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Honors Convocation 2020 Recipients

2020 Academic Program Honorees

Frostburg State University values and celebrates academic excellence.  Every spring, the University recognizes the academic achievements of a graduating student from each undergraduate and graduate program.  These honorees are nominated by the program faculty. Typically, these honorees are recognized at a special convocation ceremony, the evening before commencement.  Regrettably, this ceremony could not take place this year due to the continuing pandemic, but this does not diminish the remarkable accomplishments of these students.  Below is a list of this year’s honorees.  Clicking on an honoree’s name will take you to a brief narrative describing the graduate’s achievements. 

Congratulations to the 2020 academic program honorees!

Accounting: Chester Dabrowski
Applied Computer Science: Micah Ludwick
Applied Ecology & Conservation Biology: Jacey Brooks
Visual Arts: Joia Bullock
Athletic Training: Rylee Learn
Biology: Morgan Stum
Chemistry: Brandi Binkley
Computer Information Systems: Emma Edwards
Computer Science: Colin Crowe
Early Childhood Elementary Education: Aaliyah Durst
Economics: Joseph Hession
Ed.D Educational Leadership: Jocelyn Hirai
Elementary Education: Jenna Mitchell
Elementary/Middle Grades: Tanner Brode
English: Leah Perrin
Exercise and Sport Science: James Lucas
Hardesty Award Winner: Ashley Cade
Health & Physical Education: Paige Caudell
Health Science: Malinda Grimm
Information Technologies: Matthew Green
Interpretive Biology & Natural History: Kristen Illig
M.Ed Educational Leadership: Joshua Wilson
M.Ed Special Education: Katelin Raiff
M.Ed School Counseling: Amy Wright
Management: Noelle Otto
Marketing & Finance: Benjamin DeVore
MAT Secondary: Michael Wright
Music: John Sommerfeld
Nursing(Undergraduate): Sierra Wassell
Nursing(Graduate): Nilufer Mutlu
Philosophy: Johnny Lawrence
Political Science: Allison Paul
Psycholoy: Madison Fick
Parks & Recreation(Undergraduate): Taylor Shaffer
Parks & Recreation(Graduate): Robert Branham
Secure Computing & Information Assurance: Tyler Wieseckel
Social Science: Toby Peer
Sociology: Cassandra Grabenstein
Spanish: Cassandra Grabenstein
Wildlife & Fisheries: Daniel Healey

 

Accounting: Chester Dabrowski

Chester Dabrowski graduated magna cum laude, earning a 3.882 GPA, in December 2019 with a degree in Accounting. He completed an academic internship at Turnbull, Hoover, & Kahl, P.A. in Cumberland, Maryland in fall, 2019 and started full-time as a staff accountant in January 2020. While at Frostburg Chester participated community service, fundraising, and volunteer events organized by the FSU Student Veteran’s Organization.


Applied Computer Science: Micah Ludwick

In May 2019, Micah graduated Summa Kum Laude with a GPA of 4.0 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from FSU. Adding to his GPA achievement, he made Dean’s list all four semesters in undergrad at FSU and his first semester of graduate school. Micah received departmental honors in the Department of Computer Science & Information Technologies and is a member of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon honor society. Micah has accepted a position with IBM as an Associate Application Developer after graduation.


Applied Ecology & Conservation Biology: Jacey Brooks

Jacey Brooks completed her MS in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology in fall 2019. She was an outstanding student (4.0 GPA) and increased the quality of discussion in her courses. She developed a highly independent thesis project coordinating with the Bureau of Mines to identify stream remediation projects that could influence salamander populations. She also mentored undergraduates while managing a long-term salamander mark-recapture study and presented her work at the 2018 WV Herpetological Summit. She accomplished all of this while teaching Anatomy and Physiology, General Biology, Zoology, and Human Biology labs and working as an Upward Bound Teacher.

Jacey is currently an Adjunct Instructor in the Biology Department at FSU. She is exploring career options in environmental consulting and is considering pursuing a PhD in the future.


Visual Arts: Joia Bullock

Joia has proven to be one of the most memorable and pleasant presences in the Visual Arts Department. She is always engaged with her education and personal growth through creative enterprise. Joia has been a mentor and role model to her peers in both official and unofficial capacities, and in the department and broader Frostburg community. She served as Peer Mentor for two years for the Visual Arts First-Year Orientation course and has worked on the University’s Social Marketing Team as a graphic designer. Joia was also chosen to exhibit her work this year in our Artistic Echoes student and faculty exhibition at Cumberland’s Saville Gallery. She is a certified EMT and firefighter with two leadership awards and served as team captain. Joia has two published poetry books with Barnes and Noble Publishing and was interviewed on a Maryland-based radio show about her poetry. Joia works summers as an administrative assistant and graphic designer and hopes eventually to expand her interests into art therapy. In everything she does, and particularly in her interactions with others, Joia demonstrates interest, positivity, compassion, and kindness. It is with great pleasure that the Department of Visual Arts nominates Joia Bullock for graduation honors.


Athletic Training: Rylee Learn

Rylee has exemplified the total student package in her four years at FSU. With a 4.0 GPA, she has earned Dean’s List every semester as an Athletic Training major. She has been a leader on the women’s soccer team and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, where she served at the Vice President for Community Engagement. Rylee’s student leadership also included serving as a Preview Guide, as a Student Alumni Ambassador, and Secretary for the Athletic Training Club. Her undergraduate research was accepted for presentation at the MAATA District Symposium. Rylee’s future endeavors include attending the University of South Carolina for a master’s degree in athletic training. Her upbeat and outgoing personality lends itself very well to becoming a highly successful health care provider.


Biology: Morgan Stum

Morgan Stum completed both the Professional Fisheries and Professional Wildlife tracks, plus a minor in Biology, completing 141 credits while maintaining a 3.86 GPA. She became involved in biological research early in her FSU career, working on a project assessing the impact of road salt runoff on survivorship of brook trout eggs and larvae during her sophomore year. She has held leadership positions in FSU organizations, including President of the Trout Unlimited 5 Rivers Program. She was featured as a conservation leader by Trout Unlimited. She has coordinated several conservation initiatives in the mid-Atlantic region, engaging students in habitat restoration.


Chemistry: Brandi Binkley

Brandi Binkley is very hard-working student that deserves to be recognized as Chemistry’s honor student. During her time at FSU she has maintained a high level of academic success being named to the Dean’s list every semester. Brandi was involved in several research projects within the department ranging from looking at heavy metals in baby food pouches, evaluating styrene content in food packaging, and impacts of food processing on the structure of gluten. She presented her work locally at the FSU Undergraduate Research Symposium as well as regionally at the Allegheny-Erie Society of Toxicology meeting at the University of Pittsburgh as well as at the Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society at UMBC. She plans to attend graduate school at West Virginia University in Chemistry. We are extremely proud of Brandi’s accomplishments and wish her all the best at WVU.


Computer Information Systems: Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards has an overall GPA of 3.676. Emma has served many roles in FSU student government body and have received many honors, awards, scholarship. She has worked as an intern for G&G Outfitters and as a student worker for our IT department. Post-graduation, Emma is excited to start her new career at G&G Outfitters in Lanham, MD.


Computer Science: Colin Crowe

Colin Crowe is a passionate computer science student with a cumulative GPA of 3.95 and Departmental GPA of 4.0. He has worked an internship at Willetts Technology in Cumberland and will be working at BTI 360 in Ashburn Virginia in the Summer. In his spare time, he has joined the Phi-Kappa-Phi honors society, worked as the Vice President of the FSU Computer club, and worked as a tutor for other FSU students. He has been a team member of two undergraduate research presentations and is a co-author of a future publication “Real Time Whiteboard Coding on Mobile Devices.” Colin will be back at FSU in the fall to work on his master’s degree in Applied Computer Science.


