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Awards and Fellowships

Verna Ferguson, Ph.D., of the School of Nursing, received the Midwest Nursing Research Society’s Palliative and End-of-Life Care Research Interest Group’s Distinguished Scientist Award at the organization’s annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio, during the weekend of April 12.

Ferguson, an associate professor, was honored for her research program. Her nominator wrote, “[h]er program has provided an exemplary level of PC/EOL knowledge over time.” The organization noted Ferguson’s impressive publication record and awards including her receipt of 2017’s Certified Pediatric Palliative Care Nurse of the Year.

Katrina Wade, M.D., of the Department of Emergency Medicine, was named the R.R. Hannas Physician of the Year Award by the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians (MoCEP) in recognition of her dedication to student learning, devotion to mentoring of residents and junior faculty, commitment to tireless advocacy for patients, service both locally and at the national level and for many years of service to the Saint Louis University community. Wade received the honor at the MoCEP annual meeting on Thursday, April 26, in Springfield, Missouri.

The MO-KA-NE (Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska) Chapter of the Educational Opportunity Association presented Saint Louis University’s McNair Scholars Program with a New Program Award at its annual conference in Kansas City, MO on Thursday, April 5.

Jamie D. Motley, Ph.D., the program’s director, and academic counselor Anthony Gills were on hand to receive the award.

Motley also co-facilitated a session during the conference, “Enhancing TRIO Student Excellence through Service Learning,” with TRIO-Student Support Services Director Lindsay Gonterman. This year’s conference theme was “Inspiring Educational Excellence: Honoring a Devoted Legacy.”

Diana Carlin, Ph.D., professor emerita of communication and former associate provost for graduate and global education, was inducted into Hall of Fame of the Central States Communication Association (CSCA) at their annual conference on Friday, April 6.

Carlin served as president of the Central States Communication Association from 2004-2005, is the past recipient of the association's outstanding teacher award and has served on numerous committees. The Hall of Fame recognizes lifetime achievements in teaching, research, outreach and service to the association for individuals who are members for at least 25 years.

Carlin's co-authored article, “Have You Come a Long Way, Baby? Sexism in the 2008 Media Coverage of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin,” in the association's Communication Studies Journal is one of the top 10 most cited articles in the journal’s 70 year history.

Zdenko Mandušić, Ph.D., of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, was chosen by the Student Government Association as one of the recipients of this year’s Faculty Excellence Awards.

Publications

Anders Walker, J.D., associate dean for research and engagement for the School of Law, published a book, The Burning House: Jim Crow and the Making of Modern America, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018) in March, and it recently was positively reviewed in Book Forum.

Evan Carey, assistant professor in the Center for Health Outcomes Research, was featured in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research Department “Spotlight on Pain Management” national cyberseminar series this past week. His work examined trends in chronic pain amongst a cohort of 8 million veterans engaged in primary care at the VA between 2008-2016.

Jennifer M. Schmidt, M.D., of the Department of Internal Medicine, and Ali Kosydor, chief of clinical transformation for SLUCare, published a case study, “Creating a Holistic Approach to Patient Access,” in NEJM Catalyst. It's key findings are:

  • Access isn't just a single metric. Getting the right patients into the right appointment with the right provider requires a holistic approach to clinical operations. 
  • A deep dive is necessary to determine current state and often results in a number of unexpected findings.
  • A physician leader present in clinic is critical to achieving physician buy-in.

Simone Bregni, Ph.D., of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, published an invited article, "Assassin’s Creed Taught Me Italian: Video Games and the Quest for Foreign Language Acquisition” in Profession, the journal of the Modern Language Association.

In commemoration of National Poetry month, Aurora Luque and Elsy Cardona, Ph.D., of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, were the featured author and translator, respectively, in the Spring issue of Ezra Journal of Literary Translation. Several of Cardona's translations appeared Mount Hope Magazine.

Presentations and Lectures

Three SLU faculty members from the School of Education were invited keynote speakers at Khon Kaen University’s (KKU) 12th Annual Conference in Khon Kaen, Thailand, on Thursday, April 5.

