Graduate Student Service Award Recipients Honored

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Graduate Student Service Award Recipients Honored

The Office of Graduate Student Life held its fourth annual Graduate Student Life Spring Recognition Dinner in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room on Friday, April 25. The graduate schools came together to recognize four graduate students who demonstrated excellence in academics while committing time to service within their community. The recipients of the awards celebrated with family, fellow graduate students, and faculty with a festive dinner followed by the awards ceremony.

Award nominations were submitted in a number of ways, including self-nominations and nominations from faculty and peers. Each school assembled a committee of faculty who, with the dean, carefully reviewed each nomination and selected the award recipients. In addition to service to their communities, many of the nominees also balance family commitments and employment while keeping up with their classes!

In photo, left to right: Assistant Professor of MFT Nicole O’Brien , Assistant Professor for Marriage & Family Therapy Erica Hartwell , DaJavon Davis (winner GSEAP), Bernadette Liston (winner DSB), Associate Dean Mark Ligas , Lisa Novak (winner SON), Associate Professor of Nursing Joyce Shea . Not pictured: Angela Rudas (winner CAS)

Congratulations to this year’s recipients:

Bernadette Liston
Dolan School of Business

Presented by Dr. Mark Ligas, associate dean

Bernadette, a native of Ireland, joined the Fairfield community in the fall of 2013. Upon her arrival she began volunteering with the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and the after-school program at the Cardinal Sheehan Center. Bernadette also participated in the Bridgeport Elementary School Pen Pal program; Operation Hope; and worked this spring in the VITA income tax return program. Bernadette is always striving for "the more," sharing her gifts with others, and living a life guided more by vocation than career aspirations.

Angela Rudas
College of Arts and Sciences

Presented by Dr. Aaron Perkus, associate dean

A graduate student in the Communication program, Angela has been a terrific student with a 3.91 GPA. After taking CO 497 End of Life Communication with a service-learning component in a hospice, Angela became a catalyst for an ethnographic analysis at an in-patient hospice. She spent over 150 hours as a volunteer at the hospice plus a nearly two-hour commute each visit. Because of her positive service work experience, she currently works for the American Cancer Society where she manages over 2,500 Relay for Life volunteers and works with the Fairfield and New Haven County Cancer Patient Centers. In addition, she has incorporated service work into her personal life by continuing to volunteer at the CT Hospice in Branford and she volunteers at Stamford Hospital in the “No Patient Dies Alone” program.

Lisa Novak
School of Nursing

Presented by Dr. Joyce Shea, associate professor of nursing and Elizabeth DeCamp McInerney Professor of Health Sciences

Lisa Novak received this award for her outstanding performance with the Yonkers Police Department Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Peer Support Team. In collaboration with the Yonkers Police Department, Lisa helped to coordinate and launch the program in 2010. The program assists sworn officers and other emergency first responders in coping with any negative reaction to highly traumatic events. On her own time, and in addition to her work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner in a community-based family mental health clinic, Lisa has helped to train the 16 volunteer active duty officers in the core competencies of CISM. Lisa is also currently making arrangements to establish an AA group specifically for first responders in the Yonkers area. Lisa has shown amazing dedication to the welfare of those who protect others.

DaJavon Davis
Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions

Presented by Dr. Nicole O’Brien, assistant professor of MFT

A second-year student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program, DaJavon is also highly involved with various community service initiatives. He has not narrowed his service activities to one population or locale of interest; rather, he gives his time in Hartford, Boston, and New York to art museums, public schools, churches, health organizations, and more. DaJavon volunteers at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford for their “Second Saturdays for Families” event and organizes a “Solidarity Sleepout” to educate and unite Hartford residents around the issue of homelessness. He also participates in NYC Cares Day and volunteers for Fenway Health’s largest fundraisers, the Men’s and Women’s Events. Finally, DaJavon participates in fundraising runs for cancer and AIDS research whenever possible. Service is not an ideal DaJavon adopted when he came to Fairfield – it is a part of his personal mission that he has worked hard to continuously cultivate while balancing all the demands of full-time graduate work, clinical training, and paid employment.

Last modified: 05-05-14 11:23 AM

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