Early Childhood Elementary Education: Aaliyah Durst

Aaliyah Durst exemplifies excellence in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She holds a 4.0 GPA overall and in her education coursework Aaliyah is an active leader in several professional organizations and give her time as a volunteer to students who would benefit from her support. Through her exemplary performance in her coursework and internships, she has been recognized as a shining star in the group of strong teacher candidates. We wish Aaliyah all the best as she pursues her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on STEM, starting in the fall of 2020.


Economics: Joseph Hession

Joseph Hession graduated Summa Cum Laude in December 2019 with a BS in Business Economics. He was an exemplary student inside and outside of the classroom. He led the Economics Club as its president. He is currently employed as a Jr. Analyst in a mortgage banking firm and he is nearing completion of an MBA at Frostburg State with a perfect 4.00 GPA.


Ed.D Educational Leadership: Jocelyn Hirai

Jocelyn Hirai has been an exceptional student in the Ed.D. program, earning the respect and accolades of all of her professors. Despite unusually challenging circumstances, Jocelyn demonstrated tenacity and a commitment to excellence in her coursework on educational leadership, specifically within higher education, while juggling her work as an English professor at Frederick Community College and parenting. Jocelyn is not only hardworking and deeply thoughtful about her work, but she is also well-liked and respected by her peers in the program. Jocelyn’s dissertation was entitled, “‘I was like floating’: Undocumented community college students’ well-being narratives during Trump’s presidency”, and it serves as a meaningful contribution to the scholarly literature on community college students.


Elementary Education: Jenna Mitchell

Jenna Mitchell represents the best of the Elementary Education majors and has been recognized as a Teacher of Promise. Jenna will be graduating with a 4.0 GPA in the program and a 3.9 GPA overall. She has been recognized for membership in several honor societies. Jenna has developed her exemplary knowledge and skills for teaching in the elementary grades classroom in Allegany County Public Schools, as well as during a study abroad experience in Irish schools. We know Jenna will be a positive force with her own students, in her own classroom, in the very near future.


Elementary/Middle Grades: Tanner Brode

Tanner Brode is recognized for his exemplary performance in the Elementary/Middle Grades Education major, with a specialization in Social Studies. Tanner will be graduating with a 3.8 GPA in his major and has taken advantage of many opportunities to grow as a professional through is community involvement. He serves as a coach for several sports with both middle and high school students. We believe that Tanner will continue to grow and to have a positive influence on students as he pursues a teaching and coaching position this fall as well as starting his M.Ed in Educational Leadership.


English: Leah Perrin

Leah graduates with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She worked in FSU’s Office of News and Media Services writing press releases, managing official social media outlets, planning events, and for her work won the FSU Outstanding Intern Award. She was a writing tutor in FSU’s Tutoring Center, helping other students with their work and serving as a peer educator and mentor. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honorary; the National Society of Leadership and Success; and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She has been accepted into the master’s in Library Science program at Clarion University.


Exercise & Sport Science: James Lucas

James has exemplified the total student package in his three- and one-half years at FSU. He was on the Dean’s List six out of his seven semesters as an Exercise and Sports Science major. He was the FSU Men’s Lacrosse senior captain as nominated by the team. He was also selected the Team’s Most Valuable player and Offensive player of the year for the 2019 season earning All-CAC Academic team honors for the ’17, ’18, & ’19 seasons. While interning at FSU he was responsible for the training of all the FSU Athletic teams. He has volunteered at Rehab 1st Physical Therapy clinic and St. Joseph Medical Center. James future include earning his CSCS certification and attending Graduation school in a Physical Therapy program.


Hardesty Award: Ashley Cade

Ashley W. Cade teaches Theatre and English at Smithsburg High. She is proud to be the school’s drama advisor, where she runs a program of more than 50 student artists. Three years ago, she restarted the program and has since directed five fully staged productions. As part of her Ed leadership Practicum, Ashley worked extensively in Smithburg High School’s Saturday program, designed to assist struggling students in their academic performances. After graduating from Frostburg, Ms. Cade plans to continue teaching, and then to pursue a career in educational leadership, either as a content supervisor, or as an arts school administrator.


