From left: Eastern Mennonite University sociology majors Sarah Boshart, Samantha Jacob, Harrison Horst and Rachel Crist, with Professor Carolyn Stauffer, were the first students inducted into EMU's new chapter of the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society. They were recognized at the April 20 Spring Recognition Chapel. (Photos by Joaquin Sosa)

Spring recognition chapel honors student leadership and achievement

“Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to wash the dishes,” said Jim Smucker, vice president of enrollment and student life, to kick off the spring 2017 student recognition chapel at Eastern Mennonite University. “…Today we want to recognize a number of folks who have used their time, gifts and abilities for the betterment of our community, mostly to wash dishes but perhaps some of these folks may have also started a revolution. From my vantage point in student life, it has been inspiring to see up close and personal the leadership contributions of so many on campus.”

Listen to the podcast of the chapel.

Applied Social Sciences Department

Rachel Crist, Sarah Boshart, Harrison Horst and Samantha Jacob received honor cords signifying their membership into the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society from Dr. Carolyn Stauffer and Dr. Jenni Holsinger. EMU’s new chapter joins 650 other college chapters.

Biology and Chemistry Department

Janaya M. Sachs was named Outstanding Senior Chemistry Student, the highest award given to a chemistry/biochemistry major who demonstrates high academic achievement, significant research experience and the potential to contribute to the field. She will be recognized with other outstanding senior chemistry majors by the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and was given a Merck Index by the ACS and the Merck Company. Read more about one of  her research projects.

Tyler D. Denlinger and Robert H. Propst earned recognition as the Outstanding Senior Biology students, the highest award to acknowledge exceptional academic, scholarly and service accomplishments throughout a student’s career at EMU. The award also recognizes characteristics of initiative, wisdom, diligence, collegiality and integrity.

Kaylee M. Ferguson was given the Outstanding Service Award. Consideration is given to scholarship across the entire EMU career, including research outside of the EMU context, as well as qualities of leadership, citizenship, compassion, a commitment to working with others and the ability to place their EMU experience with the context of service.

Diego C. Barahona earned the Excellence in Research Award for his exceptional performance in independent research, demonstrating initiative, integrity, knowledge of subject and high technical aptitude. Read more about one of his research projects.

Leah C. Lapp was recognized as outstanding first-year chemistry student. Mario J. Hernandez was named outstanding second-year biology student.

Winners of the STEM poster contest, upperclass division are: first, Samantha Kauffman and Marchelle Smucker; second, Eli Wenger; third, Diego Barahona; honorable mention, Tyler Brenneman; Kyle Johnson and David Nester; Aron Harder, Austin Engle, Dylan Grove, James Paetkau, Ben Zook, Andrew Troyer and Collin Longenecker.

Winners of the STEM poster contest, underclass division are: first, Leah Lapp and Melissa Kinkaid; second, Seth Weaver and Jared Bergman; third, Linda Ouedraogo and Caroline Lehman.

Bible and Religion Department

Junior Justine Nolt accepts an award from Professor Peter Dula. She won an annual essay contest sponsored by Haverim, the alumni association of the Bible and Religion Department, to promote scholarly work in related fields. Janaya Sachs (left) won third place.

The winners of an essay contest in the field of Bible, theology, church history and philosophy, sponsored by Haverim, the alumni association of Bible and Religion Department, were recognized. Justine Nolt won $300 and first place for her analysis of Eucharistic theology. Christina Hershey won $200 and second place for her treatment of Lancaster Mennonite Conference’s decision to leave Mennonite Church USA. Janaya Sachs was awarded $100 and third place for her exegesis of 1 Corinthians 5.

Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

 The following students were recognized by Executive Director Daryl Byler: Caitlin Morneau, for publication of an article on restorative justice; Kajungu Mturi, for his work with Harrisonburg High School’s Peer Leaders program; Matt Tibbles, for work with youth at Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Boys and Girls Club; Jennifer Chi Lee, for overall leadership to CJP; and Myriam Aziz, Sho Igawa, Christine Kindler, Agnes Chen and Isabel Castillo for their Arts and Peacebuilding film productions.

