Annual Student Recognition Awards Ceremony held on campus

Chancellor Wafa addressing students at the annual Student Recognition Awards

Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan Mafa gives his opening remarks at the Student Recognition Ceremony.

Credit: Josh McAuliffe

DUNMORE, Pa. – In a partial return to normalcy, Penn State Scranton’s annual Student Recognition Awards Ceremony took place Friday, April 23, in-person, allowing students the opportunity to be recognized in front of their peers, rather than via Zoom.

Students, staff and faculty members turned out in The View Café for the annual program honoring undergraduates who distinguished themselves through their campus involvement, academic rigor and community service during the academic year. Last year’s event was held virtually on Zoom due to safety measures put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While this year’s event didn’t include its usual formal dinner, and attendees were masked and seated with proper social distancing, all of the traditional elements remained in place. And, for those who couldn’t attend in person, the campus’ Information Technology department broadcasted the event live on Facebook.

“I’m elated that we are once again able to gather in person together,” said Assistant Director of Student Services and Engagement Matt Nied, the event’s emcee. “We could not be prouder of you and your accomplishments as you were steadfast in your determination to have some resemblance of an in-person, out-of-classroom experience.”

Chancellor Marwan Wafa said it was “so wonderful to be on campus and see people face to face.” He praised the students for going above and beyond in their efforts to keep the campus community connected during these unusual times.

“It’s the engagement both inside and outside the classroom that shapes you, and brings overall life to the campus,” Wafa said.

In addition to the numerous awards recognizing students for individual and group achievement, the event also included a tribute to Student Activities Coordinator Julie Gilpatrick, who will retire later this year.

“I think you’ve had a very impactful 10 years serving our students,” Nied said to Gilpatrick before noting to the crowd, “Julie’s really the person who keeps the wheels running here.”

Senior business marketing/management major Lauren Sciabbarrasi was the recipient of the Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award, which is given to the student who has most improved the reputation of the University through extracurricular activities.

Nursing student Olivia Maikranz received the Patrick J. Rose Award for Excellence in Student Leadership and Service, which recognizes students who have excelled in leadership and service to the campus community. The award is named for Pat Rose, the campus’ former director of student affairs.

Human development and family studies major Deymeliz Desarden-Ruperto was the recipient of the Penn State Alumni Association Greater Scranton Chapter’s Pride of the Lions Award.

In addition, the Student Government Association (SGA) handed out its awards and held its traditional swearing-in ceremony for new officers. Outgoing SGA President Harshil Patel swore in new President Olivia Maikranz and Vice President Deyniel Desarden Ruperto.

“Being a part of SGA has taught me so much. It’s definitely made me a better leader,” Patel said.

“I just want to say how delighted I am with this year’s SGA executive board,” Nied said. “You’ve been very successful despite the challenges of the last year. You’ve really kept things moving in a positive way.”

Awards also were given to the campus’ Peer Health Ambassadors, who spent the year stressing the importance of mask wearing, social distancing and other safety measures to their fellow students attending in-person classes.

The Peer Health Ambassadors acknowledged were: Jay Patel, Emily Scarfo, Bryan Melliand, Kunj Patel, Dhruvi Patel, Olivia Maikranz, Keny Patel, Tabitha Boyd, Harshil Patel, Meryam Meawad, Diego Romero, Deymeliz Desarden, Michael Foder, Caitlyn Powell, Danielle Powell, Joe Krishanda, Pujan Patel, Nate Campbell, George Stojakovic, Marisa Milton, Sheylla Romero, Hima Patel, Drashti Patel, Megan Lucey, Dhara Patel and Christian Toussaint. 

Other Student Recognition honorees were:

Peer Mentors Appreciation Award: Aless Agojo, Tabitha Boyd, Dhruvi Patel, Morgan Sewack, Lauren Sciabbarrasi, Sebastian Pruett, Angel Hunting, Francis Fajardo, Jordan Joubert, Megan Lucey, Marissa Milton, George Stojakovic, Lily Anuzewski, Krina Patel, and head peer mentors Maria Veniamin and Ryan Choa

Peer Tutors Appreciation Award: Level 3: Rachel Veniamin, Taylor Bronson, Kalei Kowalchik and Adriana Modesto; Level 2: Alvin Binu and Xinyi Chen; Level 1: Lucy Adams, Logan DeSanto, Megan Lucey, Kaylee Salony, Jordon Symonies and Luqi Zhao; certificate level: Aless Agojo, Brianna Clark, Ed Gilmartin, Alexander Hamilton, Keily Matute, Gautam Patel and Meet Patel: Writing Center tutors Level 3: Rachel Veniamin; Writing Center tutors Level 1: Julia Fessenden, Gabrielle McFey and Lauren Sciabbarrasi; Writing Center tutors certificate level: Taylor Burdick, Daniel Grant, Jamise Sealey, Madison Tricarico and Shea Tyler

2020-21 THON dancers: Harshil Patel, Holly Oppelt, Olivia Maikranz and Ella Maquito

2021-22 THON co-chairs: Joe Krishanda and Jennifer Robinson

Rising Star Award: Huynh “Quinn” Nguyen, Sebastian Pruett, Morgan Sewack, Tabitha Boyd, Diego Romero, Caitlyn Powell, Nicholas Sherman, Michael Foder, Krina Patel and Nicholas Sherman

Above and Beyond Award: Harshil Patel, Deymeliz Desarden-Ruperto, Ella Maquito, Olivia Maikranz, Maria Veniamin and Marissa Boyd

Good Samaritan Award: Student Nurses’ Association and Penn State Scranton Nursing department, for volunteering at area COVID-19 vaccination clinics

Service to Students Award: Campus Nurse Jill Thoman and Mental Health Counselor Kathy Stefanelli

Advisor of the Year: Admissions Recruiter Sabrina Gray – Lion Ambassadors

Club Recognition Awards: Anime Club, Black Student Union, Blue and White Society, Business Club, Corporate Communication Club, Campus Activities Board, Cheerleading, Engineering Club, HDFS Community Club, Indian Student Association, IST Club, League of Extraordinary Gamers (LEG), Lending a Helping Paw Club, Lion Ambassadors, LGBTQA Club, Psychology Club, Student Organization of Latinos, Student Nurses’ Association, THON and Young Republicans Club

Outstanding Educational Program: Cultural Cooking Classes

Excellence in Diversity Award: LGBTQA Club, for Pride Week

Community Impact Award: Young Republicans Club, for its Veterans event

Club Event of the Year: Business Club, for its Big Idea event

Senator for Business: Raymond Ondrako

Senator for Corporate Communication: Natalie Ward

Senator for English/Letters, Arts and Sciences: Madison Tricarico

Senators for Human Development and Family Studies: Ralph Morris and Isabella Muncie

Senator for Information Sciences and Technology: Trusha Patel 

Senator for Psychology: Jahasia Gillespie

Senators who were unable to attend the ceremony: Ryan Bamert, Luqi Zhao, Jamise Sealey, Angelina Palma, Jordan Symonies, Matthew Moran, Gabrielle McFey, Philip Haser, Gabby Percival and Alexandria Galbraith