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McDaniel advisor recognized by national honor society for first year students

McDaniel College staff members Erin Giles '15 and Karen Violanti
February 26, 2018

The 2018 edition of The Flame, the magazine of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) First Year National Honor Society, features some familiar McDaniel faces — Karen Violanti, associate dean for first year students, and Erin Giles ’15, associate director of community engagement.

Violanti is one of five ALD advisors from across the country named by ALD’s executive director as Advisors of the Year in 2017. Selected for her exceptional efforts on behalf of the 125 students in McDaniel’s chapter of the prestigious honor society, Violanti has built the College’s first-year program focusing on success.

Under Violanti’s guidance, McDaniel’s ALD chapter actively supports the College’s emphasis on first year academic success and service to the community. First Stop, an area on the second floor of the College library dedicated to first year students, provides comfy chairs, study tables, tea, treats and especially smiles, coaching and conversation from the staff headed by Violanti, known to her students as Dean V.

ALD students, inducted in the fall of their sophomore year based on having a 3.7 GPA or greater during their first year, plan and organize all of the chapter’s events, including coffee hours, prospective members parties, participating in the involvement fair and, twice each semester, Candy Grams to cheer on students studying in the library.

“The coolest thing about the award is that the national honor society recognized McDaniel,” Violanti says.

A Q&A with Giles highlights the impact of ALD’s national Jo Anne J. Trow Undergraduate Scholarship, which Giles received during her sophomore year at McDaniel. The scholarship provided Giles the opportunity to study abroad.

“Having extra funding due to the sophomore scholarship, I was able to register for a January study-abroad class that gave me my first international experience: Backpacking through France, Austria and Hungary and writing about my travel experiences,” Giles, an ALD advisor at McDaniel, writes in the magazine.

Students are invited to join ALD based on their GPA after their first year at McDaniel. During their remaining college years, they plan, organize and attend events helping to support first year students. At graduation, provided they have maintained at least a 3.7 cumulative average, they receive ALD cords to wear with their cap and gown.