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Students Receive Chancellor's Awards
By Molly Exner
UW-RF News Bureau
MAY 3, 2005--Six students have been chosen to receive the 2005 Chancellor's
Awardat UW-River Falls.
Pictured are (L to R): UW-River Falls 2005 Chancellor's
Award recipients are: Kendra Plant, from Blaine, Minn., Leon Gbee, from
Sudan, Africa; Mary Vang, from St. Paul, Minn., Interim Chancellor Virgil
Nylander, Nicholas Sirek, from Rice Lake, Lindsay Starr, from Manawa,
and Jeremy Kalal, from Jordan, Minn.
The Chancellor's Award is the highest nonacademic honor a student can
receive at the University. It is given to students for their leadership
and service to the University while on campus. The recipients were recognized
at the all-campus awards reception April 19.
Typically, recipients are juniors and seniors nominated by a faculty or
academic staff member or student peers through the UW-RF Student Senate.
A committee that reports directly to the chancellor considers each nominee.
After select interviews, the committee deliberates their recommendations
with the chancellor, who then makes the final decision.
UW-RF Interim Chancellor Virgil Nylander says, "One of the year's
true highlights for me is announcing the students selected to receive
the Chancellor's Award, which recognizes exceptional service to UW-River
Leon Gbee is a senior majoring in sociology and was nominated by Career
Services Career Counselor Sheri Stover. Gbee is a peer advisor and works
as a marketing intern in Career Services. His primary duties are to organize
the Walk Thru and Disorientation events. Gbee is one of two founders of
the Mentors and Mentees Program, which pairs up incoming students of color
with upper-class student role models.
Gbee also has worked on several University committees, including the International
Programs Committee, the Recruitment, Admission and Retention Committee
and the Diversity Committee. He also was a member of a Search and Screen
Committee in the Academic Success Center.
In addition, Gbee researched genocide issues as a McNair scholar at UW-RF
and as a fellow at the University of Minnesota. He is active in Amnesty
International, African American Alliance, Community Action Theater Troop
(CATTs), and the Asian American Student Association. Gbee also has served
as president of the African American Alliance, senator on the Student
Senate, and volunteered for Community Cleanup and Habitat for Humanity.
Jeremy Kalal is a senior majoring in broad field science in secondary
education and was nominated by Director of Student Life Facilities Michael
Stifter. Kalal has been a resident assistant in Stratton Hall for two
years and has been recognized with the 2003-04 educational and community
service programs-of-the-year awards on campus.
Kalal is the founder and president of the Smiles 4 Kids organization,
the largest student-run organization with more than 280 members, which
he refers to as his biggest accomplishment on campus. Kalal also was responsible
for reconstructing and coordinating Dance Marathon, an all-day event on
the UW-RF campus this year, which raised more than $11,000 for Gillette
Children's Hospital in St. Paul.
Kalal also accompanies a group of students to the Gillette every other
week throughout the school year. Kalal says his efforts are worth it every
time he walks through those hospital doors and sees the smiles on the
Kendra Plant is majoring in business administration with a minor in music
and was nominated by student Senator Katy Leisch. Plant served as the
fundraising chair for Students Fighting Hunger and Homelessness organization,
which organizes an annual sleep-out to raise awareness and funds for charitable
Kendra has served as a student senator and as the Student Senate's women's
initiatives director, where she worked to initiate programs such as Campus
Safety Awareness Week and the Vagina Monologues College Campaign, which
aim to prevent violence against women.
In her junior year, Plant was co-founder of a new student organization,
Advocates for Choice, which works to protect the private rights of men
and women to make decisions about family planning and reproductive health.
Plant also actively participated in the College Democrats, Gender Equality
Council, Day of Silence for LGBT students and the Student Health Advisory
Nicholas Sirek is majoring in elementary education and was nominated by
Director of Student Life Facilities Michael Stifter. Currently, Sirek
is chair of the Facilities and Fees Board and was a front desk assistant
in the Leadership Center. He also was a resident assistant and campus
tour guide for two years. In addition, Nick co-developed and facilitated
the campus-based Big Brothers-Big Sisters program.
Sirek has served on several University committees including the Student
Senate, Student Advancement Association, and East and West Area Councils.
Sirek was a member of the Student Center Core Committee, where he represented
the students in the development of the program statement for the new student
union being built on campus. He was chosen as a student speaker for commencement,
to be held May 14.
In addition, Nick participated in University Theatre as an usher and house
manager. He has been an active student in the College of Education and
Professional Studies and currently is student teaching in New Richmond.
Lindsay Starr is majoring in marketing communications with an animal science
minor and was nominated by agriculture economics Professor Lewis May.
Starr completed a marketing internship with the UW-RF Quarter-Scale Tractor
Pulling Team and worked as a consumer behavior and marketing communications
tutor for foreign exchange students.
Starr currently works as a peer advisor at UW-RF Career Services and also
serves as senior editor of the FencePost, an alumni publication of the
College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES). Lindsay
has served as secretary, FencePost liaison, member of the CAFES Public
Relations and Information Committee and a member of the Agriculture Communicators
Currently Starr is president of the Block and Bridle Club and also served
as a new student orientation leader, CAFES ambassador and floor representative
for Prucha Hall Council.
Mary Vang is majoring in elementary education and was nominated by Career
Services Career Counselor Sheri Stover. Currently, Vang is a second-year
resident assistant in Prucha Hall, a peer advisor at Career Services,
a McNair scholar, and also co-initiated the Mentor and Mentees program
within Career Services.
Mary has served as the co-president of the Asian American Student Association,
has been active in the organization CATTs, assisted the multicultural
student visit and outreach programs in the Admissions Office, and worked
with pre-college camps.
In addition, Mary has been a volunteer with Campus Community Cleanup,
Gillette’s Children Hospital, and as a tour guide with Admissions.
She also participated in the Relay for Life Cancer Walk and was a summer
registration facilitator assisting incoming students.
Nylander says, "These individuals are representative of so many students
who make UW-RF better through their work and service."
Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:23 Central Daylight Time