Florida College recognized a select group of students who received this year’s academic awards after the daily chapel devotion on Wednesday, March 29. The following students were selected by members of the Florida College faculty in their various disciplines for their excellence in the classroom and on their schoolwork.

Karina Turner – Art
This year’s academic award recipient for art distinguishes herself via consistently creative and innovative approaches to each drawing and design project. No artistic challenge daunts her as she confidently leans into each assignment, pressing herself to advance her approach, technique and masterful craftsmanship. It is quite evident that she takes the time to visualize the task ahead, even before putting pencil to paper. Karina Turner maintains the perspective that each project will be measured as if it is a masterpiece, no matter how complex or simple.

Crystal Dugas – Behavioral Science
Crystal is an excellent student who always provides full value in her assignments. As would be expected of an academic award winner at Florida College, she is always on time, clearly understands the assignments and provides high quality work. She is also quick to comprehend the new topics. When other students are still struggling to grasp the concepts, Crystal already understands the ideas and is ready for more advanced discussion. She often surprises professors by seeing the topics in an interesting or insightful way. Of course along with that goes her sometimes unorthodox formatting of papers as well. Although she may be quiet in class most of the time she can be passionate in pursuit of an idea. Crystal is certainly worthy of the academic award in behavioral science this year.

Sara Yeager – D. Phillip Roberts Award in Bible
Sara has distinguished herself as an excellent student of the Bible. Her interest in the text has led her to pursue the ancient languages (Hebrew, Greek, and even Latin) and to study the ancient world of the Bible, often past what her regular coursework has offered. She is bright, diligent in her studies, self-motivated, and her writing is always analytic, clear and well researched. Sara sets high standards for herself and plans to continue her education with graduate work.

Laura Pinto Paez – Biology
This year we give the biology award to Laura Pinto Paez. The breadth of content in the biological sciences— e.g. ecology, molecular biology, human physiology, energetics—is a challenge to the best of students, and Laura performed exceptionally well in four semesters of lower-division courses. She demonstrated skill in critical thinking and data analysis, mastered heavy content, and diligently pursued answers to questions. Her work ethic and keen mind are complemented by her strong character, a vital element of any student, a character built on faith in God.

William Alexander Thiele – Upper-Division Business
Alex has established himself as an outstanding leader in the business administration program among the fall 2017 graduating class. He prepares himself for each class, participates in class discussion, and his academic record reflects his diligence and intellect. Alex is also an independent thinker and challenges his fellow students—and sometimes his professors—to give deeper thought to important topics in the field of business.

Elliott Johnson – Lower-Division Business
Elliott arrived on campus in fall 2016 and immediately made a positive impression in the business administration program. He is focused in the classroom, is gifted with strong communication skills and has a servant’s heart in his interactions with fellow students. His future is bright as he finishes his business classes at Florida College and as he pursues a professional career in the business world after graduation.

Mary-Rosalyn Taylor – Chemistry
Mary-Rosalyn Taylor is a conscientious chemistry student. When the challenges of chemistry grow larger, she does whatever it takes to meet those challenges. This is the secret of her success. She is also generous with her time; she served as the SI for the general chemistry class this year, providing a substantial number of opportunities for the students in those classes to obtain help. She also volunteered her time and her assistance to students in other chemistry classes. For all of her accomplishments, within the classroom and without, Mary-Rosalyn Taylor has been selected as the recipient of this year’s chemistry award.

Leah Stout – Communication
Leah Stout is a senior in organizational communication and serves as the coordinator of the communication lab. Her quiet diligence has allowed her to achieve excellence in everything she does. Her recent internship with the chamber of commerce in Fort Worth, Texas, proves her to be an outstanding representative of her academic program and of the college. Leah’s classroom participation is insightful. She communicates effectively both in writing and in presentations. An empathic listener, her calmness, creativity and compassion make Leah a constant encouragement to fellow classmates and professors.

Jonathan Guzzetta – Computer Science
Having a curiosity for all things digital was an immediate indication that Jonathan Guzzetta was, from the beginning, geeky enough to be considered for the computer science academic award for 2016–2017. Master of his computer, Jonathan, enjoyed all activities, including many online games. Although computer programming was not necessarily his forte in the beginning, In his first class at FC, Jonathan applied himself right away to gaining an understanding of how to tell a computer, large or small, desktop or laptop, what to do in the typical step-by-step programmer’s fashion. Jonathan also delved into the area of graphics, text, audio, video and animation to begin to master the concepts of the world of multimedia. A demonstration of these and other qualities has earned Jon Guzzetta the computer science academic award for this year.

Emily Roche – Lower-Division Elementary Education
Emily has been an asset to the elementary education program just in the short time she’s been at Florida College. She definitely produces above average quality in her work, but more than that, she’s added to class discussions, has already been part of the Apple Club, and has put forth great efforts in the very few field experiences she’s had.