Joy Voss, Ph.D., Jessica Leonard, Ph.D., and Maureen Wikete Lee, Ph.D., each presented on topics related to early intervention. Conference participants included faculty, special educators, community members, family members of children with disabilities and individuals with disabilities.

The international partnership between SLU and KKU began in June 2017 when a delegation of faculty and special educators from Thailand visited SLU and shared their goal to collaboratively design Thailand’s first master’s degree program in early intervention.

In the fall of 2017, four leaders from across early intervention disciplines – education, occupational therapy, physical therapy and psychology – spent the semester immersed in professional development experiences and curricular design sessions with SLU faculty in St. Louis. The result of the partnership was the development of a two-year KKU M.Ed. program in Early Intervention for Students with Special Needs (EISSN).

The EISSN master’s program aims to promote positive outcomes for young children with disabilities, from birth through age eight, and their families, through the high quality preparation of early interventionists. Key features of the new program include the introduction of the following: a transdisciplinary approach to service delivery, a family-centered, strengths-based approach to family partnerships, and the implementation of research-based practices in natural/inclusive environments.

The KKU conference theme focused on early intervention as a kick-off celebrating the new program which will begin in Fall 2018. Looking ahead, the SLU and KKU faculty hope to be together again this fall. Faculty members from both schools have submitted a proposal to present their work at the Division for Early Childhood’s 34th International Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families in Orlando, Florida, in October 2018.

Nursing Alumnae
(From left) Alumnae Chris Zirges, Jeannie Mollohan, Mary Alice Grady and Susanne Rosenberg. Submitted photo
Panels

Saint Louis University’s Office of Mission and Identity presented the panel discussion, “Jesuit Education in the Nursing Profession: What Difference Does It Make?” on Monday, April 16.

The panel’s speakers included:

  • Chris Zirges, MSN-R, APRN-BC, CIC, FAPIC
  • Jeannie Mollohan, MSN-R, APRN NNP-BC, NEA BC
  • Mary Alice Grady, MSN-R, APRN, CNM
  • Susanne Rosenberg, RN, MSN

Each alumna shared how their time at Saint Louis University helped to shape their careers and life choices, representing a variety of specialties. The panelists spoke about how the Jesuit ideal of Cura personalis that they learned about at SLU has affected the care they provide as well as their careers.

The panel discussion was organized by the School of Nursing faculty members Cristina McGroarty, Shelley VonderLacken and Emily Gunn. Students in attendance had an opportunity to ask questions and network with the alumnae.

Recognition

In recognition of World Intellectual Property Day and its theme centering on women inventors, Blythe Burkhardt, J.D., associate general counsel in the Office of General Counsel, and Anne Miller, intellectual property manager in the Research Innovation Group, Office of the Vice President for Research, delivered chocolate chip cookies – a delicacy made possible by a woman’s invention – to some of SLU’s women inventors in April.

Advocacy Day 2018

SLU's March Advocacy Day group. Submitted photo

Students

Advocacy

On Sunday, March 4, the School of Social Work and the Center for Service and Community Engagement partnered to bring approximately 50 students to Jefferson City for Student Advocacy Day.

Students started the day with a welcome from Empower Missouri, an advocacy group that works to ensure all Missourians have their basic needs met in a fair and dignified way. After the welcome, students met with senators and representatives to advocate on bills, listened to floor debates and sat in on committee hearings.

At the end of the day, students attended a closing session and heard from State Representatives Nick Schroer and Gail McCann Beatty, discussing the legislative process in depth and Raise the Age. The bill would “raise the age” that youth go to juvenile detention centers. Currently, Missouri is one of seven states in the US that still puts 17 year-olds directly into the adult corrections system regardless of the severity of crime. Many students supported Empower Missouri in advocating for the bill. 

Other students advocated on their own topics including opioid use, nondiscrimination laws, protecting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), voter identification laws, disabilities and voting rights, and online voting.

