graduating Senior, Class of 2021.

Ninad Inamdar

Geography
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Ninad Inamdar earned his degree in geography at Wright State University, after transferring from Sinclair Community College.

Joe Connelly

History
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Joe Connelly began his history studies at the University of Cincinnati prior to joining the military in 2003. He spent 12 years in the Marine Corps and went on two deployments to Iraq, as well as leading NATO training exercises in the Balkans.

Graduate Students

Music
Recognition Year: 
2020-21

Before returning to Wright State to work on his Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting degree, Matthew Weaver taught band in the Mt.

2019–20 Recipients

Undergraduate Students

Jacob Shade

Theatre, Dance, & Motion Picture
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

During Jacob Shade’s time in the dance program at Wright State University he has had the privilege of working with world renowned choreographers such as Dwight Rhoden, Ray Mercer, Christian Denice, and Lloyd Culbreath from the Fosse Legacy.

Anna Ruckman

Music
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

A double-major in Trumpet and Voice, Anna Ruckman has been an essential member of the WSU Wind Symphony for four years and of the Collegiate Choral for three years. Her talents have been recognized with scholarships in both trumpet and voice.

Petey Sanchez

Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Petey Sanchez (he/him/his) believes majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies was one of the best decisions he ever made, as it opened him to valuing everyone no matter their differences.

Victoria Coleman

Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

A Dayton native and first-generation college student, Victoria Coleman chose Wright State because it was close to home and says her time at Wright State has transformed her, particularly the appreciation of diverse perspectives that she has develo

Lee Huntsberger

Religion, Philosophy, & Classics
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Graduating in May with a B.A. in Classical Languages and Cultures and a minor in International Studies, Lee Huntsberger has unflaggingly maintained his passion for Classics.

Adam Al-Masri

Political Science
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Adam Ai-Masri became interested in financial analysis at a young age and recognized how influential political developments were on the performance of domestic and international equities.

Abigail Lionberger

Modern Languages
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Abigail M. Lionberger earned a degree in French and a minor in Political Science while working two jobs and serving as French club president.

Leslie Ann Marsh

Liberal Studies
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Leslie Marsh returned to Wright State to complete her B.A. in 2018 after raising a family and pursuing a career in nonprofit marketing communication.

Megan O’Connor

History
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

During her studies, Megan O’Connor developed a passion for investigating and telling the stories of ‘ordinary’ people in America’s past, especially through historical fashions and textile manufacture.

Ryan Oates

English
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Honors student, English major ambassador, and student organization president, Ryan Oates has been accepted into several prestigious graduate programs.

Sarah Cavender

Communication
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

When a professor encouraged Sarah Cavender to get involved with the student newspaper everything came together.

Kendra Thibaut

Crime & Justice Studies
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Kendra Thibaut majored in Crime and Justice Studies with a minor in Sociology. She completed her degree in just three years and plans to attend the police academy and pursue a career in law enforcement.

Michael Krieger

Art & Art History
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

After high school, native Daytonian Michael Krieger spent several years in New York City with street punks, squatters, and fringe artists, which helped steer him to take his passion for art and acquire formal education seeking a degree.

Justina Fileccia

Anthropology
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

While completing her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with minors in Political Science and Classics, Justina Fileccia has worked with local charities and organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, Amigos for Christ, The Hudgens Center for the A

Graduate Students

Uriah Anderson

Public Administration (MPA)
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Uriah Anderson came to the Wright State MPA program looking for a change of career.

Nicholas Higgins

International and Comparative Politics
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Nick Higgins graduated from Miami University (Ohio) in 2015, with a degree in Philosophy and Eurasian Studies. He completed an M.A.

Rachel Canter

English
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Rachel Canter will begin a PhD program in English Literature at George Washington University fall 2020. She is interested in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century novels and translation studies.

Tylar O’Neal-White

Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Tylar O’Neal-White began her MSW program in the fall of 2016 on a 4-year track because she worked full-time in a non-profit agency.

Emily Ka-Lei Au

Music
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Macau native Ka-Lei (Emily) Au earned a master’s degree in piano performance.

Anna Helmig

Public History
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

A lifelong love of visiting museums led Anna Helmig to earn her BA in History and Religion in 2018, which in turn led her to pursue a master’s degree in Public History.

