Seniors honored with academic, activity and leadership awards

2017 Convocation
May 20, 2017

Members of the Class of 2017 were honored May 19 on the eve of their graduation from the College with academic, activity and leadership awards at the Senior Investiture and Honors Convocation.

Prior to the event, graduating seniors processed through Ward Memorial Arch to Baker Memorial Chapel, where they took part in a candle lighting ceremony mirroring the “Out of Darkness into Light” Candlelight Processional that welcomed the students as freshmen into the McDaniel community.

The Mary Ward Lewis Prize for the most outstanding female graduating senior was presented to Samantha Yates, who is graduating magna cum laude with an English major and Economics and Writing minors. She also earned The Makosky Award for Excellence in English. Andrew Patrick Schiller, who is graduating cum laude as an Exercise Science and Physical Education major, was awarded the Bates Prize for the most outstanding male graduating senior.

Seniors honored with academic, activity and leadership awards Samantha Yates of Shepherdstown, W.Va., is a College Scholar and has earned departmental honors in English. She is passionate about community service and is traveling to Peru this summer to work with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development. 

She was one of 218 student leaders nationwide recognized by Campus Compact as a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow. Yates, in partnership with two other McDaniel students, was also awarded a Griswold-Zepp award from the college to start a composting initiative on campus. During her sophomore year, she participated in the Baltimore Collegetown LeaderShape program and earned the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award, which is dedicated to achievement in community service, physical fitness, special skills and adventurous journey.

Yates has been involved with Green Terror Programs as treasurer, vice president and president. She is also a member of the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and the Honors program. She has worked for both the college’s Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO) and the Office of Student Engagement, and has served as a Parent Preview Guide and a member of the Honor and Conduct Board.

She was a 2016 Phi Beta Kappa writing intern contributing news stories to the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s The Key Reporter. As a senior, she was selected among 81 students from 29 colleges and universities to present her adaptation of Chaucer’s “The Book of the Duchess” at the national Medieval and Early Modern Studies Conference. Yates has been inducted into honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Lambda Delta (First Year Seminar), Sigma Tau Delta (English), as well as the Trumpeters and Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor societies. She has also been selected for inclusion in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”

Seniors honored with academic, activity and leadership awards A member of the Green Terror ROTC program, Andrew Patrick Schiller of New Market, Md., was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Upon graduation, he will serve on active duty and will attend the Ordnance Officer Basic Course at Fort Lee, Va. He will then be assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Ky.

As a three-and-a-half year ROTC scholarship recipient, Schiller participated in the Cultural Language and Understanding Program (CULP) in Croatia and Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT) in Hawaii.

Manager of the lacrosse team and president of Alpha Gamma Tau fraternity, Schiller was a member of the 2016 Exercise Science and Physical Education student-faculty summer research team that studied the effect of a single session of resistance exercise on attention skills and mathematical ability. He presented results at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting in fall 2016 that showed resistance exercise significantly improved attention skills but had no impact on math ability.

Also presented was the Ira G. Zepp Distinguished Teaching Award for inspired classroom work and dedicaton to students to Education professor and Reading Specialist coordinator Debra Miller. Read the full story here.

The Ira G. Zepp Teaching Enhancement Award was presented to two recipients, Mathematics professor Spencer Hamblen and the Kinesiology department.

With funding from the Zepp Teaching Enhancement Award, Hamblen will design and implement an online mathematics problem database accessible to both faculty and students. The online database will help students review material and prepare for exams, while allowing instructors to provide a wider variety and greater volume of applicable problems for their classes. It will also make possible structural changes to the way math placement exams and developmental mathematics courses are offered.

The database will make the placement exam process more personalized, and once established, the database will be open to other disciplines, such as physics and economics, for addition of problems from those areas. The grant will fund programming and building the software for the database, populating the database with problems and categorizing the problems.

The Kinesiology department, formerly Exercise Science and Physical Education, will create a Learning Lab in the Merritt Fitness Center, where information learned in several of the Kinesiology courses and classes can be applied in a real-world setting. With a focus on expanding its experiential learning opportunities as well as most efficiently utilizing resources and spaces, the department will create the lab for practicum and internship experiences as well as hands-on learning activities.

Once the necessary equipment pieces are in place, Kinesiology will utilize the center for more hands-on work in courses, develop programming and experiences for the McDaniel community and offer on-site internship experiences in strength and conditioning and personal training.

