Josh Good received cords signifying lifetime membership into Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honor society, from Professor Jenni Holsinger. He was one of more than 130 students to be honored during Eastern Mennonite University's spring recognition chapel. (Photos by Andrew Strack)

Spring recognition chapel honors nearly 130 student leaders

Leadership style and abilities emerge from experience and from constant learning, Vice President of Student Life Jim Smucker said in his welcome to Eastern Mennonite University’s spring semester recognition chapel. “We work, we experiment, we make mistakes, we learn, we make adjustments and we work some more, all in hopes of making a contribution to the common good of the community.”

As a small liberal arts university, EMU provides a myriad of ways for students to practice leadership – to learn, experiment, make mistakes and grow outside comfort zones  – whether through athletics and academics, student government, residence life, campus ministries and more.

Undergraduate Campus Pastor Lana Miller thanks pastoral and ministry assistants.

“Today we want to recognize a number of folks who have been engaged in this practice, using their time, gifts and abilities for the betterment of our community,” he said. “From my vantage point in student life, it has been inspiring to see up close and personal, the many leadership contributions, of so many on our campus. Today we celebrate with you, and thank you for these contributions.”

Academic Success Center

Senior tutors with the Academic Success Center were recognized: Johanna Burkholder (accounting); Emily Clatterbuck (writing and Spanish, three years), Phoebe Coffie (biology, 1.5 years), Aaron Dunmore (economics, two years), Liesl Graber (writing, three years), Corey Hostetler (history tutor, three years), Austin Huff (math and computer science, three years), Sammy Kauffman (biology, two years), Maisie Kirkley (psychology, two years), Cerrie Mendoza (environmental science, one year), Susanna Sewall (nursing, two years), Rachel Shenk (core curriculum, two years), Stephanie Slabach Brubaker (nursing, one year), and Lara Weaver (psychology, three years).

Janae Kauffman was awarded the Tutor of the Year Award for her three-year commitment to students “who often requested her, the ways in which she fulfilled the mission of the writing tutor, and her strong philosophy of tutoring overall,” said Professor Vi Dutcher, director of the university’s writing program.

Applied Social Science

Josh Good was inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honor society. Professor Jenni Holsinger presented him with the cords.


  • Newcomer of the Year awards went to Rachel Sauder, soccer, and Brett Lindsay, baseball.
  • Athletes of the Year are Michaela Mast, cross country and track and field, and Connor Faint, track and field.
  • Presidents Awards went to Emily Augsburger, field hockey, and Dan Lutz, volleyball.

Other award-winners from the spring semester were also recognized, and can be viewed at

Bible and Religion

Michaela Mast won first place and $300 in the Haverim Writing Awards contest with her paper, “The Wilderness of the Bible in the Age of the Anthropocene,” which traces the theological and cultural constructions of wilderness from Genesis to her own cross-cultural in the Middle East.

Sarah Longenecker earned second place and $200 with “Art as Mediator.”

Luke Mullet won third place and $100 for “Toward Composition: Creatively Performing Scripture in a Dynamic World.”

The awards were made by Professor Peter Dula, who used his remaining time to encourage submissions for next year’s context with this line: “If you want to receive more money for an academic paper than you will ever get in your life, we invite you to participate next year.”

Campus Ministries

Undergraduate campus pastor Lana Miller recognized the following:

  • Ministry assistants Lindsay Acker, Victoria Barnes, Sara Byler, Caitlin Campbell, Maya Dula, Larissa Graber, Val Hernandez, Emma Hoover, Yonas Ketsela, Anisa Leonard, Skylar List, Olivia Mbualungu, Bekah Mongold, Caleb Oakes, Meredith Stinnette, Christian Stutzman, Nik Tucker, Matthew Zimmerman.
  • Pastoral assistants: Perry Blosser, Rachel Breidigan, Cela Hoefle, Grayson Mast, Austin Sachs, Elizabeth Resto, Amanda Williams, Brittany Williams.

    Center for Justice and Peacebuilding Executive Director Daryl Byler congratulates graduate students.

Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

Graduate students Samira Abou Alfa, Talibah Aquil, Astur Tahlil and Mikayla Waters-Crittenton were recognized for sharing  their concerns with CJP faculty and staff about prioritizing inclusion around race, gender, sexual orientation and religion as well as making classes and community more trauma-sensitive.

Biology and Chemistry

The following awards were presented by Professor Tara Kishbaugh:

  • Outstanding first-year chemistry student: Austin Yoder
  • Outstanding second-year biology student: Kevin Sungu
  • Outstanding senior chemistry student: Marchelle Smucker
  • Outstanding senior biology student: Katherine Lehman and Samantha Kauffman
  • Award for Excellence in Biology/Chemistry Research: Braden Herman
  • Biology/Chemistry Award for Exceptional Service: Melissa Kinkaid.

Additionally, the winners of the STEM Celebration poster contest were recognized. Click here for those results.


Jasmine Miller, currently on cross cultural, was awarded the Courage to Teach Award.  The award is modeled after principles in Parker Palmer’s book, a copy of which is given to the winner. Faculty select this student on several criteria.

The five annual Teachers of Promise from EMU are Emily Clatterbuck, Jessica Longenecker, Keyri Lopez-Godoy, Hannah Shultz and Alexa Weeks. Read more here.

Language and Literature

  • Emily Clatterbuck was awarded the Carroll Yoder Award for Teaching Excellence in honor of a senior or junior who has demonstrated academic excellence in both literary studies and education courses and demonstrates a clear call to the teaching profession.
  • Laurie Serrell earned the Ervie L. Glick Award for Excellence in World Language Study, which honors a senior or junior who has exhibited academic excellence as a Spanish major and has show a clear sense of call to pursuing graduate work or using language skills in service to the church.
  • Liesl Graber earns the Jay B. Landis Award for Excellence in Literary Studies, honoring a student majoring or minoring in the language and literature field of study who completes an essay, research paper or scholarly presentation for a literature course that exemplifies the components of good literary analysis.
  • Liesl Graber also was awarded the Omar Eby Writing Award, honoring a senior majoring or minoring in Writing Studies who demonstrates excellence in the craft of creative writing and who provides insightful critique and support for other writers in creative workshops.
  • Kevin Clark earned the Ray Elvin Horst Award for Excellence in Spanish.

    Cameron Byer receives his t-shirt, a hotly contested prize, for winning the EMU Math Contest from Professor Daniel Showalter.

At the end of her presentation, Professor Vi Dutcher noted that each award was named for an esteemed emeritus faculty member, and she recognized two emeritus professors Ervie L. Glick and Ray Horst present at the event.

Mathematical Sciences

Cameron Byer, Daniel Harder and Ben Stutzman were recognized for their win in the international Kryptos crypto-analysis competition. Read more about that win here.

Cameron Byer won the EMU Math Competition, introduced by Professor Daniel Showalter as “a competition for people who go out of their way to take a math test when they don’t have to,” a description epitomized by the second-place-tie-winner Andrew Riemer-Berg, who took the test from Latin America where he is traveling on cross cultural. Ben Stutzman was the other second-place finisher.

Music Department

Andry Stultz and Hannah Schultz received the Excellence in Music Education Award. Perry Blosser earned the Excellence in Music Composition.


The following students were chosen by their peers and faculty.

Rachel Breidigan was awarded the Servant Leadership Award for her service to others. She is president of the Student Nurses Association and will be working on the progressive care unit at RMH.  She chose nursing for many reasons, including “the desire to help others, the strong biblical parallels it has, and, of course, job security.”

Stephanie Slabach Brubaker is awarded the Sacred Covenant Award and the award for academic achievement. The first award reflects the high performance of the embodiment of the Sacred Covenant Model EMU nurses use to guide their practice. In the choice of nursing as her profession, Stephanie hopes to “combine my desire to help others with my fascination with how God orchestrated the human body. I find that through nursing, I can comfort others in their time of need.” Next year, she will join Mennonite Central Committee SALT program to work at a clinic in Bangladesh.

