Campus Leaders Recognized During Student Life Awards Ceremony

Univ. Communications – Each spring the Office of the Dean of Students and the Rochester Center for Community Leadership recognize undergraduate students and organizations that have made significant contributions to campus life. Nominated by faculty, staff, and peers, Student Life Award recipients represent diverse interests, talents, and accomplishments.

This year, the awards, also known as the Rockys, were presented to 18 students and four organizations.  “I think the winners represent a large demographic that follows their passions and give back to others in all sorts of ways,” said Ed Feldman, associate director of leadership programs at the Rochester Center for Community Leadership and chair of the selection committee.  He added that he felt inspired by the winners whose “values center around an inherent desire to better themselves and in return make a positive social change in the campus and Rochester community.”

Friends, family, and colleagues of the honorees were invited to an intimate awards reception, which was also attended by University administrators and campus leaders. All the winning students and organizations received engraved glass trophies and certificates.

Awards ranged from recognizing leadership in the freshman class, athletics, Greek life, and student government. There also was an award given to an outstanding transfer student.  New this year was the Communal Principles Award, recognizing a student for the promotion of fairness, freedom, honesty, inclusion, respect, and responsibility on campus.  One of these six principles will be highlighted annually. This year’s recipient, Jay Liriano ’12 was selected for demonstrating qualities that exemplify the Communal Principle of Respect in his leadership as president of the Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity.

The Ballet Performance Group was honored as the Outstanding Student Organization.  The 90-member dance group was nominated by Lydia Crews and Wilson Commons Student Activities. Among its performances and programs this year were the Uncommon nights during orientation, a benefit show for Golisano Children’s Hospital, and an alumni reunion performance. BPG, who took first place at the DU Dance for Charity, also collaborated with the Eastman musicians, incorporating live music in its performances. During Meliora Weekend, BPG usually performs with two other dance groups, but they enhanced this year’s program and collaborated with six other dance groups for the “Diversity of Dance” production. In addition, BPG started a new community outreach program called “Dare to Dance.” Members went to Rochester’ Francis Parker School 23 to teach different styles of dance as an after school program.  At the end of the semester, the elementary school students had the opportunity to perform on stage in Strong Auditorium at BPG’s show.

“The award is reflective of the culmination of efforts from the group’s recent history,” said Laura Chess ’12, BPG’s president and a biomedical engineering major. “It was of course a fantastic surprise, though I believe the group was more than deserving.”  With all of its new programs, Chess hopes that BPG will continue to be a vibrant and inclusive community on campus. The group strives to give all students who are passionate about dance a chance to participate and help shape the programming.  “I’m excited to return and see how the group continues to develop after I’m gone,” Chess added.

Another student honored was economics and political science major Nathan Novosel ’12. As the recipient of the Seth H. & Harriet Terry Prize, he was recognized for his “industry, character and honorable conduct, having done the most for the life and character of the undergraduate community.”  Novosel, who received the Award for Athletic Leadership last year, has been one of the three captains for the Men’s Basketball Team for the past two years.  Novosel also is the vice president of the College Democrats, head captain of the Saint Sebastian Society (a community service group of varsity student athletes which is part of the Catholic Newman organization), a member of the Varsity Student Advisory Committee, the Alexander Hamilton Institute, and associate justice for the All Campus Judicial Council.

“One of my lifetime goals is to get involved in politics and work with public policy and some way,” said Novosel. “So, especially with the AHI and the College Democrats, I’ve really tried to just inform students and to get people more politically active. And that’s not necessarily going out and campaigning, more of just reading a newspaper every day or having a professor panel where we go in and talk about an issue.”

Novosel has started an inequality seminar with the AHI which engages students in discussion and analysis of socioeconomic problems in America.  He will participate in the Teach for America program in Washington, D.C. after graduation, before preparing to apply to law school.

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and organized by the Rochester Center for Community Leadership, the 2012 Student Life Award recipients are:

Andrew Fried Prize: Mehr Kashyap  ’15
Established by frienda and family in 1961 in memory of Andrew Norman Fried, class of 1961. This prize is awarded to the man who, upon completion of his freshman year, has shown outstanding qualities of character, superior moral judgment, and interest in serving his fellow students.

