Cap and Gown Ceremony Recognizes Senior Achievement

Vice President Gary Penfield presents Student Community Government President Hillary Costa with the Bertha Christina Andrews Emin Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Vice President Gary Penfield presents Student Community Government President Hillary Costa with the Bertha Christina Andrews Emin Award for Outstanding Achievement.


RIC seniors are one step closer to graduation, thanks to the recent Cap and Gown ceremony held at Roberts Hall. The event, in which seniors are “capped” in preparation for the May 17th undergraduate commencement, featured moving words from student speaker and Student Community Government President Hillary Costa.

Costa described all RIC students, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, as being tied together by “RIC grit,” the ability to face many forms of adversity. She referenced students who took only one or two classes a semester because that was all they could afford. She mentioned students who enrolled in evening classes because they had full-time day jobs. And, she talked about the struggle to strike a balance among work, life and family, and “inserting school in there some place.”

A key component of RIC grit, she explained, is the Rhode Island College community, which shepherds its fellow students toward success despite the barriers life presents. At RIC, she said, “You learned to take a walk in everyone’s shoes.”

As part of the program, Vice President for Student Affairs Gary Penfield acknowledged the 66 RIC students elected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Vice President for Academic Affairs Ron Pitt then oversaw the honors portion of the event, when faculty members presented individual department awards. A listing of these awards follows:

  • The Outstanding Student Award in Accounting: Shawn Brelsford
  • The Outstanding Student Award in Computer Information Systems: Brandon Banna
  • The James Houston Award in Anthropology: Danyelle Mulin
  • The Studio Art Award: Emily Sorlien
  • The W. Christina Carlson Award for Excellence in Biology: Sara Moore
  • The Theodore Lemeshka Award in Biology: Sabrina Elgar
  • The Eleanor M. McMahon Award for Outstanding Honors Theses: Kathryn Lavall and Gabriel Morrison
  • The Mass Media Communication Award: Julia Maguire
  • The Public and Professional Communication Award: Julia Palmieri
  • The Public Relations/Advertising Award: Giancarlo Igetti
  • The Speech, Language and Hearing Science Award: Kristy Antonacci
  • The Outstanding Student Award in Economics and Finance: Ben Blachly
  • The Mary Alice Grellner Educational Studies Senior Award: Allison Bryer
  • The Katherine Murray Prize (Educational Studies): Nicholas Bernardo
  • The Elementary Education Award: Jennifer Rose Dinerman
  • The Jean Garrigue Award (English): Cherissa Andrade
  • The Spencer and Marguerite Hall Award (English): Alexander Lupica
  • The Mark W. Estrin Film Studies Award: Steven Barthelemy
  • The Rose Butler Browne Award for Outstanding Leadership: Stephanie Jimenez
  • The Bertha Christina Andrews Emin Award for Outstanding Achievement: Hillary Costa
  • The Bertha Christina Andrews Emin Award for Scholastic Excellence: Syeda Menebhi
  • The Gender and Women’s Studies Award for Scholarship and Activism: Angela Garcia
  • The Gender and Women’s Studies Award for Scholarship and Service: Andrea Marie Sterling
  • The Health and Physical Education Awards: Michael Haggerty and Kimberly Crabill
  • The Claiborne Pell Award in History: Syeda Menebhi
  • The Evelyn Walsh Prize for Service in History: Ashley Duane O’Dell
  • The John E. Hetherman Award (Intercollegiate Athletics): Brandon Gauthier
  • The Helen M. Murphy Award (Intercollegiate Athletics): Courtney Burns
  • The Bourget Student Athlete Award: Stephanie Prusko
  • The John Silva Memorial Scholastic Award in Management: Alyse Duarte
  • The Outstanding Student Award in Marketing: Byron Delmonico
  • The Richard A. Howland Computer Science Award: Christopher DeFazio
  • The Christopher R. Mitchell Award in Mathematics: Paola Reyes and Cameron Richer
  • The Nelson A. Guertin Memorial Award in Spanish: Nadia Cricco.
  • The Prémio Em Estudos Portugueses Award: Liana Viveiros
  • The Tegu Polyglot Award: Ibrahima Diakite
  • The Peter Jeffrey Archambault Memorial Award in Theatre: Michael Dates
  • The Cantor Jacob Hohenemser Award in Music: Luke Rock
  • The Alice K. Pellegrino Music Education Award: Nina Silva
  • The Rhode Island College Theatre Award: David Groccia
  • The Yetta Rauch Melcer Dance Award: Victoria Nason
  • Academic Excellence in Nursing Award: Kathryn Lavall
  • The Nursing Award for Service Excellence: Ericka Samoorian
  • The Nursing Award for an Undergraduate Registered Nurse: Claire Haynes
  • The Thomas J. Howell Award in Philosophy: Syeda Menebhi
  • The American Institute of Chemists Award: Cailyn Mather
  • The Ronald J. Boruch Award for Excellence in the Physical Sciences: Marc Antaya
  • The Herbert R. Winter Award for Academic Excellence in Political Science: Gary Pascoa
  • The Victoria Lederberg Psychology Award: Stephanie Chauvin
  • The Bachelor of Social Work Community Service Award: Rene Breton
  • The Anthony E. Ricci Social Work Practice Award: Nicole Resendes
  • The Mary Ann Hawkes Award in Justice Studies: Tanya DeFusco
  • The Elisa F. Bonaventura Award in Special Education: Mona Moukhaiber
  • The Josephine A. Stillings Award in Special Education: Andrew Belanger
  • The Newman Civic Fellows Award for Campus Compact: Gina M. DiBona