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Randolph Announces 2019-2020 Academic and Leadership Awards

Academic Awards

Art and Art History

Outstanding First Year: Aisha Downs

Rachel Trexler Ellis ’44 Art Prize for Excellence in Art: Lewis Ward
Awarded annually with preference given to a graduating senior studio art major. The criteria for the selection shall include inherent artistic talent and academic performance, along with the intention to pursue a career in the field of art.

Asian and Chinese Studies

Marilyn S. Murray Asian Studies Award: Latesha Thornhill, Keyu Jin
Given to an outstanding student in Asian Studies.


Sophomore Biology Award: Analise Presley
Recognizes outstanding new Bachelor of Science majors. The recipient displays a keen interest in biology and has the overall highest GPA.

Ann Grant Gerhardt Scholarship: Kelau Smith
Given to an outstanding junior biology major. This award was established through the generosity of family and friends in memory of Ann Grant Gerhardt, assistant professor of biology emerita.

Grace Taylor Wiltshire HA Award: Adara Boling
Presented to graduating biology seniors who have a record of academic excellence within the major. The award is funded and endowed through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Wiltshire, Jr.


Chemistry Department Award: Sydney Spruill
To recognize outstanding performance in general chemistry.

American Chemical Society Inorganic Chemistry Award: Jordan Sheets
The Inorganic Division of the American Chemical Society annually awards recognition to a top chemistry senior based on a combination of research and coursework in inorganic chemistry.

American Chemical Society Analytical Chemistry Award: Alysa Ridgeway
Presented to a chemistry major who has demonstrated superior achievement and promise in the area of analytical chemistry.

American Chemical Society Physical Chemistry Award: Matthew Williams
Presented to a chemistry major who has demonstrated superior achievement and promise in the area of physical chemistry.

James Lewis Howe Award: Darius Chernitsky
Presented by the Virginia Blue Ridge Section of the American Chemical Society to an outstanding senior from each of the colleges in the region. The recipient is a senior who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the major; and shows potential for contribution to the chemical profession.


Exemplary Classics Student: Sabina Sabat
Given to students who set a standard for their peers in classics for engagement accomplishment both in classes and in activities outside the classroom, helping to shape our current and future community of classics.


Genia Melikova Award: Emma Koziol
Instituted by a group of R-MWC alums as a way of paying homage to Genia Melikova, former prima ballerina and ballet mistress who passed away suddenly on March 5, 2004, less than two weeks after her last residency at R-MWC.

Rebecca Jung Award: Rebecca Heidenfelder
Established by Jeanie Jung, R-MWC class of ’54 and is named for her daughter, Rebecca Jung. Becky, a long time dancer with Pilobulos, was a frequent visiting artist from 2000-2011.

Sally Spencer Award: Paige Edwards
This award provides support for the College’s Visiting Artist Program in Dance through the generosity of Elizabeth Earle Kojaian ’84 in memory of her classmate, Sally Marie Spencer ’84.

Helen McGhee Award: Emma Carrico
This award is an anonymous gift established in honor of Helen McGehee ’42, professor of dance and director of the Visiting Artist Program, Emerita.

Eleanor Struppa Department Award: Samantha Landers
Presented for the Arts and Classics from the R-MWC Class of 1920 in honor of Eleanor Struppa ’20, founder of the R-MWC dance program.

Economics & Business

Carl Stern Award for Excellence in Economics: George Darko-Boateng
Established by alumnae and friends in the Campaign for Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, 1980-1985 in honor of economics faculty emeritus member Carl Stern.

Stan Marshall Award for Excellence in Business: Torie Slaughter
Stan Marshall (1922-2001) was a longtime, dedicated adjunct professor of business at Randolph-Macon Women’s College. This award honors his contributions to our institution and is given annually to the most outstanding senior business major.


Academy of American Poets 1st Prize: Michaela Seales
The Academy of American Poets sponsors over 200 annual prizes for poetry at colleges and universities nationwide. The recipient is chosen by an off-campus established poet.

