Seniors honored with academic, activity and leadership awards

May 25, 2019

On the eve of their May 25 graduation, McDaniel College seniors were honored with academic, activity and leadership awards at the Senior Investiture and Honors Convocation. A list of awardees appears below.

After the final award was presented came the long awaited moment, a time honored tradition, when the faculty secret speaker was introduced. Seniors — many former 
students in one of his legendary classes — cheered and applauded as Physics professor Apollo Mian took the stage.

Seniors honored with academic, activity and leadership awards Currently wrapping up his 20th year on the Hill, Mian has taught a variety of physics courses and genuinely enjoys teaching non-major courses such as A World of Light and Color, Lenses to Lasers, Understanding the Universe, and Introductory Astronomy.

Mian is passionate about working with students in his research lab. He has established a robust undergraduate research program in nonlinear optics with applications in opto-electronics and photonics here at McDaniel. He has supervised over 40 student-faculty research projects, published 21 peer-reviewed papers, authored a book chapter on organic and hybrid photonic crystals, received two external grants (NSF and Petroleum Research Fund) and secured one patent since joining the College.

His on-campus artistic ability is legendary. One faculty member said, “I want the record to reflect that he possesses the most enviable whiteboard skills of any instructor on campus! I often feel a slight pang of remorse anytime I must erase, what is for me one of his multi-colored masterpieces. Of course, for him these are just what pass as day-to-day scribblings and notes.” 

Mian’s talents extend into the research lab. He has a strong collaboration with the London Centre for Nanotechnology and Department of Physics at University College London, where he currently holds the title of Honorary Senior Research Associate. In addition to his research, Mian is the faculty advisor to the Muslim Student Association and is also a founding member of the Islamic Society of Carroll County and is still actively involved in running the organization.

Most recently, he has worked to develop four new articulation agreements with Carroll Community College for students interested in Physics, as well as Electrical, Mechanical and Civil engineering. He has also recently built collaborative agreements with Washington University and Virginia Tech, both of which will significantly enhance the educational opportunities for students interested in the field of engineering.

All eyes were on Mian as he told the Class of 2019 that he didn’t regret a single day on the Hill because of them.

“Yes, you!” he said. “You’re down to earth, good, decent people that I had the privilege to teach. You work hard. You’re not arrogant. You’re kind. You’re forgiving. These are qualities that will make you succeed in life and I’m confident you will do well.”

As the life’s journey he promised to share with them unfolded, the soon-to-be graduates learned how Mian came to the U.S. from Bangladesh as a 3-year-old for his father to do his doctorate. Mian played baseball, pledged allegiance to the flag, loved Star Wars — and then returned to Bangladesh.

He suffered major culture shock returning to a country where no one had even heard of Luke Skywalker, had no Saturday morning cartoons and didn’t speak what had become his language.

But Mian adapted, and “thrived.”

“My point is, don't be afraid of change. Change is everywere. The universe itself is constantly changing, evolving, you can't avoid it,” he said. “You have all the tools you need to succeed. If you ever need advice or guidance, our doors are always open to you. You’ve got this!”

Urging the graduating seniors to resist polite indifference, he encouraged them to “Get to know those who don’t look like you or think like you. Reach out. Listen.”

He likened the seniors to the Marvel Comics super heroes, the Avengers.

“You’re young now and are poised to be the movers and shakers of this country. I ask that you steer the country in the right direction through your actions, through your advocacy, and through your love and compassion.

“The Avengers worked together for a common cause. You, my friends, are all Avengers. Stand up for truth! Stand up for justice! Do the right thing!

“Avengers…assemble!”

Student award recipients included:

The Alton Dennis Law Award for Excellence in Economics

  • Jack Anthony Del Nunzio, History and Economics major from Sykesville, Md. 

The Dr. Mary Ellen Elwell Distinguished Social Work Award

  • Oliva Wilson Elbers, Social Work major from Rodgers Forge, Md.

The Vox Magna Clara (A Strong Clear Voice) Award

  • Rodney Scott Fisher Jr., Sociology major from Earleville, Md. 

The Maria Leonard Senior Book Award

  • Taylor Jean Bauman, Biology major from Charlottesville, Va.  
  • Samantha Marie Merkel, Social Work major from Baltimore  
  • Elijah Timothy Williams, Chemistry major from Mountain Top, Pa. 

The McLuhan Award for Excellence in Communication

  • Emma Katherine Carter, Communication and French major from Halethorpe, Md.

