Student Scholars, Mentors Feted
Scott Semanski had only praise for associate professor of music Peter Kaminsky. “He is by far one of the best professors I’ve ever had,” said Semanski, a sophomore majoring in music education and a Nutmeg Scholar, during a reception on March 24.
Karem Dioses, a senior, said her mentor, Anne Berthelot, professor of modern and classical languages, “has continually helped and encouraged me to pursue my French career – and anything else I like.” Dioses, a Day of Pride Scholar, is majoring in French and biology.
Semanski and Dioses are two of more than 50 students who, with their faculty mentors, attended the second annual spring luncheon for Day of Pride and Nutmeg scholars at the Alumni Center. The event was created by the Honors Program and the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management to honor graduating seniors, recognize their faculty or staff mentors, and celebrate the achievements of all scholars.
Lynne Goodstein, associate vice provost and director of the Honors Program, gave the welcoming address. “You are incredibly talented students,” she said. “You’re involved in leadership and were selected for the program because of a spark, something intangible. You have fantastic futures.”
Students were asked to bring mentors, she said, because “no one does something alone. Everybody is working in a context where the contributions of those around us are very much a part of whatever any one individual accomplishes.”
The Nutmeg Scholarships are awarded to freshmen, and honor the exceptional accomplishments of Connecticut high school seniors. Day of Pride Scholarships are for freshmen and are awarded to outstanding Connecticut high school seniors who are leaders in their communities and who help foster multiculturalism.
Dolan Evanovich, vice provost for enrollment management, delivered a message on behalf of President Austin. He told students they were the best and brightest at the University. “Stay connected to your alma mater,” he said. “We expect you to be successful. We want you to come back often and share in the pride and accomplishments.”
Thanking the faculty, he said, “You are truly special people. You’ve been selected by this group of students to come to the luncheon. You’ve made a special connection.”
David Agrawal, a Nutmeg Scholar and a University Scholar, will graduate in May. Agrawal, a political science and economics major, said working with his advisor, Jeffrey Ladewig, “has been a great learning experience. I thank him for all the work he has done.” He also noted that Ladewig has helped him “chill and relax.”
Ladewig, an assistant professor of political science, said he enjoyed watching Agrawal “put together a unique research project and seeing it grow and develop.”
Jaime Randle, a freshman majoring in psychology, couldn’t hold back the tears when she spoke about Kathy Usher, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and assistant director of the Honors Program.
“I haven’t gotten to meet many people who touched my life as she has,” said Randle, who said that when she arrived at Storrs, she was “homesick and overwhelmed.”
Alison Chen, an engineering major who has not yet decided on her specialty, brought her mentor Kevin McLaughlin, program director of the Engineering Diversity Program. “He is always available and cares about you as a person,” she said.