Student Advocacy Day has been a long time event in the School of Social Work through their policy course, helping students meet competency in advocacy, part of macro practice.  This year, students outside of the class were able to sign up through the Center for Service and Community Engagement.  Individual registrants received advocacy training and then joined with social work students to advocate on issues of concern to them.  

Awards

Robert Green, a senior majoring in clinical health sciences, recently won first place in his section of the SLU Undergraduate Research Symposium for his research, “Investigating Gpa2 Phosphorylation in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae.”

Green presented his research to the faculty and graduate students of the University’s Department of Biology. As a result of his research earning top honors, Green will present his research at the biology department’s awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 8.

For the past three semesters, Green’s research has focused on G-protein regulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A recent study from Boston College proved that approximately 75 percent of all pharmaceutical drugs specifically target G-protein coupled receptors, so a greater understanding of how the G-protein pathways function has the potential to significantly impact the world of medicine.

“I am so grateful to Dr. Yuqi Wang because without him I would not have had this opportunity,” Green said. He worked with Wang, an associate professor of biology, in the professor’s lab. “I just feel blessed to have been able to conduct research at SLU. It increased my love for the sciences and hopefully brought further recognition to the University.”

After graduating from SLU in the spring, Green plans to work in a research position for a year before entering a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS/DMD) program. Although he is unsure if he will have an opportunity to continue research on G-protein regulation, he is excited about where the research could eventually lead.

“Identifying specific targets within the interim of G-protein transduction pathway could help create more effective drugs,” Green explained. “It could also help create alternative drug solutions for current conditions and even unknown conditions. To give a broad example, if fully comprehended – far down the road – you could prevent human G-protein coupled receptors from developing drug tolerance, so individuals would not have to continuously up their dosages of drugs.”

Green’s department chair, Amy Harkins, Ph.D., praised Green’s work that garnered the award.

“He has been able to discover the scope of an entire research project, from learning the project to learning the techniques to do the research,” Harkins said. “After only three semesters of what I am sure was hard work and dedication to the project, even when an experiment may not have worked initially, his research has come together in this presentation. He has been able to present at a national meeting for the American Society for Cell Biology and at SLU’s Senior Legacy Symposium. It is the process to prepare a presentation that usually solidifies the why’s of doing research for students, not just the how’s of doing research. I am very pleased that he was given this opportunity to work with Dr. Wang.” 

SLU’s Department of English has announced its 2018 Spaulding Essay Award winners.

In 2016, the English department received a generous bequest from the estate of Abbott Spaulding, M.D., (A&S ‘55). Spaulding was an English major at SLU and also received his medical degree at SLU’s School of Medicine. The English Department created the Spaulding Essay Awards to honor his memory by recognizing excellence in undergraduate academic writing.

The following writers were recognized for outstanding essays written in SLU English courses in 2017-2018 at the English department's Spring Celebration on Monday, April 23, in the Pere Marquette Gallery.

4000-LEVEL English Essays
  • First Place: Jonathon Ferguson, “Body Shop Creationism,” from ENGL 4176, Spring 2018, Ellen Crowell, Ph.D.
  • Second Place: Isabelle Schinsky, “The Triumph of the Hermit: Glorifying the Queer Space in Kenneth Anger’s Puce Moment,” from ENGL 4176, Spring 2018, Ellen Crowell, Ph.D.
  • Honorable Mention: Baleigh Jordan, “Forcing Visibility, Exposing Shame, and Confronting Pride,” from ENGL 4176, Spring 2018, Ellen Crowell, Ph.D.
3000-LEVEL English Essays
  • First Place: Rakshya Devkota, “Performing the Unnatural: The Masks of Hamlet and Macbeth,” from ENGL 3470, Fall 2017, Donald Stump, Ph.D.
  • Second Place: Parvuna Sulaiman, “Queer Rhetoric: Advocating for the (Super)natural Invert,” from ENGL 3660, Spring 2018, Ellen Crowell, Ph.D.
  • Honorable Mentions: Kennedy Stansbarger, “A Performative Tea Party in the United States,” from ENGL 3860, Fall 2017, Rachel Smith, Ph.D., and Maddie Baumgart, “Sin Labios: From Suppression to Expression,” from ENGL 3560, Fall 2017, Emily Lutenski, Ph.D., Department of American Studies.
2000-LEVEL English Essays
  • First Place: Logan Williams, “Rewriting the Narrative,” from ENGL 2450, Fall 2017, Ted Mathys, M.F.A.
  • Second Place: Caleigh Horan, “Encountering Disaster,” from ENGL 2450, Fall 2017, Ted Mathys, M.F.A.
  • Honorable Mention: Claire Battista, “Differing Nationalities, Same Problem: The Complexity of Maintaining Romantic Relationships as an Immigrant in America,” from ENGL 2850, Fall 2017, Saher Alam

