By Joe Garvey

Timothy Burleigh, a music education major in Old Dominion University's College of Arts and Letters, was named the Outstanding University Scholar at this spring's Alumni Association Student Honors and Awards celebration.

Among the 19 honorees, Krista Brant, who graduated with a degree in occupational and technical studies with a minor in women's studies and sociology, won the Kaufman Award, and three students won Evon-Broderick Awards for Community Engagement and Service.

The Outstanding University Scholar award honors "a student who exemplifies academic excellence as well as overall achievement during his or her time at the University."

Burleigh participated in the ODU Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Orchestra, as well as the 1210 Brass Quintet and the Monarch Marching Band. He was also awarded the Outstanding Music Education Undergraduate Award for Instrumental Education.

He will be the music director for the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi Division of the Salvation Army.

He cited Douglas T. Owens as his most inspirational faculty member.

"What makes Dr. Owens so inspirational is how he never loses sight of his ultimate goal amidst all of the chaos surrounding him," Burleigh said. "No matter how busy he is, he always has time for his students. He makes us feel important. He fights on our behalf."

Each semester, the Alumni Association recognizes the graduating undergraduate in each college with the highest academic average who will have completed at least 60 hours at the University.

Here are the honorees from the other colleges:

Strome College of Business: Tricia Schroeder

Major: Accounting and finance

Inspirational faculty member: Paige O'Shaughnessy. "Professor O'Shaughnessy was always there for me and was always willing to help me and my classmates in any way she could," Schroeder said. "She truly wanted us to understand what we were learning and encouraged us to work hard and do our best."

Darden College of Education and Professional Studies: Amanda Nhek

Major: Physical education, with a minor in health education

Inspirational faculty member: Justin Haegele. "Dr. Haegele's genuine care for the growth and development of his students is clear through his rapport and enthusiastic dialogues," she said. "His tireless work ethic and commitment inspire me to be a voice for the special-needs population."

Batten College of Engineering and Technology: Jeremy Loughheed

Major: Mechanical engineering

Inspirational faculty member: Sebastian Bawab. "When I was on the Formula SAE team, Dr. Bawab stepped in and helped the team when we were struggling," he said. "I learned about team leadership by watching him set us on the right path."

College of Health Sciences: Sarah Jane Sapiano

Major: Nursing

Inspirational faculty member: Christine Sump. "Dr. Sump's contagious energy and enthusiasm in her assessment class during my first semester in the program fueled my interest and passion for nursing as a whole," Sapiano said. "She helped me learn to think critically and care individually about each of my patients."

College of Sciences: Evan Mulloy

Major: Computer science with a minor in cybersecurity

Inspirational faculty member: Janet Brunelle. "As a mentor and as an experienced computer scientist, Janet goes the extra mile to help new generations of computer scientists reach their full potential," Mulloy said. "She has helped me achieve success since I first enrolled at ODU, and I would not be where I am today without her guidance."

Brant was among 10 finalists for the Kaufman Award, which is given to a graduating senior "who has exerted an exceptional and constructive influence on the University, its students or the community by demonstrating the highest qualities of leadership and service." Landmark Communications established the Kaufman Award to honor philanthropist Charles L. Kaufman.

In 2020, Brant received a G.I. Jobs Magazine Inaugural Student Veteran Leadership Award. She plans to pursue a of master's degree in educational leadership and higher education.

She said Kristal Kinloch-Taylor, director of ODU's Military Connection Center, was her inspirational faculty member.

"Kristal embodies all the things I value in a leader," Brant said. "She has been motivating and boosting me since day one. I push myself more and have more confidence in myself every day because of Kristal and will forever remember her as the type of leader I aspire to be one day."

Rita Meraz was the runner-up for the Kaufman Award. Meraz, who majored in electrical engineering with a minor in physics, has been a member of Engineers Without Borders during her four years at ODU. She also serves as vice president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and was the winner of the J. Harold Lampe award. Meraz plans to pursue an advanced degree in engineering.

The other Kaufman finalists were:

  • Charleigh Austin, who majored in speech-language pathology with a minor in special education
  • Amanda Gainer, who majored in interdisciplinary studies-teacher preparation with a minor in American studies
  • Danielle Johnson, who double-majored in business management and lifespan communications
  • Robert King, who majored in cinema production with a minor in psychology
  • Amanda Nhek, who majored in physical education with a minor in health education
  • Kieran Rundle, who majored in photography and print with a minor in art history
  • Tony Sawyer, who graduated with a major in human services with a certificate in addictions treatment and prevention
  • Jade Smith, who majored in biology

Payal Arora, Calvin Dugger and Diego Feliciano received Evon-Broderick Awards, which recognize students who exemplify a commitment to service and civic engagement to the University and surrounding community through superior leadership and service. The award was established in 2011 by President John R. Broderick and First Lady Kate Broderick, with the help of family members who choose to remain anonymous, in honor of their mothers, Joan Evon and Ellen Broderick.

Arora, a biomedical science major in the College of Sciences, is a member of the Medical Reserve Corps and has volunteered with the Virginia Department of Health on COVID-19 vaccination distribution efforts. Payal also volunteers for StandUp For Kids, an organization that helps homeless youth.

Duggar is majoring in mechanical engineering technology with a minor in engineering management at the Batten College. He has inspired his Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers to join him in community cleanups, delivering food to the elderly and education on the Women's Center M-Power and Green Dot programs.

Feliciano is majoring in finance with a minor in actuarial science in the Strome College. He holds leadership positions in several campus organizations, including the Student Government Association, Latino Student Alliance and the Model United Nations Society.

For more about the award winners, go to this link.

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