Exemplary GW Students Recognized at Annual Academic Honors Ceremony

President Ellen M. Granberg and Provost Christopher Alan Bracey congratulated the 215 students who earned Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards and 10 Distinguished Scholars.

April 22, 2024

GW Honors recipients

President Ellen M. Granberg and Provost Christopher Alan Bracey recognized the 10 Distinguished Scholars in a ceremony Thursday at University Student Center.

The George Washington University recognized and honored its highest achieving students for the 2023-2024 academic year Thursday night at the annual Academic Honors Ceremony, held in the Continental Ballroom of the University Student Center.

The Academic Honors Ceremony recognizes the academic performance of undergraduates who have earned at least 60 credits at GW and are in the top 2% of their schools by GPA. Additionally, each school selects a Distinguished Scholar (the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences selects three, one for each discipline: Arts and Humanities, Social Science and Natural Science) who has excelled both in and out of the classroom. The selection process for Distinguished Scholars differs by school.

A total of 215 students earned Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards on Thursday, representing 50 majors and eight schools. Fifty-nine of those students received the award for the second time, while 49 were recognized for a third time.  

“When you came to GW, you joined a community of individuals who were like you in terms of their intellect, their curiosity and desire to have an impact,” President Ellen M. Granberg said. “You are being honored this evening because you have gone above and beyond in your commitment to personal growth and achievement. Your successes are many and varied, and you all exemplify the very best of the George Washington University.”

Provost Christopher Alan Bracey congratulated the scholars for navigating the high standards at a university that “offers a rigorous educational environment to train leaders who will change the world, pushing the frontier of knowledge with the production and dissemination of impactful research.” 

“These are priorities that demand that our students excel, refine their passions and deepen their understanding of who they are as scholars and as people,” Bracey said. “You are here tonight because you have met this challenge with distinction. Your performance in your studies demonstrates your dedication to academic excellence and to growing as a scholar and a leader.”

Granberg and Bracey both thanked faculty members and deans in attendance for teaching, mentoring and guiding the student honorees on their journeys.

Bracey then introduced each of the 10 Distinguished Scholars for 2024:

Baylee Bogard, Columbian College of Arts and Science:  A criminal justice major and communications minor, Bogard led a student partnership with St. Johns County Clerk of Court to develop a fraud alert service through targeted outreach and community engagement. She has presented her research exploring the influence of generative AI on the future of communication to various Fortune 500 companies. After graduation, she will be joining Booz Allen Hamilton as an organizational transformation and change consultant.

Caylee Chan, Milken Institute School of Public Health: Chan is a double major in public health and environmental and sustainability science and a minor in geographic information systems.  She has extensive research experience that includes a fellowship with the Office of Sustainability and work with the University Honors Program and the Geography Department.  Chan showed her leadership skills and community commitment as the co-president of Take Back the Tap GW, which pursues a zero-plastics policy at the university. 

James P. Ferguson, School of Engineering and Applied Science: A systems engineering major, Ferguson is the president of the International Council on Systems Engineering and has served as an undergraduate teaching assistant and an undergraduate research fellow. As a research fellow, he developed a decision support system for a disaster response application that can potentially be used by the Red Cross. He also served as an intern to Leidos, contributing to an over $2 billion Federal Aviation Administration proposal.

Sonia Goyal, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences: A biology major in GW’s accelerated B.A./M.D. program, Goyal has received numerous awards from GW’s Physics and Chemistry Department. She has participated in research both at the National Institutes of Health and Children’s National Hospital, which resulted in a poster presentation at the American College of Rheumatology Convergence Conference and a paper submitted for publication in a prestigious pediatric medicine journal. Goyal has helped her peers and the community by serving as a physics learning assistant, service director for GW AMWA, and through volunteer work at a D.C. women’s shelter.

Priya Kannusamy, School of Medicine and Health Sciences: A clinical research administration major, Kannusamy has worked as a dental hygienist and participates in the Give Kids a Smile Day event to provide free dental services to children who lack dental insurance.  She also volunteered at the Center for Autism Research, Education and Services to provide intensive services to children and adolescents. As a living liver donor for her husband, she became involved with the Sharing Network, whose mission is to ensure that donated organs and tissues reach those in need of life-saving transplants. After graduation she is interested in pursuing a clinical research coordinator role and earning a master’s degree

Christopher Linares, College of Professional Studies: An information technology major, Linares has demonstrated his leadership through his involvement as a member of the GW National Society of Leadership and Success. He obtained a leadership certification from the Project Management Institute’s Disciplined Agile Scrum Master, along with a technical internship at Navy Federal Credit Union. He has also been active with GW Catholics and Knights of Columbus.

Tabitha Northrup, School of Nursing: Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in nursing, Northrup is a cohort representative and Mentorship Committee chair and is a research assistant for a joint project between the School of Engineering and the School of Nursing. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Northrup presented a resolution at the National Student Nurses' Association’s annual convention, which was then passed and adopted by the association’s house of delegates. After graduation, she will care for veterans at the Veterans Healthcare Administration and continue her education to obtain a Doctor of Nursing practice in adult-gerontology primary care.

Ethan David Ophir, GW Business: The accountancy major serves as a student site coordinator for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinic for low-income community members and is an active member of Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity, where he took leadership roles on the community service committee. He plans to pursue a career in public accounting with a focus on auditing and assurance following his master's degree

Andrew Tomusiak, Elliott School of International Affairs: An international affairs major with a concentration in conflict resolution, Tomusiak has received several other accolades, including an invitation to join Phi Beta Kappa, being a finalist for the Carnegie Endowment’s James C. Gaither Fellows program, and being a semi-finalist for a Fulbright award. He has held internship and research assistant positions with the State Department, the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, the Fragile States Index and the United States Institute of Peace, co-publishing pieces with several of these organizations. 

Danielle Towers, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences: Towers is a photojournalism major. At the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, she is active in the GW Chapter of National Press Photographers where she documents the student exhibitions. Towers’ photographs have been exhibited at Photoville in Brooklyn and Touchstone in Washington, D.C., and her photos have been published in Bloomberg Businessweek and other publications. She has conducted field work in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she documents the present community and its history and has exhibited her photographs at the VisArts Center in Maryland.