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2021 Spring Academic Awards

Introductory Remarks from Dr. Peter Eden, President of Landmark College



Introductory Remarks from Dr. Gail Gibson Sheffield, VP for Academic Affairs

Presentation of Awards

  • Given in memory of Rob Gunther-Mohr, founding faculty member and beloved teacher and colleague, to the student who best exhibits independent critical judgment, a love of reading and ideas, and an abiding compassion for others.

    student Gabby Woolgar

    Recipient: Gabrielle "Gabby" Woolgar
    Presenter: Debbie Gassaway-Hayward, Academic Advisor


    Gabby, you are a committed, conscientious student and appear truly interested in the content you are learning. You work hard to engage in what you are reading and make strong connections to ideas under discussion. In the classroom you served as a role model for your fellow students and your work was exemplary. Your well-defined career goal in the health care field seems like a good fit for a compassionate person like you. Your past experiences doing service work around the world are further examples of your compassion for others. I am honored to present the Rob Gunther-Mohr award to you.

  • Given to the student who has made the most strides in demonstrating professionalism in the workplace and developing a career plan.

    Mackenzie Bacastow

    Recipient: Mackenzie Bacastow
    Presenter: Jan Coplan, Director of Career Connections


    The recipient of this award has been proactive in gaining work experience while earning their Bachelor’s degree. They have been a valued employee in the Drake Center for Academic Support here at Landmark.

    This individual took the initiative to research internship opportunities in an industry that aligned with their career aspirations. In collaboration with their career counselor, Clark Johnson, they secured an internship opportunity with Kate Barry Real Estate. In this role as a realtor intern this student was instrumental in the development of new business while studying for the licensing exam. They received the following compliments in their performance evaluation:

    “Mackenzie has been fantastic.  I really look forward to the day when she is fully licensed, she easily grasps and understands difficult concepts and has an inquisitive mind that will make her great as a realtor!  I have really enjoyed our time together, she is a quick study and thus a treat to train.”

    This year’s award goes to the well deserving, Mackenzie Bacastow.

    Congratulations Mackenzie. You have set a stellar example of how to use your time at Landmark College to develop your career plan.

  • Given to the student who has demonstrated an ongoing process of self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-advocacy that has led to significant achievement of first year academic goals in online coursework.

    student Aaliyah Rowe

    Recipient: Aaliyah Rowe
    Presenter: Alicia Beth, Assistant Professor of Education


    Hello. My name is Alicia Beth, and I had the privilege this semester of working with Aaliyah Rowe in my online Perspectives in Learning class. Aaliyah demonstrates all the qualities of an excellent student. She is dedicated, organized, manages her time well, is intellectually curious and asks great questions, and self-advocates when she needs help. The quality of her work, and her attention to detail, are exceptional. She is also just a pleasure to have in class: always there, always present with her classmates and professors, with a positive attitude. Maybe most importantly, I think Aaliyah sees herself as someone who can always grow and learn. She is humble; she continually reflects on her learning, and on herself as a person, and seeks to improve and build. She knows her strengths and challenges and how to leverage her incredible work ethic to be the best possible learner. I am so pleased that the college is recognizing Aaliyah in this way. She absolutely deserves it! So, congratulations, Aaliyah! You are an asset to Landmark.

  • Given to the student who has demonstrated an ongoing process of self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-advocacy that has led to significant achievement of first year academic goals.

    student Charlotte Mazur

    Recipient: Charlotte Mazur
    Presenter: Jan Thompson, Associate Professor of Education


    It is my pleasure to present the award for First Year Student to Charlotte Mazur. She did an outstanding job in her classes the whole year, investing considerable time and care into her work. Her teachers agree that she was fully engaged, participated thoughtfully and often, worked diligently on every assignment, and took the initiative to access office hours and academic support. She was eager to learn from feedback and revision, and able to reflect constructively on her own strengths, challenges, and learning style. She applied herself in every way possible, practicing skills and adopting strategies, and, as a result, made great progress. In other words, Charlotte is a model student, who does everything we want students to do to learn and grow and become good writers. One of her essays, her literacy narrative, is a wonderfully inspiring story of overcoming obstacles to learn how to read and write. To use Charlotte’s own expression, she relishes being in school and learning. In the words of one of her teachers, “Charlotte is up for any challenge!”

