by Saimah Shareef
The Benedictine Senior Awards are given to exceptional undergraduate students attending Benedictine University each year. The Honors Committee announced the selected recipients of the Senior Awards for 2014 earlier this month, and these students will be honored at the Honors Convocation on Friday, May 2nd.
Faculty and staff submitted nominees some time in February, and the final decisions of winners were made in late March. After being identified by faculty and staff as outstanding students, these students then completed an application, where they were asked to write a personal statement describing why they are excellent choices for the award. After all applications were collected, the Honors Committee, which is comprised of six members from across the university, met to discuss and determine the recipients.
There are a total of nine individuals that are being awarded. Of these nine, Eman Sahloul is the recipient of the Thomas J. Dyba Leadership Award, which is given to a student for outstanding ability to initiate and organize worthwhile activities, to encourage and direct the cooperative efforts of others, and to command respect as a campus leader.
“I was truly honored to be regarded so highly by the professors that nominated me and wrote me letters of recommendation. It’s humbling to be recognized among such an amazing graduating class,” said Sahloul about her feelings upon being awarded.
Sahloul is heading to Turkey over the summer to volunteer as a homeroom teacher in a school dedicated to Syrian refugees. She will then be heading to medical school in Iowa this fall.
According to an email that was sent out earlier this month, other award winners are as follows: Kyle Turcic for the Community Service Award, Harjot Sangha for the Benedictine Service Award, Heather Lippe for the Bishop Kucera Award, Mary Belluomini for the College of Education and Health Services Award in Academic Honors, Marihan Hegazy for the College of Science Award in Academic Honors, Haylely Gerdes for the College of Liberal Arts in Academic Honors, Bridgette Morris for the Moser Center Award in Academic Honors, and James Moffitt, winner of the Procopian Award, the highest award that can be given to a student.
“All I wanted to do was call my mom and thank her for everything,” explained Moffitt, after he found out he won the Procopian Award.
Tammy Sarver explains the qualities that make up these award winners of the BenU community. Sarver has been the Chair of the Honors Committee for over five years and contributes to making the decision of which individuals will receive senior awards.
“There are several different awards seniors are eligible for. For example, each College has an award for ‘Academic Excellence,’ and those recipients are typically students who have excelled academically in their major, through a showing of a high GPA, participation in scholarly conferences, or authoring or co-authoring academic papers. Other awards are based in service and leadership, such as our Benedictine University Service award, our Community Service award, and the Dyba-Lincoln Leadership award,” said Sarver.
Sarver advised how students may win leadership awards as seniors.
“Get involved in as many campus and off campus activities as you can. Evidence of volunteerism is great as is taking active roles in leadership positions, such as starting a Student Organization, being a member of Student Senate, etc.,” Sarver discussed.