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Westfield State University Honors its Best and Brightest Students

WESTFIELD- On Friday, Dec. 2, Westfield State University recognized exemplary students for their leadership and service to the university and the surrounding community. The President’s Awards for Excellence in Leadership were presented in a ceremony held on the Westfield State University campus.

“Tonight’s honorees represent the university’s best in leadership, service and academic excellence,” said Westfield State University President Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D. “These remarkable student leaders serve as role models for all students to remain engaged both on and off campus.”

The President’s Award of Excellence in Leadership was created in 2007. Eligible students must have a GPA of 3.3 or higher and exhibit a wide range of university and community service activities. To be considered for the award, interested, eligible students were required to complete an application and write an essay related to their leadership positions held at Westfield State or in the community.

The eight 2016 awardees include six seniors and two juniors, with a collective average GPA of 3.78. Each awardee participates in a wide range of university and community service activities. The 2016 recipients are:

Madison Babula ’18, Wilbraham, Mass.

Madison Babula is junior Psychology major.  She serves as president of the Circle K student-led club on campus and has participated in a number of community service efforts including Westfield State’s HOOT Day, Autism Speaks, Breakfast with Santa, Fresh Check Day and Earth Day Cleanup. She also volunteers at the Westfield Soup Kitchen for the Kiwanis Auction.

Babula has been a member of the intramural soccer, softball and volleyball teams, ActiveMinds, Psychology and Neuroscience Journal Clubs and the Psi Chi Honor Society.

Wayne Barnaby ’17, Stoughton, Mass.

Wayne Barnaby is a senior, dual majoring in Biology and Chemistry. Through his work as a Student Ambassador, Barnaby has volunteered for Baystate Children’s Miracle Network, Hope for Limpopo, Samaritan Inn Homeless Shelter and the Boston Marathon, among other organizations.

Barnaby serves as president for the Black Student Union, instructed self-defense and aerobics classes, was a participant in the university’s Mr. Westfield contest fundraiser, is a member of the Biology Club and is a former member of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Journal Club.

Rachel Cofsky ’17, Charlton, Mass.

Rachel Cofsky is a senior, dual majoring in Theatre Arts and Communication. She serves as a Resident Assistant and participates in and attends leadership conferences. She performs in Musical Theatre Guild and Student Theatre Association, serves as a tutor, and teaches at Growing Footprints Educational Center.

She has volunteered at the Westfield Soup Kitchen and the Samaritan Inn, and is a student representative on the Communication Department Curriculum Committee.

Marissa Cremin ’18, North Easton, Mass.

Marissa Cremin is a junior, dual majoring in Communication and Political Science. As a Community Relations/Fundraising Representative in the university’s Student Government Association (SGA), she coordinated blood drives, the annual turkey drive, the spring cleaning formalwear drive and other charitable events.

In addition to her role on SGA, Cremin is a member of Westfield State’s Guest Lecture Series Committee, the university’s Honors Program and Lambda Sigma Honors Society. She also serves as a Student Ambassador for Westfield State. She volunteered for the Buzz off Cancer events, the Samaritan Inn, Westfield’s White Oak School, Arbors Assisted Living in Westfield and Habitat for Humanity.

Jonathan Cubetus ’17, Forestdale, Mass.

Jonathan Cubetus is senior, dual majoring in Criminal Justice and Political Science. He serves on the university’s Student Conduct Board and as a Class Council member.  He also works during the summer at the Barnstable County Superior Court.  He has participated in the university’s Mr. Westfield contest fundraiser and the Rugged Owl competition, and has volunteered at the Boston Marathon, Westfield State’s Family Day and the 2014 Special Olympics competition held at Bryant College.

He also works as a Peer Advisor for the university, 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 at Westfield State.

Samantha Lee ’17, Hopkinton, Mass

Samantha Lee is a senior, dual majoring in Elementary Education and Liberal Studies. At Westfield State, she is a student ambassador, member of the Kappa Delta Phi Education Honors Society, and a participant in Civic Engagement and Democratic Community Engagement Training. She also presented at the Northeast Regional Honors Council, Westfield State University’s Annual Gala and the Undergraduate Research Conference at UMass Amherst.

In addition, Lee 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. Twice she has participated in a service learning course involving studying abroad in Nicaragua.

Nnedi Oranekwu ’17 of Lynn, Mass.

Nnedi Oranekwu is a senior Movement Science major. At Westfield State, she has been active in the Urban Education Gospel Choir, Multicultural Student Organization, Diversity & Inclusion Council and Top Flight Step Team. She was also serves as a Student Ambassador, an Admission Ambassador, a Student Government Association Representative and a Residential Assistant.

In addition to her clubs and activity involvement, Oranekwu has volunteered at Arbors Assisted Living in Westfield, the Samaritan Inn, Westfield’s White Oak School, Westfield State’s Common Goods food pantry, and the Boston Marathon. She was also selected as the student speaker at the Board of Higher Education Go Higher event held at Agawam High School.

Joseph Seal ’17, Indian Orchard, Mass.

Joseph Seal is a senior Communication major. He serves as vice president of the Multicultural Student Association, a Recruitment Mentor, a Community Service Leader and an Ambassador for the Urban Education Program. Seal is also a member of the Whip City Weekly TV Club and is a Disc Jockey at Westfield State’s radio station WSKB 89.5 FM.

He has volunteered for the 100 Males to College initiative, the AIDS Walk, Making Strides for Pioneer Valley, and Rays of Hope Walk.

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