The University of Southern Indiana Student Support Services (SSS) selected six undergraduate students to receive awards for their academic achievements this past year.
Mike Minton, director of Student Support Services, played a significant role in the selection process.
“This year’s ceremony was new with the launch of the SSS program,” Minton said. “We wanted to acknowledge our participants, whether they were securing internships, tutoring or mentoring, or coming to SSS to prepare for their future.”
Student of the Year Award
Catherine Carver and Glorisel Cruz were each selected to receive a Student of the Year award for 2012. The Student of the Year award is based on exemplary participation, academic achievement, and involvement in the University and community. The Student of the Year winner is entrusted to serve as an ambassador for the SSS program and encourages fellow SSS students to achieve their goals.
Carver is a junior at USI majoring in history, with a minor in anthropology. She has worked for Academic Skills as a supplemental instruction leader. Originally from Deltona, Florida, Carver is in the process of expanding her horizons beyond the campus to meet global education initiatives. Carver was recently selected for a global engagement internship fostering a new partnership between USI and New Lanark, Scotland. She first heard of this opportunity through a staff member at SSS. While she is in Scotland, Carver plans to use the experience she has gained working with students through SSS to develop educational material.
Cruz of Logansport, Indiana, is also a recipient of the Student of the Year award. Cruz is a junior at USI double-majoring in health services and Spanish. She is enrolled in the Honors Program and is historian of the Hispanic Student Union and a member of the African Student Union. Cruz was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and wishes to connect others to their cultural roots through foreign language. She will be studying abroad in the Dominican Republic as part of her Spanish coursework this summer. In her free time, Cruz volunteers at Pine Having Nursing Home and spends time supporting diversity through USI’s Multicultural Center.
“We wanted to recognize both of them for their achievements this year. They have both accomplished so much,” said Minton.
Mentor and Mentee of the Year
SSS also selected Ross Gentry as Mentor of the Year and Amanuel Medhane as Mentee of the Year.
A junior elementary major and Honors student, Gentry worked in SSS and applied his skills as a mentor last semester, and has been an avid member for two years. The award was given to “an outstanding individual who stands out from the other mentors in the SSS Peer Mentor Program.” Gentry is one of eight student mentors in SSS who works to foster success among students through academic and social support.
“Amanuel Medhane will follow Gentry’s lead as a mentor next year,” Minton said. Medhane is a member of USI’s cross country team. His major is special education. He was a candidate who displayed significant improvement both in academics and campus involvement at USI, finished all necessary requirements, and demonstrated the ability to become a mentor for the coming academic year.
These awards require students to go above and beyond the normal requirements for challenging and helping others meet their goals.
Most Improved and Perseverance Award
New students who exhibited great commitment and determination in the program were also rewarded for their hard work. Most Improved was awarded to Stephanie Nelson and the Perseverance Award was given to Jannelle Howell.
Nelson is a first year pre-veterinary services major at USI in the Honors Program. The Most Improved award is given to a person who truly committed herself to making a change in personal success. Nelson is originally from Tell City, Indiana, and enjoys volunteering at the Evansville-Vanderburgh Humane Society on the weekends and applying her pre-veterinary skills when she can.
Howell is a junior in the early child development program with a minor in special education. She is a first-generation college student who persevered in her courses despite a three-hour commute from Tell City each day. She also had her first child this past semester. Howell achieved a 3.2 average this past semester, with the help of SSS.
“The staff in SSS is always there to talk about your schedule,” Howell said. “They listen to how you are doing in your classes. They’re there every day to help with academics, with anything you need.”
SSS also awarded several participants with Academic Achievement awards for the 2012 spring semester. Eighteen students with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0-3.29 were awarded with Academic Achievement awards; 24 participants with 3.3-3.69 GPA were awarded with the High Academic Achievement award; and 18 participants with a 3.7 or higher GPA were awarded with the Outstanding Academic Achievement award.
SSS is a unit in the Academic Skills area of University Division known for its contributions to academic success, with 96 percent of participants in good academic standing. The program is one of eight grant-funded programs offered through the U.S. Department of Education to help motivate students to complete their degrees.
Students in the SSS program meet weekly with staff members. They are required to fulfill three hours developing academic skills, one hour socializing, and an additional hour a semester participating in campus cultural events. Individuals in the program participated in over 1,000 hours of tutoring and mentoring sessions last year.
“One of our main goals is to consistently connect students with their peers, so they can see other students being successful,” said Minton.
Photo Credit: USI Photography Services
Catherine Carver, Glorisel Cruz, Ross Gentry, Amanuel Medhane, Stephanie Nelson, and Jannelle Howell.