  • The award for excellence in mathematics goes to the student who is serious about further study in mathematics. The student actively participates in discussions, communicates clearly about mathematical concepts, and demonstrates inquisitiveness, dedication, consistency, and preparedness: the hallmarks of a successful analytic and logical thinker and problem solver.

    student Loa Proskauer Valerio

    Recipient: Loa Proskauer Valerio
    Presenter: Michelle Wallace, Professor of Mathematics


    The award for excellence in mathematics goes to the student who is serious about further study in mathematics. The student actively participates in discussions, communicates clearly about mathematical concepts, and demonstrates inquisitiveness, dedication, consistency, and preparedness: the hallmarks of a successful analytic and logical thinker and problem solver. The Spring 2021 Math Excellence award goes to Loa Proskauer Valerio—a student somewhat new to the Landmark scene. In class this past semester, I was consistently impressed with the depth of interest in the meanings behind the mathematics we were talking about in class. Loa was quick to ask about the proof of the probability or statistics topics that we were studying and quicker to make the connections with prior classes. Loa is studying computer science but would also make a great mathematician having demonstrated these qualities that make an excellent logical thinker and problem solver. Congratulations, Loa!

  • Given to the mathematics student whose extraordinary effort and progress over the year is consistently admired by professors, peers, and advisors. Through hard work, attentiveness, and diligence with assignments, the student is becoming a skilled problem solver; one who has learned to think logically and symbolically, to reason analytically, and to communicate clearly about mathematical concepts.

    student Kady Erwin

    Recipient: Kady Erwin
    Presenter: Frank Klucken, Associate Professor of Mathematics


    Kady indeed works hard, is attentive and diligent. And she cares about learning. It's not just about the grade. On numerous occasions we would go over her work just so that Kady could learn from her mistakes. And this was her idea. Additionally, Kady demonstrates a strong sense of independence and curiousity. She first wants to give it a go to find out what she knows. Then, Kady will seek assistance when she needs it. Having worked with Pat Jaquith for years, I'm sure that she would also be proud of what Kady has and will accomplish. Congratulations Kady.

  • Given to the student who best exemplifies communicating with purpose, clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness in writing.

    student Joshua Steinberg

    Recipient: Joshua Steinberg
    Presenter: Dan Toomey, Associate Professor of Education


    Joshua was enrolled in my Special Topics: Writing for Business class in the spring of this year. From the first days of the class, he seemed to possess an almost intuitive understanding of what is expected for a given assignment, and with it an accompanying willingness not only to fulfill those expectations, but to move several steps beyond them.

    He went to work immediately on assignments as soon as they were given, and consistently submitted them well before their due date, yet they never appeared hastily done.

    He conducted independent research for the business plan and business history assignments without any prodding on my part, incorporating what he learned into his writing, thus making his business plan all the more viable (by which I mean it was so well done that he might well use it immediately to ask for a small business loan) and his business history was authentic and real. These assignments allowed him free reign to use his bountiful imagination (which I was delighted to see) and the results were remarkable.

    His word choice was always on target, his sentences carefully crafted, and his paragraphs unified and coherent.

    He put significant effort into his work, and he did so routinely. “Writing Excellence” is precisely what Joshua has striven for and achieved. Joshua Steinberg is most deserving of this award.

  • Given to the student who demonstrates commitment to and talent with creative writing.

    student Alex Schwartz

    Recipient: Alex Schwartz
    Presenter: Meg Baronian, Associate Professor of Education


    Alex Schwartz is this year’s recipient of the Creative Writing Award. The Creative Writing Award goes “To the student who demonstrates commitment to and talent with creative writing. “Alex’s commitment is clear, and their talent is abundant. This year they took two creative writing classes—Introduction to Creative Writing in the Fall and Visual Story Telling this spring, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with Alex in both. Alex is incredibly talented and versatile. They work in many media. My first encounter with Alex’s work was through their poetry. Alex wrote many good poems and experimented with a variety of forms that were really challenging, but which they handled skillfully. Alex writes terrific stories, with interesting characters facing difficult conflicts. Alex is also an extremely gifted comics artist. Their comics feature strong narratives and amazing illustrations. Alex’s versatility as an artist stretches beyond creative writing into music. This month, the Podcast Neighbourly is featuring music that Alex composed as well as a story they wrote. Alex is someone who puts in the time and stays engaged with the project even when it gets difficult. They are supportive of other writers and artists in the class. They are modest about their ability, and the work they produce is impressive. Congratulations, Alex.

  • With nine disciplines, liberal studies explore humanity from many perspectives. Our courses are about the diversity of human experience and how the past informs contemporary life. Excellence in liberal studies means engaging with new and enduring questions in humanities, literature, and social science.

    The Award for Excellence at the Associate Level goes to a student who has excelled in a range of our elective courses. This student shows curiosity about the world and the desire to explore unfamiliar topics.

