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Drew University Celebrates Community Leaders

A University-wide award ceremony organized by the Center of Civic Engagement and Center for Student Engagement

April 2024 – Drew University honored students, faculty, and staff who exemplified leadership within the Drew community and beyond during the Community Leader Awards ceremony.

Drew’s Center for Civic Engagement and Center for Student Engagement collaborated and organized the event, which took place at the Concert Hall.

The evening celebrated students from the College of Liberal Arts, Drew Theological School, and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. “Realize that we’re all one community regardless of which school we come from,” said Sean Hewitt, director of the Center for Civic Engagement. “We’re honored to celebrate those that have contributed to our community.”

“It’s been an amazing year, one that has brought me joy and great inspiration,” said President Hilary L. Link, PhD during her opening remarks. “We are all part of this really strong community. We’re even stronger as a community when we bridge each other across the schools and beyond our campus into the community. Drew students are special—kind, giving, inclusive, respectful. It’s what inspires me and gives me hope for the future.”

“Your dedication and caring for each other across the University infuses the entire student body. You are the leaders of our University and we couldn’t be in better hands.”

The award ceremony recognized and honored student, faculty, and staff leaders in civic engagement and public service on the Drew campus and in the greater community. Awardees have shown a deep commitment to making the world a better place by taking action for the common good.

At the close of the award ceremony, Bridget Ryan C’24 performed an original dance performance. 

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President Hilary L. Link, PhD

Vice President of Enrollment Management & Campus Life Frank Merckx provided closing remarks. “The level of service you have given to the Drew Community has made a significant difference,” he said. “Your impact is felt and lived by your peers.”

The First-Year Class Awards are awarded to students who have exhibited outstanding service to the Drew community within their first year.
Award recipients:
Aniya Gordon-Ellis, Christdia Mensah, Fundi Ngconqwane, Arya Patel, Jodi Velez, Zaire Wright

The Sophomore Student Leaders Awards are awarded to students who have exhibited outstanding service to the Drew community within their sophomore year.
Award recipients:
Brazil Brown, Olivia Cohen, Stella Contente, Peyton Goings, Andzani Mthenjane, Lindsay Orr, Jecilyn Romero, Aira Poticano, Alpha Sesay, Devan Sutaria

The Junior Class Awards are awarded to students who have exhibited outstanding service to the Drew community within their junior year.
Award recipients:
Agnes Aghanwa, Amineh Al-Aydi, Faith Ansah, Jen Arias, Cameryn Brown, Jason Amaro Davilla, Elliot Franklyn, Vicky Fuentes, Muthoni Githinji, Anna Beth Lee, Julisha Moses, Amira Mutakabbir, Benjamin Paley, Karen Quituisaca, Maya Samuelson, Brett Silletti, Josh Soiferman, Nicole Sydor

The Senior Year Awards are awarded to students who have exhibited outstanding service to the Drew community within their senior year.
Award recipients:
Renzo Bass, Mira Elizabetty Cohen, Brianna Liggett, Christine Joseph, Elainna Hodge, Grace Solomon, Hailey Kelly, Hayden Koh, Issiah Williamson, Jessie Lisanti, Kathleen Frazier, Luis Enrique Lopez Rios,, Muhammad Mir, Niche Parabartana, Rachel Sirica, Robbie Angarone, Sabatino Nezaj, Skye LeBeau-Maltese, Isla Ubiles, Ange Wunderle

The Thomas D. Sayles Jr. Student Award for Outstanding Service to the Community is awarded annually to a junior undergraduate student who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment and unselfish dedication to the Drew family and the larger community through exemplary volunteer service.
Award recipient:
Jen Arias

The Class of 1985 Senior Gift Award Prize is awarded to a college student with financial need whose academic promise and vision for a more just community are strong.
Award recipient:
Eden Linton

The Graduate Student Community Action Award is awarded to a student enrolled in the Theological School or the Caspersen School who has benefitted a community outside of Drew by integrating an academic or creative endeavor with community engagement.
Award recipient:
Takudanashe Chinogwenya

The Graduate Student Award is awarded to a student enrolled in the Theological School or the Caspersen School for their dedication to the Drew graduate community who have showcased leadership and a passion for connecting their studies to service to Drew and the community.
Award recipients:
Henry Anyomi, Janet Okang, Lance Lee

The Tilghman International Graduate Student Awards acknowledge the unique challenges and celebrate the joy of international education by recognizing individuals who demonstrate a meaningful and sustained commitment to both campus or community engagement, as well as outstanding contributions to international awareness, intercultural understanding, and global experiences that directly benefit the Drew community inside and outside academia.
Award recipient:
Renzo Bass, Pavlo Goloyadov, Hayden Teck Koh, Muhammad Mir, Breda Mwelu, Yutong Xin, Nia Zeikidze

The Dean’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Engagement is awarded to students who have contributed to the overall success of student engagement.
Award recipients:
Josh DuBose, Khyri Fortenberry, Andrew Lora

The Gold D. Graduating Seniors Award recipients have dedicated themselves to outstanding service for the Drew Community throughout their time at Drew University.
Award recipients:
Robbie Angarone, Renzo Bass, Kathleen Fraizer, Elainna Hodge, Christine Joseph, Oliver Morton, Sabatino Nezaj, Niche Parabartana, Luis Enrique Lopez Rios, Rachel Sirca, Isla Ubiles, Ange Wunderle

The Changemakers Award is awarded to students involved within the Changemakers Program at Drew who has demonstrated commitment to the highest values of ethical and impactful engagement with community partners.
Drew Changemakers:
Nargiz Abadzada, Yash Abichandani, Brazil Brown, Julia Campanella,
Benjamin Castro, Lesly Cunin-Penafiel, Marianela Pina De la Hoz, Marissa Guajardo, Jenny Ibuzo, Kyle Johnson, Sammy Kagwi, Brenda Madrid Licona, Vida Lopez, Joseph Mastrogiovanni, Kenny Rodriguez, Emily Shirk, Tad Szymczak, Puzi Wei, Zilin Xiang, Ying Xiao

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The ceremony was followed by a reception.

The Ben Salmon Service Recognition Award honors Drew community members who enhance the campus through volunteerism, extra-curricular involvement, and off-campus service.
Award recipients:
Breena Stephen, Dr. Andrea Lee, Assistant Teaching Professor of Chemistry

The Faculty Leadership Award is awarded to a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated commitment to civic engagement through advocacy, teaching, or project development.
Award recipient:
Monica Cantero-Exojo, Professor & Department Chair of Spanish

The Staff Leadership Award is given to a full-time staff member who has developed or supported opportunities for the Drew community to participate in activities that benefit others.
Award recipient:
Eva Endahl, Financial Services & Data Coordinator

The Collaborative Action Award recognizes a student organization or community partner that leads an effective collaboration between the university and an external community to accomplish a community service or advocacy project.
Award recipient:
Devan Sutaria, Drew Global Medical Brigades

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