The preeminent criterion for receipt of a President’s Medal, which was established in 1985, is academic achievement. In addition, candidates must embody some combination of the following: service to the community, contribution to the arts, enlargement of the community's global perspective, athletic fitness and achievement, leadership ability and contribution to community discourse.
Recipients for 2014
Meghan Patricia Callahan from Centennial, Colo.
Major: Creative Writing Major, Minors in theatre and art history
Quote: “Your creative writing professors remark on your writing as having a poetic intensity of focus and observation that is rare even among most published work, and your unusual facility with language and emotional maturity has enabled you to produce truly moving and insightful work. Your dedicated efforts in textual studies, sparked by your discovery of a bookworm’s hole in the page of an old hymnal, (which was the moment you realized that bookworms actually exist!), has garnered you a reputation for persistence in your determination to expand your knowledge in this area. Your fascination with textuality has continued through your directed studies on campus and your summer study in London.
Your work has received department recognition through awards for your writing of fiction, poetry, scholarly and critical writing. In addition to your own writing, you have served as editor in chief of Exile, the student literary magazine; on the editorial board of Articulate, the English Department’s critical journal; as an actor in and director of theatrical productions; and as an active member and president of Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company. You have served as a tutor in both the English and Art History departments, as a Denison tour guide, and as a stage manager for the Music Department.
Meghan, we are confident you will continue to cast as wide a net after Denison as you have while here, knowing that your accomplishments here are a prelude to all that’s to come. Congratulations on your receipt of the President’s Medal.”
Joshua Simon Goldman from Cincinnati, Ohio
Quote: “Josh, your four years here have been a demonstration of exemplary academic achievements and an unmatched passion to serve. You have used your sharp critical thinking skills and humble yet confident manner to ignite interest among your peers in the issues you are passionate about, including education, justice and philanthropy. As an Education major, you have explored your field of interest from multiple angles, including your work in Washington, D.C., researching communication strategies of social entrepreneurs, and your Summer Scholar research on education reform discourse and the role of teacher unions. Based on your scholarly work, you were chosen as one of about 25 undergraduates from across the country to participate in the American Educational Research Association’s training workshop.
You have been described as a genuinely altruistic person who cares deeply about the welfare of others, not only as a problem-solver, but as one who can see the big picture and identify what needs to be done. These characteristics and skills have been evident in your choices of activities outside of the classroom. You began your service engagement by participating in the Denson Service Orientation program in Washington, D.C., and then returned to campus to become involved with the Denison Venture Philanthropy Club, evaluating and awarding monetary and volunteer assistance to Licking County organizations hoping to make a difference in the lives of others. You have been a Big Brother volunteer, co-moderator of Listening for a Change, a participant in a BreakAway Service Trip to East St. Louis, a Resident Assistant and Head Resident, and as a DCGA Co-Governor.
Josh, through this extraordinary range of activity you have lived your own educational philosophy by involving the three elements you have deemed critical to a college education: personal interaction, the vibrant exchange of ideas, and dedicated service to others. We are all the better for your presence at Denison, and we are delighted to award you this President’s Medal.”
Michaela Elizabeth Grenier from Downers Grove, Ill.
Major: International Studies and Women’s Studies
Quote: “Michaela, the words that have surfaced again and again in the comments of your nominators are fearless, unafraid, and courageous. Choosing the path of double majoring in the interdisciplinary programs of International Studies and Women’s Studies, you have woven together and integrated them on many levels, including your senior research on the Disjunctions between Movements for Gender and Racial Equity in Norway. This research is just one example of what a faculty member states is most impressive about you—your commitment to social and political justice and your ability to incorporate your passions into your academic work.
You have been able to make deep connections between your studies and your activities on campus and beyond. As a teaching assistant in the Be The Change (Maker) Cause; an active member of Paving the Way Pre-Orientation, Denisonians for Social Change, and Listening for a Change (there may well be a pattern here?); a Leadership Fellow in CLIC; a Professional Development Fellow in the Career Exploration and Development Office; and perhaps dearest of all to you—the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, your manifest your concerns for active listening and engaged dialogue as essential to social change as a core element of both your identity and the Denison experience.
Michaela, you have taken this concern off campus as well, with your study of civil rights issues in the United States; your travel to Botswana on a cross-cultural exchange trip; your semester in Norway, where you interned at Changemaker Norge, assisting a Norwegian social justice organization; and your work last year at an international summer camp, developing conflict-resolution skills in youth from Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, Eqypt and Afghanistan, among others countries where conflict is part of daily reality.
Michaela, you have been called the poster child for Denison’s aspiration to empower its students to see themselves as informed citizens, actively engaged on campus, in the nation, and beyond. With this medal, we honor your dedication to Denison, and we know that the world beyond this campus will be better for your passion and service.”
Andrea Lea Karl from Powell, Ohio
Major: Biochemistry, economics minor
Quote: “Andrea, you have been called a person of uncompromising integrity and outstanding character as well as a true leader both in the classroom and on the soccer field. Induction into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, a biochemistry major and economics minor, a Fellow in both the Chemistry and Biology departments—you have a long list of academic accolades. You have been described as having a peerless work ethic and as a student who is a “true scholar – someone who is in it for the love of learning and the hope of what that knowledge will bring.” Your long hours in the lab have helped to hone your passion for inquiry and your skills as a scientific investigator. Your work on the effects of UV radiation on cells, which began as a Summer Scholar project and continued throughout this year, will allow you to be a co-author on manuscripts published in a national journal—a distinct honor for an undergraduate student.