    Elizabeth Gilkey

    Recipient: Elizabeth Gilkey
    Presenter: Joyce Rodgers, Associate Professor of Liberal Studies


    The Academic Award for Excellence in Liberal Studies is awarded each year to a student who demonstrates excellence in the Humanities or Social Sciences. This year the award for a student graduating with an Associates Degree in Liberal Studies is Elizabeth Gilkey. Liz consistently prepared for and attended classes and displayed enthusiasm for course materials. Her work was thorough and went beyond assignment requirements to connect to other academic disciplines. She regularly added richness and insight to discussions and shared additional, stimulating materials in the classroom and in class chat rooms. She excelled in research and revealed a passion for human story as well as a dedication to all her work. On behalf of the Department of Liberal Studies, it gives me great pleasure to present the Liberal Studies Award to Elizabeth Gilkey.

  • The Award for Excellence at the Baccalaureate Level goes to a student who has pursued a focused area of interest in the liberal studies. This student is a budding scholar who has the potential for leadership in the field.

    Emily King

    Recipient: Emily King
    Presenters: Linda Kerr, Solvegi Shmulsky, Tim Beck


    Linda Kerr, Associate Professor of Psychology


    Emily, you were an enthusiastic and inquisitive student when we first met in my introduction to psychology course during the spring of 2018.  Since that time, you have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the study of human behavior and mental processes, completing a total of 15 psychology courses and 2 psychology-oriented internships for your bachelor’s degree.  You are intellectually curious and model the critical thinking and effective inquiry skills celebrated in the School of Liberal Studies and the Arts.  It is with great pleasure that my colleagues in the Liberal Studies department join me in naming you, Emily King, the recipient of the Award for Excellence at the Baccalaureate level in Liberal Studies.  Congratulations and best wishes!

    Solvegi Shmulsky, Professor of Psychology


    Hi Emily, I would like to thank you for what you have done for the psychology major at Landmark. You’ve been a champion for research and neurodiversity. The list of accomplishments is long, but to name a few, this semester you have completed an internship with Dartmouth College, your own dyslexia research project, and a capstone on how to make cognitive behavioral therapy better with universal design. The capstone? Great idea! I’ll use this in the future. You think like a grad student and you’ve put your skills to work helping others. We appreciate your contributions and congratulations for earning this award.

    Tim Beck, Assistant Professor of Psychology


    Congrats, Emily, on yet another notable achievement as you near the end of your time at Landmark. I’ve had more classes with you than any other student, and I’ve enjoyed watching you grow across each one. I’ve been totally impressed watching your research transform from a set of vague ideas during our first research course together to a full-scale research project in just a few semesters. Without you in the psychology program, I’ll have to rely on other students to both keep my on my toes and keep the conversations going in class. These will be big shoes to fill. I wish you the best of luck with everything moving forward.

  • Named for a beloved founding member of Landmark College’s art department, goes to a student who is deeply committed to developing as an artist, and who is willing to take risks and spend considerable time on their art, regardless of the medium. The student consistently produces work of a high caliber that manifests deep engagement and experimentation, and routinely elevates the level of conversation within classes, helping to cultivate a culture of curiosity, dialogue, and inclusivity.

    Gus Zarefsky

    Recipient: Gus Zarefsky
    Presenter: Jen Morris, Professor of Studio Art


    Gus, you are consistently the first to speak up to offer comfort to another classmate, or to crack a joke in the hopes of offering some levity. You are unabashedly earnest and forthright.

    Your sincere persistence is testament to the commitment you have for your continued development as an artist. You walk to photograph, and you have covered unimaginable miles to get your images– retracing your steps to rephotograph, making sure you get the right image. Your ability to seek out feedback, hear criticism, and try out new outcomes further evidences your investment.

    We, as the Fine and Performing Arts Department, are grateful to have the opportunity to offer you this award. It has been a pleasure for us to mark your development over your years at Landmark. It is bittersweet to see you go, but we are grateful we had the chance to work with you.

  • This award is given each year to a student who has excelled academically in the program and also shows much potential as a future technology professional.

    student Samuel Mortinger

    Recipient: Samuel Mortinger
    Presenter: Karina Assiter, Assistant Professor of Computer Science


    Sam was unanimously selected by the Computer Science faculty to receive this award. He is the type of student that instructors hope for; he is hard working, intelligent, kind, respectful, mature, humble, motivated, helpful, and exceptionally generous with his time. He has contributed greatly to Landmark college, as an athlete on the baseball team, as an intern in the office of Institutional Effectiveness and as a sought-after (and reliable) staff member in Computer Science support.

    As a student he rarely, if ever, misses (or arrives late to) class. He submits his work on time and always performs at the top level. He never complains either about project requirements or course-based workloads. When his peers have problems with their projects, Sam often jumps in to help.