Health & Physical Education: Paige Caudell

Paige Caudell graduated in December 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. Paige maintained a 3.863 GPA and was named to the Dean’s List every semester. Throughout her time at Frostburg, Paige demonstrated excellent academic achievement and commitment to the major. During her internship experience, Paige really excelled and was described by her supervisor as possessing exceptional skills in writing creative lessons that met the needs of all learners. Paige’s ability to develop meaningful relationships with students during her internship helped create a more favorable learning environment that increased student success. Paige is currently seeking employment as a health and physical education teacher in Maryland.


Health Science: Malinda Grimm

Malinda Grimm will graduate in May 2020 with a major in Health Science and minors in both Chemistry and Psychology. She has been on the Dean’s list every semester and will graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She was also involved in several on-campus activities. She was a Resident Assistant, a Student Success Mentor, a Preview Guide, a Developmental Math Instructor, a Chemistry Department Aid, and a member of both the Pre-Professional Medical Society and Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society. She plans to attend a Physician Assistant program and we believe that she will be an outstanding Physician Assistant.

Information Technologies: Matthew Green

Matthew Green is an outstanding student in information technology major. In the class, he is always willing to explore different aspects and challenge himself. He is very collaborative and is always willing to help other students. After graduation he is entering the field of Information Technology as either a software or web developer, and would like to further develop his skills in all areas that the expansive field of IT. We believe he will have a bright future in the IT field.


Interpretive Biology & Natural History: Kristen Illig

Kristen graduated with majors in Interpretive Biology and Natural History and Psychology and minors in Animal Behavior, Sustainability Studies, Geography and Biology. In addition, Kristen did extensive research with Drs. Katie Gares and Holly Currie in the Chemistry Department, who describe Kristen as a dedicated and hardworking student who was also eager to learn more. Kristen’s research looked at detecting heavy metals in baby food squeeze pouches and at detecting gluten to study underlying biochemistry of Celiac disease. Kristen presented her research at multiple professional meetings.


M.Ed Educational Leadership: Joshua Wilson

Joshua A. Wilson is the 2020 Educational Leadership M. Ed. Honors student nominee for Frostburg State’s Department of the Educational Professions. Mr. Wilson, a 2011 Frostburg alumnus, serves as a teacher of mathematics at Washington Middle School in the Allegany County Public Schools.

In addition to a 4.00 GPA in our graduate programming, Joshua’s Frostburg achievements include his status as a current teacher of math in our Upward Bound Program. At ‘Washington Middle’, Mr. Wilson serves as a Mathematics School Improvement Specialist and as their After-School Program Coordinator. In the future Mr. Wilson intends to pursue positions in school leadership.


M.Ed Special Education: Katelin Raiff

Katelin Raiff has earned her Master for Education, Special Education degree with a 4.0 grade point average. Ms. Raiff has demonstrated superior intellect and skills in the completion of her coursework.  As a special education teacher in a specialized school in Pennsylvania, Ms. Raiff completed an outstanding action research project within her classroom that demonstrated excellence in teaching and evaluation. Throughout her time at Frostburg State University, Ms. Raiff participated fully within her coursework and shared her expertise in special education and as a critical thinker with her classmates. 


M.Ed School Counseling: Amy Wright

Driven by strength-of-character, intellectual stamina, and passion to make a difference in the world, Amy Wright, during her M.Ed. School Counseling Internship completed the requisite 500 hours for State certification, worked as an addictions counselor and completed the additional 15 requisite hours to become a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGCP), maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Her creativity and adept talent to go to the heart of an issue brings insight to her academic prowess, grasping the array of issues confronting young people today. My heartfelt recommendation is based on her integrity, compassion, and belief that Amy Wright will indeed change the world for many. Amy represents FSU and this honor with distinction.