Doctoral students Cindy Reed and Elizabeth Eikmann, both of American Studies, received competitively awarded research fellowships from Washington University in St. Louis, through the Divided City initiative’s Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship program.

The program supports research related to the topics of racial segregation, racial justice and the American city.

Reed’s proposal was for a project, “Girlz in the 'Hood: Representing Gender, Race, and Class in Urban Narratives," and Eikmann’s for her project, “Seeing St. Louis: The Urban, the Visual, and the Color Line.”

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) recently announced the seven students – three undergraduate and four graduate – who received the department’s annual awards.

This year’s undergraduate award winners were Lauren Adler, Claire Elliott and Rebecca Ferron. The graduate award winners included Connor Hurt, Anna Kopchak, Cori McGownd and Sammy Zuckerman.

These awards are based off of the recipient’s performance throughout all of their years in the program and the winners are chosen by the department’s academic and clinical faculty members. All winners received a certificate to recognize their accomplishment and their names will be inscribed on plaques that are housed in the CSD administrative suite in McGannon Hall.

The awards and respective recipients were as follows:

Undergraduate
  • Donald G. Brennan Award, presented in recognition of excellence in academic achievement, personal growth and commitment to the CSD department, to Claire Elliott.
  • Lynda R. Campbell Memorial Award, presented in memory of Dr. Lynda R. Campbell, a past chair of the department, presented to Lauren Adler. This award is presented in recognition of commitment to multicultural advancement, mentoring and honoring the spirit of others.
  • Spirit Award,presented in recognition of exemplary determination, positive attitude and generous spirit, to Rebecca Ferron.
Graduate
  • Donald G. Brennan Award, presented in memory of Dr. Donald G. Brennan, a past chair of the department, to Cori McGownd. This award is presented in recognition of excellence in the areas of academic achievement, personal growth and commitment to the CSD department.
  • Lynda R. Campbell Memorial Award, presented in memory of Dr. Lynda R. Campbell, a past chair of the department, to Connor Hurt. This award is presented in recognition of commitment to multicultural advancement, mentoring and honoring the spirit of others.
  • Robbie Haynes Award, presented in memory of a former graduate student in recognition of exemplary determination, positive attitude and generous spirit, to Sammy Zuckerman.
  • Jean Evans Outstanding Graduate Clinician Award, presented to a second-year graduate student who has shown clinical excellence (evidence-based practice) across different therapeutic settings and creativity for therapy that addresses clients’ real-life difficulties to Anna Kopchak. The recipient has also demonstrated passion and concern for others.

Department Chair Travis Threats, Ph.D., noted the exceptional qualities of the recipients and the department’s study body.

“These students represent exemplars of the traits we are so fortunate to see in most of our students,” Threats said. “It is our honor that the faculty has so much difficulty each year deciding the recipient in each category. Thus, the students winning these awards really are the best of the best.”

Publications

Cara Moore Lebonick, a doctoral student in American Studies, was co-recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for her short essay “Harlem Renaissance Stimulated by the New Deal,” printed in the NARA newsletter Declarations.

Honor Society Inductions

On Wednesday, April 18, seven students from the School for Professional Studies (SPS) were inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL), the academic honor society for adult students in nontraditional education.

The induction ceremony took place at Brouster Hall, with a full-course dinner prior to the ceremony. The inductees’ family, friends and SPS faculty and staff.

