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K-State Today

April 10, 2018

K-State First presents winners for the 2017 First-Year Student Advocate and KSBN Awards

By Mariya Vaughan

K-State First and the K-State Book Network present the winners for the 2017 First-Year Student Advocate and KSBN Awards.

On March 9, K-State First and KSBN had an awards dinner in The Table at JP's Bar and Grill, hosted by our Housing and Dining partners, which included a brief ceremony to celebrate the success of these amazing students and faculty members.

First-Year Advocate Awards: The newly created First-Year Advocate Award celebrates faculty and students who demonstrate the mission of K-State First in the following ways:

  • A commitment to student engagement in university-level learning and academic success for first-year students. 
  • A strong focus on academic excellence in first-year students.
  • A dedication to community for first-year students.
  • An emphasis on diversity when engaging first-year students.
  • An ability to empower first-year students.
  • A willingness to help first-year students find purpose and achievement in their personal lives and future careers.

The 2017 First-Year Advocate Award winners were Tamara Bauer, faculty recipient, and Haley Weinberg, student recipient. Congratulations to these two amazing individuals. We thank them for their hard work and dedication to first-year students.

Additionally, we had a fantastic group who were nominated for their outstanding work with and for first-year students, and we'd like to celebrate them as well:

  • Don Saucier, nominee for the faculty/staff First-Year Advocate Award.
  • Elijah Gardner, nominee for the student First-Year Advocate Award.
  • Nate Faflick, nominee for the student First-Year Advocate Award.
  • Emily Lehning, nominee for the faculty/staff First-Year Advocate Award.
  • Elena Butler, nominee for the student First-Year Advocate Award.
  • Agnés Aycock, nominee for the student First-Year Advocate Award.
  • Carla Martinez Machain, nominee for the faculty/staff First-Year Advocate Award.

KSBN Awards: The KSBN Awards celebrate the experiences shared at K-State with the common book. The award winners all worked hard to foster student engagement, enhance students' educational experience, expand the consideration of new ideas, values and concepts in the classroom and in the university community, and utilize creative applications of the themes from the 2017 common book, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." The student awards are made possible by the generosity of Bill Miller and Debbie Leckron Miller.

Faculty award: Julie Pentz is an associate professor of dance and the director of the K-State Dance Program in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. This fall was her eighth year of including the common book into her class DAS 100, First Year Seminar in K-State Culture. "The Curious Incident" inspired her to challenge her students in a very unique way. Through multiple assignments based on the common book, her DAS 100 students helped influence and create a piece of choreography titled "In the Night" for "WinterDance '17". The students' reflections impacted parts of the choreography to the costume design and challenged them to think critically about the book and how they would channel that into a piece of art.

Student award: The winner of the Student Award is Cara Hopkins. Throughout "The Curious Incident," we watch Christopher grow into an independent, self-confident young adult and that was an experience Hopkins could relate to. In her essay for this scholarship, she documents her journey as a first-year college student. Though she had mixed feelings about the journey before her, like Christopher she plunged into the vast unknown using resourcefulness to make the best of her situation. She has already mapped out her journey, which will take her to study abroad in Europe as a sophomore, graduating with a bachelor's degree in life sciences, and being accepted into optometry school.

"The main character of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,' Christopher, and I are very similar in that we both took a step out of our comfort zones, we are overcoming challenges, and make sacrifices for the good of ourselves. This story has inspired me to become more independent and figure out my role in this in this craziness that we call life. I will carry Christopher and his story with me for the rest of my life," Hopkins said. 

Take a moment to reach out and congratulate these amazing people and the work they have done. We wish to thank all of the award winners and nominees for making the first-year experience great for K-State students!

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