Students, faculty win awards

GW announced its winners for three prestigious University-sponsored scholarships, which include three students, two faculty members and one staff members. The GW Award – given out to four members of the GW community – will be presented at Commencement, while all other award recipients will pick up their honors before graduation.

Graduating senior Chanel Haliburton will be presented with the GW Award, which recognizes those who had a broad impact on campus life. The award also honors those whose service has exceeded standard expectations. Dorn McGrath, professor of economics and international affairs and director of the PhD program in the Department of Public Policy; Joseph J. Cordes, professor of geography, and founder of the Loudoun County Environmental Indicators Project; and Bernard Demczuk, assistant vice President for district affairs and founder of FRIENDS, a community/University-based association, will also receive GW Awards Sunday on the Ellipse.

The GW Award is open to all faculty, staff and students.

A human services major, Haliburton said she was nominated for the award by a University administrator for her campus and community involvement, well-rounded personality and efforts to create a sense of campus unity.

She started an aerobics program for the senior citizens at St. Mary’s Court, and serves as a community specialist for the Community Living and Learning Center. She also works as a peer educator with the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education. During her freshman year, Haliburton founded a student organization called BLAZEN, a performing arts group that communicates social issues through art and dance.

“For everything that has been given to me, I try to give back tenfold,” Haliburton said.

Earlier this year, Haliburton received the 2003 Martin Luther King, Jr. medal for exemplifying the ideals and spirit of King’s work.

Despite her high level of community and campus involvement, Haliburton said she thinks her greatest accomplishment at GW was her participation in the University’s human services program. She said the program combined her passions for dance and working with people, and helped her figure out what she wants to do academically and professionally.

“I never came to GW before I came to school. I just heard it was a good school,” Haliburton said. “But I believe everything happens for a reason.”

Haliburton will spend the summer interning with a nonprofit organization. She turned down an offer to work in the Teach for America program, which places recent college graduates to teach in an inner-city school for two years, because she plans to attend graduate school after next year. She said she will apply to Harvard or Stanford universities to study education.

Junior Ronald Crouch was announced as the GW Truman Scholar. He said the scholarships are usually awarded to political science majors and students who will be attending law school, with a heavy background in government and public service.

He said he transferred this year to GW from Prince George’s Community College, after winning the 2002 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship to fund his education.

Crouch, a psychology major and student in the honors program, said applicants for the award must be invited to apply by a University official. Chris Anne Matteo, academic adviser for the honors program, invited Crouch to apply.

“I didn’t accept (the invitation) right away because I wasn’t sure if I was Truman Scholar material,” Crouch said. “But I figured it’s better to fail than to not try at all.”

Crouch was one of 76 scholars selected from among 63 colleges and universities for the scholarship. Crouch said he will be given $30,000 to use towards his education. $3,000 will pay for part of his senior year, while $27,000 will be used toward graduate study. He hopes to attend University of Illinois to continue studying psychology after he graduates next year.

Scholars also receive priority admission to graduate school and special internship opportunities within the federal government among other benefits. Scholars must be committed to careers in government or public service organizations.

Crouch currently volunteers at an area Buddhist temple where he tutors monks in English. He said he might spend the summer in Sri Lanka to do the same work.

Crouch said his two greatest accomplishments are winning the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship last year, allowing him to attend GW, and getting into the honors program.

“(The honors program) has been so supportive,” Crouch said. “They’ve been there for me in all kinds of ways – adjusting to a new life, adjusting to a new school. They’ve been amazing.”

GW’s Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship recipient is senior Alison Alvarez.

The award is given to students who show exceptional promise and intend to pursue a graduate degree full time, according to the Office of Fellowships and Graduate Student Support.

Alvarez was a double major in Computer Science and Japanese. Alvarez served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for computer science.

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