Seniors honored with academic, activity and leadership awards Jim Kunz, associate professor of Social Work, was announced as the surprise faculty speaker. On the faculty at McDaniel since 2008, Kunz teaches policy, macro practice and research and mentors students in his practice and research interest areas of social work advocacy, community organizing cost analyses of social welfare programs and services to ex-offenders.

Not only an accomplished educator, he is also a community activist whose innovative courses incorporate service-learning experiences to connect theory and practice. In 2011, he was named the Maryland Social Work Educator of the Year, and in 2014, he was awarded the Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award from the Maryland-D.C. Campus Compact.

Kunz has taught such courses as “The Meaning of Homelessness” and “Marginalized Cultures and Macro Response” with students working at non-profit social welfare organizations as a way to learn how these organizations are structured. He has conducted research on homeless teens and young adults in Baltimore City that resulted in a report published by Health Care for the Homeless. Most recently, he oversaw the work of four social work seniors who spent their spring break administering surveys for Carroll County’s first youth homelessness count.

He has also developed a course involving an equine therapy institute at McDaniel’s European campus in Budapest, Hungary, and organized students from McDaniel’s main campus and McDaniel Europe in building 10 Habitat for Humanity homes in Beius, Romania.

In addition, he is interested in the topic of financial literacy and has worked with Accounting professor Kerry Duvall to offer workshops to help all first-year students better understand their personal finances. He also spearheaded the administration of a national survey examining financial wellness.

Kunz previously taught at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, the University of Maryland and Millersville University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and both a master’s degree in economics and Ph.D. I n economics and social work from the University of Michigan.

Expressing his gratitude to the Class of 2017, Kunz specifically mentioned the 20 graduating Social Work majors who he has taught and advised, as well as the 140 graduating student-athletes who he has championed as the Faculty Athletic Representative. 

He spoke of the dedication of the class to serving the community, such as volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster, tutoring middle school students, raising money for Relay for Life and serving meals at a homeless shelter, and his hope that the graduates will continue to seek ways in which to serve their new communities.

Kunz quoted Mahatma Ghandi, telling graduates: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Other student award recipients included:


The Alton Dennis Law Award for Excellence in Economics

  • Catherine Elizabeth Wroblewski, English and Business Administration major from Glen Mills, Pa. 

The Dr. Mary Ellen Elwell Distinguished Social Work Award

  • Rachel Marie Mainetti, Social Work major from Fort Myers, Fla.

The Vox Magna Clara (A Strong Clear Voice) Award 

  • Destany Boykin, Sociology major from Bronx, N.Y.

The Maria Leonard Senior Book Award

(awarded by Alpha Lambda Delta to the graduating senior with the highest GPA)

  • Julie A. Wilson, Social Work major from Jefferson, Md. 

The McLuhan Award for Excellence in Communication

  • Haley Lou Duff, Communication major from Clarksburg, Md.

The Richard A. Clower Award for Excellence in Exercise Science and Physical Education

  • Sydney T. Knadler, Exercise Science and Physical Education major from Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
  • Sean W. Kaliszak, Exercise Science and Physical Education major from New Freedom, Pa. 

The Award for Excellence in Chemistry or Biochemistry

  • Madelyn Maria Jackstadt, Chemistry major from Barnegat, N.J. 
  • Matthew Edward Meyers, Chemistry major from Millersville, Md. 

The Robert Joseph Weber Award for Excellence in Political Science and International Studies

  • John Henry Bussey, Political Science major from Petaluma, Calif.

The Class of 1938 Award for Excellence in Music

  • Joshua Ellis, Computer Science major from Baltimore 

The Dr. Reuben Holthaus Award in Philosophy 

  • Brian Austin, Philosophy and Communication major from Turlock, Calif. 

The Frank and Margaret Malone Award for Excellence in a Foreign Language 

  • Thomas Elias Costello Milnes, Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies and German major from Eldersburg, Md.

The Malcolm L. Meltzer Psychology Award

  • Nia Imani Gipson, Psychology major from Owings Mills, Md.

The Michael and Polly Beaver Award for Excellence in Education

  • Blake Alexis Schildhauer, Mathematics major from Hampstead, Md. 

The Makosky Award for Excellence in English

  • Samantha Yates, English major from Shepherdstown, W.Va.

