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Math Major Who Graduated in 3 Years Wins Kaufman Award

By Joe Garvey

Elizabeth Trahadias, a mathematics major with a minor in risk management and insurance who graduated in three years, was named the winner of the Kaufman Award at Old Dominion University's Student Honors and Awards Dinner on May 9.

The Kaufman Award, the highest honor given to a graduating student, was established by Landmark Communications to recognize graduating seniors who have had an exceptional and constructive influence on the University, its students or the community by demonstrating the highest qualities of leadership and service. The award is named in memory of Charles Kaufman, a noted community leader, philanthropist and friend to ODU. Following Kaufman's example, the award winner must have shown sustained participation in leadership of campus or community groups, an outstanding record of volunteer activities or academic excellence, or a major achievement affecting the campus or community.

"Elizabeth is the most organized, detailed-oriented, proactive, capable and inspiring student leader that I have experienced during my academic career," Michael K. McShane, associate professor in the Strome College of Business' Finance Department, wrote in his letter nominating Trahadias for the award. Trahadias cited him as her most inspirational faculty member.

"Elizabeth goes beyond expectations in everything she does."

He noted that after completing an internship following her junior year, Trahadias was offered a position in GEICO's Emerging Leaders program, "which is the fast track to top positions in the company." He also wrote that Trahadias started the ODU Community Garden, which set up garden beds on campus to provide fresh vegetables to an area food bank, and motivated other students to join this endeavor.

Other Kaufman finalists, listed with their majors and most inspirational faculty members, were:

  • Second-place finisher Jazmin Carmon, biology. Most inspirational faculty member: Elizabeth Vincelette.
  • Rafia Haq, major in computer science, minor in psychology. Most inspirational faculty member: Ellen Neufeldt.
  • Destini Harrell,major in finance with a real estate concentration, minor in communication. Most inspirational faculty member: Christine Bacon.
  • Nelan Gay Tagra, nursing. Most inspirational faculty member: Janice Hawkins.
  • Jasmine Washington-Price, major in communication, minor in marketing and tourism management. Most inspirational faculty member: Carla Harrell.
  • Kevin Wooleyhan,marketing and business analytics. Most inspirational faculty member: Kelly Alvey.

Additionally, five students - Emery England, an English education major from the College of Arts and Letters; Nirlange Heriveaux, an accounting major and public service minor from the Strome College of Business; April Meadows, an accounting major and criminal justice minorfrom the Strome College of Business; Rita Meraz, an electrical engineering major and physics minor from the Batten College of Engineering and Technology, and Brandon Sharpton, a psychology major from the College of Sciences - shared the Evon-Broderick Award.

The award is one of the University's most prestigious honors.

In 2011, Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick and First Lady Kate Broderick, with the help of other family members who choose to remain anonymous, established and endowed the Evon-Broderick Award for Community Engagement and Service in honor of their mothers, Joan Evon and Ellen Broderick.

It recognizes ODU students who, like the award's namesakes, exemplify a commitment to service and civic engagement to the university and surrounding community through superior leadership and service.

"Kate and I are both proud of all of the students who passionately give their time, knowledge and hearts to help make our community a better place," Broderick said.

Two students earned a Provost's Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher. The selection is based on the uniqueness of the research, longevity of the experience and contributions to the discipline through presentations, publications, exhibitions and performances. They are:

  • Joshua Bush (mechanical and aerospace engineering): His projects over three-plus years have involved development of a magnetic tweezer, modeling of a neurosurgical sonication tool, a portable convective thermocycler and a 3D printed chamber. He has co-written a peer-reviewed paper in advanced biosystems and is first author on a paper accepted in AIP Advances.
  • Jenna Garcia (chemistry and biochemistry): She has performed research in protein modeling on an project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Virginia Space Grant Consortium to model explosive materials. She is also an accomplished artist and has presented her work in both the scientific and artwork portions of the ODU Undergraduate Research Symposium.

The ODU Alumni Association recognized the student in each college with the highest academic average who completed at least 60 hours at the University:

  • College of Arts and Letters: Erin Jacobson (major in English, minor in political science). She also won the Outstanding University Scholar Award. Most inspirational faculty member: Daniel Richards.
  • Strome College of Business: Jennifer Williams (double major in accounting and business analytics). Most inspirational faculty member: Paige O'Shaughnessy.
  • Darden College of Education and Professional Studies: Sara Whitaker (physical education with a concentration in exercise science, minor in health and wellness). Most inspirational faculty member: Laura Hill.
  • Batten College of Engineering and Technology: Ashley Newman (major in mechanical engineering, minor in electrical engineering and technology). Most inspirational faculty member: Xiaoyu Zhang.
  • College of Health Sciences: Christopher Tucker (nursing). Most inspirational faculty member: Lynn Wiles.
  • College of Sciences: Gabrielle Riendeau (major in biology, minor in psychology). Most inspirational faculty member: Lisa Byrum.

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