Management: Noelle Otto

Noelle earned a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in General Management with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She participated in Sloop and the S.O.A.R Leadership Training Series and was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. She has dedicated her time to service as President of Cru Campus Ministry, provided relief services in Haiti and helps in the local community. She is employed as a Federal Procurement Intern at IBM where she plans to continue working. Finally, she seeks to pursue a doctorate in Organizational Behavior or Strategy to guide future students.


Marketing & Finance: Benjamin DeVore

Benjamin DeVore graduates with a degree in Business Administration, concentration in Finance. His overall GPA is an impressive 3.867 with a 3.833 major GPA in his challenging finance program. Ben has successfully balanced high-caliber academic work with his employment as a sales associate at a local store in the Corriganville, Maryland area. Ben is Treasurer of the Finance Club and also aids in member-recruitment drives. In his Treasurer capacity, he attended a finance collegial conference in Philadelphia in 2019. He is an invited member of Beta Gamma Sigma, International Business Honor Society, and has been the recipient of an ‘Outstanding Student’ award through the local Chamber of Commerce. Benjamin DeVore is a role model for his peers, both academically and in the steady leadership he exhibits in team projects, his courses, and Club activities. Ben has the ability to balance his commitments to exemplary academic performance with active work and volunteer engagements. Faculty members are impressed with his professional demeanor, drive, and maturity.

MAT Secondary: Michael Wright

The MAT Secondary Program at FSU would like to nominate Michael Wright for Program Honors. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout the program and has been an outstanding intern with excellent evaluations from supervisors and mentors. His love for the outdoors and learning will combine beautifully as he creates an engaging and welcoming classroom for all students. He’s an enthusiastic and promising teacher, and we wish him the best.


Music: John Sommerfeld

John graduates with an overall GPA of 3.85. He is part of the wind, jazz and brass ensembles as well as the FSU choir. He is the recipient of many music awards and honors. John plans to immediately start a master’s degree in the Art of Teaching here at Frostburg State University. He then plans to pursue a career as a high school band director where he can help create memorable music and educational experiences for students.


Nursing-Undergraduate: Sierra Wassell

Ms. Sierra Wassell completed her degree as a dually enrolled student in the Associate to Bachelor’s (ATB) Pathway between Frostburg State University (FSU) and Allegany College of Maryland (ACM). She is graduating with a cumulative 3.7 GPA from FSU and a 4.0 GPA in the BSN coursework while attending both schools. Just five months ago, in January of 2020, after obtaining her registered nursing license, Ms. Wassell started working as a registered nurse at UPMC Western Maryland in the Emergency Department. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology (FSU), a Master of Science in Kinesiology (JMU), and has been a local firefighter and EMT since 2013. Ms. Wassell’s goal is to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice to become nursing faculty in an academic setting.


Nursing-Graduate: Nilufer Mutlu

Ms. Nilufer Mutlu has been a registered nurse for four years, with a specialty in medical-surgical nursing. She completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Frostburg State University (FSU). Ms. Mutlu earned a 3.8 GPA in her undergraduate degree and a 3.7 GPA in her graduate degree. With a graduate focus in nursing education, her goal is to become nursing faculty in an academic setting and pursue certification in healthcare simulation. Ms. Mutlu is well on her way to her goal as she has begun her journey as a clinical instructor in an associate degree program.


Philosophy: Johnny Lawrence

Johnny Lawrence became a Philosophy major because he thought rigorous training in critical thinking, metaphysics, and ethics would best prepare him for a career in ministry. Firm in his convictions and assertive in expressing them, Johnny at the same time welcomes having his views challenged and both enjoys and is committed to engaging in civil critical discussion of matters deep and important. This philosophical disposition, along with a strong academic record in the program, makes him eminently worthy of this award. Mr. Lawrence has been admitted to Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and will begin classes on September 8th.


Political Science: Allison Paul

Allison Paul is graduating with a 4.0 GPA in both her Political Science and Law and Society majors. She has served on the President’s Leadership Circle, as an at-large Senator for the Student Government Association, and has attended the Sloop Institute for Excellence In Leadership. She is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. She plans to attend either law or graduate school after working in the non-profit sector for a time.


