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University Honors Graduates with Prestigious President’s Core Values Medallion Awards

Twelve graduates to be recognized for significant academic, professional and community achievements at Commencement 2012

Twelve candidates representing the seven undergraduate schools and colleges at Roger Williams University will receive the prestigious President’s Core Values Medallion Award during the Commencement 2012 ceremony on Saturday, May 19. University President Donald J. Farish, Ph.D., J.D., working in concert with each of the schools, selected the honorees, who are each presented with a unique medallion depicting the core values framed in a commemorative keepsake. The medallion is identical to the one worn by the University President as part of his presidential Commencement regalia.

Each year, one graduate is selected from each of the University’s seven undergraduate schools; three graduates from the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences are selected to represent its three divisions – science, humanities and social science. Three at-large recipients are also selected to represent the entire University. Following a rigorous, months-long selection process, honorees are informed just prior to Commencement.

“When my professors in the English department all crammed into my advisor's office to tell me they had nominated me for a Core Values Medallion award, I was both surprised and humbled,” says Ashley Aliengena ’12, an at-large award recipient from the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences. “I see our University's core values as a call for students to find a permanent home in learning and commit themselves to serving others. It was deeply gratifying to see that after four years of hard work, my values were reflected in my University's values – it made me feel sure that I had made the right choice in coming to Roger Williams.”

Keith Doucot ’12, who won the award for the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management, echoed similar sentiments. “I knew I had been nominated but didn’t know I received the award until just two or three weeks ago,” he says. “It felt good to know I did get recognized – to be nominated for it by my professor – because it made the last four years pay off all at once.”

The President’s Core Values Medallion award was established in 2007 to recognize those candidates for graduation who best exemplify RWU’s core values:
• Love of learning as an intrinsic value
• Preparation for careers and future study
• Collaboration of students and faculty in research
• Commitment to community through service and sustainability
• Appreciation of global perspectives
• Promotion of civil discourse.

This year’s Core Values Medallion Award honorees are:

Colin Ross Gadoury
School of Architecture, Art & Historic Preservation
Bachelor of Science/Master of Architecture dual degree
Chicopee, Mass.

An innovative researcher who has presented his work at national conferences including the International Environmental Design Research Association annual meeting, Colin Gadoury has attained several prestigious positions outside the classroom. Gadoury has interned with Jablonski DeVriese Architects in Springfield, Mass., and during his last year as a graduate student, he earned a coveted internship at Vision 3 Architects in Providence. In addition to his extensive involvement outside the classroom, Gadoury is also dedicated to academic excellence as president of the Alpha Chi Honor Society and, upon graduation, will be one of the youngest Roger Williams graduates ever to become a registered architect. Gadoury has received numerous awards, including recognition from the Rhode Island American Institute of Architecture, the Norton E. Salk Scholar Award, First Place in the Second Year Design Award and Third Place in the Junior Architecture Showcase at Norwich University.

Michael P. Reaves, Jr.
School of Continuing Studies
Bachelor of General Studies in Community Development
Bloomfield, Conn.

As a member of the founding cohort and an ambassador of the innovative College Unbound program at Roger Williams University, Michael Reaves has worked tirelessly to create a culture of mentorship and peer support that has come to characterize the program’s student experience. Through his work in creating alternative spaces of learning, he took a leadership role this past year in advising and instructing new freshman in the College Unbound program. In addition to his academic pursuits, Reaves has participated in research experiences in China and Costa Rica, all while maintaining a multi-year internship at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in Providence, where he designed training and community-based education programs on nonviolence history, theory and practice.

Kristina Marie Soprano
School of Education
Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Spanish
Hope, R.I.

Kristina Soprano is secretary of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, a member of the University Chorus and president and musical director of the a cappella group Special Delivery. She has earned ETS Recognition of Excellence for high achievement in Praxis Level II and for the past two years has received support from the University’s Provost fund to support her research. Soprano has co-authored two published articles on science education standards and curricula, and is lead author on a third manuscript considering iPad applications in the science classroom. Further, Soprano has presented alongside the University’s School of Education faculty at the International Society of Technology Educators, the Association for Science Teacher Education International Conference and two other international conferences. She will pursue her master’s degree at Brown University starting in the fall.

Keith Michael Doucot
School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management
Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
Methuen, Mass.

A student who helped to develop his own minor in sustainability studies as well as the University’s LEED certification preparatory course, Keith Doucot is co-founder of the University’s U.S. Green Building Council Student Chapter. He has served as a Resident Assistant and is a member of the interdisciplinary team in the Community Partnership Center’s Walley School Project. In addition to his involvement on campus, Doucot has sought international education opportunities, having studied as part of the Sustainability Studies in Turkey course and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He attended the GreenBuild International Conference and Expo in Toronto and has participated in green building-related research funded by the Foundation to Promote Scholarship and Teaching. Doucot has held summer positions with Site Specific, LLC, and Energy and Resource Solutions and has accepted a position with Shawmut Design and Construction following graduation.