Residence Life

Carissa Luginbill and Scott Eyre recognized eight senior Community Advisors: Elizabeth Eutsler, Austin Huff, Ben Durren, Rediet Girma, Victoria Campbell, Keyri Lopez-Godoy and Robert Weaver.

Michael Austin was one of two winners of the Galen R. Lehman Outstanding Achievement in Research, awarded by Professor Gregory Koop.

Scott Eyre mentioned that a record number of CAs are returning next year, one way in which this particular group has left a legacy.

The five nominees for Residence Life’s Transformational Leadership Award, voted by their peers, are Bailey Hall, Capril Mirarchi, Keyri Lopez-Godoy, Jakya Jones and Phoebe Swe. The finalist will be announced later this week.


Four students were recognized by Professor Gregory Koop.

Michael Austin and Michaela Mast jointly earned the Galen R. Lehman Outstanding Achievement in Research, judged on the criteria of initiative and ingenuity, public dissemination, and quality of writing. Michaela’s research was titled  “The brain on music: An inquiry of shared music-color associations.” Austin’s research was on “Directed forgetting: Examining accounts through negative priming”

Hannah Cash was awarded the Theory to Praxis Internship Award, for her work with The Making Space, a local art therapy program. Along with other responsibilities, Hannah helped to improve social media presence and community outreach, and was asked to continue her involvement as the new secretary to the board of directors.

Lara Weaver earned Best Undergraduate Poster at the Virginia Association for Psychological Science conference earlier this month. Her project was entitled “Role of intrinsic and extrinsic religious motivation and empathy in predicting theological ideation.”

Student Programs

Jack Hummel and Da’Jahnea Robinson were recognized for their work on Campus Activities Council. Jack served for two years, doing “all things technical,” and Da’Jahnea was marketing director 2016-17 and vice president in 2017, among other roles.

From Common Grounds, the following leaders were recognized: Abe Hartzler, the events manager who hosted 70 campus events; Taylor Esau, who spent two years as a barista and this year as operations manager, a human resources specialist who works with 25-plus employees; Tim Callahan, finance manager; and Sammy Kauffman, who worked for one year as a barista and then two years as catering manager.

Tim Callahan was also recognized for his work with Recreational Sports.

Student Government Association

Vice President of Student Life Jim Smucker facilitates “the gavel thing,” a formal exchange between outgoing co-presidents Caleb Shrock-Hurst and Adam Harnish and incoming co-president Mario Hernandez. With co-president Nicole Litwiller on cross-cultural, Paul Kayembe (right), incoming vice president, stands in for her.

Caleb Schrock-Hurst and Adam Harnish, co-presidents of spring 2018, ceremonially passed the gavel to Mario Hernandez and Nicole Litwiller, recently elected co-presidents for the fall 2018 semester.

Spring 2018 leaders completing their service include:

  • Emmanuel Kampanga, vice president
  • Erik Peachey, treasurer
  • Rachel Holderman, vice president for marketing
  • Jeremy Brenneman, Secretary
  • Senators Fred Flores, Hannah Nichols, Ruth Reimer-Berg, Susanna Sewall, Emma Yoder, Grant Amoateng, Joshua Curtis, Mario Hernandez, Paul Kayembe, Donaldo Lleshi, Ella Spitler, Austin Tomlin.

Recently elected fall 2018 officers are:

  • Nicole Litwiller and Mario Hernandez, co-presidents;
  • Paul Kayembe, vice president;
  • Ben Zook, treasurer;
  • Luke Mullet, secretary.

Visual and Communication Arts

Junior Missy Muterspaugh was awarded the Matthew Alan Styer Scholarship Grant, which honors “exceptional skill and dedication to photography and/or graphic design.”

Royals Cup

Andrew Troyer claimed his third consecutive individual Royals Cup title, for attendance at a wide variety of campus events throughout the year. Elmwood gathered the most points to take the Royals Cup.

Discussion on “Spring recognition chapel honors nearly 130 student leaders

  1. How many Bible students, missionaries, souls won, miracles in Jesus?
    Praying wayne kratzer

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