June 09, 2009

Students recognized for service, academics

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Celebration of Leadership and Involvement Reception at Southern Illinois University Carbondale recently honored people and organizations on campus for their contributions and efforts during the past school year.

Two registered student organizations earned accolades as the Outstanding RSOs for 2008-2009. They included the Student Alumni Council with Timasha Udugama, a physiology major from Colombo, Sri Lanka, as president. Also, the Raymond D. Wiley Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America with Michelle Restivo, a speech communication major from Energy, as president.

Alli Kivlin of Davenport, Iowa, is the Outstanding RSO Officer of the year. Kivlin is vice president of Circle K and is a psychology/pre-physical therapy major.

Eta Sigma Gamma won the outstanding program/event honor for its “Spring into Health” fair. Amy Mathis, a health education major from West Frankfort, is the RSO president.

Chris Bigall of McHenry claimed the Steve Harris Outstanding Treasurer award. Bigall won for his work with Tau Kappa Epsilon. He is a civil engineering major with a mathematics minor.

Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, was the most improved RSO. Felipe Pincheira of Consitucion, Chile, is the president. He’s a double major in mechanical and civil engineering at SIUC.

Sherri Lukes is the outstanding RSO adviser. She is an associate professor in the Dental Hygiene Program in the School of Allied Health and the adviser for the Student American Dental Hygienist’s Association.

Each year, the SIUC student development office presents the Spirit of Diversity Award to recognize the student organization best illustrating a commitment to and support of diversity through its programs and activities during the preceding year. This year, two organizations earned the award: Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity Inc. and Omega Delta Phi.

Sigma Lambda Beta’s 10 members hosted two major events during the year. The seventh annual Noche de Gala, the largest salsa concert and dance in Southern Illinois, drew more than 400 people, according to Luis Alvarez, president of the group. They also hosted the sixth annual Mariachi Poetry night, a semi-formal dinner and concert featuring authentic Mexican food and a live mariachi band.

In addition, Alvarez, an electronic systems technologies major from Cicero, noted that the group hosted a variety of events in conjunction with the various SIUC cultural months and observations including barbecues, guest speakers and more. It served as co-host when Alina Fernandez, daughter of Fidel Castro, spoke at SIUC. Alvarez said the multicultural membership Latino-based fraternity has been active on campus since 1996.

“Our chapter has been welcoming to every kind of person on campus and we pride ourselves on the diversity of our events,” Alvrez said.

Omega Delta Phi fraternity was new to SIUC for 2008-2009 but its 17 members made quite an impact. The racially diverse group focuses on higher education and diversity, according to president Julian Rios, a management major from Kankakee. The group helped sponsor diversity speakers, women’s appreciation week activities, a volleyball tournament and much more this year. Rios was also proud to note that the members racked up more than 600 hours of community service.

“The main thing is, we want to give back to the community,” Rios said. “Our focus is on higher education and diversity. We’re still growing. We really came out strong in our first year at SIU and we have lots of plans for the coming year.”

Student Development presented other service awards as well. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award is actually given by The President’s Council on Civic Participation (PVSA) to recognize volunteerism and community service on a national level. The Delyte Morris Award goes to individuals and RSOs demonstrating excellence and commitment to community service. It honors the legacy of the late SIU president who believed service is at the heart of higher education, said Mythili Rundblad, student development coordinator. Community organizations that Saluki Volunteer Corps members work with nominate students for the award.

Nominators praised the students and their volunteerism. The students likewise say they’ve gained much by volunteering as it has been a learning experience and made them better people. They say they’ve enjoyed their work and want to give to others.

Winners of the Presidential awards and the Morris awards, listed by hometown along with major and which award they won are:



• Lori Jones, Morris and PVSA, speech communication.


• Porsha O’Neal, PVSA, paralegal studies.


• Crisol Barron, PVSA, early childhood education.

• Stephanie Webster, PVSA, reading and language graduate student.


• Samantha Kelly, Morris, psychology.