    He is the first Landmark Computer Science graduate to have a job lined up 6 months before he graduated. His Capstone Project set a standard that will be hard for future students to match. When given an option he always chose the assignment that was the most challenging, and then excelled.

    After he graduates this spring, Sam will be long remembered and greatly missed (though we hope, of course, that he stays in touch!).

  • This award goes to a Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership student who has demonstrated academic excellence and community leadership through initiative, diligence, and progress. This student has been inspirational and has provided leadership, helping to transform the lives of others and the community as a whole.

    Shoshana Conley

    Recipient: Shoshana Conley
    Presenter: Lee Crocker, Chair of Professional Studies Dept.




    Hello, my name is Lee Crocker, and Finn and I are here to present the Geoff Burgess Communication Entrepreneurship and Leadership Award. This award goes to a Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership degree program student who has demonstrated academic excellence and community leadership through initiative diligence and progress. This student has shown initiative and leadership helping to transform the lives of others and the community as a whole.

    Shoshanna Conley (Sho) is our first recipient of this important academic award. Over her time at Landmark College, we have seen tremendous growth in Sho. She has narrowed her focus and found her aptitude as a leader in business and human services.

    When I first had Sho in Animals and Human Communication, I could see her leadership and communication abilities, as she helped organize her friends and encouraged everyone forward in their work for the class. Then in the Guided Leadership Practicum, Sho took initiative and got the group going. She stepped forward to be the leader for the class. Because of Sho the group was able to create and present a workshop promoting allyship for neurodiverse college students.

    Marc Thurman the Coordinator for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion told us that for the last year Sho has been a mentor for the Reach-one-teach-one Program where she assist students of color to connect with the campus to find the DCAS and to learn about the diversity centers. Sho is a tremendous advocate for women of color and LBGTQ students on our campus. She brings positive energy to every room. A hallmark of Sho’s personality and energy is her frequent quip, “I am the Mom!” She helps many students feel at home, and she helps them to become effective in their adjustment to landmark college.

    Additionally Sho is a tremendous leader for students staff and faculty who have dogs on campus. Right now she's finishing her capstone project (for her degree), which is a proposal to build a state of the art dog training and exercise area for use by all who have dogs on campus.

    As you go forward Sho, we wish you the very best success. It's our pleasure to give you this award, the Geoff Burgess Communication and Entrepreneurship and Leadership Award. You've earned it! Great work, Sho!

  • This award goes to the student who has taken courses in professional studies and has demonstrated high proficiency in business and entrepreneurship. This student has accomplished excellent research or creative proposals in the areas of organizational design, finance, economics, marketing, accounting, or entrepreneurship. The student has gone beyond classes and has applied these skills contributing to the College community as a whole.

    Destany Hankard

    Recipient: Destany Hankard
    Presenter: Dr. Tamara Stenn, Assistant Professor of Professional Studies




    Hello, so I am here to present the Business and Entrepreneurship Award, and this award goes to the student who has taken courses in Professional Studies and has been demonstrated a high proficiency in business and entrepreneurship. They've accomplished excellent research and creative proposals in the areas of organizational design, finance, economics, marketing, accounting, and entrepreneurship.

    So, this person has done it all! They've gone beyond class and applied these skills, contributing to the college community as a whole. And I'm pleased to present this award to Destany Hankard of Shark Food Delivery.

    Destany came into the program in fall of 2019, taking the Introduction to Entrepreneurship class and coming up with the idea of Shark Food Delivery. And she took that class project and brought it forward to the pitch competition in spring 2020, pitched that as a concept pitch, and then said, "you know, I want to keep going with this."

    She became an intern and led the fall 2020 students through further developing Shark Food Delivery with the help of a grant. And then she pitched it again in the spring of 2021, getting additional funding for the program as well. She's delivered scores of meals to faculty, staff, and students--all day, afternoon, and night--all over campus, and has done an amazing job. And she continues to work hard at this business and looks forward to bringing it to campus in the fall, as well.

    So, big cheer to Destany Hankard! Thank you so much for all you've done, Shark Food Delivery.

  • This award is given to the student who has taken courses in radio, television or video, or journalism. This student has participated in our co-curricular activities for media studies and has excelled in the courses offered in this area. The student has gone beyond and applied these skills, collaborating to produce television, video, radio, or journalistic work for the College community.

    student Lucas Sillars

    Recipient: Lucas Sillars
    Presenter: Mac Gander, Professor of Professional Studies


    The media studies award within the Communications and Entrepreneurial Leadership degree is new this year, created in recognition of this essential track within Landmark’s new COM-EL degree.