Olivia Johnson – Upper-Division Elementary Education
Olivia Johnson has served as president of the Apple Club and is a member of Alpha Chi and Alpha Club. She has earned the highest possible GPA in all of her coursework at Florida College. In the classroom she is an effective teacher who always demonstrates care for her students, but perhaps more importantly, she always demonstrates a Christ-like spirit and a servant’s heart. Her joy is contagious.

Sara Yeager – Liberal Studies
Sara Yeager is a co-recipient of the academic award for liberal studies. The subject areas she has combined in her liberal studies program of study are English, humanities and biblical languages, and she is completing a second major in biblical literature. Her work has been outstanding in all of these disciplines. Sara has also chosen to distinguish herself by completing the liberal studies honors curriculum.

Jacob Stinson – Liberal Studies
Each year, because of the interdisciplinary emphasis of the liberal studies major, the liberal studies department presents its academic award to a student or students who have demonstrated excellence in more than one discipline. One of this year’s recipients is Jacob Stinson, whose degree program has combined behavioral science, biblical literature, business and health-related sciences. Jacob is pursuing his degree as preparation for medical school and has distinguished himself in all four of his chosen disciplines.

Jacob Britnell – Mathematics
This year we give the mathematics award to Jacob Britnell. He has shown excellent skill and understanding in his studies of mathematics. Jacob has also shown his servant’s heart in his wide ranging contributions to Alpha Club, math lab tutoring for calculus and precalculus, Phi Sigma, Sowers Club and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. He continues to give tremendous technical support to the Friends. In all of this, his dedication to the Lord and high spiritual principles is evident in doing what is right, helpful and encouraging. His future plans include pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

Laura Daniela Arevalo – French
The French award this year goes to Laura Daniela Arevalo, also known as Dani. Being a Colombian, Dani’s first language is Spanish, but, having mastered English quite well, she was eager to learn a third language! The challenge of language study is that each new structure depends on the mastery of previous structures and requires development in comprehension, writing, reading and speaking. Dani’s love for the language is evident in her hard work, which has set her apart as the student most worthy of this honor.

Marlen Loera-Solano – Spanish
The 2016–2017 Spanish award goes to Marlen Loera-Solano. This honor has traditionally been given to the student achieving the highest cumulative percentage grade over two semesters at the intermediate level. Marlen has achieved this goal by consistently demonstrating high levels of language proficiency in all four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Moreover, Marlen has worked well with a very talented group of her peers, collaborating in lively conversation and in energetic participation in class activities.

Ellen Perkins – Lower-Division Music
Ellen Perkins is completing her second year at Florida College with voice as her principal area while also concentrating on developing her considerable piano skills. She has received A’s in all of her academic music classes and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She sings in chorus and chamber singers, plays clarinet in the wind ensemble and pep band and plays piano in the jazz ensemble this semester. She has also played clarinet in the productions of “South Pacific” and “1776.” After graduation, she plans to be a choral director and perhaps work toward a master’s degree in piano.

Jessica Tharp – Upper-Division Music
Jessica Tharp will complete all requirements for her B.A. in music this year while also taking a heavy load of pre-med science courses to enable her to apply for graduate school to become a physician’s assistant. She has maintained an A average in all of her classes while singing in chorus and chamber singers and being a member of Florida College’s national champion volleyball team. Among her accomplishments is being selected to “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”

Diana Romo – Music Education
Diana Romo will graduate with a bachelor of science in music education as a voice major. She has sung in chorus and chamber singers and also played flute in the wind ensemble and pep band all four years. She has been active in Florida College’s collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Education and has had leading roles in the music theater productions. Among her accomplishments is being selected to “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.” Diana has a wonderful personality for teaching, is always a leader and an encourager, and should do well in her chosen career as a music educator.

Alexander Mitchell – Physics
Alex Mitchell has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the 2016–2017 physics academic award. This award is given annually to the advanced physics student that demonstrates exceptional academic performance during the year. In choosing the winner, several things are considered, including leadership, service to others and character. What set Alex apart was his ability to thoughtfully guide his fellow students in lab projects and assist them with homework assignments outside of class. Alexander will continue his future success as he pursues a degree in chemical engineering.

Abigail Smith – Social Science
It is a particular pleasure to award Abigail Smith the academic award for social science. Abigail has maintained a standard of excellence in her studies throughout her tenure in her work within the history program. She has excelled in upper-division work, and consistently set the standard for her classes. What sets her apart is a desire to truly study and learn—rather than simply make a grade by memorizing facts. Abigail Smith’s outstanding ability and commitment to excellence will serve her well after graduation this spring, as she begins professional work at the Eisenhower Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to this year’s academic award winners on being recognized for excellence in their various disciplines over the past academic year!