Education Department

Five students were selected as Teachers of Promise by Don Steiner, interim department chair: Dorothy Hershey, Rebekah Hertzler, Erick Luna, Miranda Lyle and Amy Nussbaum. Teachers of Promise is a statewide honor recognizing gifted pre-service teachers. Read more here.

Paul Lankford was awarded the Courage to Teach award, which is modeled after the principles of Quaker educator Parker Palmer. “Paul was selected for his dedication and effectiveness in teaching, genuine caring for students, value-based and highly principled behaviors, reflective thought and practice and a passion for teaching,” Steiner said. Lankford was awarded a copy of Palmer’s Courage to Teach book.

History Department

Robert Cook was awarded the Outstanding History Student for his essay on Rockbridge County schools integration. A future social studies educator, he was awarded a copy of A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor.

Language and Literature Department

The following awards were presented by department chair Mike Medley:

  • The Ray Elvin Horst Award for Excellence in Spanish: Maddie Gish
  • Jay B. Landis Award (Literary essay): Jasmine Miller
  • The Ervie L. Glick Award for Excellence in World Language Study: Anna Messer
  • James Bomberger Award (TESOL): Jasmine Miller
  • Carroll Yoder Award (English teaching): Quinn Kathrineberg
  • Omar Eby Award (Creative writing): Kaitlin Abrahams

Mathematical Sciences Department

Aron Harder, winner of the Mathematics Department math contest, receives his prize from Professor Owen Byer.

Junior Aron Harder was the winner of the department’s mathematics contest. Harder also won this contest as a first-year student. His prize was what Professor Owen Byer described as a “math geek” t-shirt. Second place went to first-year Austin Engle.

Seven members of the Engineers for a Sustainable World club won first place in the first- and second-year undergraduate design team division at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Zone 2 Conference early March in Puerto Rico. Ben Zook, Dylan Grove, James Paetkau, Collin Longenecker, Austin Engle, Ben Stutzman and Andrew Troyer were recognized for their work.

Music Department

Jon Bishop was recognized as the Outstanding Senior in Music Composition Award. Jacinda Stahly earned the Outstanding Senior in Music Performance award.

Nursing Department

Nursing award recipients Abbie Luther, Nina Simmons and Leona Good with Professor Ann Schaeffer.

Professors Audrey Myers and Ann Schaeffer, Nursing Student Association (NSA) sponsors, presented the department’s annual awards.

Nina Simmons was given the Leadership Award, for her work in the NSA to involve all levels of students. She will work after graduation in the intensive care unit at Augusta Health.

Abbie Luther was given the Sacred Covenant Award. The sacred covenant is a model of nursing that honors the relationship between the nurse and the patient. “Nursing has shaped me and continues to shape me into embodying Christ in my everyday life,” said Luther. “One of the biggest reasons I decided to study nursing was because it allowed me to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As my future as a nurse unfolds, my hope is that I stay grounded in this simple truth. Kindness, presence, grace, love and compassion will be my guiding light.”

Leona Good earned the Academic Achievement Award. “Nursing school has challenged me to step up because I know that my knowledge and education impacts the care I am able to give others. I am driven by the desire to be the best nurse I can be for my patients. As my journey into nursing begins this next year, I am looking forward to how my career will allow me to offer myself and form relationships with people in their most vulnerable times.”

Visual and Communication Arts and Theater Department

Professor Justin Poole (left), who directed “The 39 Steps,” recognizes the cast for their certificate of merit from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Lila Marks received the Matthew Alan Styer VaCA Scholarship Grant for excellence and dedication to photography. “Lila is a passionate and compassionate documentary photographer of human encounters,” said Steven David Johnson, department chair. Johnson added that Marks is an excellent student, receptive to critique and already approaching photography with a critical and professional acumen and interest. She is pursuing a vocation in humanitarian documentary photography.

