We are happy to announce that eight students have been selected to receive the 2016-2017 President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership. These students have been selected for their achievement in academics, community service/civic engagement and co-curricular involvement. Congratulations to all of our outstanding award winners! You have excelled and demonstrated leadership during your time at Westfield, and we are proud of you!
Madison Babula is a junior from Wilbraham Mass., with a major in Psychology and a minor in Biology, and with a GPA of 3.89. As president of the Circle K club on campus, Madison has ample opportunity to hone her leadership and public speaking skills. She is passionate about what she does, and finds great joy in helping others, as demonstrated by her volunteerism and community service, including HOOT Day, Autism Speaks, Breakfast with Santa, Westfield Soup Kitchen, Kiwanis Auction, Fresh Check Day, Earth Day Cleanup and many more.
Madison has been a member of the intramural soccer, softball and volleyball teams, ActiveMinds, Psychology and Neuroscience Journal Clubs, and a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society.
In her own words, Madison says, “I do my best every day to positively influence those around me to participate, in the hopes that others see community service the way that our club members and I do.”
Wayne Barnaby is a senior from Stoughton Mass., with a double major in Biology and Chemistry, and with a GPA of 3.30. Wayne credits Westfield State with transforming him from an eager student to an ambitious leader. As one of our stellar Student Ambassadors, he has learned the importance of becoming a dedicated and productive member of a local community. He has contributed his leadership skills to charitable organizations including the YWCA, Baystate Children’s Miracle Network, Hope for Limpopo, Samaritan Inn Homeless Shelter, Boston Marathon and more. He has worked hard to overcome his own anxiety and poured his heart and soul into challenging himself and those around him to better the communities we live in.
In addition to being a student ambassador, Wayne served on his class council, served as president for the Black Student Union, instructed self-defense and aerobics, was a participant in the Mr. Westfield contest, and was a member of the Biology and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Journal Club.
In his own words, Wayne says, “Overall, I feel as if I have done my part to impact this community in a positive manner and I cannot thank Westfield State enough for having the impact it did on me. I know that I will continue to build this community even after I receive my degree, for this has been my home and it always will be.”
Rachel Cofsky is a senior from Charlton Mass., with a double major in Theatre Arts (Performance) and Communication (Media Arts and Analysis), and with a GPA of 3.847. As a Resident Assistant (RA), Rachel quickly learned how to make a connection with her residents while still preserving a level of professionalism. She has gained confidence and impacted students on campus with the confident way she responds to situations. As Head Resident Assistant, she has added responsibilities, and has enjoyed being a positive role model and watching other RA’s become successful under her guidance.
Rachel has split her time between being and RA with attending leadership conferences, participating in Musical Theatre Guild, Student Theatre Association, tutoring and teaching at Growing Footprints Educational Center during the summer. She has also volunteered at the Westfield Soup Kitchen and the Samaritan Inn, and is a student representative for the Communication Department Curriculum Committee.
In her own words, Rachel says, “Sometimes all a leader needs is a bump in the right direction and someone lese telling them they believe in them. A long line of nudges and I-Believe-in-you’s is what got me to where I am today.”
Marissa Cremin is a junior from North Easton Mass., double majoring in Communication and Political Science, and with a GPA of 3.847. As Community Relations/Fundraising Representative in the Student Government Association, Marissa has faced many successes and challenges. One of the biggest challenges is keeping momentum and enthusiasm for events as they approach. She has coordinated blood drives, the annual turkey drive, spring cleaning formalwear drive and other charitable events. Marissa believes that a team is only as strong as its leader, and that leading by example is the best way to ensure a sense of equity in a team.
In addition to her role on SGA, Marissa is a member of the Guest Lecture Series committee, the Honors Program, Lambda Sigma Honors Society, and a Student Ambassador. She has also volunteered in the Buzz off Cancer events, for the Samaritan Inn, White Oak School, Arbors Assisted Living and Habitat for Humanity.
In her own words, Marissa says, “Every failure is a lesson, and the attitude you have is what ultimately effects how things will work out for you. I’m looking forward to another year in a position that has brought me the power to change people’s lives for the better!”
Jonathan Cubetus is a senior from Forestdale Mass., double majoring in Criminal Justice and Political Science, and with a GPA of 3.98. As a member of the Student Conduct Board, he has been able to assist his peers in realizing the consequences of their actions so their future decisions are informed and well-considered. He has made a purposeful effort to expand his knowledge of bias in decision-making, and control its effects to truly decide responsibility in a fair and impartial manner.
