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Student Leaders, Organizations and Advisers Honored at Student Leadership Recognition Awards Ceremony

RELEASED: March 8, 2007

2007 Student Leadership Award Winners

Student Leadership Award winners include left to right top row: Hana Dehtiar, Emily Langer, Aaron Whalen. Left to right seated: Gabrielle Siciliano, Ashley Sommer, Elizabeth Holst.
(photo by Bill Hoepner, LTS)

EAU CLAIRE — Five student organizations, three student organization advisers and 213 individual nominees were recognized Feb. 22 at the 2007 Student Leadership Recognition Awards Ceremony at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The accomplishments of student leaders, organizations and organization advisers are celebrated at the annual campuswide program, with more than $2,000 in award money profided by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

The ceremony began with remarks by Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Steven Tallant, who introduced all the nominees and acted as the event's host. Following remarks by Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, Bert Colianni — chair of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and executive vice-president and chief operating officer for Marquette Financial Companies of Minneapolis — addressed the assembled faculty, staff, students, friends and family with "Thoughts on Leadership." Awards recognizing student organizations and advisers that have demonstrated distinguished service to campus and community, creative programming, and involvement in the university were presented by John Bachmeier, director of alumni relations.

Two Student Organization Awards were presented, to the Student Homeless Awareness Chapter, advised by Lauren Likkel, and to the University Activities Commission of the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate, advised by Jim Brockpahler and Paula Stuettgen. Students join the Student Homeless Awareness Chapter to devote themselves to helping the homeless families that live at Beacon House in Eau Claire. The organization's dedication to working with clients, supporting the facility, and informing the campus and community regarding the local and global impact of hunger and homelessness is an example of campus-community partnership.

The University Activities Commission provides educational, cultural and entertainment opportunities to the campus and the greater Eau Claire community. Its commitment to multicultural programming and its long history of excellence in programming have enhanced the university's cultural climate for many years. Each year the organization presents more than 200 programs and events — from new student talent developed through musical venues such as The Cabin or UAC Concerts, to presentations by such notables as Bill Cosby, who addressed two sold-out houses during this year's Parents Weekend.

The Student Organization Advisor Award was presented to Dr. J. Roger Selin, professor emeritus of accounting and finance, and advisor of Beta Upsilon Sigma for over 40 years. Selin has led the organization — which enriches understanding of accounting, business and economics outside the classroom — with passion and support, attending all BUS meetings, and giving words of encouragement and advice on how to succeed. Alumni and current students benefit from Selin's persistent message that dedication, compassion, courage, and commitment are the four most important words in defining a leader.

Six of the 213 outstanding student leaders nominated by faculty, staff and students received the Student Leadership Awards presented by John Bachmeier, director of alumni relations.

Hana Dehtiar, a music therapy major from Cottage Grove, Minn., is president of the American Music Therapy Association-Students, and has served as the organization's historian. She is also secretary of the West African Music Society, and a member of the Wisconsin Chapter of Music Therapy, Golden Key National Honor Society, and the Blugold Marching Band. Dehtiar also volunteers at the Eau Claire County Jail, Oakwood Villa Nursing Home, Peace Lutheran Church, and at Family Enrichment Weekend at the Plaza Hotel.

Elizabeth Holst, a sociology major from Farwell, Minn., spends a great deal of time helping the homeless as president of the Student Homeless Awareness Chapter. She has also been a member of Student Senate, the Latin American Studies Club, the UW-Eau Claire chapter of UNICEF, and the leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. Holst has also volunteered with the Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network and the New Voter's Project.

Aaron Whalen, a nursing major from Eau Claire, is a representative in the Nontraditional Student Advisory Committee and a member of Sigma Gamma Zeta II, an honor society for nontraditional students. He is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, an honor society for nursing students. Whalen has volunteered his time at a Native American reservation, the Community Table and St. Francis Food Pantry, and he is active in such nonprofit organizations as the American Heart Association and the Arthritis Society.

Ashley Sommer, an elementary education major from Eau Claire, is the service committee chair for the service organization Circle K and is the secretary and social committee chair for Student Wisconsin Education Association. Sommer has also volunteered at the UW-Eau Claire Children's Center, the Mount Washington Residence and L.E. Phillips Senior Center.

Gabrielle Siciliano, a biochemistry major from Peoria, Ariz., received the Blugold Spirit Award. Inspired by Anne O'Brien, a UW-Eau Claire student who died in August 2003, the award recognizes collaborative ventures both on and off campus. The Blugold Spirit Award is endowed by Andre and Joanne Gibault through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

Siciliano is active in the University Usher Corps, Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Societies, National Residence Hall Honorary, Golden Key International Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, the Honors Week steering committee, Higherground, Sacred Heart Hospital, Ecumenical Religious Center, Mortar Board senior honor society, the Activities and Programs office, and the department of chemistry.

The final award of the evening was the second annual Samuel T.L. Larsen Memorial Award, presented to Emily Langer, a social work major from Green Bay. Established by the friends and family of Sammy Larsen, the award was created to remember and honor the UW-Eau Claire student, who died in a kayaking accident during the summer of 2004. Larsen showed real enthusiasm and support for UW-Eau Claire, and the recipient of his award shares that same passion.

Langer is currently the president of MOSAIC (Making Our School an Intercultural Community). This organization has planned such programs as a diversity movie series, the Tunnel of Oppression, and the V-Day Campaign, which raises money to end violence against women. Langer is involved in the Association of Student Social Workers, University Usher Corps, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Alternative Winter Break, and Summer Service Fellowship. She is also a resident assistant in Putnam Hall.

The Student Leadership Recognition Awards Ceremony is sponsored annually by the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association, the Offices of the Chancellor and Provost, the Office of Student Development and Diversity, the University Centers, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, and the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.

-30-

JS/NW

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