Forty-Fifth Honors Convocation Celebrates Student, Faculty, Staff Accomplishments

Hollins Campus Scene

 

Hollins University recognized students for high academic achievement during the university’s 45th Honors Convocation on May 3.

Held each spring, Honors Convocation also highlights those faculty and staff members whose exceptional work and dedication have earned them special academic or service designation.

 

Student and faculty/staff awards announced at this year’s Honors Convocation include:

DEPARTMENTAL AND DIVISION AWARDS
Alice Bull Biology Award
Isabella Louise Jessee ‘22
Established in 1991 by students, alumnae, colleagues, and friends in honor of Professor Alice Bull, who taught biology at Hollins from 1964 until her retirement in 1990. The purpose of the award is to provide recognition to a deserving senior and/or junior student in biology.

Andrew James Purdy Merit Scholarship in Fiction Writing
Willow Marie Seymour ‘23
In memory of Andrew James Purdy, a member of the Hollins English faculty from 1968 to 1977, this scholarship is given to a senior English major pursuing an honors project in short fiction or a related literary
genre.

Andrew James Purdy Prize for Short Fiction
Winner – Griffin Harrison Plaag, M.F.A. ‘22
Runner-up – Erin Hall Comerford, M.F.A. ‘22
In memory of Andrew James Purdy, a member of the Hollins English faculty from 1968 to 1977, this award is given to a graduate student in the creative writing program who has written a body of fiction of outstanding quality.

ARETE Award in Classical Studies
Mairwen Isolde Meiying Minson ‘22
Established in 2006, this award is sponsored by the Classical Association of the Middle, West, and South (CAMWS) and is given to the junior and/or senior student(s) who have completed outstanding work in the field of classics in the past year. The awardee receives a certificate, a subscription to Classical Journal, and a free membership in CAMWS for the following academic year.

Daniel M. Murphy Prize for Spanish
Tyah Alethia Ray-Johnna Wright ‘22
This award, named for Dan Murphy, professor of Spanish at Hollins from 1993 until his death in 2012, is presented to a student of Spanish who, following Professor Murphy’s example, exhibits on a daily basis a profound love of the Spanish language and a dedication to learning about and teaching others about Hispanic cultures and literatures.

David L. Longfellow History Prize
Abigail Nicole Phillips ‘25
This prize, established in 1982 in honor of David L. Longfellow, former assistant professor of history at Hollins, is awarded to the outstanding first-year student in history.

Elise Deyerle Lewis Award
Van Hai Le ‘23
The late Elise Deyerle Lewis, class of 1927, donated a silver cup to honor the student in the junior class showing the greatest promise in mathematics. The award is in memory of Isabel Hancock, class of 1927, who was Mrs. Lewis’ roommate at Hollins, and later an outstanding teacher of mathematics at Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. The name of the student chosen is engraved on the cup, which remains on display at the university.

Elizabeth Alexander Thomas Award
Eleanor Linette Robb ‘24
This award, in memory of Elizabeth Alexander Thomas, class of 1968, recognizes and rewards one or more rising sophomore, junior, or senior art history majors whose academic work in art history shows exceptional depth and promise and to provide support for the art history department. Awarded funds may be used by the recipient(s) for any expenses related to academic work in art history, including museum admission fees and travel to collections and galleries.

Elizabeth Kennedy Chance Award
Aabhashree Lamichhane ‘22
Abhigya Tamang ‘23
Established by John K. Chance in memory of his mother, class of 1922, this award is given for excellence in economics.

Honors Convocation Procession
In their decorated robes, members of the class of 2022 process to duPont Chapel for the 45th Honors Convocation.

Evelyn Bradshaw Award for Excellence
Sarah Kathleen Vinson ‘22
This award, established in 1997 and given in honor of former Horizon Program Director Evelyn Bradshaw ’88, recognizes an outstanding Horizon student who inspires others through her perseverance, positive attitude, pursuit of knowledge, and love of Hollins. The chosen student will have her name engraved on a plaque that will remain at the university.

F.J. McGuigan Psychology Award for Excellence
Apoorva Verma ‘22
Established in 1974, this award, consisting of books and a certificate, is presented for excellence in undergraduate and graduate education and research.

Frances Niederer Scholars
Art History:
Sara Ann Ficke ‘22
Studio Art:
Kennah Nicole Hebert ‘23
Ashley Nichole King ‘23
An anonymous donor established a scholarship fund in 1983 to honor Frances J. Niederer, professor of art history at Hollins from 1942 until her retirement in 1980. The art department selects two outstanding art majors, at least one of whom is specializing in art history, as recipients in their senior year of the Frances Niederer Scholarships.

Freya Award
Gedin Cabrera ‘22
The purpose of this award is to recognize a student who throughout her time at Hollins has remained dedicated and committed to her activities on campus in a way that provides a quiet yet vital force in our community. It is for someone who has never reached out for the spotlight and has not been recognized for her efforts formally, but has still continued to work humbly and diligently in what she does to positively affect our campus.

