Professor Daniel Showalter congratulates Isaac Andreas (left) and Trajon Brown, who were both honored with the Outstanding Senior in Computer Science Award at Eastern Mennonite University's student recognition event in Lehman Auditorium Tuesday, May 3. (Photos by Rachel Holderman).

EMU Honors, Awards and Recognitions – 2021-22

More than 100 Eastern Mennonite University students were recognized for accomplishments and achievements during the 2021-22 academic year during a special recognition ceremony Tuesday.

View the livestream recording.


Academic Success Center

Seniors who worked as tutors were recognized: Rodrigo Barahona, Jonas Beachy, Ben Bontrager-Singer, Garrett Cash, Tarynn Clark, Erin Clayton, Elizabeth Eby, Ike Esh, Ben Greenleaf, Mary Harnish, Tasia Hoover, Caleb Hostetler, Brenda Kasongo, Nicole Miller, Sara Beth Mumbauer, Jake Myers, Andrea Troyer, Laura Troyer, Jason Wong, Eli Wright, Teo Yoder, Janessa Zimmerman, and Verda Zook.

Bible and Religion

The annual Haverim* writing awards are given to students whose essays demonstrate robust scholarship related in one way or another to biblical studies, religion, philosophy, and/or Anabaptist/Mennonite thought and practice. Cash awards of $300, $200, and $100 for first, second and third place, respectively, come with the prize. 

  • First place: Elizabeth Eby for “”Beyond Cancel Culture: Uniting around Difference in the Book of Acts,” highlighting how the “cancel culture” phenomenon can too often cause precisely the exclusion that it seeks to address and articulating how the Apostolic Decree encouraged radical inclusion while still challenging and de-centering the voices that perpetuate injustice.
  • Second place: Isaac Alderfer for his exploration of the industrialization of food production and his argument that a turn toward agroecology could offer a form of food production that pays attention to both social and environmental justice.
  • Third place: Jake Myers for his history of monasticism in Ireland and effects on surrounding communities.

*Haverim, the Hebrew word for friends, is a group of Bible, religion, and theology and seminary alumni which supports EMU and EMS.

Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sustainability

  • Nicole Miller: Outstanding Senior Chemistry Student
  • Faith Manickam: Outstanding Senior Biology Student
  • Isaac Alderfer and Jacob Myers: Outstanding Environmental Sustainability Student
  • Evan Kauffman and Meredith Lehman: Outstanding First-Year Chemistry Student Award
  • Megan Miller and Isaac Spicher: Outstanding Second-Year Biology Student Awards
  • Jessie Landis: Award for Excellence in Research, 
  • Andrew Troyer: Award for Exceptional Service.

Business and Leadership

  • Rodrigo Barahona: Outstanding Economics Senior
  • Alcinda Brubaker: Exceptional Service Award
  • Max Driver: Outstanding Business Administration Senior 
  • Max Driver: Outstanding Research Award
  • Jaylon Lee: Outstanding Recreation and Sports Management Senior
  • Isaac Longacher: Outstanding Marketing Senior
  • Verda Zook: Outstanding Accounting Senior.

Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

Graduate student Conner Suddick was selected for recognition for “exceptionally artful and inclusive leadership,” according to his advisor Katie Mansfield, lead trainer with the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience. “Conner, thank you for imagining an inclusive experience for every body at EMU and working creatively to address historical and present wounds and weave a more loving future that includes queer bodies, engaging research, writing, participatory arts-based research and circle processes.”


Five education students were named as 2022 Teachers of Promise, among 100 of the best and brightest pre-service teachers in Virginia: 

From left: Seniors Anna Smith, Mary Harnish, Rachel Lute, Bethany Shultz, and Hannah Leaman are Eastern Mennonite University’s 2022 Teachers of Promise. (Courtesy photo)
  • Mary Harnish, from Lancaster, Pa.; Elementary Education, PreK-6 & Special Education
  • Hannah Leaman, from Bakersfield, Ca.; Mathematics, Secondary Education, 6-12
  • Rachel Lute, from New Market, Va.; Early Elementary Education, PreK-3
  • Bethany Shultz, from Harrisonburg, Va.; Elementary Education, PreK-6 
  • Anna Smith, from Edinburg, Va.;  Elementary Education, PreK-6.

Gage Riddick was selected by department faculty for the annual Courage to Teach Award, modeled after principles in Parker Palmer’s book of the same name. Department faculty selected Gage for his  dedication and success in teaching, her genuine caring for students, reflective practice, highly principled behaviors, and her courage to navigate challenging experiences. He was presented with a copy of Palmer’s book.