Jill Jackson

Humanities
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

Focusing on twentieth and twenty-first century German literature, including the works of Bertolt Brecht, Wolfgang Borchert, and the contemporary authors popularized during Germany’s reunification such as Thomas Brussig, Jill Jackson finds studying

Megan Creviston

Applied Behavior Sciences
Recognition Year: 
2019-20

As a graduate student in the Applied Behavioral Science program, Megan Creviston has been a peer mentor for other students and a graduate teaching assistant, in Sociology and Anthropology.

2018–19 Recipients

Undergraduate Students

Sterling Rutledge

African & African American Studies
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Dayton native Sterling Rutledge arrived at Wright State as a first-year student in Fall 2015. Majoring in African-American Studies, with minors in History and Political Science, he completed his degree in just four years.

Frances Smith

Art & Art History
Recognition Year: 
2018–19
Frances Smith is an honors B.F.A. student with a concentration in photography.

Holly-Kristina Averette

Communication
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Dayton-born Holly-Kristina Averette lived in South Korea for three years and graduated high school on an American military base in Daegu, South Korea.

Michael Sensenbaugh

Crime & Justice Studies
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Michael Sensenbaugh graduated from Wright State University (magna cum laude) in Crime and Justice Studies. During his studies, Michael completed an internship with the Miamisburg Police Department.

Jonathan Thomas

English
Recognition Year: 
2018–19
In addition to excelling in his coursework in English: Integrated Language Arts Education, Jonathan Thomas presented research undertaken with program faculty at a professional conference and plans to submit this work to a peer-reviewed journal soon.

Alix Holmes

History
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

A graduate of Wilmington High School, Alix Holmes attended Wright State with the benefit of the Valedictorian/Salutatorian scholarship and a competitive honors scholarship.

Salha El-shwehdi

International Studies
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Salha El-shwehdi, the daughter of Libyan immigrants, has already traveled widely. She grew up in Springboro, Ohio, but moved to Libya in 2012 for her sophomore year of high school, where she attended the International School of Benghazi.

Yahziyl Palmer

Liberal Studies
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Yahziyl Palmer transferred to Wright State after earning an associate’s degree at Sinclair Community College.

Antonia Stonerock

Modern Languages
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Antonia Stonerock went to high school in Grove City, Ohio, where she participated in track and the German American Partnership Program.

Curtis Magee

Music
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Curtis Magee has completed a bachelor's degree in Music Performance and a minor in German.

James Davis

Geography
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Hailing from Enon, Ohio, James Davis joined the Navy at the age of 22 and served for seven years in San Diego, California.

Lauren Reder

Religion, Philosophy, & Classics
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Lauren Reder arrived at Wright State in 2015 with four years of Latin already under her belt, a full academic scholarship in hand, and an avowed intention of majoring in classics.

Elizabeth Art

Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Elizabeth Art moved to Wright State from Lima, Ohio, about four years ago to begin her journey with the social work bachelor’s program. She is currently preparing for state licensing and considering her next academic and professional pathways.

Diamond Johnson

Sociology & Anthropology
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Diamond Johnson enrolled at Wright State in 2015 majoring in Sociology and graduated cum laude in December of 2018.

Katie Sinicki

Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures
Recognition Year: 
2018–19
A B.F.A. Acting major in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures, Katie Sinicki considers the Creative Arts Center home.

Elise Hack

Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Elise Hack is a WGS major, with minors in Public Health, Sexuality Studies, and French. She volunteers at Equitas Health and interns with Planned Parenthood.

Graduate Students

Beth Nichols

Applied Behavioral Sciences
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Beth Nichols earned her B.A. in Psychology as well as a certificate in TESOL at Wright State University in 1998.

Dylan Marie Colvin

English

Dylan Marie Colvin is deeply devoted to Dayton, Ohio, the city of her birth. A year serving in Americorps in East Dayton, just blocks away from where she grew up in Walnut Hills, strengthened her commitment to social justice.

Amy Brickey

Public History
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

While earning a master’s degree in Public History at Wright State, Amy Brickey has had the opportunity to work with many public history professionals in the field and on campus.

Sarah Bostic

Humanities
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Sarah Bostic is completing her Master of Humanities degree at Wright State University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wright State in Sociology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Rahim Akrami

International & Comparative Politics
Recognition Year: 
2018–19

Rahim Akrami graduates with an M.A. in International and Comparative Politics as well as a Master of Public Administration degree. His M.A.

