Twelve Syracuse University seniors named 2009 University Scholars
Twelve Syracuse University seniors named 2009 University ScholarsApril 28, 2009Roxanna Carpenterrocarpen@syr.edu
Twelve graduating seniors have been designated as Syracuse University Scholars and three as Scholars of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), Class of 2009. This is the highest undergraduate academic honor bestowed by the universities.
The University Scholars represent the entire SU graduating class and took part in an April 24 reception at the Chancellor’s Residence hosted by SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor, at which they received special medallions to be worn at Commencement. Scholars are recognized at Commencement.
In the selection process, the SU Scholars Selection Committee, a subcommittee of the University Senate Academic Affairs Committee, considers each student’s scholarly achievement, including the relevance and integration of activities both within and outside the classroom. Lawrence Mason Jr., chair of the selection committee and professor of visual and interactive communications and new media in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, comments positively on the diverse types of scholarship demonstrated by this group of students. Student scholarship examples range from “the bureau chief of ABC News on Campus, to a student who has done field research in geology in Tanzania, to an accomplished artist who works with reclaimed materials, to many other equally fascinating endeavors,” Mason says.
The 2009 University Scholars are:
Kristin M. Busa, an aerospace engineering major in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science with a minor in mathematics, is also a college marshal. She has been active in the leadership of several national honor societies and trade groups. A 2008 Orange Spirit Award recipient, Busa participated in First Year Players, DanceWorks, the Cabaret Performance Troupe and the L.C. Smith Excelerators as an undergraduate. She also served as a member of the University 100 and worked with the St. Thomas More Campus Ministry and Habitat for Humanity. Busa plans to continue her studies at the University of Virginia, working with the National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion.
Colin E. Fanning, an interior design major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), carries minors in English and writing, with an emphasis on creative writing. He worked as the design editor for Intertext magazine and served as president of the Honors Student Association and Faraday Pride, a resource group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, and their straight allies, in the SU Abroad London program. Fanning, a Founder’s Scholar and a VPA Scholar, is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and has served as student assistant at SU’s LGBT Resource Center and as a VPA peer advisor.
Samantha Harmon, a sculpture major in VPA, is a Remembrance Scholar and was a Clements Intern working at Sculpture Space Inc., a nonprofit organization in Utica that provides facilities and support to artists through two-month residency programs. She is an original member of M-LAB, a converted recreation vehicle that now serves as a mobile classroom and gallery/community space with a digital photo lab. Harmon participated in demolition, design and reconstruction of M-LAB’s interior, as a collaborative design-build project. For her entry in the second edition of Stone Canoe: A Journal of Arts and Ideas from Upstate New York, Harmon won the 2008 Michael Fawcett Prize for Visual Arts. After graduation, Harmon will work for Say Yes to Education and SU during her year in the SU Engagement Fellowships program. She will serve as an after school art teacher in the Syracuse City School District, working collaboratively with Fowler High School students and SU’s Marion Wilson, director of community initiatives in visual arts.
Kimberly N. Harris, a policy studies, political science and magazine journalism major in The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and Newhouse School, serves as a college marshal in A&S and as a Remembrance Scholar. She was also a Coronat Scholar, WellsLink Scholar, First Amendment Scholar and a public policy and international affairs fellow. As a Gerald B. Cramer Scholar, she studied abroad in Israel. A member of the Renee Crown University Honors Program, Harris has been active in The Black Voice, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the University Judicial Board and with several other campus volunteer organizations. She plans to pursue graduate education in public administration and social work.
Gavin Hartnett, a mathematics and physics dual major in A&S and a member of the Renee Crown University Honors Program, plans to pursue a doctoral degree in physics. As a 2008 Goldwater Scholar, Hartnett worked on a number of undergraduate research projects, including a theoretical cosmology project with Alumni Professor of Physics Mark Trodden and a research project in condensed matter with physics professors Mark Bowick and M. Cristina Marchetti, chair of SU’s Department of Physics. He also helped analyze data for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatories (LIGO) Gravitational Wave project with Martin J. Pomerantz Professor of Physics Peter Saulson.
