College of Arts and Sciences seniors earn academic, leadership honors at ceremony

Azka Khan

It may seem difficult to stand out among the 5,367 students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

But some students have found a way to distinguish themselves through academic and leadership excellence. These students were recognized in the biannual College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Student Leadership Awards Friday in the Schwebel Garden Room of the Kent Student Center.

“We are here tonight celebrating student success,” said College of Arts of Sciences Dean Jerry Feezel. “Success is about getting the degree.”

The award ceremony recognized 11 seniors, who are graduating in December, in various fields of study.

“To be honest, it didn’t it hit me until right now that I am being recognized,” said Suady Nitz, senior computer science major. “It feels good, and I am truly honored.”

The distinguished students were nominated by the college’s academic departments.

“I got an e-mail saying that a faculty member had nominated me,” senior psychology major Cassie Simpson said. “It was unexpected, and it’s also very exciting.”

Psychology major Janessa Imdorf said psychology is a solid, popular major.

“To be picked out of such a big group is kind of a big deal,” she said.

In addition to receiving an award certificate, students got the opportunity to listen to Christine Zust, Kent State alumna and president of Zust & Company, acommunication training services company based in Cleveland.

Zust’s speech offered advice to the graduating seniors.

“The world is not going to come to your doorstep,” Zust said. “You have to go out and meet the world.”

She said the best way to go meet the world is through the three C’s: choice, creativity and connections.

“Make your choices be good choices,” Zust said. “With these choices, choose to help others and make a difference in the world.”

Zust’s advice on creativity is to “create the best work in anything you do and to create a life that you are passionate about,” she said.

Her final piece of advice focused on relationships.

“Always connect with people at the deeper level,” she said. “Help them and be open to them helping you.”

Zust said to connect with people one must be authentic, and others will sense that. She also advised students to get involved in student organizations and to get to know their professors.

“Not enough students take advantage of professors and how much they know,” she said. “I’ve always noticed that students that know their professors always get farther.”

She closed by posing a question to the students: “What is the world calling for you to be?”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Azka Khan at [email protected].

Other award recipients

The following seniors were also recognized at the event:

Eric Bilen, geography

Kelly Foxworthy, anthropology

Elizabeth Konwest, anthropology

Jocelyn Harper, English

Brian Sybo, biological chemistry

Stephen Mullet, sociology

Cassandra Pantages, sociology

Patrick Neumann, justice studies.