Gertrude Claytor Poetry Prize
Winner – Griffin Harrison Plaag, M.F.A. ‘22
Honorable Mention – Anne-Sophie Louise Olsen, M.F.A. ‘22
This prize of the Academy of American Poets is given to a graduate or undergraduate student for the best poem or group of poems.

Goethe Award
Katherine “Katy” Babineau ‘24
This award, in recognition of special accomplishments in the study of German language and literature, is presented by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Herta Freitag Award in Mathematics
Akshita “Akshi” Agarwal ‘22
Simran Parajulee ‘22
The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding senior student in mathematics at Hollins who plans either to teach mathematics or pursue a career field related to mathematics.

Hollins Fiction Prize
Willow Marie Seymour ‘23
Established by Sally Durham Mason, class of 1959, in honor of Louis D. Rubin Jr., a member of the Hollins English faculty from 1957 to 1967. This award is given to an undergraduate student who has done outstanding work in the writing of fiction.

International Studies Award for Academic Excellence
Chanmolis “Molly” Mout ‘23
This award is given to a student for outstanding work in international studies during the academic year.

James Lewis Howe Award in Chemistry
Hannah Claire Arthur ‘22
This award is sponsored by the Virginia Blue Ridge Section of the American Chemical Society and is given each year to the outstanding chemistry major from each of the 14 colleges or universities within the section’s boundaries.

J.F. Maddox Foundation Award for Excellence in French
Zoe Madeline Thornhill ‘22
Isabella Grace Taylor ‘22
Amy “Faith” Herrington ‘22
Awarded annually to a student who has demonstrated superior achievement in French.

Judith Gregory Smith Award
Winner – Tram Nguyen ‘24
Winner – Olivia Kathryn Sacci ‘24
Honorable Mention – Ellie Eunbee Song ‘24
This award is given by Judith Riddick Reynolds, class of 1915, in memory of her granddaughter, Judith Gregory Smith, who would have been a fourth-generation alumna in the class of 1990. It recognizes excellence in the natural sciences.

Lisa Lindsey Award for Excellence in Theatre Arts
Theatre:
Elizabeth Ann Marie Dion ‘22
Nabila Nasrullah Meghjani ‘23
Deirdre Kelly Price ‘22
Dance:
Chloe Fiona Mahalek ’22
Established by Mary Varner Meryweather, class of 1941, as a memorial to her classmate and friend, Lisa Lindsey, this award, consisting of a cash prize and a certificate, is presented annually to a student who demonstrates outstanding achievement in theatre arts.

Mae Shelton Boger Award
Selden DuBose Frissell ‘23
Mae Shelton Boger, class of 1941, derived particular pleasure from her studies in French. This endowed award, given in her memory, is presented annually to an outstanding student of French who combines sound scholarship with pleasure in the pursuit of her studies.

Margaret Markley Smith Awards
Art History:
Amy “Faith” Herrington ‘22
Studio Art:
Sylvia Raven Lane ‘22
Abigail “Abbey” Hegwood ‘22
English:
Winner – Tabitha Renee Gills ‘22
Winner – Deirdre Kelly Price ‘22
Winner – Natalia Wioletta Sarram ‘22
In memory of Margaret Markley Smith, class of 1938, these awards are given to a senior majoring in art and a senior majoring in English for outstanding work.

Marion Garrett Lunsford Award
Maya Florence Ponnuswami-Hart ‘22
Samantha “Sami” Hoyer ‘22
Established as a fund in memory of Marion Garrett Lunsford, class of 1926, this award is given annually to a member of the senior class for distinguished accomplishment in music.

Mary Houska Scholarship
Egypt Tierra Matthews ‘23
Ambrielle Elizabeth Viney ‘23
The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding upperclass economics or business major who has demonstrated superior academic performance.

Mary-Barbara Zeldin Award
Emily Michelle Bulifant ‘22
This award, established by students, colleagues, and friends in honor of Professor Mary-Barbara Zeldin, who taught philosophy at Hollins from 1953 until her death in 1981, is given to a rising junior, rising senior, or senior for excellence in philosophy.

Mary Vincent Long Award in English
Grace Anita Gaynor ‘22
In memory of Mary Vincent Long, a member of the Hollins English faculty from 1938 to 1959, this award is given to a senior English major who exemplifies in the study of literature “a mind capable of going beyond concern with immediate facts to understanding and creation.”

Melanie Hook Rice Award in Creative Writing
Winner – Griffin Harrison Plaag, M.F.A. ‘22
Runner-up – Emily Elizabeth Davis-Fletcher, M.F.A. ‘23
Runner-up – Meghana Mysore, M.F.A. ‘22
In memory of Melanie Hook Rice, class of 1975, this award is given to a graduate or undergraduate student in the creative writing program who has demonstrated considerable writing skills and has either completed or made substantial progress toward writing a book-length work of nonfiction.