In addition to his role on the Student Conduct Board, Jonathan has served on Class Council, SGA Executive Council, and has worked during the summer at the Barnstable County Superior Court. He has participated in the Mr. Westfield contest fundraiser and the Rugged Owl competition, and as a volunteer at the Boston Marathon, Family Day and the Special Olympics. He also works as a Peer Advisor, and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Societies. He is a member of the Criminal Justice Club and the Law Club, and has been a member of the All-University, Academic Policies and NEASC Steering Committees.
In his own words, Jonathan says, “Maintaining a rigid conception of what is just undermines the legitimate leadership of others. Since my time at Westfield State, I have transformed from rigid thinking to a growth mindset.”
Samantha Lee is a senior from Hopkinton Mass., double majoring in Elementary Education and Liberal Studies, and with a GPA of 3.99. She experienced a life-changing opportunity to be a part of a service learning trip to Nicaragua, both in 2014 and again in 2016. Her leadership skills were challenged through her responsibility for organizing 18 other students on a worksite to build a school, and in the classroom with the Nicaraguan students. Her leadership was impactful on two fronts, first with her peer group as they built relationships with other volunteers through encouraging friendships, trust, encouragement and support of each other. The second impact, which she found most rewarding, was the mark that the community of Nueva Esperanza left on her and the rest of the volunteers. Their positive attitude and approach to life was astounding.
While on campus, Samantha is a student ambassador, a member of the Kappa Delta Phi Education Honors Society, has participated in Civic Engagement and Democratic Community Engagement Training, and as a presenter at the Northeast Regional Honors Council, Westfield State Gala and The Undergraduate Research Conference at UMass, Amherst. She is co-president of the Westfield State Relay for Life, co-president of the Student Ambassadors, and has served on the Equal Opportunity, Diversity, and Affirmative Action Committee as a student representative.
In her own words, Samantha says, “More than anything, the students in Nicaragua taught me the value of love and its impact on effective leadership. My weeks spent in Nicaragua are remembered by cinderblocks, cement, laughs, tears, smiles, and love from my students.”
Nnedi Oranekwu is a senior from Lynn Mass., majoring in Movement Science, and with a GPA of 3.625. She honed her leadership and mentoring skills at the White Oak School, teaching the students about respect for their peers, advisors, teachers, and most importantly, themselves. She connected with one student in particular whom she continues to communicate with, encouraging her to set goals and aspirations for herself. Nnedi has been active in the Urban Education Gospel Choir, Multicultural Student Organization, Diversity & Inclusion Council, Top Flight Step Team, as a Student Ambassador, Admission Ambassador, Student Government Association Representative and a Residential Assistant.
In addition to her clubs and activities, Nnedi has volunteered at the Arbors Assisted Living, Samaritan Inn, White Oak School, Common Goods Food Pantry, Boston Marathon, and was the student speaker at the Board of Higher Education Go Higher event at Agawam High School.
In her own words, Nnedi says, “Being a leader has not only given me the platform to change my life, but it has also given me the basis to foster growth and development in younger people. It has given me the opportunity to lead, engage, actively observe, encourage, and gain results.”
Joseph Seal is a senior from Indian Orchard, Mass., majoring in Communication with a minor in Art, and with a GPA of 3.757. As a member of the Multicultural Student Association, Joseph has designed flyers and T-shirts and a logo for the club. He has also organized, planned and promoted a successful event called “Black Excellence” to raise money. The experience helped him gain confidence in his abilities, and today he serves as Vice President of the club. In addition to being the Vice President and Artistic Director for the Multicultural Student Organization, Joseph is a Recruitment Mentor, Community Service Leader and Ambassador for the Urban Education Program, a member of the Whip City Weekly TV Club, and a Disc Jockey at WSKB 89.5 FM.
Joseph has volunteered for the 100 Males to College initiative, the AIDS Walk, Making Strides for Pioneer Valley, and Rays of Hope Walk.
In his own words, Joseph says, “Striving for success, I always overcame any and every obstacle by having more confidence and faith in myself. With my involvement on campus in multiple clubs, I had to manage a social life, clubs, leadership positions, and a work study job, and stay on the Dean’s List!”