Outstanding Student Awards 2016–2017

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Undergraduate Students

Headshot - Eva LewisEva Lewis – Art and Art History

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. Throughout high school, she experimented with different means and methods of expressing herself but always returned to painting. When she began college, her intention was to pursue a career as a high school art teacher, but she finally decided on a degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in painting and a minor in art history. In the future, Eva hopes to attend graduate school and eventually become a professor at a university. Congratulations, Eva.


Headshot - Emily HayslettEmily Hayslett – Communication

Emily Hayslett received her associate’s degree in Communication from Sinclair in 2015, graduates with a Communication Studies major. Although it took her some time to decide on Communication, she says that now she sees the world in a completely different light. The greatest gift she received from her education was a new perspective and the ability to identify and analyze her own prejudices. Knowing how to communicate and help others communicate more efficiently has opened doors she did not even know were there.

When Emily is not in school, she volunteers in Guatemala helping impoverished people living in the highlands. After she graduates, she would like to return to Guatemala at least once a year and use her education to help the many women by teaching them how to empower themselves and raise their voices. She also would like to use her skills in the United States to help prisoners find jobs after their incarceration through bettering their communication and interviewing skills. Congratulations, Emily.


Ryan Pignatiello – Crime and Justice Studies

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 minor. He was also a member of Wright State’s men’s soccer team and the first student-athlete appointed as a Student Trustee to the Wright State University Board of Trustees. A local internship with the U.S. Marshals was a perfect match to his career goal of working in the federal law enforcement system. Ryan has accepted a position as a federal officer with the United States Capital Police in Washington, D.C. Congratulations, Ryan.


Headshot - Camilla HerringCamilla Herring – English

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. As a student intern for Mad River Review, Cammie so distinguished herself for her attention to detail, her smart editor's eye, and her shrewd aesthetic judgment that she was quickly elevated to the position of managing editor. Cammie's professors in creative writing have been consistently impressed by her meticulous yet generous reading of her peers' work, her smart and concise use of language, her strong fictional characters, and her ability to convey the complexities of the human heart. Congratulations, Cammie.


Olivia Stidham – History

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. A recent example of this skill is an insightful comparison of official portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, Madame de Pompadour and Queen Marie Antoinette, in which she analyzed the visual language of female power in the Early Modern era. She has taken numerous challenging honors classes and will be graduating with honors. Congratulations, Olivia.


Emma Towe – International Studies

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. While at Wright State, Emma has worked for local companies including Reynolds & Reynolds and H & R block. She has also continued to volunteer at several organizations. Emma is heading to law school at the University of Dayton where she has been accepted into the Leadership Honors Program. Congratulations, Emma.


Headshot - Jacob MillerJacob Miller – Modern Languages

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.

Jacob has earned the respect and friendship of his peers and professors. He served as a teaching assistant in elementary French classes, and is currently a French tutor for the women’s basketball team and a supplemental instruction leader for FR 1020, recruiting many students to the French minor and major by offering extra study sessions. He is appreciated for his gentle guidance and consistently positive attitude.

Jacob’s hobbies include swimming, hanging out with friends, finding adventure, and snapchatting. He currently volunteers at the St. Vincent de Paul shelter in Dayton, and recently signed a 2 ½ year commitment with the Peace Corps. He will be leaving in July for Guinea, Africa, where he will be teaching English in a high school and assisting with other projects. After his Peace Corps commitment, he plans to continue his studies with the aim of filming and producing documentaries in post-war countries. Congratulations, Jacob.


Headshot - Stephen MonathStephen Monath – Music

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. As a member of the percussion ensemble, he performed over 75 times in support of campus receptions and events, including a solo performance for Tom Hanks. He has performed for various musical theater companies, worked with the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, performed as a soloist with the Troy Community Band, and was a featured performer with the Bob Becker Xylophone Soloist Seminar, where he worked alongside students from Japan, Toronto, and from throughout the U.S. He has also served as treasurer of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, served on the Wind Symphony Leadership Council, and served as senior advisor of the Percussion Studio. Congratulations, Stephen.


Headshot - Bethany YorkBethany York – Political Science

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. Not only did she excel in all—literally every single one—of her classes, she distinguished herself outside of the classroom as well. Bethany was a competitive high jumper for the track and field team. She was selected to coauthor four reading guides for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Collection, each focusing on criminal justice. She is the recipient of a College of Liberal Arts Study Abroad scholarship, and studied international political economy in Costa Rica. In addition, she interned as a crime analyst at the Center for Law Enforcement Analysis and Training, and trained in the Advanced Technical Intelligence Center’s analyst boot camp. She earned a top-secret security clearance, which she plans to put to work as an intel analyst for the U.S. government. Congratulations, Bethany.


