Nursing student Valerie Rodeffer gets a hug from Professor Audrey Myers during Eastern Mennonite University's Fall Recognition Chapel on Wednesday. Her nursing program peers voted her as this semester's recipient of the Servant Leadership Award. Professor Ann Schaeffer (right) shared that Rodeffer believes her greatest accomplishment “is being role model for her children, showing them you can do anything you put your mind to, no matter how old you are.” (Photos by Andrew Strack)

Special chapel celebrates student accomplishments of the fall 2016 semester

Among the many students recognized at Eastern Mennonite University’s Fall Recognition Chapel Wednesday, Dec. 7, were three standout nursing students recognized by their peers for their unique achievements.

Molly Kirby, who completed her nursing degree in 2.5 years instead of the standard four, was given the Academic Achievement Award. Presenting the honor was Professor Ann Schaeffer, who said Kirby has already accepted a position as a nurse in a cardio-surgical intensive care unit and plans to eventually pursue a doctorate as a nurse anesthetist.

Valerie Rodeffer earned the Servant Leadership Award. Schaeffer shared that Rodeffer’s greatest accomplishment “is being role model for her children, showing them you can do anything you put your mind to, no matter how old you are.” Rodeffer will work as a nurse in Winchester and plans to begin her master’s degree at EMU next fall.

Science tutor Robert Propst was among three tutors recognized for their service in the Academic Success Center.

The Sacred Covenant Award, honoring the nursing student who most exemplifies the values of nursing as exemplified in the program’s Sacred Covenant, was given to Juni Schirch-Sanchez. Schirch-Sanchez says she values the relationships she builds with patients and the intimacy, vulnerability and openness that the profession calls for.

Vice President of Student Life Ken L. Nafziger kicked off the chapel by urging participants to join wholeheartedly into the celebration of the semester’s achievements. “We often celebrate but in a muted fashion,” he said, “so let’s not be that way today.”

Nafziger was joined on stage by representatives of several departments for the traditional event, held at the conclusion of each fall and spring semester. Many of the honorees were being recognized before departing for their cross-cultural during spring semester.

Academic Success Center

Director Linda Gnagey and Professor Vi Dutcher recognized three Academic Success Center tutors as “great examples of dependable accessible support”: Lorraine Armstrong, political science tutor; Robert Propst, science; and Elisabeth Wilder, social work, sociology and writing.

Campus Ministries

Lana Miller recognizes students involved in Campus Ministries.
Undergraduate Pastor Lana Miller (right) recognizes students involved as ministry assistants.

Campus Undergraduate Pastor Lana Miller recognized ministry assistants who are departing on cross-culturals next semester: Shelby Alto, Taylor Martin, Elizabeth Witmer, Elizabeth Resto, Kieran O’Leary, Marina Baker, Esther Ghale, Lydia Musselman and Ethan Herman. Ministry assistants, known on campus as MAs, integrate faith into practice in their residence halls and volunteer their time to assist others. Miller thanked them for “joining us as campus pastors.”

Three pastoral assistants, known as PAs, were also recognized: Christina Hershey, Perry Blosser and Hannah Daley. PAs are students whose “desire to serve God is integrated into life, work and relationships.” Both Hershey and Blosser served on numerous committees. Hershey organized conversation groups, Election Day Communion and other communal events. Blosser “pulled together countless musicians and signing groups” for chapel events, and he also leads the monthly hymn sings. Daley, who concluded her field hockey career this fall, leads the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes Speak and Athletes’ Bible Study.

Student Programs

These students earned a Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) certificate of completion.
These students earned a Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) certificate of completion.

Thirteen students received the Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) Series Certificate: Sammy Kauffman, Maddie Gish, Gillian Zehr, Hannah Daley, Tae Dews, Rachel Holderman, Ale Hartzler, Brittany Williams, Oksana Kittrell, Liana Hershey, Felix Kioko, Alicia Ygarza and Carlos Garcia.

