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Undergraduate Scholars Recognized at Academic Honors Dinner
April 30, 2012
President Knapp and Provost Lerman honored the university’s top undergraduates in the annual ceremony last week.
The university’s top undergraduates and nine “distinguished scholars” were recognized at a ceremony in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom last Thursday.
Hosted by Provost Steven Lerman and President Steven Knapp, the Academic Honors Dinner recognized 175 sophomores, juniors and seniors in the top 2 percent by GPA of their classes and students who have distinguished themselves inside and outside the classroom. The deans from each school were also on hand to honor the students.
The students received Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards and a copy of “Watergate: A Novel” by Director of Creative Writing Thomas Mallon, who recently was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Additionally, each school selects a distinguished scholar to offer brief remarks at the dinner. This year’s distinguished scholars are Karam Mashaal from the College of Professional Studies; Megan Buonaiuto and Heather Dingwall of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences; Kalisha Holmes of the Elliott School of International Affairs; Joshua Mozer of the School of Business; Danielle Barsky of the School of Engineering and Applied Science; Puja Shah of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences; Monica Vidal of the School of Nursing; and Lauren Wilson of the School of Public Health and Health Services. Ms. Buonaiuto, Ms. Dingwall, Mr. Mozer, Ms. Shah, Ms. Vidal and Ms. Wilson also received Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards.
“I think this [dinner] is a terrific tradition we have here,” said Dr. Knapp. “In honoring you, we honor ourselves, because you are the source of a great deal of honor and pride for the George Washington University.”
In his remarks, Dr. Lerman commended students for their dedication to learning.
“At some point, you’ve got to do the work and each of you has done that,” he said. “I congratulate you. It’s an attribute that you’ll find as life goes on will carry you a very long way— the ability to take the talents you’re fortunate enough to have and the experiences your parents gave you and combine that with an ability to work hard toward ends like academic achievement—will be something that you'll find will transfer outside the classroom.”
A 2012 distinguished scholar, Mr. Mashaal first enrolled at GW in 1988 as a pre-med student, received a graduate certificate in security in 2003 and will graduate this May with a bachelor's degree in integrated information, science and technology. He owns his own business called Reach Systems Inc. and works as a government contractor in IT security.
Mr. Mashaal told the audience that he had to withdraw from the university more than 20 years ago to help support his family, but through a lot of hard work he is now able to graduate.
“I’m deeply honored and moved to be receiving such an award,” he said. “Thank you GW for a great 24-year undergraduate run!”
Ms. Dingwall, a senior biological anthropology and archaeology major, thanked GW’s “inspiring faculty” for guiding her in her research. In the fall, she will begin a doctoral program in human evolutionary biology at Harvard University.
“The education, support and mentoring I’ve received from my professors has well prepared me for doctoral research in the short term and ultimately for a career in academia,” Ms. Dingwall told the audience, noting that she went on two research fellowship trips to Kenya with the help of the university. “I urge the sophomores and juniors who are here tonight to work with a professor and take advantage of the incredible opportunities GW can offer.”