April 29, 2011--Seven University of Wisconsin-River Falls students received the 2011 Chancellor's Award for Excellence and were honored at a ceremony on campus April 27.
The award is bestowed upon students who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and service to the university during their undergraduate careers. It is the highest non-academic honor that a student can receive at UWRF.
Student recipients are typically upperclassmen and receive nominations from a faculty or academic staff member or student peers through the Student Senate. A committee that reports directly to the chancellor considers every nominee. After select interviews, the committee submits their recommendations to the chancellor, who makes the final decisions.
Those students receiving the award were Katie Anderson, Kellie Claflin, Nene Eze, Bradley Kerschner, Colleen Kopel, Whitney Peissig, and Nikki Shonoiki.
Katie Anderson, a senior majoring in animal science from Osseo, Minn., serves as a veterinarian assistant at the Croix Valley Veterinarian Hospital in Hudson. She has interned as a lab assistant at the Large Animal Reproductive Research Lab at the University of Milan in Milan, Italy, where she performed various experiments related to reproductive research, including in vitro embryo production, amniotic stem cell research and cloning.
“Katie seems to genuinely enjoy the practical application of knowledge. I think because it is this endeavor that reaffirms what we know and points to what we don’t know, thus providing a new challenge,” says Peter Rayne, associate professor of animal science.
Kellie Claflin, a senior majoring in agricultural education from Osseo, has served as the Agricultural Technology Contest Coordinator where she coordinated planning efforts for fall and spring judging contests that brought some 1,000 FFA members to the UWRF campus to participate in 21 different contests. Clafin was also desk assistant at the University Center where she supported professional staff in the areas of Student Life, Student Affairs and University Center Operations.
“Kellie posses paired passions for teaching agriculture and broader field of communication studies. Her communication skills have been recognized in several ways. She is a two-time winner of the national Alpha Tau Alpha Essay Contest, a rare accomplishment,” says Tim Buttles, professor of agricultural education.
Nene Eze, a senior majoring in accounting from Eagan, Minn., is currently serving as a co-diversity programmer for Falcon Programs where she facilitates board meetings and supervises events. Eze has previously been a first year assistant where she has helped with student’s orientation and introducing the campus to them and is a member of the Falcon Fellows, a service and volunteer group.
“Nene has proven her capacity to lead her peers and has offered an incredibly valuable perspective to our campus community and her classrooms,” says Ashley Olson, sociocultural coordinator for the office of Student Life. “Nene has left a legacy on this campus, but she has done it quietly with humility and generally without wanting or seeking recognition for her contributions.”
Bradley Kerschner, a senior majoring in chemistry and biology from Centerville, is a hall manager for the Department of Resident Life where he supervises, advises and evaluates a staff of resident assistants. He is the co-chair for the Inclusivity and Diversity Center Research Committee where he works with campus diversity organizations and facilitates meetings.
“Bradley has positively impacted the lives of countless students through his service in Residence Life serving as various university committees and challenging the perspectives of his peers to think of beyond what is to what could be,” says Kristie Feist, assistant director of Residence Life.
Colleen Kopel, senior majoring in physical and health education from Stillwater, Minn., is active in the recreation and sports facility where she acts a supervisor overseeing the recreation facilities for the university. She has previously studied abroad at Trinidad and Tobago, where she taught physical education at a school in Trinidad.
“Colleen’s leadership and service to the university and our students has been extensive. I admire her for her passion and willingness to help put others before her. Her experiences have been unique in that she has had the ability to affect nearly 4,000 students that participated in our recreational offerings,” states Steve Stocker, director of Recreation and Sports Facilities.
Whitney Peissig, a senior marketing communications major from Dorchester, is a Chancellor Student Ambassador and has served as the Wisconsin State FFA secretary, where she promoted agricultural education and leadership development through workshops. While interning at Cereal Partners Worldwide located in Lausanne, Switzerland, she assisted the marketing team with the emerging market research and developed case study presentations.
“Whitney upholds the mission of the institution by demonstrating a strong moral compass and operating with high integrity, expanding her academic accomplishments by participating in multiple internships and campus organizations, serving as a role model for her peers, making perspective students and families feel welcome as well as helping first year students feel welcome,” says McKenna Pfeiffer, university career counselor.
Nikki Shonoiki, a senior communication studies major from Minneapolis, is a co- diversity programmer for the university, where she has helped plan and manage a variety of events on campus related to diversity and inclusiveness. She is a Falcon Fellows member, volunteering 300 hours of community service in one year and is a founding member of student organization Rise Up for Women’s Rights.
“Nikki has worked tirelessly on a nationwide scale to change the world for the better. I have personally never met a student with the kind of commitment to social justice that I observe in Nikki,” says Michelle Parkinson, assistant professor of English and coordinator of women’s and gender studies.
Photo: Recipients of this year's Chancellor's Awards were honored at a reception on April 27 on campus. Front row, L-R: Colleen Kopel, Bradley Kerschner, and Kellie Claflin. Back row, L-R: Katie Anderson, Nikki Shonoiki, Chancellor Dean Van Galen, Nene Eze, and Whitney Peissig.