“ASL members demonstrate a high degree of academic excellence, community involvement, and leadership, all while maintaining very full personal and professional lives,” Troy Hargrove, associate dean, said. “It is not an easy feat to become a member of ASL, and we are proud of our students and their accomplishments – they are truly women and men for others.”

Following dinner, the students were inducted in a candlelight ceremony led by John Buerck, Ph.D., associate dean of SPS and Justin Daffron, S.J., special assistant to the president. Each new member recited the pledge to ASL, which calls each member to strive for excellence in all things and to seek truth both in their academic and professional lives.

“As an academic adviser and fellow member of ASL, attending an induction ceremony is always a heart-warming experience,” Sharon Spicer, academic advisor, said. “The sense of accomplishment and pride the students convey always resonates throughout each induction ceremony, as it is an opportunity to create everlasting memories on their educational journey.”

Buerck, Hargrove, and Daffron were also inducted as honorary members of ASL.

The inducted students were:

  • Melissa Batchelor
  • Anne Gumpert
  • Tannelle Hanks
  • Christopher Hulsey
  • Christina Jones
  • Alford Moore
  • James Schroer
Conferences

Four students in the Master's Program for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) attended the Computing Research Association Grad Cohort for Women (CRA-W), held over the weekend of April 13 in San Francisco. BCB students Eliza Dhungel, Judith Rodriguez, Courtney Schiebout and Lauren Whitt were awarded scholarships from CRA-W, with additional support from the NSF BITWISE program, to attend this two-day workshop. The workshop provided opportunities to network and to learn skills to navigate graduate studies and careers in computational fields, which have not always been welcoming of women.

The CRA-W Grad Cohort aims to increase the ranks of senior women in computing-related studies and research by building and mentoring nationwide communities of women through their graduate studies.

Schiebout reflected on the workshop.

“The CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop is something I would recommend to any female grad student in a computing field,” she said.  “The workshop focuses on providing relevant resources and advice for important topics, such as choosing a career path, conducting research, and maintaining work/life balance. In addition, the entire weekend is designed to encourage as much networking and collaboration as possible, which enabled me to make connections and develop meaningful friendships.” 

Symposia

The Third Annual World TB Day Symposium was hosted at Saint Louis University on Tuesday, April 10. The event was co-organized by Saint Louis University’s Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D., and Washington University’s Shabaana Khader, Ph.D. 

The event is co-organized to commemorate World TB Day, the date Robert Koch first reported his findings identifying Mycobacterium tuberculosis as the cause for tuberculosis. The meeting brought together researchers from SLU and Wash U and focused on various aspects of tuberculosis research.

Willem Hanekom, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director, TB, and Initiative Lead for TB Vaccines from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, gave the event’s keynote address. There were six additional talks led by SLU and Wash U researchers, and 16 posters presented at the symposium. The topics discussed ranged from basic research on host immunity to TB, vaccine development for TB, drug development for TB as well as discussions on clinical TB.

Graduating seniors packed the Busch Student Center on  Wednesday, April 18, to exhibit their academic and creative work as part of the 11th Annual Senior Legacy Symposium. Nearly 200 students from over 50 academic departments and programs took part in this year’s event. All student presenters were selected by faculty in their respective departments on the basis of their impressive work.

Each presenter received a medal to acknowledge their achievements, which they will wear at graduation.

Presentations and Posters

Three undergraduate American Studies majors gave papers at the biennial conference of the Mid-America American Studies Association (MAASA) in Iowa City, Iowa, during the weekend of April 6.

Junior Paul Heinemann delivered a paper, “‘Stay in Yo Lane’: LaVar Ball’s Message to Role-Defying Women,” junior Taylor Schleisman presented “How to Target a Niche of Lesbian Car Buyers in a Masculine Market and Get Away with It,” and freshman Justin Ortiz presented “Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling.”

Six SLU undergraduate students, majoring in investigative and medical science in the Department of Clinical Health Sciences (CHS) in the Doisy College of Health Sciences, presented their research results at the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego in April 2018.

