Students to be honored for achievements

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Students will be honored for their achievements in academics and leadership at the ninth annual Minority Affairs and TRIO Academic Recognition & Awards Reception 3 p.m. Sunday in the Grand Ballroom.

When Maggie Burkhead, director of the TRiO program, came to Eastern in 2005 the TRiO program had their own separate awards ceremony for scholarships, graduates and student leaders in the fall and spring.

The Office of Minority Affairs would also have an awards program for minority students on the Friday before Graduation, until Burkhead’s supervisor asked if they could combine the awards program.

The awards program now includes graduating students who are in TRiO and minority students on Eastern’s campus.

The graduating students get a certificate signed by Mona Davenport, the director of minority affairs, and President David Glassman and scholarship winners and academic achievers will be recognized at the reception.

People can also nominate themselves or others for awards such as Outstanding Student Leader, Outstanding Graduate Student, Outstanding Athlete, Outstanding Minority Organization, or Outstanding Black Greek-Letter Organization.

A committee looks at the applicant’s resume, things they have done, and their GPA to decide who wins the award.

Burkhead said it is good for morale for students to get these awards.

“It’s good for students to see that their achievements aren’t going unrecognized, I think it’s good for faculty to show their support and encouragement,” Burkhead said.

Burkhead said as students can see their colleagues achieve a lot and be inspired to do the same.

“(Other students) will be like ‘Hey, I wanna be getting an award, I’m gonna make sure I get my grades up, or I’m gonna be sure I join these programs’,” Burkhead said.

Another thing that Burkhead said is inspiring for students to see is people’s goals after graduation.

“Some people say they want to be a teacher, or some want to obtain an internship, some are going to graduate school,” Burkhead said. “Once again, this shows new students, hopefully these are things you’re striving for.”

Students’ families are invited to see the awards ceremony.

Students help plan the ceremony and two students are emceeing the event, Lelonna Goodson and Marissa Norris.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into the planning, but we just hope it is a nice event for the students,” Burkhead said.

The Unity Gospel choir and IC4C Praise Dancing will provide entertainment for the ceremony.

“I think it’s good for people traveling to get a whole performance and again, these are students of Eastern who will be performing,” Burkhead said.
Burkhead originally expected 40 to 45 graduates. Instead, there are 81 students graduating this year.

Nathan Barnett-Bishop, a sophomore engineering major, is one of the students who helped plan the ceremony.

He said he knows a lot of people who have applied for awards.

“There’s a lot of ambition, a lot of happiness going on,” Barnett-Bishop said. “Someone said they did want to win but if they did not win, it was OK because it was better than where they were last year, signing up for no scholarships. Now, they’re striving in so many things.”

Barnett-Bishop said people want to see that they went to college and brought something back with them to show for it.

“(It shows) they have effort, they have strength, they have sacrificed,” Barnett-Bishop said.

Barnett-Bishop said these awards have inspired him to work harder and put his priority in better spots and Minority Affairs and TRiO have helped me with my internships, how to talk to professors and study tips.

He said without these programs, he would not be in the same position he is today.

“I would probably be somewhere in my room locked up, watching YouTube videos all day,” Barnett-Bishop said. “I would go to class but I wouldn’t study if it wasn’t for TRiO and Minority Affairs saying hey, if you don’t shapen up now, what’s going to happen later?”


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]