The series focuses on leadership issues chosen by participants, said Director of Student Programs Rachel Roth Sawatsky, with this semester’s topics being communication, leadership dynamics, conflict, women in leadership and team-building. Students can choose to attend single events; regular attendance results in a certificate of completion.

Additionally, Gillian Zehr was recognized for her work as Common Grounds Coffeehouse products and marketing manager for the last two semester. She was responsible for taking care of product sales, trends and tracking; ordering and vendor relationships; and advertising. This semester, she also negotiated a new contract with a local coffee roaster, as well as negotiating for local suppliers of foods.

Heidi Winters Vogel congratulates Emma Roth as Belen Yoder watches. Emma and Belen were recognized by the theater department.
Professor Heidi Winters Vogel congratulates actors Emma Roth (left) and Belen Yoder.

Theater Department

Actors Emma Roth and Belen Yoder were nominated from the fall production of “Far Away” by an independent respondent to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCATF) Irene Ryan Scholarship Audition. They will participate in the Region 2 festival Jan. 3-7 at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Professor Heidi Winters Vogel presented the award.

Student Life

Outgoing Student Government Association members include Elisabeth Wilder, Taylor Esau, Ella Spitler, Abigail Shumaker, Delight Tigoe, Maria Yoder, Jeremy Brenneman and Caleb Schrock-Hurst.

Retiring Vice President of Student Life Ken L. Nafziger was celebrated by Student Government Association co-presidents Quinn Kathrineberg (left) and Elisabeth Wilder.

Co-presidents Elisabeth Wilder and Quinn Kathrineberg also recognized Ken L. Nafziger, who retires in December.

“Ken has been a valuable member of SGA through his thoughtful insights, care for students, and impeccable knowledge of the SGA Constitution,” Wilder said. “There are few people I know that love EMU and its people more than Ken L. Nafziger.”

“Ken is a deep listener, an energetic presence, and a steadfast leader,” said Kathrineberg. “Thank you for your devotion to SGA, and thank you for the the consideration and respect you have for this EMU community.


James De Boer, sports information director, recognized the following athletes for their awards during the fall semester.

Men’s Cross Country: Abrham Amine: All-ODAC Second Team, ODAC Men’s Cross Country Rookie of the Year; Alec Thibodeaux: ODAC Runner of the Week, (Sept. 1-5), All-ODAC Second Team, Royals Athlete of the Week (Oct. 31-Nov. 6), All-South/Southeast Region Team.

Women’s Cross Country: Megan Good:  All-ODAC Second Team, Royals Athlete of the Week (Oct. 24-30); Kat Lehman: ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Scholar-Athlete; Juni Schirch-Sanchez: Royals Athlete of the Week (Nov. 7-13)

Field Hockey: Emily Augsburger: All-ODAC First Team; Lorraine Armstrong: All-ODAC Second Team; Hannah Daley: Royals Athlete of the Week (Oct. 10-16), All-ODAC Third Team; Emily Price: Royals Athlete of the Week (Sept. 19-25), All-ODAC Third Team.

Men’s Soccer: Emmanuel Boamah: All-ODAC First Team; Parker Leap: Royals Athlete of the Week (Sept. 5-11); Juan Luna: ODAC Player of the Week (Sept. 12-18); Royals Athlete of the Week (Sept. 12-18); All-ODAC Second Team; Matthew Overacker: Royals Athlete of the Week (Oct. 3-9). Dylan Polley: All-ODAC Third Team; Ryan Thomas: CoSIDA Academic All-District.

Women’s Soccer: Laura Rittenhouse: All-ODAC Third Team; Hannah Walker: Royals Athlete of the Week (Oct. 17-23).

Women’s Volleyball: Becca Hardy: Royals Athlete of the Week (Sept. 1-5), CoSIDA Academic All-District; Maria Yoder: Royals Athlete of the Week (Sept. 26-Oct. 2).

Men’s Basketball: Maleke Jones: Royals Athlete of the Week (Nov. 14-20).

Women’s Basketball: Chloe Roach: Royals Athlete of the Week (Nov. 21-27).