Several graduating seniors were honored with Institute awards at the Senior Class Award Reception held May 20 in Russell Sage Dining Hall on the eve of Senior Week activities. Vice President for Student Life Frank Ross presented the awards.
The Livingston W. Houston Citizenship Award, honoring the “first citizen of the college,” ranking high in character, leadership, scholarship, and athletic ability, was awarded this year to co-recipients Amanda Lynch and Nicholas Dvorak.
Amanda Lynch is a co-terminal student with a biomedical engineering undergraduate major and an M.S. in management. A two-sport athlete, she scored more than 1,000 career points while serving as captain of the basketball team, played defense on the lacrosse team, and served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She was All-Liberty League as a senior when she also became the first women’s basketball student-athlete in school history to earn National Academic All-America. A member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and a Differential Equations Math Award recipient, she has been on the Dean’s List every semester. She has interned at the Orange County Health Department as well as the Orange Regional Medical Center Biomedical Engineering Department.
Nicholas Dvorak, a chemical engineering major, served as the 126th president of the Union. He served as the vice president of finance and risk manager for Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity earning the national Frank J. Ruck Award for Leadership. He was also the treasurer for the Interfraternity Council and administration chair for UPAC Lights. He is a member of numerous honorary leadership groups including Phalanx and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and has been on the Dean’s List every semester. A member of the throws team for varsity track and field and an active member of RPI Curling, Knights of Columbus, and the Newman Catholic Fellowship, he received the 2016 Independent Sector Student Community Service Award.
The Leopold L. Balleisen Prize, which was established by the Class of 1918, honors a senior student athlete who has won a varsity letter in at least one sport during two undergraduate years and who stands highest academically among those thus qualified. This year’s recipient is James Jackson, a biomedical engineering major and captain of the golf team. He won nearly half a dozen tournaments, earned All-Liberty League on multiple occasions, was a National All-America, and became the first golfer in school history to be selected as a National Academic All-America. He has conducted research in the Musculoskeletal Mechanics Laboratory at Rensselaer and the Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration Laboratory at Rutgers University, and had abstracts accepted for poster sessions at research conferences. He also was an intern on the medical devices team at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
The Willie Stanton Award, presented to seniors who are judged to have contributed much in service to the student body, was awarded to Devin Glenn and Joshua Rosenfeld. Both students were honored for having given of themselves to benefit the student body and uplift where needed, in the style of Willie Stanton, “Mr. RPI,” a loyal employee of the Rensselaer Union who was renowned for his service to students.
Through his work with the Rensselaer Music Association, Devin Glenn, a communication major, helped to develop numerous performing jazz bands, helped to create a music suite in the annex at the J Building, and performed over 100 shows a year. He was a host of trivia in the Clubhouse Pub and assisted the Department of Athletics with marketing programs through an internship. Joshua Rosenfeld, a computer science major, provided assistance daily through his work at the help desk and through his volunteer work at Bugbee Elementary School in West Hartford, Connecticut, and at the iD Tech Summer Camp he helped direct. He was treasurer of Hillel and the Ski and Snowboard Club, and served as Student Senate parliamentarian.
The CLASS Award recognizes a member of the graduating class who as a leader exemplifies the ability to solve complex challenges through intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and a global view. The award is presented to a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and community impact, and a strong academic record. This year’s recipient is Orlando Hernandez, a science, technology, and society major who has served as a resident director for the Office of Residence Life. He also served as vice chair of the Judicial Board and chair of the Student Motor Vehicle Court. One of the founding fathers of Delta Kappa Theta fraternity, he has been called “the epitome of class on campus.”
At the awards ceremony, the Class of 2016 chose to honor Barbara Wozniak from Sodexo with the Dedication and Devotion award for her years of care and service to the students at Rensselaer.