Stephen Monath

Music
Recognition Year: 
2018–19
While excelling at his studies, Stephen Monath has been Director of the Wright State Pep Band, has performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention for the Collegiate Showcase Concert, and has performed with the Lakeside Chautauqua Symphony.

Chelsie Spoor

Public Administration
Recognition Year: 
2018–19
A second-year M.P.A. student, Chelsie Spoor is also the Director of Resource Development for Miami Valley Community Action Partnership.

Natasha Ames

Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2018–19
Natasha Ames is an advanced standing student in the Greater Miami Valley Joint MASW program and will be graduating in May with a Master of Social Work degree.

2017–18 Recipients

Undergraduate Students

Megan Barrett

Social Science Education
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Megan Barrett was born and raised in Dayton and graduated from Chaminade Julienne High School in 2014. In high school she was a member of the National Honor Society and took multiple AP classes, most of which were in History or Government.

Maggie Beck

Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Maggie Beck is eager to graduate this year with a dual B.A. in Social Work and Urban Affairs.

Kelly Bledsoe

Art and Art History
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Kelly Bledsoe has always loved making art, but his career interest turned to music as a junior high student when his school offered band but not art classes.

Rachel Canter

English
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

If there's anything you want to know about F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby just ask Rachel Canter, who has made it the centerpiece of her honors project.

Joshua Chenault

Communication
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Joshua Chenault is a graduating Mass Communication major. He chose to enter the Mass Com degree program because working in the media industry has always been his main goal.

Hanna Fortney

Crime & Justice Studies
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

As a senior getting ready to graduate from Wright State, Hanna Fortney wants to give thanks to her alma mater and the Criminal Justice program.  She has been provided many opportunities throughout her four years at Wright State, from receiving an

Michaela Kaiser

Liberal Studies
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Michaela Kaiser came to Wright State as a transfer student with many different interests.

Jordan Kingsley

Urban Affairs
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Jordan Kingsley has been recognized by the faculty for her dynamism and professionalism, her respect for others, and her openness.

Francisco Marques-Vuelta

Modern Languages
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Francisco Marques-Vuelta obtained a degree in private investigation from the University of Barcelona and developed a career as a private detective in his native Spain.

Stephanie Patino-Garfias

"There are so many opportunities and resources...there are people here who genuinely want to help you, genuinely want you to succeed."

--Stephanie Patino-Garfias

Janice Sikon

Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Janice Sikon is completing a B.A. in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as a B.S. in Chemistry.

Alyssa Stark

Sociology and Anthropology
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Alyssa Stark will be graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in Anthropology. During her time at Wright State, she has focused on archaeology and museum studies.

Constantine Nicholas Tolias

International Studies
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

In September 2014, Constantine Tolias graduated from United States Army Basic Training in Fort Benning, Georgia as an infantryman in the Ohio Army National Guard.

Vicki Tong

School of Music
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Vicky Hei Man Tong is a senior, majoring in Piano Performance and studying under Dr. Jackson Leung. At Wright State, she serves as pianist for the Symphonic Band and has represented Wright State in numerous recitals within Ohio and in Asia.

Brittany Williams

Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Brittany T. Williams is a 22 year old senior Theater Studies major with a minor in African and African-American studies.

Samantha Wood

History
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Samantha Wood is a rare student who exemplifies the model of effective service learning. Not only is she an outspoken and hard-working student in the classroom, she also improves the lives of her fellow students with her work on campus.

Graduate Students

Kathryn Chaney

International & Comparative Politics
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Kathryn “Katie” Chaney is a graduate of both Wright State (International Studies) and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Her M.A.

Jennifer England

History
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Jennifer England graduated from Wright State with a B.A. in French and a minor in German in 2011. She began volunteering and working on projects for the Florida Park Service and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West, Florida.

Katherine Peden

Master of Humanities
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Katherine Margaret Peden was born and raised in Huber Heights, and graduated from Wayne High School, after which she attended Sinclair, completing prerequisites that would enable her to enroll at Wright State.

Elizabeth Procopio

Music
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Elizabeth Procopio is majoring in percussion performance and is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the School of Music.

Dan Schack

English
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Dan Schack is graduating with a Master of Arts in English Literature and a certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Patrice Washington

Masters of Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Patrice Washington is a retired respiratory care practitioner, a practicing licensed social worker, and graduate Master of Social Work student who works with people to support and empower them.

Devonn Wood

Public Administration
Recognition Year: 
2017-18

Devonn Wood received her Bachelors degree in Organizational Leadership from Wright State in 2015, graduating Cum Laude, and entered the Master of Public Administration Program (MPA) in Fall 2016.