Psycholoy: Madison Fick

The Psychology Department is thrilled to select Ms. Madison Fick as our Honors recipient. She is a double major (Law & Society), an Honors student (4.0 GPA), and researcher. Current research includes adolescent bullying and co-designing an anti-bullying initiative. She has engaged in a tremendous amount of service to FSU and the community, including being a panel member on the Student Conduct Board, member of the International Education Advisory Council, and managing Saferide, just to name a few. We proudly wish her the best as she moves to her next challenge, as a graduate student in USC’s Applied Psychology program.


Parks & Recreation-Undergraduate: Taylor Shaffer

Taylor Shaffer distinguished herself as a student through exemplary academic performance and great collaboration with her peers. She is highly motivated, organized, inquisitive, energetic, and focused. Taylor’s excitement and energy make her stand out and be an inspiration for others. She has completed her internship experience with the Department of Parks and Recreation for the City of Frostburg. As part of this experience, Taylor contributed to the design and implementation of various special events and she was directly involved in the development of a grant proposal for the addition of a playground at Hoffman Park in Frostburg.


Parks & Recreation-Graduate: Robert Branham

Robert Branham has been an exemplary student in our program. His efforts in every course and extraordinary commitment to quality work are reflected in his final GPA in the program, achieving a 4.0. He is currently the Recreation Division Chief for Calvert County Parks and Recreation in Southern Maryland. He has worked as a supervisor in the field of parks and recreation for 26 years at all three governmental levels. Robert was able to complete the degree while overseeing all recreation for the county which includes community recreation, therapeutic recreation, sports/community/well-being and recreation automation. Robert is a very dedicated recreation professional and a great leader and advocate for community recreation.


Secure Computing & Information Assurance: Tyler Wieseckel

Tyler Wieseckel is an intelligent student in Secure Computing and Information Assurance (SCIA) Program. He has a 3.62 overall GPA and a 3.56 GPA in the degree program, while he has been on the Dean's list every semester except spring 2018. He joined Tau Kappa Epsilon since 2017 and have been in the roles of secretary and treasurer. His independent research project is to study the smart TV's security. In his part time, He has been a lifeguard manager of American Pools for three years. After college, he hopes to find a job working in the computer security field. He plans to be a penetration tester or computer forensics investigator.


Social Science: Toby Peer

Toby Peer is a dedicated scholar athlete, social scientist, and aspiring teacher. He is a true academic standout, as evidenced by his 3.97 GPA. He has been described as both a leader and team player. His internship supervisor describes him as a “natural, instinctive teacher who has very good rapport with students and commands the classroom”. He was recently hired as a Social Studies teacher at E. Russell Hicks Middle School in Washington County where he will begin in August.


Sociology: Cassandra Grabenstein

Cassandra has a 4.0 cumulative gpa and is a double major in Sociology and Spanish with a minor in cultural anthropology.  She plans to go to graduate school for a master's degree in social work and intends to work with the elderly.

Spanish: Cassandra Grabenstein

Cassandra’s enthusiasm and passion for language learning sets her apart from her classmates.  She is an inspiration to those who wish to learn a second, third, or tenth language.  She has gone above and beyond to help others within the department and to awaken a love of language in her peers.  Cassandra will truly be missed in the language program.  Her wonderfully bright and uplifting personality will take her far in life.  We wish her the best!


Wildlife & Fisheries: Daniel Healey

Daniel Healey completed both the Professional Fisheries and Professional Wildlife tracks, plus minors in Biology and Sustainability, amassing a total of 154 credits while maintaining a 3.92 GPA.  He was inducted into the Biology, Chemistry, and Geography Honors Societies.  Daniel completed internships working as a naturalist for White Clay Creek State Park and a biological technician with FSU and the National Park Service.  He participated in undergraduate research projects involving salamanders, brook trout, spotted skunk, and northern saw-whet owls.  He represented FSU at The Wildlife Society’s Southeastern Conclave and at Fall Festival – Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.