Caitlin R. Keating-Bitonti, a geology major in A&S, has been the recipient of the Chauncey D. Holmes Award, the Faye M. Merriam Prize, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Field Studies Scholarship, a Sigma-Xi Student Research Grant and a Gould Student Research Award. During summer 2007, she participated in the Nyanza Project, a research training program for undergraduate students studying the aquatic sciences of Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma, Tanzania. While at SU, she led the Geology Club as president and was a member of the SU Women’s Club Rugby Football Team. Keating-Bitonti expects to pursue graduate education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Kaitlin Pennington, a dual major in magazine journalism and political science in Newhouse and A&S, is a Crown Award recipient and a 2009 Newhouse Scholar. She has worked for Jerk Magazine in several editorial capacities, is a member and mentor in the OrangeSeeds leadership empowerment program and has served as a Newhouse peer advisor and as a member of the University 100. Pennington has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and for the Washington, D.C., mentoring and tutoring program Coaching for College, working with inner-city students in middle school. After graduation, she plans to join Teach for America, working in the D.C. area.
Maria Sinopoli, a triple major in advertising, marketing and finance in Newhouse and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, is the recipient of a Harry J. Meyers Memorial Prize in Advertising, the Newhouse Most Promising Advertising Student award, a Chancellor’s Scholarship and a Citizenship Education Scholarship. As an undergraduate she served as president of The NewHouse, a 100-member-plus student-run advertising agency; president of Beta Gamma Sigma, a national business honor society; and as a member of the University 100 Lead Team. Sinopoli has also been a Newhouse peer adviser and director’s assistant for the Empire State School Press Association.
Michael Slepian, a psychology major in A&S with a neuroscience minor, received first and second place awards for research in social psychology and clinical and health psychology during the 2008 Department of Psychology Undergraduate Poster Session. He also received a first-place award for research in children’s well-being and education in the 2007 Department of Psychology Undergraduate Poster Session. As an undergraduate, Slepian designed and conducted independent research studies and served as a research assistant with SU professors Collette Eccleston, Abraham Rutchick and Barbara Fiese. A recipient of several Allport Grants for undergraduate research in psychology, Slepian has served as president and as public relations chair for Psi Chi, the national psychology honor society. Slepian plans to pursue doctoral education at Tufts University.
Jason Tarr, a major in broadcast journalism, international relations and Spanish in Newhouse and A&S, is a Newhouse Scholar, a Remembrance Scholar and a member of the Renee Crown University Honors Program. In 2009, he was designated Spanish Department Graduating Senior of the Year. Tarr is also a member of Sigma Iota Rho, an international relations honor society, Kappa Tau Epsilon, a national communications honor society, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Tarr is the founder, executive producer and director of CitrusTV’s “Noticias en Espanol” and served as the SU bureau chief of ABC News on Campus. He has been active in the leadership of A Men’s Issue and the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble and has served as a member of the University 100. Tarr formerly wrote sports articles for the Daily Orange and worked with CitrusTV News as an anchor and producer.
Claire S. Zillman, a newspaper journalism and history major in Newhouse and A&S with a minor in political science, serves as a Newhouse college marshal. She is also a Remembrance Scholar, Newhouse Scholar and a member of the Renee Crown University Honors Program. Zillman is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha national honor society and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She studied in Hong Kong through SU Abroad. Zillman has worked with the Carnegie/Newhouse Legal Reporting fellowship program, the Daily Orange and CONNECT, the Newhouse School’s student-produced, half-hour weekly public affairs television program. She is a peer advisor in A&S and a member of the University 100. After graduation, Zillman plans to work in New York City as a writer or reporter at a print publication or news outlet.
Stephanie Zuniga, an information technology and management major in the School of Information Studies with a concentration on project management, is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Golden Key International Honour Society, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She studied abroad in Strasbourg, France, and has served internships at General Electric in Schenectady and a retirement home in Strasbourg. Active in the student-led group Women in Information Technology, Zuniga also serves as the SU General Electric campus ambassador. She has volunteered at Mount Sinai Hospital, for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts an in community service by offering basic classes in information technology fundamentals.
The three Scholars of SUNY-ESF, Class of 2009 include two students from the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology: Jessica G. Lambert, a conservation biology major, and Eli L. Polzer, a forest health major; and one student from the Department of Environmental Studies, Kerin B. Rosen, an environmental communications and culture major. They will be presented medallions by Cornelius B. Murphy Jr., SUNY-ESF president.