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K-State Today

March 18, 2019

K-State First celebrates 2018 award winners

Submitted by Mariya Vaughan

K-State First and the K-State Book Network present the winners for the 2018 First-Year Student Advocate and KSBN Awards.

On March 6, 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 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 2018 First-Year Advocate Award faculty winner is Don Saucier. Saucier's nominators emphasized his commitment to supporting his students. They note, he "is a demanding teacher with high expectations," but he also "coaches and supports students through the (learning) process. ... he creates learning environments where students are able to build community with him and with each other."

The 2018 First-Year Advocate Award student winner is Bailey Porter. Porter's nominators spoke of his professionalism and continuous efforts to engage with students. "His involvement and focused attention towards student engagement and student success reads more like engagement of a graduate student in College Student Development as opposed to an undergraduate student." One of Bailey's students also noted, "By having a mentor as friendly, inclusive, and supportive as Bailey, I think that I was able to come out of my shell quite a bit."

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:

  • Becca Pedrosa, nominee for the student First-Year Advocate Award.
  • McKenzie Cox, nominee for the student First-Year Advocate Award.
  • Gregory Zolnerowich, nominee for the faculty/staff First-Year Advocate Award.

KSBN Awards: The KSBN Awards celebrate the common 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 2018 common book, "The Hate U Give." The student awards are made possible by the generosity of Bill Miller and Debbie Leckron Miller.

Faculty award: Kathrine Walker Schlageck, associate curator of education at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, is the KSBN Faculty/Staff award winner. Each year the Beach Museum of Art selects a common work of art from their collection that complements the ideas and themes of the current common book. The piece selected this year is a series of lithographs by New Mexico artist Karsten Creightney. "Creightney's Burial Series Portfolio," a set of nine prints, is a response to the death of his uncle from a drug overdose. Burial visually echoes Starr's search for the truth between two worlds in the 2018 common book, "The Hate U Give."

Not only did the Beach Museum of Art select an excellent work of art, they also planned a welcome back night in fall 2018 that was fun and engaging for the 200 attendees who participated. They discussed art and books, watched "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," created linoleum block prints logos reflecting consumer culture referenced in the book, and listened to the music mentioned in the book.

The common work of art, along with a copy of "The Hate U Give," and a copy of James Baldwin's "Little Man, Little Man," with its similar storyline set in the 1970s, will remain up through the end of the school year.

Student award: The winner of the Student Award is Bailey Nobrega. Nobrega is an open option first-year student. She read "The Hate U Give" in her Great Books class and was inspired to create a short video that creates a critical, thoughtful and compelling analysis of the challenges that many of our students face when confronted with acts of racism in our community. In the video, Nobrega discusses the flaw behind the statement "I don't see color." That closing your eyes does not mean nothing is there to see and the ability to "not see color" in itself is a privilege. Saying "I don't see color" preserves the speaker's own comfort, but there are many people cannot desaturate their world because they have to remember to keep their hands on the dashboard or they will end up like Kahlil, or Michael, or Megan, or Sandra — a reference to the book.

Nobrega explored how her color protects her and provides her with a platform that she hid under for 18 years. She ended her video with the line from the novel that provides a call to action for all, "What's the point of having a voice if you're going to be silent when you shouldn't be." What's the point of having sight if you are too afraid to see?

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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