EMU faculty selected Skylar Hedgepeth for the Virginia Woman’s Scholar Award from the Virginia State Organization of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. The award is for an outstanding graduate with the promise of being a key woman educator.

Language and Literature

The following students earned awards and scholarships, many of which are in memory of valued professors who provided powerful examples of mentorship, scholarship and teaching.

  • Sarah Bascom is the winner of the Carroll Yoder Award for Teaching Excellence, which honors an EMU senior or junior who has demonstrated academic excellence in both literary studies and education courses and has shown a clear call to the teaching profession. 
  • Claire Whetzel earned the Ray Elvin Horst Award for excellence in Spanish. 
  • Jessamine Domingo earned the Ervie L. Glick Award for excellence in world language study.
  • Claire Whetzel is awarded the Omar Eby Writing Award. This award is presented to 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.
  • Neo Carter was awarded the Omar and Anna Kathryn Eby Scholarship.
  • Sarah Bascom and Tiffany Carey were awarded the Hubert R. and Mildred Pellman Scholarship.
  • Karla Hostetter was awarded the Leroy Pellman/Elizabeth Lauver Scholarship.
  • Jessica Chisolm and Joseph Whetzel were awarded the Esther Eby Glass Scholarship.
  • Hannah Landis, Maria Menjivar, and Lucy Unzicker were awarded the Ernest G. Gehman Scholarship. 

Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science

  • Jonas Beachy and Laura Troyer: Outstanding Seniors in Engineering Award, awarded by the faculty as the highest honor for the graduate/s demonstrating academic excellence, service, and contributions to community and culture at EMU.
  • Ike Esh and Hannah Leaman: Outstanding Seniors in Mathematics Award, awarded by the faculty as the highest honor for the graduate demonstrating academic excellence, service, and contributions to community and culture at EMU.
  • Isaac Andreas and Trajon Brown: Outstanding Seniors in Computer Science Award, awarded by the faculty as the highest honor for the graduate demonstrating academic excellence, service, and contributions to community and culture at EMU.
  • Ike Esh won EMU’s annual math competition.
  • Winners of the Kryptos international codebreaking competition, out of 77 teams, were Hannah Leaman, Caleb Hostetler and Mana Acosta. Look for news coverage soon!


Two students were honored with the Outstanding Student in Music Award for leadership, service, music performance and music scholarship.

  • Eve Yavny has served as concertmaster of the EMU Chamber Orchestra, is a two-time winner of the EMU concerto competition, and gave an excellent senior recital performance. She has distinguished herself as a teacher and assistant in the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Program as well as performed in countless university and department events.  
  • Isaac Longacre distinguished himself throughout his career at EMU with exceptional performances in four EMU musical theater productions, playing iconic roles from a villain to a hero in “Shrek,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “U2 Romeo and Juliet,” and “Noye’s Fludde.”

Political Science

Paige Hurley was named the History and Political Science Outstanding Student. She was recognized for exemplary service, as the student assistant for the program, and scholarship, with  research published in New Errands, the online publication of the Eastern American Studies Association.


  • Avery Trinh and Katie Zuercher were both awarded the Galen R. Lehman Outstanding Achievement in Research Award. Both had exceptional designs, data collection and interpretation of results. Katie’s research was on the survival processing paradigm for first person shooter video games and Avery worked with EMU Institutional Research on a survey about belonging.
  • Joshua Wenger and Lindsay Green received the Judy H. Mullet Award for Internship Excellence, for their outstanding and consistent performance in psychology internship with exceptional independent work in establishing a unique field placement experience with Sentara Behavioral Health and Outpatient Center and the Community Care and Learning Center, respectively.

Campus Life

Campus Activities Council

Natallie Brown, Isaac Andreas, Thomas Erickson, Aliyyah Haggard, Ashley Schoenhardt and Jeremiah Yoder for the CAC All-Star Award. Criteria includes volunteering over 200 hours or working more than 350 hours.

Office of Faith and Spiritual Life

The following students were recognized for leadership as student chaplains, nurturing faith and spiritual life in various ways: Micah Buckwalter, sustainability; Alyssa Breidigan, worship; Natallie Brown, discipleship; Elizabeth Eby, engagement; Kate Landis, worship; Emma Nord, community; Reah Clymer, community; and Halie Mast, service.