Charlotte Stephenson Oresman ’41 Prize for Humor: Christopher “Jackson” Williams
This prize is given in memory of a beloved alumna, for a student whose writing incorporates the finest elements of humor.

Margaret I. Raynal Prize for Creative Prose:  Jena Davis
Given in memory of a beloved English professor for the best short story. The recipient is chosen by an off-campus established writer.

Sarah I. Davis Prize: Nate Peverill
Established by gifts from alumnae and friends to honor Davis for her many contributions to the College. The recipient has written the best paper on a topic in American literature or American studies.

John P. Kirby Explicator Prize: Michaela Seales
Established by contributions from The Explicator Foundation and friends of Kirby, former chairman of the English department. The award is given in his memory for the best close reading of prose, poetry, or drama.

Environmental Studies

Outstanding Environmental Studies Student: Bryce Russell
Honors the student who has demonstrated the greatest academic achievement in environmental studies classes over the current academic year, as determined collectively by the faculty.

Senior Award in Environmental Studies: Katherine Gibson
Honors the graduating environmental studies or science major who has shown the highest level of ability and achievement in and out of the classroom over the course of her/his environmental program.


Outstanding First Year Student: Dagim Desta
Recognizes the outstanding achievement in mathematics of a first or second year student.

Catherine I. Hastings Prize: Jude Quintero
The prize was created by Catherine I. Hastings in memory of her daughter, Catherine Hastings Carmichael ’65, for an annual recognition to an outstanding student majoring in mathematics.


Outstanding Student Award: Joseph Vazquez
Presented to a student who demonstrates academic and musical excellence.

Instrumental Promise Award: Jakob Johnson
Presented to a student who demonstrates promise and ability in instrumental music.

Physics & Engineering

Outstanding First Year: Dagim Desta, Mikayla Jenkins
These students have stood out academically in physics class or in research while in their first year.

Outstanding Contributor to Physics Education & Awareness: Hailey Gilman
The physics department prides itself on its outreach efforts in science education. This award is given to a student who significantly facilitates this effort beyond the campus community.

Senior Major Award: Jude Quintero
For the physics major who has exhibited hard work, shown significant initiative, and has been most successful academically.

Political Science

Outstanding Student Leader in Global Studies: Samantha Verhaagen
Awarded to a student whose academic work and leadership contributions have strengthened the program and the campus community.

Outstanding Senior in Political Science: Adara Boling
Awarded to a student whose work during his or her time at Randolph produced exceptional research and writing in political science.


Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in Psychology: Agnes Merced
Awarded to a rising senior who has demonstrated excellence in his or her academic work and scholarly endeavors.

Frank Murray Award: Alex Conway
Named for a long-standing member of the psychology department, it is awarded to the best senior project in psychology.

Religious Studies

Edwin A. Penick Jr. Award: Hannah O’Berry
The Edwin A. Penick award for excellence in the academic study of religions was established in memory of the much beloved R-MWC professor of religion. The award recognizes a student whose commitment to and achievement in the field of religious studies brings attention and distinction to the field.


J. Kenneth Morland Award for Best Senior Paper in Sociology: Da’Quan Saunders-McNear
A gift from alumnae majors in honor of J. Kenneth Morland, chairman of the sociology department from 1953–1987, awarded for an original student research project of exceptional quality.

Shirley W. Strickland Award: Haley Allessandra Dell’Aria, Alyssa Galbreath
The award is a gift from alumnae majors in honor of Shirley W. Strickland ’45, professor of sociology and anthropology for 31 years. A prize is awarded each year to the outstanding rising junior or rising senior majoring in sociology.

Outstanding Senior: Da’Quan Saunders-McNear
The sociology department chooses students based on their overall record in the major. The award recognizes outstanding seniors that have done well academically and have demonstrated a high level of commitment, interest, and service within the department and to the larger community.

Sport and Exercise Studies

Outstanding Sport and Exercise Achievement: Nicole Taulton
Presented to a senior who has demonstrated academic excellence, insightful discussion skills, and commitment to sport and exercise studies endeavors in and out of the classroom.


Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominee – The Sea Voyage: Ho’ola Bush, Tegan James
The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships, a program of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. The Irene Ryan Foundation awards 16 regional and two national scholarships annually. One nominee and partner from every region will be invited to the national festival and the nominee will receive a $500 scholarship.  The runner-up in each region will receive a $500 scholarship, but will not attend the national festival to audition for the national scholarship.

Outstanding Contribution in Theatre: Kaitlin Weigle
Presented to the theatre student or students whose contributions to the department and the WildCat Theatre production season has distinguished them in their pursuit of theatre as a career.

Academic Achievement Award in Theatre: Shakiah Johnson, Sabina Sabat
Given in recognition of the theatre major who has achieved the highest cumulative G.P.A. and consistently made outstanding contributions to and in support of theatre programs.

Center for Student Research

Summer Research Program Best Oral Presentation: Alexander Conway
As assessed by all the faculty in the 2019 Summer Research Program, the award is presented to the student with the best oral presentation.

Summer Research Program Best Poster Presentation: Leif Kvarnes
As assessed by all the faculty in the 2019 Summer Research Program, the award is presented to the student with the best poster presentation.

Academic Services Center

Tutor of the Year:  Joseph Vazquez
Acknowledges excellence in tutoring and someone who often goes above and beyond to help students.

Ambassador Award:  Agnes Reyes Merced
Recognizes a student who is committed to student success and often goes above and beyond for the center.

Best Writing in Social & Behavioral Sciences:  Alexander Conway
Selected by the Effective Writing and Speaking Board, this award is given to the student with the best paper in the division of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Best Writing in Arts & Letters:  Sabina Sabat
Selected by the Effective Writing and Speaking Board, this award is given to the student with the best paper in the division of Arts & Letters.

Leadership Recognition

3-year Service Award:  Bill Tham, Priscilla Ranjitkar
Recognizes dedication to residence life and honors those students who have been staff members for three years.

Outstanding Davenport Leader: Paxton Allen
The Office of Campus Life recognizes a Davenport Leader that exceeds expectations and makes a significant impact for first-year students through mentoring and modeling the way.

Outstanding Contributor to the Davenport Leadership Program: Sha-Ron Bass
Recognizes an outstanding contributor within the Davenport Leadership Program. A student that always goes above and beyond.

Outstanding Randolph Programming Board Member: Hailey Thomas
The Randolph Programming Board (RPB) is Randolph College’s very own student-run programming board. RPB recognizes a student board member for work that exceeds the organization’s expectations.

Outstanding Executive Committee Member: Daisy Ayala-Gomez
Recognizes an executive committee member for work that exceeds the organization’s expectations.

Dorothy Hughes Award: Jdody Misidor
First given in the late 1980s, the Dorothy Hughes Award recognizes outstanding contributions to campus life through work as a resident assistant. Criteria for this award includes fulfilling all expectations of the RA position, challenging peers and staff, supporting diversity, being a positive role model in the campus community, and making significant contributions to the residential life of the campus.

Outstanding Gold Key Guide: Gabriel Krueger, Priscilla Ranjitkar

ABCD Award: Ranita Opoku-Sarfo
Recognizes a student who has gone above and beyond the call of duty while supporting and positively impacting the College.

Outstanding Behind-the-Scenes Contributor Award: Hayley Ashford
Although the student’s leadership contribution was behind the scenes, this award recognizes a student who has demonstrated outstanding campus leadership that had a significant influence on student life.

Outstanding Contributor to Intercultural Awareness Award: Avery Payne
Recognizes an individual who has made specific contributions to the campus community by promoting intercultural understanding through programming or personal involvement. This person has done a significant amount of work on social justice issues and fostering an equitable community in which members feel more safe and secure.

Student-Mentor Award: Hailey Gilman
Recognizes a student who has effectively mentored younger students within an organization, sister class, or in general.

Initiative Award: Jdody Misidor
Recognizes a student who has shown outstanding leadership contributions and whose initiative had a significant impact on student life at Randolph College.