Headshot - Aurylia TracyAurylia D. Tracy – Religion, Philosophy and Classics

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. Employing a mature style and nuanced analysis, her writing achieves an impressive level of sophistication. She displayed all these qualities in the paper on Hindu mythology and the goddess Parvati she presented at a Wright State Research Celebration. Outside the classroom, Aurylia has taken on significant leadership roles, including serving as president of the Wright State University Pagan Student Association. In addition, she is passionate in her love for animals and her desire to help people. These related sentiments are what inspire her to train service dogs after she graduates, a skill she has begun to develop while a student at Wright State. As further evidence of her desire to connect with and support many different types of people, Aurylia acquired conversational fluency in American Sign Language, and she also hopes to use this skill in her future career. Congratulations, Aurylia.


Headshot - Lukas WenrickR. Lukas Wenrick – Social Science Education

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. Then he moved on up to the college Dean's Advisory Board, serving as president while a junior, representing the Dean at many functions and surveying students to ensure he could effectively represent them.

From there, during his senior year, he has been Student Body president, almost tripling the membership of the Student Government Association and greatly expanding their social media presence, all while managing an endless stream of requests to speak on behalf of all Wright State students at events virtually every week of the year.  At no point did he let his studies suffer. He will graduate with Honors. He has been accepted at every graduate school he applied to, and he will attend Harvard Graduate School in the fall, to pursue his Master's degree in higher education. Lukas is passionate about education, and particularly about ensuring that higher education remains affordable for everyone in the U.S., no matter their background.  Congratulations, Lukas.


Headshot - Michael WadhamMichael Wadham – Social Work

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. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Michael is the President of the social work honor society, Phi Alpha - Phi Eta Chapter, as well as the Secretary of the Social Work Club. Michael is in the University Partnership Program to train the next generation of child welfare workers; his senior practicum was at Greene County Children's Services. Michael is staying at Wright State to earn his MSW, and was awarded a Graduate Council Scholar scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year. Congratulations, Michael.


Headshot - Shelby FridegerShelby Frideger – Sociology/Anthropology

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. She has taken most of the courses the department has to offer, including an exciting summer spent excavating in the Field School. In the fall, she will be starting graduate school at Ball State University in the Department of Anthropology, where she has secured a graduate assistantship. Shelby is particularly interested in the historical archaeology of race and gender. Congratulations, Shelby.


Headshot - Kara LynchKara Lynch – Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures

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. Kara is an extremely proud alumna of the student video program at Dearborn High School, and the National High School Institute Film and Video program at Northwestern University, where she first heard of the Wright State Motion Pictures program. She immediately applied. The highlights of Kara’s college career include production designing four short films, fostering a 4 Paws for Ability dog, co-directing "Bang!," a short film for the Pens to Pictures program, and working in the art department on a James Franco film.  She hopes to be in New York City production designing for television by 2018. In her spare time, Kara enjoys sewing, political and social activism, and the company of her dog Pepé and cat Leo. Congratulations, Kara.


Headshot - Renee JutteRenee Jutte – Urban Affairs

Renee Jutte is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management. She is minoring in Youth and Community Engagement and also completing two certificates; a Certified Nonprofit Professional certificate and an Association of Fundraising Professionals certificate. Renee has been an active member of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance for the past two years where she has served as Secretary and led the Civic Engagement and Outreach Committee. She has also been involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals collegiate chapter at Wright State where she served on the Youth in Philanthropy committee. Along with these campus organizations, Renee has been involved with the Catholic Campus Ministry. In the summer of 2016, she completed an internship with the United Way of Van Wert County. This summer, Renee will be working for Catholic Social Services as an intern with their Refugee Resettlement Program. Once she finishes her internship, she will graduate with honors. After graduation, Renee hopes to continue working at a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Catholic Church. Her dream is to one day work for The Fellowship of Catholic University Students and be a missionary on college campuses. Congratulations, Renee.


Headshot - Sarah BosticSarah Bostic – Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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. Sarah is extremely passionate about issues pertaining to economic inequality, racial injustice, and gender and sexuality based oppression. She is very politically involved, both on and off campus, in local social activist efforts for women’s rights, LGBTQA+ rights, and racial equality. In the fall, Sarah plans to begin the Master of Humanities program at Wright State. After completing her Master's, she hopes to continue on to a doctoral program in either Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies or Sociology. She aspires to a career in academia, hoping to one day become a professor. Congratulations, Sarah.



