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CSM Professors Recognize Exceptional Students at Academic Excellence Award Reception

May 24, 2023

“Every year I say that the achievements of our students can’t be topped. Well, it was topped tonight.”

05-2023-academic-excellence-awards-1.jpgExceptional students from the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) recently gathered with their mentors, family and friends at the La Plata Campus 10 to celebrate their academic achievements. Professors heaped praise on their students—with passion and even, at times, poetry — noting that the students “gave [them] hope for the future,” “is the kind of student we all want to have,” and “made CSM a better place by being here.” 

Student awardees include an art student who has drawn the interest of art collectors, a writer who is already working in CSM’s division of student equity and success, an electrical engineer who moonlights as a rock star in a local band, and a Health Information Management student who received the highest score in CSM history on her mock certification exam.

“I know the sacrifices the students have made to be here,” said CSM President Dr. Yolanda Wilson in her opening remarks. “They understood the importance of excelling. We are very proud of you.”

CSM Provost and Vice President of Learning Dr. Rodney Redmond followed Wilson to offer his own words of wisdom for the students.

“In many ways, your journey is just beginning, because while your plan may be to transfer, or take a gap year, or go directly to work, those are only the most immediate of possibilities,” he said. “We all share a great hope and deep faith that those immediate steps will be successful ones for you. But what we also most hope for is that when you have learned here is that your achievements at CSM never really end. You will continue to challenge yourself to learn, to develop new capacities for curiosity and wonder, to engage in your community and the world in deep and constructive ways, that you will think critically about what you read and how you know.”

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Richard Bilsker, the recipient of CSM's 2022 Faculty Excellence Award. He discussed two ways that philosophers have approached the meaning of life: one view says that you should seek simple pleasures and avoid pain; the other says to train yourself to not be affected by the whims of life.

“Both of these give advice that can be helpful,” he advised the students. “Neither is easy. Little in life is.”

Following Bilsker’s remarks, Kimberley Donnelly was named as the 2023 recipient of the Faculty Excellence award by Faculty Excellence Committee Chair Dr. Melanie Osterhouse. Donnelly is a professor of English, specializing in developmental reading and writing. As a first-generation college graduate herself, Donnelly is uniquely suited to help first-year students navigate the higher education process with a focus on student success.

CSM Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Dr. Stephen Johnson was the master of ceremonies for the divisional awards. Students were awarded by faculty members and Melanie Miller, the daughter of the late Maryland Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, who joined students on stage for the presentation of the Thomas V. Mike Miller Center for Leadership Award.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and every year I say that the achievements of our students can’t be topped,” Johnson said. “Well, it was topped tonight.”

A full list of winners is below.

School of Liberal Arts

Outstanding Achievement in History: Amy Dolan

Outstanding Achievement in Teacher Education: Kurstyn Hamilton

Outstanding Achievement in Early Childhood Development: Leomie Brown

Outstanding Achievement in the Social Sciences: Makayla Butler

Outstanding Art Student of the Year: Donna Vance

Distinguished Honors in Music: Carter Falkenstein

John Lamiman Writing Award: Makayla Butler

Wayne Karlin Award for Creative Writing: Marie-Pearl Opoku

Distinguished Honors in Communication: Ella Grace Mosch

academicexcellenceawards.jpgThomas V. Mike Miller Center for Leadership Award: Sarah Angay. Areeba Asim Zeeshan Asim, Danielle Barber, Amber Bias, Abbie Dampier, Briana Garcia, Amber Gieske, Lydia Morris, Faith Pritchard, Dwight Stephens

School of Professional and Technical Studies

George Flynn Memorial Accounting Award: Sharon Oby

Business Administration Academic Excellence Award: Areeba Asim

Business Management Academic Excellence Award: Lauren Davis

Outstanding Information Services Technology Student: Jovohnny Lewis

Outstanding Cloud and Information Technology Student: Eric Hoffmann

Outstanding Computer Science Student: Cameron Vinson

Outstanding Cybersecurity Student: Taylor Knowlton

Ed Shauf Award for Outstanding Criminal Justice Student: Sarah Angay

Outstanding Mathematics Student: Ryan Goldsmith

Outstanding Progress in Mathematics: Caroline Danielson

Outstanding Computer Engineering Student: Ebin Sebastian

Outstanding Electrical Engineering Student: Eli Guzzone

05-2023-academic-excellence-awards-121.jpgSchool of Science and Health

Academic Achievement in Nursing: Madison Harris

Achievement in Nursing: Ella Videgla

Outstanding Physical Therapist Assistant Graduate: Heather Hamtak

Outstanding Health Information Management Graduate: Shalaunda Jefferson

Outstanding Sport Management Graduate: Jack Carver

Outstanding Achievement in Biology: Amber Gieske

Outstanding Achievement in First Year of Chemistry: Leo Brower and Ryan Goldsmith

Outstanding Physics Student: Kevin Winters

Outstanding Environmental Sciences Student: Anya Dziura

To view and download photos from the CSM Student Excellence Awards Reception, visit: https://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/23aeawards.


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