Continued Excellence Award: Victor Gosnell
Recognizes a faculty or staff member who has gone above and beyond to advise students and support them in their endeavors.

Virginia Hill Worden Exemplary Leadership Award: Ranita Opoku-Sarfo
Presented to a rising senior who demonstrates courage, grace, energy, humor, and creativity through campus leadership, particularly on challenging or contentious issues. The award was established in honor of Virginia Hill Worden ’69 and her contributions to her alma mater as interim president in 2006- 2007.

Volunteer Leadership Award: Gabriel Krueger
Established by an alumna and her husband to recognize a graduating senior who shows great promise of leadership as a member of the alumnae body. The recipient of this award is an individual who has set an example for leadership through volunteer efforts benefiting the College with service in such areas as admissions, alumnae relations, special events, development and other external relations programs, and through encouragement of others to provide such service as well.

Dean’s Leadership Award: Leopoldine Galopin
Recognizes a graduating senior who has made a significant impact on student life and the campus community through progressive leadership responsibility within an organization or through participation in a variety of activities. The Dean of Students and the Provost jointly consider and select the recipient based on academic and co-curricular contributions to the College.

Student of the Year Award: Da’Quan Saunders-McNear
Recognizes a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, service, and integrity as a member of the College community.

Student Government 2019-2020 Officers

Da’Quan Saunders-McNear – President
Ranita Opoku-Sarfo – Vice President
Sha-Ron Bass – Publicity Officer
Devon Davis – Treasurer
Ebonee Woodford – Secretary (Fall)
Jaelyn Evans – Secretary (Spring)
Leopoldine Galopin – Judicial Chair
Hannah Overstreet – Judicial Vice Chair

Community Fellows 2019-2020

Avery Payne – President
Madeline Owens – Vice President
Carter Barnette – Community Partner Chair
Nokomis Daniels – Community Partner Chair
Hanan Davis – Community Partner Chair
Kirby Tidmore – Community Partner Chair
Vinita Cunningham – Social Justice Chair
Madison Murphy – Social Justice Chair
Allen Vaytser – Social Media Chair
Avery Dinger – Secretary
Ebonee Woodford (Fall participant)

Davenport Leadership 2019-2020

Paxton Allen
Hayley Ashford
Mackenzie Ambrose
Sha-Ron Bass
Jace Cornell
Brice Creel
Conner Dobbins
Kyle Grundy
Briana Harbison
Schlitz Masheleni
Alexandra Murgas
Krystle Richardson
Renee Sarpong
Da’Quan Saunders-McNear
Ebonee Woodford
Johnny Watters

Randolph Programming Board 2019-2020

Daisy Ayala-Gomez
Sha-Ron Bass
Cristina Berenguer
Yanessa Cabrera
Allie Fields
Leo Galopin
Kyle Grundy
Natalia Hernandez
Kaitlyn Hevey
Kyle May
Tomi McGinnis
Sarah Perry
Ashley Schmitz
Hailey Thomas
Johnny Watters

Residence Life Staff 2019-2020

Head Residents:

Blair Epperson
Ranita Opoku-Sarfo
Bill Pham
Lindsey Taylor

Resident Assistants:

Hayley Ashford
Sha-Ron Bass
Alicia Casoni
Conner Dobbins
Jaelyn Evans
Briana Harbison
Alex Kulvivat
Riley Lorson
Jdody Misidor
Kennedy Moulton
James Neri
Priscilla Ranjitkar
Renee Sarpong
Brian Smith
Kelau Smith
Ijanae’ Spencer

Phi Beta Kappa Inductees

Meredith Leigh Alwine
George Joojo Darko-Boateng
Katherine Mariah Gibson
Kaitlyn Rose Hevey
Sarah Mueller
Alexandra L. Murgas
Ly Phuong Linh Nguyen
Sara Marie Primm
Jude Quintero
Allen James Vaytser

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious of academic honor societies. In 1916, our Delta of Virginia chapter was granted the fourth charter in the state. Each year select members of the senior class are invited to join the society in recognition of their academic achievements and balanced program of study in the liberal arts.

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