The six have been DeNardo Scholars indicating that the research they performed and their attendance at the conference were funded by a grant from DeNardo Education and Research Foundation. The students were among 260 undergraduate students from across the country. The students, members of the SLU undergraduate chapter of the American Society for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (ASBMB), participated in ASBMB events, including an undergraduate research competition, and presented research posters at this national conference.

Presenting research results were Blake Bertrand and Victoria Mak (Mentor: Rita Heuertz, Ph.D.), Aravinda Ganapathy and Megan Horita (Mentor: Uthayashanker Ezekiel, Ph.D.), Kayla Schmidt and William Rupprecht (Mentor: Tim Randolph, Ph.D.).

ASBMB provided travel awards to Ganapathy and Bertrand. ASBMB recognized Mak and Horita as exceptional undergraduate students pursuing degrees in the molecular life sciences at a university with an ASBMB Student Chapter and for scholarly achievement, research accomplishments and outreach activities by inducting them into the ASBMB Honor Society (ΧΩΛ: Chi Omega Lambda). Ganapthy also received a competitive undergraduate summer research grant. 

American Studies doctoral students Elizabeth Eikmann, Manuela Engstler and Nicholas Porter gave papers at the Mid-America American Studies Association (MAASA) conference over the weekend of April 6 in Iowa City, Iowa.

Eikmann’s paper was “Reimagining Urban Decay and Art: The City, the Museum, and Ruin Porn.” Engstler presented “Creation of a New Masculinity as Political Protest: the German Student Movement and the Black Panther Party,” and Porter’s paper was “The Symbolic Midwest in American Wrestling during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.”

Experiential Learning

On Monday, March 19, students from the Learning Community Program gathered in the Wool Ballrooms for the Spring Semester's LC Ed Talks. Chi Hou Lei, Ph.D., of Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology presented "Smart Materials as Machines." Dana Baum, Ph.D., of the Department of Chemistry, presented "Beyond the Genetic Code: Exploring the Capabilities of Functional Nucleic Acids," and  J.D. Bowen, Ph.D., of the Department of Political Science, presented "A Time for Peace in Colombia? A View from the Margins."

The event provided students with an opportunity to hear about the current research work of their faculty members and to engage with them around these topics.

Year-End Celebrations

Saint Louis University’s McNair Scholars and staff, advisory board members, faculty mentors and supporters came together at Il Monastero for an end-of-semester celebration on Monday, April 30.

SLU psychology professor Richard Harvey, Ph.D., a member of the McNair advisory board and a faculty mentor for two McNair Scholars, gave the keynote address on the topic, “What is a Scholar?” During his talk, Harvey highlighted such behaviors as utilizing critical thinking skills regularly and acting with academic integrity as those that are characteristic of a true scholar.

McNair Scholars Program Director, Jamie D. Motley, Ph.D., noted during the event that the program has grown to 21 scholars and that the staff is continuing to recruit students.

Current McNair Scholars and mentors include:

  • Ciarra Anders, mentored by Kasey Fowler-Finn, Ph.D.
  • Brian Barley, mentored by Ajlina Karamehic-Muratovic, Ph.D.
  • Zarek Burton, mentored by Lynda Morrison, Ph.D.
  • Esther Chinwuko, mentored by Nancy Childrey, Ph.D.
  • Hope Conyers, mentored by Mitzi Brammer, Ph.D.
  • Janee Davis, mentored by Richard Harvey, Ph.D.
  • DelShawn Fowler, mentored by Jonathan Fisher, Ph.D.
  • Maria Garcia, mentored by Ajlina Karamehic-Muratovic, Ph.D.
  • Brandon Hughes, mentored by Richard Harvey, Ph.D.
  • Sequoyah Lopez, mentored by Martin Brief, M.F.A.
  • Derek McFarland, mentored by Leticia De Souza Soares, Ph.D.
  • Taylor Robinson, mentored by Keon Gilbert, Ph.D.
  • Yesenia Sanchez, mentored by Annie K. Smart, Ph.D.
  • Ricardo Saucedo, mentored by Kevin Scannell, Ph.D.
  • Wendy Teal, mentored by Alaina Baker-Nigh, Ph.D.
  • Jazmine Terrazas, mentor pending
  • Devonn Thomas, mentored by Brendan D. Roediger, J.D.
  • Brendan Underwood, mentored by Jonathan Smith
  • Amanda Wilson, mentored by Sabrina Tyuse
  • Carissa Villanueva, mentored by Mary Vermilion, Ph.D.
  • Ngohile Yakubu, mentored by Dannnielle Davis, Ph.D.