    It gives me great pleasure to recognize Lucas Sillars as one of the first recipients of this award.

    Luke, you were the first publisher of Landmark’s first independent student publication, Voices, and you led the creation of the book in a semester that was unprecedented by its derangement from the pandemic. Your warm, calm, collegial leadership kept the start-up enterprise going last spring, and your wisdom and guidance helped move it from a start-up to a going concern this year.

    You know the new business, and you blazed a pathway for other students to work with our local partner, the non-profit independent newsweekly, The Commons, where you and I are colleagues on the governing board.

    There is a lot I would like to say, since your natural leadership and communication skills have made every class I have been in with you better for your presence, but I’ll just leave it here: working with you has been one of the deep graces of my professional life, and it is an honor to present you with this new award. Congratulations, Luke!

    student Gabrian Raphael

    Recipient: Gabrian Raphael
    Presenter: Gyuri Kepes, Assistant Professor of Communications




    Hello, it is my honor today to present the Media Studies Award. And this award will go to the student who has taken courses in radio, television, and video, or journalism. This student has participated in our co-curricular activities for media studies and has not only excelled in the activities and courses offered in media studies but has also gone beyond and applied these skills; thereby, helping collaboratively to produce television, video, radio, or journalistic work for the College community. And this award goes to Gabrian Raphael. Gabrian has worked as an intern for the marketing department, producing many marketing videos, as well as under me as a work study student, and was instrumental in getting this studio running and off the ground. I can’t think of a better recipient for this award. Congratulations Gabrian. Well deserved. I can’t wait to see all the hard work you’ve put into your capstone work, and the short film you are working on currently. Congratulations, well deserved.

  • This award will go to the student who has not only excelled academically in courses offered in professional studies, but who has also gone beyond and applied these skills to transform personally and thereby contributing to the college community as a whole.

    student Inna Broadbent

    Recipient: Inna Broadbent
    Presenter: Mac Gander, Professor of Professional Studies


    The Dianne Wood Award goes to the student who has not only excelled academically in courses offered in professional studies, but who has also gone beyond and applied these skills to transform personally and thereby contribute to the college community as a whole.

    Dianne Wood helped to found the communications program at Landmark, and she was both a friend and a mentor to me in my early years, so it gives me special pleasure to present this year’s award to Inna Broadbent.

    Inna, you exemplify the strength that lies in quiet leadership. You helped to bring our new student publication, Voices, into being with your work last spring, putting in scores of hours to make the visual look and graphic design of the new magazine.

    Your capstone work on the conflicts between ranchers and conservationists over the reintroduction of wolves in the northwest has demonstrated a deep commitment to the values of careful inquiry and open-mindedness, even as your natural passion for the environment has anchored your work.

    In all of our work together, you have reminded me that communication is as much about inquiry, listening, asking good questions, and careful thought, as it is about expression. It is an honor to present you with this year’s Dianne Wood award.

  • For outstanding achievement in the Life Sciences by a student who has declared a Life Science major.

    student Ben Wright

    Recipient: Ben Wright
    Presenter: Christin Monroe, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry


    On the surface, Ben makes learning chemistry look effortless. The reality is that he is an extremely hardworking student. After learning the material presented in class, he always asks questions to expand his knowledge. Ben's curiosity alone makes him an exemplary student and I can always look to him to be a positive force in the classroom. Beyond that, Ben is a leader in the classroom. Once he grasps the concepts, he always steps in to help other students. Even during office hours or after he has completed the assignment, he selflessly helps his classmates to find their success. Ben's work ethic and selfless attitude make him an ideal awardee for the Life Science Award. Congratulations Ben!

  • For outstanding achievement in the Life Sciences by a student who has not declared a Life Science major.

    student Nicholas Payne

    Recipient: Nicholas Payne
    Presenter: Kim Coleman, Associate Professor of Life Science


    I am honored to announce that this year’s award for academic achievement in Life Science has been earned by Nicholas Payne. Some students have extensive familiarity with science before starting at Landmark College, while others develop their skills through grit, determination, and resilience. When Nick started taking science classes at Landmark College, his grades did not always reflect the intensity of the work he invested in his assignments. However, Nick solicited and incorporated feedback, made use of opportunities to revise and improve his work, asked insightful questions, and made the scientific method his own. He didn’t let challenges interfere with his determination to improve, and before long, he was submitting exemplary work with every assignment. In fact, his Personal Diet Assessment project for Nutrition and Health is one of the most insightful and comprehensive projects I have ever received. Nick, I commend you on your determination and exceptional progress as a student of science, and congratulations on an academic award well-earned!

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