The Richard A. Clower Award for Excellence in Kinesiology

  • Mary Olivia Maenner, Kinesiology and Spanish major from Baltimore

The Richard H. Smith, Jr. Award for Excellence in Chemistry or Biochemistry

  • Elijah Timothy Williams, Chemistry major from Mountain Top, Pa.  

The Robert Joseph Weber Award for Excellence in Political Science and International Studies

  • Christopher Allen Shatzer, Political Science and Spanish from Taneytown, Md.

The Class of 1938 Award for Excellence in Music

  • Emily Ann Barker, Music major from Sykesville, Md. 

The Dr. Reuben Holthaus Award in Philosophy

  • Gavin Gabriel Gibson, Philosophy and Psychology from Newark, Del. 

The Frank and Margaret Malone Award for Excellence in a Foreign Language

  • Emma Katherine Carter, Communication and French major from Halethorpe, Md. 
  • Daniel James Smith, Accounting Economics, German, and Business Administration major from Lancaster, Pa. 
  • Theadora McKnight Westlake-Stearns, Business Administration, Spanish, and Economics major from Seattle, Wash.  

The Michael and Polly Beaver Award for Excellence in Education

  • Lacey Elisabeth Utz, Psychology and Elementary Education major from Fallston, Md. 

The Makosky Award for Excellence in English

  • Jacqueline Majanna White, English and Cinema major from Hanover, Md. 

The Philip and Azalea Myers Award for Creativity in English

  • Emma Christine Sturdevant, English major from Belfast, Maine 

The Eloise B. and Lowell S. Ensor Award for Graduate or Professional Study

  • Brandon Lee Burreece Rozanski, Biology major from Severn, Md.

The Phi Delta Gamma Award

  • Garrett Albert Gregoire, Biology major from Taylorsville, N.C. 

The M. Louise Shipley Art Award of Excellence

  • Jonathan Gregory Nepini, Art major from California, Md. 

The H.P. Sturdivant Biology Award

  • Taylor Jean Bauman, Biology major from Charlottesville, Va

The Esther Smith Award

  • Jennifer Lynn Willard, Theatre Arts major from North Potomac, Md. 

The Dr. Clyde A. Spicer Award

  • Maia Xing Hanlon, Mathematics and Computer Science major from Madison, Wis. 
  • Dimitri Alexander Lezcano, Physics and Mathematics major from Randallstown, Md.

The Hugh Barnette Speir, Jr. Prize

  • Colin Aric Lyon, History major from Frederick, Md. 

The H. Peyton Gorsuch History Award

  • Jack Anthony Del Nunzio, History and Economics major from Sykesville, Md. 

The Greek Man of the Year

  • Harrison Alan Curnutte, Biology major from Westminster, Md.

The Greek Woman of the Year

  • Rowail Imran Khan, Psychology major from Manchester, Md.

The Michael J. Marks ’13 Memorial Award

  • Jared Austin Payne, Business Administration and Economics major from Moorestown, N.J. 

The Elizabeth Lintz Burkhardt Memorial Service Award

  • Lacey Elisabeth Utz, Psychology and Elementary Education major from Fallston, Md. 

The Steve Robert Wilson Memorial Awards

  • Gavin Gabriel Gibson, Philosophy and Psychology from Newark, Del. 
  • Samantha Marie Merkel, Social Work major from Baltimore 
  • Billy Joe Emerson Jr., Sociology major from Germantown, Md. 

The Charles W. Havens Award

  • Dustin Stitzel Miller, Communication major from Wyomissing, Pa. 

The Michael L. Waghelstein Memorial Award

  • Brandon Lee Burreece Rozanski, Biology major from Severn, Md. 

The Alumni Citizenship Awards

  • Angel Leann Petty, Religious Studies major from Stockbridge, Ga. 
  • Wayne Von Young Jr., Social Work major from Baltimore

The Lynn F. Gruber Medal

  • Megan McKenna Quattrone, Chemistry and Kinesiology major from Carlisle, Pa. 

The Dr. H. Samuel Case ’63 Senior Scholar Athlete Award

  • Gavin Gabriel Gibson, Philosophy and Psychology from Newark, Del. 
  • Taylor Jean Bauman, Biology major from Charlottesville, Va.  

The Faith Millard/Dr. Carol Fritz Medal

  • Lindsey Brough Farrell, Communication major from Towson, Md. 

The John A. Alexander Medal

  • Gavin Gabriel Gibson, Philosophy and Psychology major from Newark, Del. 
 
 
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