Graduate Students

Headshot - Carole AhossinCarole Ahossin – Applied Behavioral Science

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. Carole has worked as a graduate teaching assistant for the ABS program for the past two years and her performance in this role has been exemplary. Her interest in sociology began in high school because she believed it would clarify the origins of societal plagues such as poverty, inequality, and the lack of women’s rights in many patriarchal societies. Carole obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Wright State and will complete her cumulating research project this summer. Her research project is entitled Marital Patterns and Economic Integration of African Immigrants and her research focuses on Sub-Saharan African immigrants in the United States. Next summer, she plans to attend classes to obtain TESOL accreditation, which would allow her to teach English as a second language. Carole’s future plans include pursuing a Ph.D. Congratulations, Carole.


Headshot - Isaac KnappIsaac Knapp – English

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. A series of creative writing classes have also spurred him to write poetry—whenever he's not writing papers. During his time at Wright State, he was active in student government and was president of Wright State's newly founded Entrepreneur’s Club. Isaac’s professors say they admire him for his enthusiasm, his work ethic, his community engagement and entrepreneurial spirit. Post-Master's, he plans to teach in North Carolina or dabble in the corporate world, with eyes on an eventual doctorate or MFA. He's grateful for all the ways that Wright State has pushed him to challenge himself, and for all the faculty and friends that have supported him in his endeavors. Congratulations, Isaac.


Headshot - Hadley DrodgeHadley Drodge – History

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. She completed an extensive internship at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, designed and opened an exhibit on Dayton’s funk music history for the city library, and is currently creating an exhibit for National Afro-American Museum’s main gallery. She has presented work in a range of forums, including online blogs, at Wright State’s Public History Symposium, and as part of an Antioch College Digital Humanities conference. She is also currently undertaking important research into the region’s historic freed people communities, most recently featured in a segment on the Channel 45 news, who declared her "someone you should know."  Congratulations, Hadley.


Headshot - Martin KalfasMartin Kalfas – International/Comparative Politics

Martin “Marty” Kalfas is a graduate of Ohio State University. He recently defended his M.A. thesis, an innovative and critical examination of public relations efforts by the Beijing government, especially before and after the 2007 global financial crisis. He collected and analyzed detailed data on economic interactions, people-to-people exchanges, and the promotion of the fine arts, to examine the attempts at promoting so-called “soft power” and its relationship to Chinese foreign policy objectives. 

As a graduate student, Marty has participated in multiple co-curricular opportunities: serving as a teaching assistant for Chinese language classes in the Department of Modern Languages, being selected as a student delegate at the prestigious Duke China Leadership Summit, as well as receiving a full scholarship from the government of Taiwan to study advanced Chinese language at National Taiwan University for an entire year. An aspiring translator, this experience was invaluable to Marty, and one that he has continued to draw on in his current position, serving as a translator at Fuyao Glass America in Moraine. Marty is honored for his dedication to excellence, focus on understanding all sides involved in policy, and his great sense of purpose and humor. Congratulations, Marty.


Headshot - Nick AngelisNick Angelis – Music

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. While here he has performed with the Chamber Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble. He performed for ARTSGALA, and was a featured artist at the Wright State Percussion Festival: he played a solo work for a standing room only crowd, presented a clinic for over 125 educators and students, and premiered a new work he composed just for the event.

Nick was the original featured snare drum soloist performer for the Tony and Emmy award-winning show, Blast! He performed in London at the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre, opened in New York City at the Broadway Theater and was in the 1st National Tour, performing in over 40 cities across the United States and Canada. He was also the opening solo performer introduced by Walter Cronkite at a Kennedy Center Honors program, and he performed on NBC’s “Broadway on Broadway” in front of 50,000 people live in Times Square. Congratulations, Nick.


Megan Holly – Public Administration

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. Prior to attending Wright State, Megan worked in the city of Zanesville’s Community Development Department as an intern which sparked her passion for public service. She currently works as a graduate research assistant for the Greene County Educational Service Center where she assists in managing the federally-funded Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant Program. Megan previously worked for the department of Urban Affairs and Geography as a graduate research assistant where she successfully contributed to two major projects; development of the MPA program’s alumni engagement plan and the city of Fairborn’s downtown revitalization plan. After graduation, Megan will begin working as a fellow in the city of Hamilton which will provide her the opportunity to grow professionally and take on new challenges. She plans to continue to follow a professional path of service to others as a public administrator so she can actively make a positive difference and become a true asset to the local and regional community. Congratulations, Megan.


Headshot - Brittany JacksonBrittany Jackson – Social Work

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. Her degree of professionalism in handling challenging situations is exceptional. Brittany did her internship with the Soin Medical Center where she learnt a lot about medical social work. Her future goal is to work for Montgomery County Juvenile Probation. Ever since she could remember, she wanted to be a juvenile probation officer and obtaining a Master's degree in social work will not only ensure that, but also create other opportunities within the juvenile justice system. Congratulations, Brittany.