The cast of The 39 Steps earned a Certificate of Merit for Ensemble Acting from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). The cast includes Jeremiah Hines, Dylan Peachy, Collin Dutt, Abigail Greaser, Emma Roth, Clara Bush, Robert Weaver and Esther Ajayi.

Greaser and Bush earned nominations for the Irene Ryan Acting Competition. Roth is an alternate.

Ezrionna Prioleau was recognized for her outstanding work in stage management for The 39 Steps and recommended for the KCACTF national competition in stage management.

Academic Success Center and Writing Program

Janaya Sachs was honored as Tutor of the Year. “She has been a chemistry, mathematics, Bible and general-whatever-I-can-help-you-with-I-will-help-you-with tutor,” said Linda Gnagey, director of the Academic Success Center. “We want to thank Janaya for three years of support for many different students at many different academic levels and departments.”

Graduating tutors were also recognized: Kaylee Ferguson (biology), Leona Good (nursing), Jacob Hertzler (computer science), Andre Kalend (biology and history), Lamar Kiser (nursing), Timothy Martin (mathematics) and Sam Miller (biology). Quinn Kathrineberg and Luisa Miller were recognized by Professor Vi Dutcher, director of the Writing Program.

Common Grounds Coffeehouse

“Common Grounds Coffeehouse is routinely blessed to be led by exceptional students who give boundless creative energy and passion to their shared work,” said Rachel Roth Sawatzky, student programs director. She recognized three of the five managers who are seniors: Stephanie Anders, events manager; Maddie Gish, operations manager; and Ryan Thomas, finance manager.

Read more about their contributions here.

Student Government Association

The spring 2017 executive council was recognized: Quinn Kathrineberg, president; Mario Valladares, vice president; Keyri Lopez- Godoy, secretary; Rachel Holderman, vice president of marketing; and Tyler Denlinger, treasurer.

Spring 2017 senators are Dera Nwankwo, Nicole Litwiller, Rebecca Cardwell, Val Hernandez, Seth Weaver, John Sanchez, Ali Zuercher, Carlos Garcia, Lamar Kiser, Leah Wenger, Luke Mullet, Caroline Lehman, and Victoria Barnes.

Campus Activities Council

Seniors Ali Hartzler and Jeremiah Robinson were recognized by Mike Yoder, assistant director of student programs and orientation for their commitment and dedication to providing creative and positive entertainment that engages the entire student body. Hartzler has been involved for two years with the tech department and as vice-president this year. Robinson joined CAC this year. Both have been instrumental in planning a variety of events, including the Color Run at Homecoming, the Presidents Ball, and Springfest.

Campus Ministries

Pastoral assistants were recognized: Rachel Breidigan, Maddie List, Grayson Mast, Janaya Sachs, Hannah Shultz, Alexa Weeks and Brittany Williams.

Ministry assistants were recognized: Sarah Regan, Bekah Mongold, Madalynn Payne, Nathaniel Nissley, Cameron White, Alex Wissler, Andrew Troyer, Dylan Grove, Austin Sachs, Jenna Lile, Maia Garber, Seth Weaver, Abigail Shelly, Ariel Barbosa, Justin Odom, Taylor Allen, Clarissa White, Lydia Haggard, Lindsay Acker, Kyra Lehman, Janet Spain, and Joseph Harder.

Residence Life

 Seniors and community assistants Eli Wenger and Becky Barrett were recognized for three years of service. Wenger’s “kind and welcoming” personality was noted as well as his ability to create enthusiastic participants in community.

Barrett “effortlessly gets along with all of her residents,” said Tyler Goss, resident director. “She is driven, organized and not afraid to speak up. She is a strong, grounded and welcoming leader.”

Goss also recognized Matthew Hunsberger, who has been promoted to assistant director of residence life after many years as a residence director.


All second-semester athletics award-winners were honored. Their accomplishments can be viewed here.