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Last updated:

May 9, 2002

Six UW-RF Students Receive Chancellor's Award

Six students have received the Chancellor's Award, the highest non-academic honor a student can receive at the UW-River Falls.

Receiving the award during a presentation on April 23 were Ann Kulzer, a senior from Rochester, Minn., majoring in elementary education; Dianne Reese a senior from Cameron, Wis., majoring in social work; Jill Schaffner a senior from Fountain City, Wis., double-majoring in marketing communications and speech communication with a business communication emphasis; Chris Silver, a senior from Maplewood, Minn., majoring in broad field science, secondary education; Rhonda Leigh Willers, a senior from Star Prairie, Wis., working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ceramics; and Jennifer Sweet, a senior from Wausau, Wis., majoring in biology.

Said Chancellor Ann Lydecker in presenting the awards, "It is given to a small and very special group of students who have given distinguished leadership and service to the University during the course of their time on campus. I'm particularly pleased to recognize their contributions in this manner."

Typically, recipients are juniors and seniors. They are nominated by a faculty member, staff member, or their student peers through the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Student Senate. Finalists are interviewed by a committee of students, faculty and staff who forward their recommendations to Lydecker.

Kulzer was nominated by Michael Martin, academic advisor and certification officer for the College of Education & Professional Studies.

During her four years at UW-River Falls, Kulzer was extensively involved in various campus organizations. As a member of the Newman Club and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, she participated in many campus and community service projects and co-led a small group. She also initiated the development of websites for both organizations. She was a Spanish tutor and mentors Hispanic children in Rochester and Native American children in Red Wing, where she is currently student teaching.

Kulzer also served as both a member and chairperson of the Undergraduate Student Advisory Council for the College of Education. One of her greatest contributions on campus was through her role as a member of the Technology Leadership Cadre. Through this experience, she has presented numerous workshops and presentations for University faculty and students as well as area teachers on using technology as a teaching tool.

Reese was nominated by Emily Ronning, leadership training coordinator in the Leadership Center.

During her four years at UW-River Falls, Reese was actively involved with many campus organizations. As a member and chairperson of the Special Events Committee, she was responsible for planning and implementing various campus social events including Homecoming, Winter Carnival, and the Chancellorıs Holiday Reception. She also had the opportunity to work with many incoming students through her work as a Tour Guide, Summer Registration Facilitator, Orientation Leader, and Admissions Office Intern.

Aside from her campus involvement, Reese volunteered to provide community service at Have-a-Heart and Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic Abuse. She also participated in a community service trip to Negril, Jamaica. Through all of her involvement with student organizations, Greek life, Admissions and academics, Reese believes that she has learned and experienced what UW-River Falls has to offer and she has worked hard to show other students these many opportunities.

Schaffner was nominated by Professor James Graham of the Agricultural Education Department.

Her active involvement at UW-River Falls demonstrated her ability to interact with others while maintaining a high degree of professionalism and organization. She was the chairperson of the Agricultural Technology Contest and the Minnesota FFA Judging Contest that attracted over 1,500 high school students to the campus. Schaffner also judged multiple parliamentary procedure contests and was a teaching assistant for a leadership and group dynamics class.

Her leadership abilities were evidenced in her positions as President and Secretary for the Agricultural Education Society and Secretary for Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She also served as a Wisconsin State FFA Officer, earned 1st place honors in a national debate team competition, co-hosted an agricultural radio show, participated in Relay for Life, tutored students, and is a Falcon 4-H member.

Silver was nominated by Anna Meres, Event Coordinator in the Leadership Center.

Despite the challenges associated with being a five-year commuter student, Silver's leadership skills and campus involvement have provided services to the University community at a level few others have offered. As Event Manager in the Leadership Center, Silver displayed professionalism and maturity in organizing numerous student entertainment and involvement opportunities.

Other leadership experiences have included serving as Shared Governance Director for Student Senate and as a student member on the Provost/Vice Chancellor Search and Screen Committee.

Silver also donated his time and talents to philanthropic projects such as the Dance Marathon for the Childrenıs Miracle Network and the Relay for Life for the American Cancer Association. He was recognized at the Chancellor's Inaugural Week Dance Marathon as "Best Spirit Morale Captain" and provided sound and technical support for the 2002 Relay for Life. Silver also served as a transfer student Orientation Leader where he introduced new students to the endless possibilities for leadership involvement and success at UW-River Falls.

Willers was nominated by Professor Mary Lundeberg of the Teacher Education Department.

In her four years at the University, Willers benefited greatly from her involvement in various activities. As a member of the Technology Leadership Cadre, Willers has led technology workshops for University faculty, students, and area teachers. She helped plan and lead orientations for new and returning Cadre members. She has also presented information about the Technology Leadership Cadre to visiting Boards and Universities.

Willers demonstrated clay processes for the Art Departmentıs Annual High School Workshop Days. She served as acting Editorial Assistant for the "Journal of Educational Psychology," a position that had never been held by an undergraduate student. She was President of the UW-River Falls chapter of the National Art Education Association and served as a student representative on the Undergraduate Student Advisory Council for the College of Education. Willers enjoys learning and believes that some of the most valuable knowledge is often not found in the books she studies, but rather in the people with whom she encounters and works.

Sweet was nominated by Michael Stifter, Area Coordinator in the Leadership Center.

Sweet has been very involved in community living during her five years at UW-River Falls. After starting in the Residence Hall Council and working at the front desk, she became a Resident Assistant. She has served as a Hall Manager for the past two years. Sweet advises Hall Council and an RA staff to provide programming and support for hall residents. She has worked especially hard to encourage community service and educational attainment among these students.

In addition to her work in residence halls, Sweet worked for both the Education and Biology Departments. She was a Research Assistant for the CaseIt! program for three years. She recently presented this research at an international education conference in Washington, D.C.

Sweet served as a tutor and teacher's assistant. She also was active in the National Residence Hall Honorary and community service activities such as Dance Marathon, Relay for Life, the Sharing Families Program, and a Habitat for Humanity Alternative Spring Break trip.

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