Delno Sisson Prize: Taylor Watson ’15
In 1957, this award was established by a gift from Delno Sisson, class of 1966. This prize is awarded annually to the freshman who has shown the most improvement not only in academic work, but also in adjusting to college life and the student body.

Award for Freshman Leadership: Humma Sheikh ’15
This award recognizes an exceptional man or woman of the freshman class who has motivated his or her fellow classmates to become actively involved in the campus community.

Eli & Mildred Sokol Prize: Kelly Scull ’14
This award was established in 1985 by a gift from Eli and Mildred Sokol, class of 1933. This prize is awarded to a sophomore who has emerged as a leader who can be expected to contribute significantly to the welfare of his or her fellow students in the next two years.

Award for Campus Contributions: Kyle Coapman ’13 and Lucas Piazza ’12
Two awards, one each presented to a junior and senior class member who has made significant contributions to the University community, including, but not limited to, campus life, academic achievement and leadership, and community service. The award winner will have promoted and demonstrated excellence in all aspects of their college experience.

Seth H. & Harriet Terry Prize: Nathan Novosel ’12
Established in 1928 as a gift from Seth H. Terry, class of 1883 in memory of his parents. This award is given to the male member of the senior class who, by his industry, character and honorable conduct, has done the most for the life and character of the undergraduate community.

Percy Dutton Prize: Trevor Baisden ’12
This prize was established in 1946 as a gift from Percy Dutton. This award is given to the male member of the graduating class who has excelled in “wholesome, unselfish and helpful influence” among his fellow students.

Transfer Student Award: Ahmed Faisal ’12
This award, recognizing the unique role of transfer students to the campus community, is given to a student who transferred with sophomore standing or above, and has completed a full year of study at the University. The recipient will have demonstrated a quick, successful, and seamless transition to the institution and will have taken full advantage of his or her time spent at the University.

Award for Outstanding Fraternity and Sorority Leadership: Neftali Morales ’12
This award recognizes the positive contributions fraternities and sororities make to the campus community. It is awarded to a fraternity or sorority member who has led with integrity within their fraternal organization while also making significant contributions to the greater campus community.

Simeon Cheatham Award: Brittany Lewis ’12
Established in the 1970s by the Office of the Dean of Students to recognize outstanding University of Rochester students. This award is given to a student who has outstanding qualities in devotion to community service and to growth and development of children.

Logan Hazen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Residential Life : Becky  Donnelly ’12
This Award is given annually to the student who has “made significant contributions to the community and experience of students living in undergraduate residence halls. This student, through his or her actions, leadership, and innovation has promoted community through respect, fairness, and inclusion.”

Award for Athletic Leadership: Jamie Bow ’12
This award recognizes the positive contributions athletes make to the campus community. It is awarded to a student athlete who has demonstrated leadership within their club or varsity sport while also making significant contributions to other aspects of campus life.

Presidential Award for Community Service: Emily Hart ’12 and Garrett Rubin ’12
Established by the Dean of Students in 1990 to recognize University students who are committed to community service. Given to a senior for outstanding participation and leadership in service to the community beyond the campus, this award recognizes a student who has worked selflessly and effectively in addressing social causes.  Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, improving literacy, reducing hunger and hopelessness, providing legal or medical assistance to the needy, and serving as a mentor.

Entrepreneurship Award: David Bendes ’11/KEY
The award for entrepreneurship is given to a student, or group of students, who has turned an idea into a venture that benefited others. The recipient will have demonstrated individual initiative and knowledge through awareness of markets and attention to the needs of others.

Michael Lowenstein Memorial Award: Alykhan Alani ’12
This award, named for Michael Lowenstein, class of 1960 is presented to the University of Rochester River Campus undergraduate who deepens student, faculty and community awareness of existing social, racial, or political inequities. This undergraduate through his/her words and actions has endeavored to promote the ideals which Michael cherished. Michael sought to give a fresh view of things around us, to focus upon issues, to probe deeply using fact and objectivity and to open a dialogue with the community to find some answers.

