Students recognized for academic achievements in their fields of study during College of Southern Maryland’s (CSM) 39th Annual Academic Excellence Awards Reception included a retired Air Force dentist who discovered a passion for sculpture; a member of the CSM Hawks baseball team who is headed for a career as a social studies teacher; a student who helped lead CSM’s robotics team to its ranking as the best community college robotics team in the country; and a professional photographer who had returned to school to study cybersecurity.

These achievers were joined by a room full of other exceptional CSM students who gathered May 11 at the Prince Frederick Campus to be honored by faculty and staff for excelling in their degree programs.

Credit: College of Southern Maryland

“This reception is a wonderful reminder that what we are here for is you and your achievement, and tonight we get to celebrate it,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy in her opening remarks.

Provost and Vice President of Learning Dr. Rodney Redmond also welcomed students to the reception and reminded them to take a moment to reflect on their path to excellence.

“Tonight is a chance to recognize the battles you fought and the hurdles you overcame,” said Redmond. “Take a moment to thank your family, friends, faculty, and staff; hopefully, they have helped you reach goals, celebrate milestones, and offered a shoulder to cry on when you needed it.”

Melanie Osterhouse, professor of biology and the 2019 Faculty Excellence award recipient, gave the keynote address to students.  She spoke about times throughout her life when she would doubt herself, and her mother would tell her, “Prioritize, and suck it up!”

Credit: College of Southern Maryland

“You too have persevered because look at where you are now – at an award ceremony in your honor,” Osterhouse said. “I want you to celebrate your accomplishment with someone who has helped you to get this far.”

Before the student awards got underway, the 2022 Faculty Excellence Award recipient was announced as Professor of Philosophy Dr. Richard Bilsker. The award is bestowed upon a full-time professor by members of CSM faculty.

Along with teaching, Bilsker also serves as the director of CSM’s Honors Curriculum and is also the college’s coordinator for history, philosophy, and political science. He serves as chair of the Grade Review Committee and the Tenure Committee and a member of the Academic Standards Committee. He has been active on numerous hiring committees and other ad hoc committees. Read full story Peers Recognize CSM Professor Dr. Richard Bilsker With Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.

Faculty members from the school of liberal arts, the school of professional and technical studies, and the school of science and health then presented their awards to students who have excelled in their chosen field of study. Many faculty members talked about the pandemic and how students were forced to adapt to virtual lectures, office hours, and projects.  Some faculty members were meeting the students they mentored in person for the first time.

Presenters also discussed students’ future plans, with many having already received job offers in their fields or acceptance to universities for the next step in their education.

“Every year we think we have hit the peak of student achievement, and every year it gets exceeded,” said Associate Dean for Liberal Arts Dr. Stephen Johnson in presenting the awards. 

A full list of award winners is below.

School of Liberal Arts

  • Distinguished Honors in History: Joana Eliza Beatriz Gonzales
  • Outstanding Art Student of the Year: Baseemah S. Najeeullah
  • Outstanding Achievement in Teacher Education: Blake DiPietro and Morgan Krauel
  • Outstanding Achievement in Early Childhood Development: Charlana Edmonds
  • Outstanding Achievement in the Social Sciences: McKynzee Tippett
  • Distinguished Honors in Music: Braxton Lewis
  • John Lamiman Writing Award: Olivia Kapinos
  • Distinguished Honors in Communication: Jayla Wilson and Danielle Barber
  • Wayne Karlin Award for Creative Writing: Taylor America
  • Wayne Karlin Award for Creative Writing: Lilin Holley

School of Professional and Technical Studies

  • George Flynn Memorial Accounting Award: Mark Gifford
  • Outstanding Business Administration Student: Matthew Tyler Jarma and Nathaniel J. Mudd
  • Outstanding Business Management Student: Melissa M. Weaver
  • Outstanding Information Services Technology Student: Todd Hill
  • Outstanding Computer Science Student: Nicholas Gallegos
  • Outstanding Information Systems Student: Mary Jenkins
  • Outstanding Cybersecurity Student: Faith Holt and Tasneem Luto
  • Ed Shauf Award for Outstanding Criminal Justice Student: Shelby Snyder
  • Outstanding Homeland Security Student: Collin Felix
  • Outstanding Construction Management Student: Thomas Robert Carruth
  • Outstanding Mathematics Student: Michael Vincent Chiong
  • Outstanding Progress in Mathematics: Branden Milam
  • Outstanding Progress in Mathematics: Gineffra Boutureira Cauza
  • Outstanding Engineering Student: Aryan Kakadia
  • Outstanding Engineering Technology Student Steven Jones

School of Science and Health

  • Academic Achievement in Nursing: Hannah Walker
  • Achievement in Nursing: Kami Hardin
  • Outstanding Physical Therapist Assistant Graduate: Ryleigh Wilson
  • Outstanding Medical Laboratory Technology Graduate: Carly Fessel
  • Outstanding Health Information Management Graduate: Lauren Faucette
  • Outstanding Achievement in Biology: Asharia Matthews
  • Outstanding Achievement in First Year of Chemistry: Laura Jacobs
  • Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry: Connor Keech
  • Outstanding Physics Student: Nathan Daetwyler

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply