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Erin Wadley wins Wilson Award

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Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas State University has presented seven students with the Distinguished Service Award during an event at the Cooper Alumni Center in Jonesboro.  Erin Wadley  became the recipient of the R.E. Lee Wilson Award, the university’s highest honor, last night during a reception on the campus.

"I wouldn't be where I am at today without Arkansas State University," Wadley said after winning. 

The acknowledgement of the Distinguished Service Award comes during A-State’s Convocation of Scholars, an annual celebration of academic achievement that includes college and departmental awards and recognition events.

The Distinguished Service Award winners are recognized as the institution’s most-outstanding graduates because of their leadership, scholarship and citizenship. Faculty, staff, advisers to student organizations and other members of the campus community submit nominations for these prestigious awards.

All of the nominees have provided countless hours of service to the community, their classmates, their departments and colleges, and to Arkansas State University. A committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and past Wilson Award recipients makes the final selections.

Winners of the 2016 Distinguished Service Awards are:

Stephen Berry of Bono was nominated by Dr. Christopher Peters, assistant professor of psychology. Berry is a psychology major and will graduate in May with a grade point average of 3.94.

He is the recipient of several scholarships, including the Alice Horn Bryant psychology scholarship, the A-State Pride scholarship, the Arkansas Academic Challenge scholarship, the Nancy Lueif Junior Auxiliary scholarship and the Mountain Home school district employees’ scholarship. 

Berry works as an undergraduate research assistant for the social attitudes and political psychology laboratory and has conducted his own research on morality. He has made a presentation at the Arkansas Symposium for Psychology Students.

A member of Psi Chi international honor society in psychology, he also holds membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma honor society. He is a six-time representative on the Chancellor’s List and maintains a perfect 4.00 GPA in his major.  Berry serves as president of A-State’s Psychology Club after having been the group’s co-president and secretary, and works with the Positive Psychology Club and the Society for Neuroscience. 

Among extracurricular activities and events, Berry is a member of the Wolf Tracks yearbook staff, the Wesley Foundation, the Jonesboro Kindergarten Center Clothing Closet fundraiser, a participant in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, worked the CSI: Classroom Student Investigations Science Camp, the Delta Pride Summer Camp and delivered a sermon at Central Avenue United Methodist Church in Batesville.

Bethany Gallimore of Hot Springs, who was nominated by Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Dr. Marceline Thompson-Hayes, is majoring in communication studies and English, and will graduate in May with a 3.98 GPA. She is the recipient of an A-State four-year scholarship out of high school as well as the Roy and Pat Ockert Herald Editor scholarship. Additionally, she earned the Arthur Ray “Kip” Moore Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a speech communication major with professional teaching potential, and a speech communication scholarship. 

Gallimore has won numerous accolades for news, feature, sports and headline writing, radio news reporting, and as a member of A-State’s award-winning debate team as both an individual and team debater.  She has worked as a sports and studio videographer. 

Academically, she is a four-year member of the Chancellor’s List and Honors College Director’s List. As a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Gallimore is in the top 10 percent of college juniors and seniors across all academic disciplines. She is also a member of academic organizations Lambda Pi Eta and Phi Eta Sigma.

A senator in the Student Government Association, Gallimore served as a senator representing her college and is currently a member of the scholarships and financial aid committee and the Honors College committee. She is a student ambassador, vice president of La Société Francaise French Society and a contributing editor to Odyssey, an Arkansas State social media-publishing platform.

Brandon Haley of Marion was nominated by Beverly Parker, coordinator and assistant professor of health sciences. A health-studies major, Haley has a 3.53 grade point average; he will earn his Bachelor of Science degree in May. His goal is to work as a community-health educator.

Also included on the Chancellor’s and Deans’ lists numerous times, Haley is the recipient of several academic honors and awards, including the A-State Promise scholarship, the Thompson minority scholarship for incoming freshmen and again for current students, and the Arkansas Challenge Lottery scholarship.

He is active in leadership activities, including serving as president pro temp of Brother 2 Brother, an organization to employ strategies to recruit and retain African-American and minority male students to A-State, cultural-diversity director of the Student Government Association, a student-support services mentor and a member of the Student Activities Board. He was also selected as a global student leader to represent Arkansas State in Spain. 

An ambassador for the A-State Multicultural Center, Haley also holds membership in Minorities in Healthcare Professions, is a social-media ambassador for the Alumni Association, works with Volunteer A-State and the Black Students Association. 

He also attended the National Student Leadership Diversity Conference in New Jersey in 2015 and the National Association of Campus Activities conference in Boston. Haley has twice (fall 2014 and 2015) hosted the National Pan-Hellenic Council Best-Steppers Step Show, the Student Activities Board Homecoming Step Show and Cultural Conversations: Hispanic Heritage Month.

He was first runner-up in the Mr. Ebony scholarship pageant sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha fraternity and was a member of the 2014 homecoming court. 

Brooks Jones of Monticello was nominated by Mark Lewis, instructor in business law. Holding a double major in accounting and finance, Jones currently maintains a 4.00 grade point average and will graduate in May. Jones is an honors student and member of the A-State Honors College. He has appeared on the Honors College Director’s List and Chancellor’s List six times throughout his collegiate career.

Academically, Jones is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He is the 2015 recipient of the College of Business Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence and a senior honors student. A recipient of the Alumni Association “License2HOWL” scholarship since 2013, he also earned the Joseph C. Wellborn accounting scholarship, the Ruth Veasey Educational Foundation Loan scholarship and an A-State Leadership scholarship.

Jones spent seven days in Belize in 2015 as one of nine global student leaders to help prepare themselves in challenging and diverse ways to become more productive global citizens. He also enjoyed work on shared governance committees.

He is involved in numerous campus activities, including serving as vice president of the Student Government Association (2014-present), the SGA public relations director (2013-14) and a freshman senator in 2012-13. While working with the SGA, Jones helped establish a campus food bank in addition to tending other campus issues. Jones is active in several philanthropic endeavors such as Alpha Omicron Pi sorority’s “Strike Out Arthritis Bowling Tournament,” packing boxes at the Northeast Arkansas Food Bank for Volunteer A-State, the Alpha Gamma Delta Bowling Tournament benefitting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Chi Omega 5K run for Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Microsociety Lunch-Buddy Program.

Jones is currently the president of the A-State Accounting Club (where he previously served as treasurer) and worked as the logistic chair on the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital “Up ‘til Dawn” executive board. He has worked internships with Central Baptist Church Journey Campus, Fortune-500 company Windstream and the North American Mission Board in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A representative at the National Student Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., Jones holds membership in the Honors College Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (student affiliate member), Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants (student member) and student membership in the Institute of Management Accountants. 

Amber Ray of Little Rock was nominated by Lori Hailey, assistant professor of nursing. Ray, who will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in May, is a nursing major with a 3.410 GPA.

Her academic awards and honors include induction into the Trio Hall of Fame, Homecoming court in 2014, Strong Turner alumni 3.0, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority academic achievement award from 2013-present and global student leader who represented Arkansas State in Ireland, Croatia and Montenegro. 

During her student tenure, Ray has gained valuable work experience as a peer-tutor for biology and anatomy students, and as a first-year-studies peer-mentor at A-State. She worked as a patient-care technician and also completed the medical surgical/psychological/management clinical rotation at St. Bernards Medical Center. She also benefited from her time as an intern at the Audubon Society in Little Rock.

Ray, a member of the Honors College Association, has spent many hours as a delegate for the Arkansas Student Nursing Association, a supplemental instructor tutoring pathophysiology and pharmacology classes on the junior level, assistant vice president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, theory by nurses’ perception of reporting child abuse and neglect, and the multicultural director for the SGA.

She has been involved in A-State’s shared governance process, working on the financial aid and scholarship committee, university diversity and affirmative action committee, student disciplinary committee and the Lecture-Concert committee. As multicultural chair, she was active in the “Up ‘til Dawn” St. Jude’s fundraiser and was host of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity’s Miss Black and Gold scholarship pageant.

In addition to being the president of the Student Activities Board, she has been the traditions director to help plan Homecoming week events, membership chairman for Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, a delegate on the action fund committee, new student orientation leader, president pro temp of the Black Student Association and Circle of Trust member (an advocacy group focused on retaining African-American female students by establishing a sense of togetherness, setting expectations and encouraging perseverance.) 

Ray’s ties to community service include “Letters of Love,” in which she packed food and letters (containing a scripture and words of encouragement) in bags and personally delivered them to people who are living on the streets of Memphis. She is also involved with Soul Food Sunday, an event developed by AKA sorority to feed the “minds, hearts and stomachs” of young minorities. As an ASCEND (Achievement, Self-awareness, Communication, Engagement, Networking and Developmental skills) mentor, she worked with low-income high school students and engaged with elementary girls to help promote self-esteem and promote role modeling in Emerging Young Leaders.

