When international students travel to the United States to learn English, the language barrier is just one of their challenges. Cultural differences like being overwhelmed in the grocery store, being embarrassed about not tipping a server (there is no tipping…
Covington, Schaf Named Class of 2019 Senior Class Marshals
Abigail Covington and Danielle Schaf have been named Senior Class Marshals for the Class of 2019 by the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience, which oversees the selection process. Covington and Schaf will lead the Class of 2019 and carry their class banner to open Syracuse University’s 165th Commencement ceremony.
Junior Hendrik Hilpert has been named Senior Class Marshal alternate. Hilpert is a finance major in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and an economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is also a student-athlete on the men’s soccer team and has earned numerous athletic and academic honors.
The longstanding tradition recognizes seniors who exemplify the academic achievement, campus and community involvement, and spirit of their class. In addition to leading their class at Commencement, the selected students will spend their senior year participating in and representing the graduating class at University-wide events and programs.
“The Senior Class Marshals embody the values of Syracuse University through their Orange spirit, academic and research experiences, leadership on campus, and commitment to service. They are exemplary students who thrive in their experiences and serve as role models for other students. Abigail and Danielle are well-deserving of this honor,” says Colleen O’Connor Bench, associate vice president in Enrollment and the Student Experience and chair of the selection committee.
Covington, from Bowie, Maryland, is a writing studies, rhetoric and composition major in the College of Arts and Sciences, with minors in public communications and information technology, design and startups. Earning Dean’s List honors every semester, Covington has earned recognition for her academic achievement and leadership as evidenced by her designations as a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar, Emma Bowen Foundation Scholar, Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and Ruby Helen Henry and Marion A. Goodwin Our Time Has Come Scholar.
In addition to her academic achievements, Covington has applied her studies and skills to robust internship experiences. She has served as an energy and transportation intern and integrated advocacy and multicultural intern with Edelman, a social media intern with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and a policy and advocacy intern with The Women’s Collective.
Covington has also held leadership roles in numerous student organizations, including vice president of internal affairs in the Black Leadership Network and co-chair of programming for Empowering Minds. In addition, Covington is a contributing writer with Femme Noire, mentor with Straighten Your Crown, member of the National Black Law Students Association, and member of the WellsLink Leadership Program. Her achievement and involvement also earned her the WellsLink Student of the Year award as a first-year student in the program.
Extending beyond her Syracuse University experience, Covington is also the founder and program director of the Madeira Black Alumnae Network: Sankofa, an alumna group she launched to sustain relationships of black students from The Madeira School.
Helping to make connections and serving others is something Covington is passionate about, exemplified by her motives for applying and serving as a Senior Class Marshal. When reflecting on what she is most looking forward to, Covington expressed serving fellow students and connecting with University leadership to share the student experience as main priorities.
“We are the truth-seekers, the ambitious academics, who are looking to gain something after our brief time on campus. We want to effectively change the world through the programs and research we participate in during our college years, but we need help along that journey,” says Covington. “We need the right student services and listening ears to hear and empathize with our concerns. We need voices that champion us when we win and help pick us up when we stumble. This position provides me with a platform to contribute to that student support system and uplift our campus to a new level of efficacy and success.”
From Shelby, Nebraska, Schaf is a triple major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School, majoring in anthropology, forensic science and writing studies, rhetoric and composition. Schaf is also in the Renée Crown University Honors Program and has earned Dean’s List honors every semester.
Schaf’s academic experience has been greatly shaped by research opportunities. She has presented research on effects of labor therapy at the 19th-century Oneida County Asylum at the Bioarchaeologists’ Northeast Region Dialogue and served as a historical bioarchaeological researcher in the Physical Anthropology Lab performing osteological analyses on skeletal remains. She was also one of six students from the United States to be selected for the UK Fulbright Durham University Summer Institute, where she explored culture, history and heritage of the United Kingdom and studied archeology and medieval history.
On campus, her experience has spanned leadership roles in Residence Life as a resident advisor for the Science, Technology, and Math Learning Community, an executive board member of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Team, co-captain of the women’s club volleyball team and co-president of the Undergraduate Anthropology Club. Schaf is also an active volunteer. She volunteers with University United Methodist Church and Eastern Hills Bible Church, as well as with Camp Kesem, a yearlong support system and summer camp for children who have been affected by a parent’s cancer.
Schaf credits her achievement and involvement to the people and experiences that have shaped her, and she hopes to do the same for others in her role as Senior Class Marshal. Always striving to leave a place better than when she came, Schaf looks forward to spending the next year further promoting inclusive communities and reciprocating the love, encouragement, support, guidance and care that she has received.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to meet and work with some of the best individuals that Syracuse has to offer. The people here are extraordinary; they have shaped me into the woman I am today and have brought out the best version of myself,” says Schaf. “I am looking forward to extending my reach on campus, which will provide me with the opportunity to form more relationships with people than I ever thought I could. I’m also looking forward to using this role to leave a positive impact; giving back all what SU has willingly given me.”