2016–17 Recipients

Undergraduate Students

Sarah Bostic

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Sarah Bostic will be graduating summa cum laude with a double major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sociology. Last year, she was the recipient of the award for Outstanding Senior in Sociology.

Shelby Frideger

Sociology/Anthropology
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Shelby Frideger transferred to Wright State from Edison and then Ohio State. She took courses in a number of areas before chancing upon Anthropology and clearly finding her passion.

Emily Hayslett

Communication
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Emily Hayslett received her associate’s degree in Communication from Sinclair in 2015, graduates with a Communication Studies major.

Camilla Herring

English
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Camilla Herring has excelled in all of her classes, particularly English, and has been an active force in establishing the successful new national journal of creative writing, Mad River Review, based at Wright State.

Renee Jutte

Urban Affairs
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Renee Jutte is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management.

Eva Lewis

Art and Art History
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Eva Lewis was born in Beaverton, Oregon and raised in Dayton. As far back as she can remember, she has always been involved in art.

Kara Lynch

Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Kara Lynch is from Dearborn, Michigan. In 9th grade, she filled a hole in her class schedule with an intro to movie making class, marking the beginning of her journey in filmmaking.

Jacob Miller

Modern Languages
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Jacob Miller spent an entire academic year in Lyon studying abroad, where he developed fluency and cultural competency in French. He is a dual French/International Studies major.

Stephen Monath

Music
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Stephen Monath is an active performer and educator. On campus, he has served as principal percussion of the Wind Symphony, performed with the Chamber Orchestra, worked as a member of the pep band, and won the WSU Young Artist Competition.

Ryan Pignatiello

Crime and Justice Studies
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Ryan Pignatiello is graduating from Wright State with a 3.84 GPA in Crime and Justice Studies.  While attending Wright State, Ryan averaged 14 credit hours each semester, and completed a Political Science minor and a Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies

Olivia Stidham

History
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Olivia Stidham was selected by the history department as their outstanding student for her enthusiasm and strong record in her history courses. Her professors have noted in particular her original thinking and incisive writing.

Emma Towe

International Studies
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Emma Towe is completing a dual major in International Studies and Spanish with a 3.9 GPA. She was listed on Dean’s list for High Honors from 2014-16. In 2015, Emma spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, polishing her Spanish.

Aurylia D. Tracy

Religion, Philosophy and Classics
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Aurylia D. Tracy, whose chosen name means “golden,” has in the classroom distinguished herself not only as a meticulous, elegant, and imaginative thinker, but also as a talented writer.

Michael Wadham

Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

After working at The Vandalia Youth Theatre Company for 13 years, Artistic Director Michael Wadham decided to return to school and obtain a degree in Social Work.

R. Lukas Wenrick

Social Science Education
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Lukas Wenrick has been an Honors student since he arrived on campus. By the following year, he was the Head Resident Assistant, showing his outreach to help other students. He worked as a tutor and a peer mentor.

Bethany York

Political Science
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Bethany York graduated summa cum laude and was a member of the Model United Nations team. She is described by her professors as driven and dedicated, polished and professional.

Graduate Students

Carole Ahossin

Applied Behavioral Science
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Carole Ahossin is an international student from Benin, West Africa. She is a conscious, hard-working young lady, who strives to do her very best academically.

Nick Angelis

Music
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Nick Angelis is in his 12th year as the University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands Assistant Band Director and is completing his Master of Music from Wright State this semester.

Hadley Drodge

History
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Hadley Drodge is an outstanding scholar in the classroom and an excellent teaching assistant; even more impressive is her service engagement with the broader community.

Megan Holly

Public Administration
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Megan Holly received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Political Science from Muskingum University. She began the Masters of Public Administration program in Fall 2015.

Brittany Jackson

Social Work
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Brittany Jackson is an all-round student in the Master of Social Work program. She is reliable, punctual, and insightful in her contribution to course work as well as the larger field of social work.

Martin Kalfas

International/Comparative Politics
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Martin “Marty” Kalfas is a graduate of Ohio State University. He recently defended his M.A.

Isaac Knapp

English
Recognition Year: 
2016-17

Isaac Knapp began the M.A. program with a strong interest in Victorian literature, and while that interest still holds, he has also developed an affinity for postcolonial literature and modernist novels.

 


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