Your lab and classroom accomplishments have been matched by your success on the soccer field. As starting goalkeeper during your four years at Denison, you helped the women’s soccer team win two NCAC championships, and the team advanced to the NCAA Division III National Tournament Elite Eight with you in-goal. You have played in 80 of 81 possible games, missing just one game your first year due to an injury suffered during the pre-game warm up. As if that isn’t enough, during your four-year career, you had 287 saves, and you stopped opponents from scoring at all in 31 “shut-out” games.
Off the hill, you have served as a volunteer leader for Young Life Licking County over your four years at Denison, spending many hours each week mentoring students at Newark High School, and organizing weekend retreats and week-long camp trips.
Andrea, your combination of leadership, intellectual aptitude and community involvement makes you most deserving of this President’s Medal.”
Carlos Gilberto Maciel Neto from Recife, Brazil
Major: economics and international studies
Quote: “Carlos, you almost didn’t make it to Denison from your home in Brazil, but your persistence paid off. You obtained a student visa, arrived in Granville, and worked with dedication to make the very most of your Denison experience. You have distinguished yourself as one of our most talented scholar-athletes, with outstanding achievements in your Economics and International Studies majors and as a member of the swimming team. You have been named an Academic All American and a James Glerum Top 50 Student Athlete multiple times and have received numerous NCAA and NCAC honors, including NCAA Team Champion and All American. And your accomplishments extend globally, as you were a qualifier for the 2012 Brazilian Olympic Swimming Trials. You have served as an inspiration for other students as they ponder the constant challenge of balancing academic, athletic, service and social engagement.
Carlos, you have been described as the personification of commitment, honesty and integrity. One of your nominators writes that it is rare to encounter a young adult so passionate about his commitments and so responsible in fulfilling them. You have earned the respect of many in your work as a Resident Assistant and then as a Head Resident. You often have been called upon to do the “right” thing, which is often the “tougher” thing to do. You have worked at building community by engaging with others across diverse areas of campus life through your work on the Ad Hoc Committee on Alcohol and its Effects, the DU Student Athlete Advisory Council, as a performance manager for the Department of Theatre, and as a campus ambassador for the Bloomberg Institute.
Carlos, we thank you for bringing your talents to Denison and for your disciplined leadership. We know that you will excel in your studies of economic theory and policy at Bard College. We are proud to award you this President’s Medal as a reflection of all that you have achieved.”
Daniel Robert Persia from Spencerport, N.Y.
Major: mathematics and English writing , minor in Spanish
Quote: “Danny, you have served the college in areas that are foundational to a liberal arts education and to Denison’s core mission. One of your nominators writes that they just stopped being surprised by how much you were “putting together across academic disciplines and co-curricular work on campus and in the wider community.” In just one example, you proposed a summer research project—at the end of your first year—to study the challenges facing the Newark City School District. While delving into the city’s economic history, you introduced your co-researcher and faculty advisor to the theory of Complex Adaptive System Analysis, which you had learned in your computer science class, and applied it to your study of the interaction between the economic, political, social, and educational systems in Newark.
While that project emphasized education, you have been a double major in Mathematics and English Writing with a minor in Spanish. In each of these domains, your energy and work ethic have been apparent. In addition to being a department Fellow and tutor in Math and Computer Science, you found time to be a teaching assistant in both the Education Department and the Reynolds Young Writers Workshop, a consultant in the Writing Center, and a representative on the Writing Task Force and most astute member of the Academic Affairs Council. Your contributions in these endeavors have been praised as “nothing short of spectacular.” Your involvement outside the classroom has included founding Denison’s chapter of Invisible Children, participating in and then for two years leading the Denison Service Orientation trip to Washington, D.C., and chairing the mentoring group Denison Companions, and serving as president of the Denison Community Association. We were delighted, but not at all surprised, at your recent recognition by the Fulbright Commission. With gentleness and grace, you have been a community builder, a gifted writer and communicator, and a high-achieving, open-minded individual who has led by example. One faculty member predicted that in your post-Denison career, you will be not only an active and morally discerning citizen, but a transformational one. Danny, with deep admiration for your accomplishments, we are proud to award you this President’s Medal.
Yubo “Paul” Yang from Chendu, China
Major: Physics and Mathematics
Quote: “Paul, your Denison experience been marked by unparalleled scientific ability, tenacious curiosity and significant accomplishment. With a double major in Physics and Mathematics, you have far exceeded the expectations of your professors in both departments. A faculty member stated that, like an artist being driven to create, you are driven to learn and to make contributions to the sciences.
In the study of mathematics, it has not been uncommon for you to learn a new theory, leave the classroom to complete your assignments, and then spend hours on your own conjectures. You have been known for sharing your insights with your classmates in such a charming and clear way that your professors sometimes felt the classes were team-taught and, in some cases, who was teaching whom.
Your physics professors tell similar stories, saying, “You are the student we always dream exists, but never believe actually does.” You have been a natural leader in the classroom and in your work as a tutor and lab assistant. You have served as a judge at local middle school science fairs, and you have guided students toward making discoveries on their own.
Your notable accomplishments have extended outside the classroom as well. Last semester you participated in the highly selective Oak Ridge Science Program, chosen as one of 15 of the best science students from 27 colleges and universities. The program’s director noted you as one of the best students he has taught in his 20-year history with the program. Paul, your participation in research is nothing short of outstanding. You were a full-fledged collaborator on a faculty members’ research project, and she noted that you drove the research forward through “your force of intellect, personality and enthusiasm.” Your research successes have allowed you to present multiple times at national meetings of the American Physics Society.
Paul, for your keen mind and enthusiastic personality, we are delighted to award you this President’s Medal.”