Melanie Hook Rice Award in the Novel
Winner – Jamie Elizabeth Hudalla, M.F.A. ‘22
Runner-up – Meghana Mysore, M.F.A. ‘22
Runner-up – Cameron Kenley Vanderwerf, M.F.A. 22
In memory of Melanie Hook Rice, class of 1975, this award is given to a graduate or undergraduate student in the creative writing program who has demonstrated considerable writing skills and has either completed or made substantial progress toward writing a novel.

Mildred Persinger ’39 – Shocky Pilafian Award in Gender and Women’s Studies
Emily Michelle Lauletta ‘22
Nabila Nasrullah Meghjani ‘22
This award acknowledges excellence in academic achievement as well as significant contributions to social activism both within the Hollins community and beyond. The award seeks to recognize gender and women’s studies graduates who are working to effect social change and bring about social justice in a variety of arenas. This award is given to a graduating gender and women’s studies major.

Nancy Ellen Couper Ault Award in Ethics, Morals, and Values
Mohini Sudhakar ‘24
Available to any student of the college and is accordingly an interdisciplinary honor, encourages students to think critically about important ethical questions affecting a broad range of endeavors.

Nancy Penn Holsenbeck Prize
Winner – Vanity Leya Hernandez ‘24
Winner – Lindsey Smith Hull ‘23
In memory of Nancy Penn Holsenbeck, class of 1938, this award is given to a rising sophomore, junior, or senior English major who has demonstrated both a love and a command of the English language.

Nancy Thorp Poetry Prize
Sophia Khan ‘22
Juliet “Jules” Pleskach ‘25
In memory of Nancy Thorp, who attended Hollins from 1956 to 1958, this award is given to an undergraduate student who has written the best poem to appear in the student-produced literary magazine Cargoes.

Nicole Kohn Film Award
Naomi Rajoo ‘23
This award is given in memory of Nicole Kohn, class of 2002, to a filmmaking student of exceptional promise.

Patricia Dowd Overall Award
Grace Marie Hilton ‘22
Patricia Dowd Overall is a member of the class of 1954. In her honor a prize is given annually to the student who, in the judgment of the department of education, has demonstrated in the schoolroom the greatest mastery and promise in the art of teaching.

Pi Sigma Alpha Award
Christine Marie Emeric-Martinez ‘22
This award is given to the senior with the highest grade point average in courses taken in political science.

Sarah M. Cook International Studies Award
Zahin Mahbuba ‘22
The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding undergraduate student majoring in international studies.

Stephanie Mahan Hispanophile Award
Fanny “Isabel” Estrada Lago ‘22
This award is given to a senior Spanish major or minor whose enthusiasm and outstanding interest in things Hispanic most closely mirror the example set by Stephanie Lynn Mahan, class of 1995. Specifically, this student must have sought out first-hand experience in the Spanish-speaking world and must have generously shared her knowledge of that world with her peers.

Wyndham Robertson Library Undergraduate Research Awards
Elizabeth Lindsey Klein ‘23
Deirdre Kelly Price ‘22
Established in 2011 by the library for the recognition of exemplary undergraduate student research projects completed in Hollins courses. Two prizes are awarded, one to a first-year or sophomore and one to a junior or senior.

FACULTY/STAFF AWARDS

The Herta Freitag Faculty Legacy Award
Mary Jane Carmichael, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies
Awarded to a full-time teaching faculty member who has received external recognition of professional excellence from the last three years in the form of publications and papers, exhibits and performances, prizes, and other related expressions of their work.

Senior Class Faculty Award
Courtney Chenette, assistant professor of political science
Given by the senior class to a faculty member who has made a significant impact on their lives.

Hollins Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award
Initiated in 2021, recognizes two members of the faculty – one full-time tenure-track/tenured faculty member, and one non- tenure track faculty member – who motivate and inspire students through the demonstration of exemplary teaching practices, and who have made a positive impact on the teaching culture of the University through innovative and high-impact teaching methodologies, inclusive pedagogies, community engagement in teaching/learning, creative and/or interdisciplinary course development, instructional support, and/or campus leadership around pedagogy. Given that the inauguration of the award last year was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the award was presented to two tenured or tenure-track faculty and two non-tenure-track faculty members.
Tenured/tenure track category:
LeeRay Costa – professor of anthropology and gender and women’s studies and director of faculty development
Non tenure track category:
Heather Derrick – lecturer of communication studies and director of oral communications

Roberta A. Stewart Service Award
Jeri Suarez, associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion
Granted to a Hollins employee who demonstrates long-term service, loyalty to the university, and deep caring for students and colleagues.