Center for Interfaith Engagement

Philip Krabill and Leah Walker were recognized for offering opportunities in fall and spring, respectively, helping to create spaces on campus for engagement around issues of religious diversity and justice. They co-planned events such as SoulStories and interfaith leadership convocation breakout groups, student dinners, and celebrations of sacred holidays on campus, according to Trina Trotter Nussbaum, associate director of the Center for Interfaith Engagement, who offered the appreciation.

Multicultural Student Services

Director of Multicultural Student Services Celeste Thomas recognized the leaders the Latinx Student Alliance, many of them first-year students who stepped in to revive and continue the club after several seniors involved in leadership graduated: co-presidents Ashley Iscoa, Mayra Cruz and Cristal Narciso; co-secretaries Diego Tijerina Saucedo and KC Argueta-Rivas; marketing director David Flores Cano; historians Emily Diaz and Ariel Morales Bonilla; and treasurers Margarita Hernandez-Perez and Tony Cortes.

Residence Life

Sarah Grossen was recognized with the Outstanding CA Award, for her three-year commitment to serving as a community advisor in EMU residence halls. “She continuously creates safe, fun, and inviting spaces for all of her residents,” said Tyler Goss, assistant director of student programs.

Student Government Association

Co-presidents of the Student Government Association Philip Krabill, Faith Manickam, and Aman Seyoum, were recognized for outstanding leadership by Dean of Students Shannon Dycus.

The co-presidents passed the gavel to the incoming leadership team of Meredith Lehman, Ella Brubaker, and Hannah Beck.

From left: Aman Seyoum, co-president of EMU’s Student Government Association, participates in the ceremonial passing of the gavel with incoming leadership Hannah Beck, Meredith Lehman, and Ella Brubaker. Co-president Faith Manickam is far right. Co-president Philip Kraybill is not present.

Athletics (includes winter and spring seasons)

Athletic Department Awards

Freshman of the Year – Brii Redfearn: Women’s Basketball and Damon Morgan: Men’s Track & Field

Athlete of the Years – Paris Hutchinson: Women’s Volleyball and Alijah Johnson: Men’s Track & Field

President’s Award – Allison Shelly: Women’s Triathlon, XC and Track & Field and Isaac Alderfer: Men’s XC and Track & Field

Field Hockey

Skylar Hedgepeth, Maggie Groetsch, Kate Landis and Libbie Derstine were named Scholars of Distinction as well as to the National Academic Squad. Joining them on the National Academic Squad were Rachel Breslin, Keely Mitchell, Cassidy Armstrong and Morgan Leslie. 

Women’s Volleyball

Paris Hutchinson: VaSID All-State Second Team

Men’s Basketball 

Tim Jones: Royals Athlete of the Week; D3 National Team of the Week; ODAC MBB Player of the Week; 1,000 Career Points; All-VaSID Second Team; All-ODAC Second Team.

Mizz Nyagwegwe and Mark Burkholder were each named to a Royals Athlete of the Week honor.

Women’s Basketball                   

Claiborne Poston: Royals Athlete of the Week

Men’s Indoor Track and Field

Distance Medley Relay – Set EMU indoor T&F record – 10:22.26 

Alijah Johnson: Set EMU indoor T&F record in the 60m – 6.96; Set EMU indoor T&F record in the 200m – 21.96; All-ODAC Second Team in the 200m; All ODAC Third Team in the 60m;                  All-VaSID First Team – Sprints; Qualified for NCAA Indoor National Championships.

Justice Allen: Royals Athlete of the Week

Eli Roeschley: Royals Athlete of the Week; All-ODAC Second Team in Triple Jump

Isaac Alderfer: Royals Athlete of the Week; All-ODAC Second Team in the Mile; All-ODAC Second Team in the 800m; All-VaSID Second Team – Mid Distance; Qualified for NCAA Indoor National Championships; DMR-All-VaSID Second Team

Women’s Indoor Track and Field

Jenna Weaver:  Royals Athlete of the Week 

Men’s Volleyball

Nate McGhee: Royals Athlete of the Week


Jon Sawyers: D3 Team of the Week 

Brett Lindsay: ODAC Player of the Week 

Ray Tricarico, Ethan Spraker, and Natty Solomon were each named to a Royals Athlete of the Week honor. 

Women’s Lacrosse

KC Argueta-Rivas and Skylar Hedgepeth were each named to a Royals Athlete of the Week Honor.


Grace Fravel, Bri Allen, Emily Campbell and Sierra Lantz were each named to a Royals Athlete of the Week Honor.                     

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field

Alijah Johnson: Men’s ODAC Track Athlete of the Week and Royals Athlete of the Week.

Women’s Outdoor Track & Field

Kendra Oguamena: Royals Athlete of the Week