The Philip and Azalea Myers Award for Creativity in English

  • Kailey Elizabeth Rhone, English major from Frederick, Md.

The Eloise B. and Lowell S. Ensor Award for Graduate or Professional Study

  • Casey Meredith Marson, Communication major from Norwich, N.Y. 

The Phi Delta Gamma Award

  • Nia Imani Gipson, Psychology major from Owings Mills, Md.

The M. Louise Shipley Art Award of Excellence

  • Hannah L. Sommer, Art major from Taneytown, Md.

The H.P. Sturdivant Biology Award

  • Kaitlynn-Marie Strickland Ceñdana, Biology major from Great Mills, Md. 

The Esther Smith Award

(creativity in the arts – drama, music or art)

  • Jennifer Marie Shillingburg, Psychology major from Oakland, Md. 

The Dr. Clyde A. Spicer Award

(outstanding graduating seniors in mathematics)

  • Tyler Stephen Hoffman, Computer Science and Mathematics dual major from Mount Airy, Md.
  • Blake Alexis Schildhauer, Mathematics major from Hampstead, Md. 

The Hugh Barnette Speir, Jr. Prize

(student showing the greatest excellence in European history)

  • Melissa Ann Golowski, History and Political Science major from Littlestown, Pa.

The United States History Award

  • Corey Gunter Glocker, History and Philosophy major from Silver Spring, Md.
  • Zoie Catharine McNeill, History major from Morgantown, W.Va. 



The Greek Man of the Year

  • Zackery Lauer Crooks, Psychology and Sociology major from Mount Airy, Md. 

The Greek Woman of the Year

  • Katie Erin Keegan, Psychology major from Hadley, Mass.

The Michael Marks Memorial Award

(male member who has participated in lacrosse for at least two years and has exhibited academic excellence, leadership, competitive spirit, volunteerism and a strong work ethic)

  • Sean W. Kaliszak, Exercise Science and Physical Education major from New Freedom, Pa. 

The Elizabeth Lintz Burkhardt Memorial Service Award

(student who has demonstrated exceptional and persistent giving of time and service to others within the college and the community at large)

  • Jada Latrice Pickens, Social Work major from Windsor Mill, Md.

The Steve Robert Wilson Memorial Awards

(two seniors with the most outstanding record in track and field)

  • James Mathias Heilman, Exercise Science and Physical Education major from Lutherville, Md.
  • Arielle Simone Latourette, Psychology major from Easton, Pa.

The Charles W. Havens Award

(student who has participated in intercollegiate athletics and has shown the attributes of charity, altruism, benevolence, and a humane and compassionate concern for fellow man)

  • Sydney T. Knadler, Exercise Science and Physical Education major from Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

The John D. Nawrocki Memorial Award

(male member who has participated in lacrosse and/or soccer and emulates leadership through example, shows concern for teammates and friends, and gives fully of himself)

  • Bryan Lennon Ruygrok, Biology major from Ellicott City, Md.  

The Michael L. Waghelstein Memorial Award

(student who has demonstrated military proficiency and leadership potential, athletic ability, sincerity, zest for living, and loyalty to country, college and friends)

  • Sean W. Kaliszak, Exercise Science and Physical Education major from New Freedom, Pa.

The Alumni Citizenship Awards

(male and female members who have displayed a steadying loyalty to classmates and the college through active participation in campus life and contributions to the betterment of the college)

  • Jaime Alexander Calderon, French and Spanish major from Falls Church, Va.
  • Alexaundria Dominique Leonard, Political Science major from Baltimore

The Lynn F. Gruber Medal

(proficiency in extracurricular activities)

  • Olivia Nichole Kipe, Exercise Chemistry major from Manchester, Md. 

The Dr. H. Samuel Case Senior Scholar Athlete Award

  • James Mathias Heilman, Exercise Science and Physical Education major from Lutherville, Md.
  • Catherine Elizabeth Wroblewski, English and Business Administration major from Glen Mills, Pa. 

The Faith Millard/Dr. Carol Fritz Medal

(female member with the best record in athletics)

  • Nicole Monay Butler, Business Administration major from Bowie, Md. 

The John A. Alexander Medal

(male members with the best record in athletics)

  • Justin James Allen, Exercise Science and Physical Education major from Ashburn, Va.
  • William Joseph Kroppe III, Accounting Economics and Business Administration major from Wyomissing, Pa. 
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