Ziad Al Achkar
Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences – Social Sciences Division
Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
Broumana, Lebanon

A member of the Honors Program with a strong student leadership background, Ziad Al Achkar has served as a member of the Student Senate, the Inter-Class Council, as Resident Assistant and Orientation Advisor, and as a participant in the SOAR Leadership program. An international student from Lebanon, Al Achkar speaks several languages, participates in the Model U.N./International Relations Association and has studied abroad in the Netherlands. Among his many accomplishments, he received a Student Senate Activism Scholarship and was named on Who’s Who Among Students of American Universities and Colleges in 2011. This year, Al Achkar served as an intern with the Satellite Sentinel Project and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, researching and analyzing data on human security incidents in the Sudan.

Lauren Salerno
Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences – Science Division
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology; Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
Kinnelon, N.J.

A triple major with a certificate in biotechnology, Lauren Salerno’s passion for learning is illustrated through her superb academic standing and membership in the Honors Program. In addition to serving as a member or in leadership roles in numerous clubs – including the Marine Science Club, the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and the International Medical Relief of Children – Salerno has facilitated tutor training sessions through the writing center and led Peer Led Team Learning sessions in chemistry. An active volunteer and student of the world who has traveled to Guatemala, Salerno has presented her award-winning research in local and national settings. She has also received support from the University’s Provost’s fund to support her work.

Caitlin M. Studley
Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences – Humanities Division
Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Spanish
West Greenwich, R.I.

A member of two honors societies – including a position as president of the Spanish honor society Sigma Alpha Pi – Caitlin M. Studley balances her academic pursuits with extensive involvement on campus and in the community. Among her many roles, she has served as a member of the Multicultural Student Union and the WQRI Executive Board, as a participant in the SOAR Leadership program, as an Resident Assistant and a writing tutor, as an intern at East Bay Newspapers, and as a representative of the Mount Hope literary magazine (formerly roger magazine) to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference.

Among her most significant achievements, Studley participated in the Guatemala summer study abroad program, which inspired her to fundraise for an educational after-school program for indigent Maya children in the country. In fall 2011, she was a finalist in the prestigious Fulbright Program to conduct research in Guatemala.

Christine Marie Durnin
Mario J. Gabelli School of Business
Bachelor of Science in Marketing
Shelton, Conn.

A natural leader who has been president of Delta Sigma Pi and treasurer of the RWU Association of Information Technology Professionals, Christine Durnin is one of just four students on the University’s Entrepreneurial Business Opportunities Task Force. With two impressive internships with Caffeine Interactive – a Connecticut-based marketing company – under her belt and a position as director for the University’s team in the National Student Advertising Competition, Durnin was recognized on Who’s Who Among Students of American Universities and Colleges. Developing an abiding interest in domestic politics and global issues, Durnin twice attended the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., and is Events Chair for the College Republicans. She has also been involved with the Small Business Institute where she worked with a local business to create a fully integrated business plan. 

Nibal N. Awad
School of Justice Studies
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Beverly, Mass.

Deeply involved in the campus community, Nibal N. Awad served as Freshman Class President and as a Chairperson for the Inter-Class Council, a role in which she supervises 16 class officers and six executive board members. Awad has also served as a Resident Assistant and has placed community service at the heart of her goals, having interned as a Community Connections coordinator this year. In addition to her roles on campus, Awad has completed several internships and served as a development officer for a nonprofit organization supporting citizens in crisis including the homeless and hungry, and women and children surviving domestic violence.

Ashley Catherine Aliengena
Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences – At Large
Bachelor of Arts in English Literature
Ware, Mass.

A recipient of the English Department’s Outstanding Student Award for four consecutive years, Ashley Aliengena is deeply committed to both academic achievement and involvement in the community. She is a member of “Food for Thought” – a living/learning community focused on hunger issues – and is involved extensively on campus, from volunteering her graphic design talents for campus event promotions and reviving the Newman Foundation (a campus religious organization), to helping her peers as a writing center tutor. Last March, she presented one of two senior thesis research papers at the English Literature Honorary Society’s highly competitive annual Sigma Tau Delta conference in St. Louis.

Peter Paul Dunn
Mario J. Gabelli School of Business – At Large
Bachelor of Science in Management and Economics; Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
Holden, Mass.

A triple major and academic mentor in the University’s Honors Program, Peter Dunn balances his academic achievements with significant involvement outside the classroom. A Presidential Student Ambassador, Student Advocate and Enterprise Fellow (serving as a teaching assistant and resources for freshman in Business Enterprise), Dunn has held internship positions at the Worcester Business Development Corporation and the International Golf Club & Resort. He has also worked as a writing, economics and Core 104 tutor. Dunn is a Student Senate Academic Achievement Scholarship recipient and a member of the Phi Beta Delta Honors Society for International Scholars. In March 2012, he presented his co-authored paper “Taxes and Births” at the Northeast Decisional Sciences Institute conference.

Vivienne Rose Clayton
School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management – At Large
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Montville, N.J.

A member of the Honors Program with intentions of pursuing a Ph.D. following graduation, Vivienne Clayton is the top-ranked student in the School of Engineering. In addition to her work as a tutor and participant in the SOAR Leadership program, Clayton has served as both president and secretary of the RWU Society of Women Engineers student chapter, as an Engineering Ambassador and as a volunteer for Tech Collective’s Annual GRRL Tech Interactive Technology Expo. She has participated in a number of collaborative research experiences with faculty members, including collaborating on a senior design group on an AbilityONE workplace challenge to redesign a shredding machine so that wheelchair bound individuals can easily manipulate the machine. Clayton has also interned at ITT Geospatial Systems and earlier at BAE Systems.