She has also participated as a blood drive volunteer, for the Salvation Army angel tree and bell ringing, in the Helping Neighbors Food Pantry, Trot for Tots, United Way’s Day of Service for the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society, highway clean up, Race for the Cure and Up ‘til Dawn.

Jennifer Walker of Maumelle was nominated by Dr. Dixie Keyes, associate professor of middle-level education. Walker, who is majoring in middle-level education, math and science, maintains a 4.0 grade point average and plans to graduate with honors in May. She has appeared on the Chancellor’s List each semester she has attended A-State. She is currently working on her thesis, “Trekking the Globe through Travel Trade Books.” She is the author of a nonfiction children’s book about Belize.

A delegate to Who’s Who Among Students in 2015, Walker is a recipient of the Lillian Barton Memorial Scholarship that recognizes a student who has strong academic achievement and is committed to the education field. She has earned additional scholarships, including the Sibylla and Kenneth Peters Alpha Delta Kappa Scholarship, offered by the professional education program, and the Mildred B. Vance scholarship, which is reserved for teaching preparation by a senior entering his/her internship semester in the teacher education program. 

Walker is active in several campus organizations. She is co-president of the A-State Middle Level Association comprised of future middle school educators. She has participated in the Student Conduct Board of Campus Relations since 2014; this body addresses campus conduct violations. She has also been a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority as correspondent since fall 2012. This group supports the growth of successful and philanthropic young women, and values academic accomplishment and positive leadership. She is the sorority’s representative as a ‘Gamma Chi’ recruitment counselor. During her freshman year, Walker was an A-State cheerleader.

Walker’s role as a global student leader allowed her to travel with other students to Belize. Additionally, her involvement as an honors student provided her the opportunity to travel with 17 other students and two faculty members to Spain for three months of study. 

She represented Arkansas State last October at the Middle Level Association national conference in Columbus, Ohio, and in November at the Arkansas Curriculum Conference in Little Rock.

As a volunteer, Walker worked closely with the Learning Center’s adult program and helped a group hone their bowling skills in preparation for the Special Olympic Bowling Tournament. She has involved herself in the Jonesboro International Studies Lunch Buddy program, building relationships with first graders. Since 2013, Walker has spent her summers as a volunteer senior counselor at Camp Aldersgate, a medical camp in Little Rock. Her responsibility has been to help provide a normal camp environment and experience to disabled children not serviced at typical camps.

Erin Wadley of Sherwood was nominated by Dr. Amy Buzby, associate professor of political science. Wadley is majoring in political science and maintains a 3.874 grade point average. She is expected to graduate in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  

Wadley is the recipient of several scholarships, including the Dean Robert Moore Leadership scholarship, the privately funded political science scholarship, the Arkansas Promise scholarship, and an Arkansas Lottery scholarship. 

Graduating in the top 10 percent of her class with perfect 4.0 GPA for four consecutive semesters, Wadley’s academic achievements involve National Society of Collegiate Scholars inclusion, being a six-time member of the Chancellor’s List and recipient of the above-average Greek woman’s GPA from 2012-15.  She also appeared in advertisements for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. 

On campus, Wadley is active in the Student Activities Board, having assisted in the planning of campus-wide events and student activities as well as overseeing budgets. She implemented marketing plans and offered creative initiatives to help promote campus events as part of the SAB’s marketing committee and helped engage students to attend and promote athletic events as a member of the spirit committee through Order of the Pack and a baseball tailgating event called Day at the Park.

As a three-term senator in the Student Government Association, Wadley represented the SGA on numerous committees including Shared Governance Oversight, which reported directly to the Chancellor on development, communications and alumni, honors awards, intercollegiate athletics and Lecture-Concert. Also, she administered the A-State Action Fund budget, in which she allocated funds for registered student organizations to maximize student-led activities. Her position also allowed her to work toward making A-State the only certified, bicycle-friendly campus in Arkansas and volunteered at the NEA Food Bank.

She also worked with the Student Advisory Committee as a liaison between students and administration and as the career and personal development chair for Chi Omega sorority. She was a foundation ambassador and participated in philanthropic events benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, arthritis and diabetes research, the Sparky Hearing Foundation, breast cancer research, Feeding America, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Children’s Miracle Network, Camp Sunshine, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Toys for Tots and Make-A-Wish. She also helped in recognizing military heroes.

A global student leader, she traveled to Belize in spring 2015 with other students to study the country’s economic, political, governmental and environmental conditions.  She enhanced her public-speaking skills by addressing the Arkansas State University’s Legacy Society, the Arkansas State class of 1965, an alcohol awareness event and to students at High School Leadership Day.