The Honors Student Association held its annual formal celebration on Monday, April 30, marking another successful year in the University Honors Program. 

Honors Student Association

The Honors Student Association's Year-End Celebration. Submitted photo

The evening began with remarks from the newly appointed Director of the Honors Program, Robert Pampel, Ph.D., who recounted the many notable achievements of the Program and its students this academic year. Honors students and staff then enjoyed food and fellowship, as well as brief remarks from current Honors Program students who earned Investigative Learning Experience (ILEX) grants this year.

The evening was also a cause for celebration of the Program’s 72 graduating seniors, all of whom completed a rigorous curriculum and a culminating research project in their respective academic fields to earn the honors distinction. These students received their Honors Program graduation cords and were recognized by Pampel, who shared data on students’ post-graduate plans.

This year’s graduating class represents 31 different majors, boasts a 3.84 cumulative grade point average, and includes leaders from across the campus, including seven James D. Collins award winners, 22 Senior Legacy Symposium presenters, and a Saint Louis University Women’s Commission “Woman of the Year” recipient.

At least 37 graduating honors seniors are attending graduate/professional school next year, 22 of whom will remain Billikens as they continue their studies in health administration, health data science, health law, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and social work. 

Others will attend prestigious institutions include Creighton University, Des Moines University, Harvard University, Marquette University, Midwestern University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Iowa University, Vanderbilt University and Washington University in St. Louis for degrees in bioengineering, corporate finance, dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy, philosophy and physician assistant studies.

Nine students have accepted professional or volunteer positions with organizations around the world, including the Peace Corps, Aegis Strategies, Covenant Technology Partners, Enterprise Holdings, Medtronic, Monsanto, the National Student Leadership Conference and the Washington University School of Medicine.

Two students have accepted a position with the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) program.

The evening also included the presentation of the inaugural Honors Program Faculty Member of the Year Award. Dan Finucane, Ph.D., of the Department of Theological Studies, received the honor. Students nominated Dr. Finucane cited his love of the Honors Program and his deep concern for students’ intellectual development. As part of his honor, Finucane will deliver the first “Fireside Chat” of the 2018-2019 school year.  

Competitions

Astha A Cappella, SLU's premier fusion a cappella team, won third place at the All-American Awaaz national championship on Saturday, April 21, in Chicago. The team competed against teams from all over the nation, including UCLA, UC-Berkeley, Texas A&M, Georgia Institute of Technology, UC-San Diego and Boston University.

This season, Astha also competed at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Quarterfinals, and won third place at the Gathe Raho fusion competition at the University of Iowa. Additionally, Astha received two awards for best female soloist, Manasa Vemuri, and the contest’s People’s Choice Award.

On Saturday, April 14, the College for Public Health and Social Justice hosted the Sixth Annual Public Health Scholar Bowl at the Busch Student Center. Fifteen teams from across the country came together to compete in a Quiz Bowl trivia contest and Case Study competition.

Teams in the Case Study competition prepared presentations on global health topics such as HIV/AIDS or neglected tropical diseases. Teams in the Quiz Bowl competed against each other to prove their knowledge of topics ranging from disease outbreaks to health policies.

This year, the Johns Hopkins University took home first place in the Quiz Bowl, with the Ohio State University as the runner-up. Macalester College won the Case Study competition with their presentation on developing hygienic and sustainable waste systems in Vietnam. The runner-up in the Case Study contest was first-time competitor Lindenwood University with their presentation on addressing Dengue Fever in Honduras.