The Communal Principles Award: Jonell Liriano ’12
Established by the Office of the Dean of Students during the 2011-2012 academic year, this award is given annually to the student(s) or organization that best promote(s) the Communal Principals, as adopted by The College. These principles include Fairness, Freedom, Honesty, Inclusion, Respect, and Responsibility. One of these six principles will be highlighted annually and the recipient will have demonstrated qualities that exemplify the principles and/or created programming and activities related to this year’s Communal Principle – Respect.

Student Organization and Programming Awards

Excellence in Programming: Program: “Rochester’s Yellowjacket Invitational Mock Trial Tournament” Organization: Mock Trial
This Excellence in Programming Award recognizes a student organization or group, either formal or informal, for its exceptional creativity, planning, and execution of a University program. Criteria upon which decisions are based include appeal to a broad cross-section of the University community, originality, and participation by members of the organization during all phases of the effort.

Outstanding Student Organization Award: Ballet Performance Group
Awarded to a student organization that has gone beyond the bounds of their membership by helping to create a positive campus environment for all students.

Award for Excellence in Creative Co-sponsorship: Program: “Rock Out for Leukemia Research” Organizations: Vocal Point & Renaissance Scholars
This award recognizes a program that was co-sponsored by a minimum of two organizations or groups. The cosponsored program should have been a new effort, one that brought together different facets of campus, and which served to build and strengthen the campus community.

Article written by Maya Dukmasova, a Take 5 Scholar at the University of Rochester and an intern at University Communications. She majored in philosophy and religion and focused her Take 5 year on researching the way American media covers current events in the Muslim world. An aspiring journalist, Dukmasova has freelanced for Rochester Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and the Daily News Egypt in Cairo. She also maintains two blogs, one devoted to culture and society in Russia ( and the other to photography (

Photos courtesy of J. Adam Fenster, University Communications.

Dance Conference Gets Students Moving

Univ. Communications – The University of Rochester’s Program of Dance and Movement has for years been a small but vibrant community. Perhaps many of you are unfamiliar with the academics of the dance program but the presence of dance as an integral part of campus life cannot be denied.  There are nine extracurricular dance ensembles and regular performances by invited groups. Within the program, however, students find even more opportunities to explore new styles and connect with dancers from other universities.

The weekend before Spring Break, 10 dance students, along with program director Missy Pfohl Smith and dance instructor Courtney World, traveled to Penn State University for the annual American College Dance Festival Association’s Northeast regional conference.  The enthusiastic students kept a blog chronicling their experiences of conference, which consisted of workshops on different dance techniques and principles of motion. There were also performances by dance ensembles from various colleges, including Rochester.

“Since we all come from very different backgrounds in regard to styles of dance and amount of experience, the conference gave us a chance to come together and grow as dancers individually and as a group,” said Emily Hart ’12, a chemistry major and psychology minor. “Keeping the blog was a way to remember the little moments we loved and to stay connected with everyone on the trip and the members of our groups back in Rochester.”

Dance workshops ranged from more traditional jazz and tap instruction to contemporary styles such as house and hip-hop. The students were free to choose which classes to attend and they enthusiastically recounted their social and educational experiences through blog posts.  The instructors also had an opportunity to partake in the workshops as students.   The weekend was “a whirlwind of information, inspiration and connection,” blogged Smith.

The Rochester students gave two performances, one informal called Alien Nation and a formal performance titled Time/Save/Loss/Return. Afterward, Smith wrote: “I just want to share how proud I am of Alaina, Nichole, Lauren, Sydney and Robert, who performed with conviction, honesty and intention today. The fullness of their movement and their connection to one another was very moving and many colleagues; both those I know and those I met this weekend sought me out to congratulate me on what a meaningful and impressive commitment they showed in the work.”