Gibson City

• Lucas Pulley, PVSA, mechanical engineering.


• R. Mason Sloan, Morris and PVSA, economics and political science.


• Shane C. Peterson, PVSA, biological sciences and psychology.


• Megan Hutchings, PVSA, early childhood education.

Tinley Park

• David Campbell, Morris, biological sciences.


• Julie (Dumper) Schmale, Morris, special and elementary education.



• Dennis Stout, PVSA, administration of justice with political science and Spanish minors.

Alpha Chi Sigma chemistry fraternity earned a Morris Award as well.

Recognition went to a number of multi-ethnic students for achieving and sustaining academic excellence over several semesters. Each maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA and was on the Dean’s List at least two consecutive semesters. Winners of the 13th annual Multi-Ethnic Student Academic Excellence Award, by hometown and listed with their major, are:


Alto Pass

• Sharon M. Espina, elementary education.


• Maria C. Zickert, dental hygiene.


• Malcolm J. Slack, finance.


• Jenny W. Duan, electrical engineering.

• Connie Farhang, art.

• Cyrus Farhang, cinema and photography.

• Tyleshia N. Hinkle, social work.

• Patrick D. Morgan, radiologic sciences.

• Eric A. Nasir, psychology.

• Tavon T. Pourboghrat, computer science.

• Jose H. Rincon, physiology.

• Adrienne Ruvalcaba, civil engineering.

• Erica Smith, management.

• Veranice R. Williams, early childhood education.


• Mariel N. Lazo, fashion design and merchandising.


• Jasmine M. Abreau, administration of justice.

• Stephanie E. Becerra, psychology.

• Khristina A. Dela Cruz, radio-television.

• Cristina E. Hernandez, English.

• Lisa M. Jaquez, health education.

• Nan Li, information systems technologies.

• Ashley D. Polk, social work.

• Andrew D. Ronquillo, psychology.

• Krystal C. Saulsberry, journalism.

• Laura T. Wong, accounting.


• Nigel Vorbrich, agribusiness economics.


• Roy R. Cummings II, mortuary science and funeral services.

Des Plaines

• Gloria Hernandez, accounting.

East St. Louis

• Kendrick C. Coleman, accounting.


• Jaclyn Moses-Lebron, dental hygiene.


• Sydney E. Clark, sociology.

Evergreen Park

• Stephanie N. Arroyo, dental hygiene.


• Stephanie M. Prusa, fashion design and merchandising.

Fox Lake

• April M. Marlatt, athletic training.

Hanover Park

• Justin P. Lim-Lantin, automotive technology.


• R. Mason Sloan, political science.


• James O’Bryant, electronic systems technologies.

Johnston City

• Toni Danyelle Whitfield, civil engineering.


• Levon Johnson, rehabilitation services.


• Kimberly B. Brewer, Spanish.

• Sylvia San, architectural studies.


• Bobbie J. Robison, recreation.


• Estrella P. Martinez, business.


• Dominique D. Kemp, management.


• Ashley N. Warriner, plant and soil science.


• Erica N. Fair, psychology.

Oak Park

• Alethia D. Collins, health care management.

• Elisa A. Orozco, art.


• Justin M. Johnson, marketing.

Park City

• April Jones, radiologic sciences.


• O’Raphael J. Okoro, computer engineering.

• Matthew J. Simpson, business economics.


• Huy T. Nguyen, automotive technology.


• Karen Drowley, radiologic sciences.


• A’Seret S. Dokubo, radio-television.


• Teilla L. Bransford, accounting.


• Courtney Dyan Enoex, information systems technology.


• Jana R. Aylsworth, mechanical engineering.


• Phat H. Luu, automotive technology.


• Jeremy A. Alvarez, management.

West Frankfort

• Jacob A McElyea, finance.

• Arjun C. Patel, accounting.

• David J. Rhoads, finance.



• Tredene L. Davis, human nutrition and dietetics.



• Jason D. Hite, architectural studies.

St. Louis

• Karlus Cozart II, aviation management.