Since their return the student participants have been eager to implement the new techniques they learned into their personal dance and performances with groups like Indulgence, Louvre Performance Ensemble, and Ballet Performance Group. “I’m incredibly thankful that the administration at UR is supporting the dance community on campus. There are a lot of students with plenty of passion for dance,” said Hart, who is a member of both Louvre and BPG. “Dance has been the biggest factor in making my undergraduate experience as fulfilling as it has been,”

“The weekend literally felt like one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ moments for me. I never had the chance to experience so much dancing and actually [be] able to watch live performances,” blogged Octavia Rhim ’15, a member of Sihir Bellydancing Ensemble and Indulgence, at the end of the weekend. “I think that any college student passionate about dance or even just interested, should have the opportunity to go to ACDFA.”

Article written by Maya Dukmasova, a Take 5 Scholar at the University of Rochester and an intern at University Communications. She majored in philosophy and religion and focused her Take 5 year on researching the way American media covers current events in the Muslim world. An aspiring journalist, Dukmasova has freelanced for Rochester Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and the Daily News Egypt in Cairo. She also maintains two blogs, one devoted to culture and society in Russia ( and the other to photography (

In The First Photo: From left to right are students Sierrah Grigsby ’13, Sydney Robinson ’14, Robert Chen ’11, Nicole Zizzi ’14, Octavia Rhim’15, and Emily Hart’12. Photos courtesy of the student participants.

TOOP Follows Up Its Success with Another Exciting Staging

Univ. Communications –  After staging its first production this semester, The Opposite of People (TOOP) at the University of Rochester is already making plans to follow up its success with another show. TOOP is the only student-run theatre troupe on campus, and serves as an alternative venue for theatrical performances that are totally directed, produced, and performed by students. Its first play of the semester, Baby with the Bathwater, has just wrapped up its three shows, and the troupe is setting its sights on the next production.

Each semester, TOOP stages two to three plays. Baby with the Bathwater had three performances on Oct. 27, Oct. 28, and Oct. 30. Written by American playwright Christopher Durang, it’s a surreal, provocative play that highlights some of the absurd features of modern parenting. When asked why they decided to stage this play in particular, freshman Nate Damon said, “The play is so strange and weird, but at the same time it’s accessible and easy to just sit and watch. It’s hilarious and any audience can enjoy it, but it has that factor of being different that we love.”

TOOP is especially remarkable on campus for the dedication of its students. Its members are marked by a commitment to the arts and their enthusiasm for their productions. Although it collaborates frequently the Theatre Department, it’s the group members who drive the productions. Take Five Scholar James Eles ’11 calls it “A real student collaboration. Members nominate plays that they’d like to direct, which they produce and then perform. When one of our own writes a play, we all contribute by running it through workshops. The final result is a grown, living piece.”

So what’s next? TOOP is working on its next production, Threading, a modern take on the Greek myth of the three Fates. “This is my first experience with a student-written work, and it’s exciting. The work is organic and constantly evolving, and when we recently cemented the script, the possibilities started exploding. There’s really nothing else like a new work.” says Damon, who plays Moros, the Greek god of Doom. “We’re already super excited!”

Threading will be performed on at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 and Friday, Nov. 18, with a matinee at 3 p.m. on the Sunday, Nov. 19. The show take place in Todd Theatre and entrance is free.

TOOP members perform a scene from Baby with the Bathwater

Article written by Dan Wang, a sophomore at Rochester, who studies philosophy and economics. Photos courtesy of TOOP.

Carlson and Rush Rhees Libraries Announce 2011 Art Purchase Prizes

Rush Rhees Library – The Carlson Science and Engineering Library’s Undergraduate Student Art Prize was awarded to Sam Sadtler ’11, a Take Five student majoring in mechanical engineering. Sadtler’s work of inkjet prints, “In the Dark,” is on permanent exhibition in the Carlson Library (see prints to the right).

The Rush Rhees Library’s Undergraduate Student Art Prize was awarded to Ryane Logsdon ’12, an ecology and evolutionary biology major. Logsdon’s work of inkjet prints, titled “It would have gone unnoticed,” is on permanent exhibition in the Rush Rhees Library (see prints below).

Both the Carlson Library and Rush Rhees Library Art Prizes, which have been given annually since 2004, are selected by River Campus Library staff members during the Undergraduate Juried Art Exhibition at Hartnett Gallery.