Five graduating seniors have been announced as the finalists for the Faculty Award. Those finalists, Michaela Ousnamer, Lisa Brune, Annie Murphey, Bradley Dice and Madeline Hopfinger, have been selected by a committee as finalists for one of William Jewell College’s awards for achievement and excellence in the senior class.
Madeline Hopfinger, senior nursing and ACT-in major, recalled the first time she learned about the award.
“I first heard of the Faculty Award last year when I carried the Jewell flag during the graduation procession and walk around the Quad. Directly behind the American flag and Jewell flag, and bag pipers of course, was the 2015 winner of the Faculty Award. It was something to strive for, but never something I thought to be possible,” she said.
Those who meet the requirements, a GPA of 3.75 or higher and three years of campus residency, are notified that they are eligible to apply via email sent out by the award committee chair. The committee is comprised of faculty from every department of Jewell academia. Those serving on the committee this year include Dr. Kenneth Alpern, senior tutor of the Oxbridge department, Kristen Blochlinger, assistant professor of nursing, Dr. Ray Owens, professor of psychology, Dr. Calvin Permeneter, professor of music, Melissa Timmons, assistant professor of nursing and Dr. Erin Martin, professor of mathematics.
From that point, it is the student’s choice whether or not to apply. The application for the award requires a list of the student’s activities during the time spent at Jewell, including student organizations and previous jobs. The application also includes an essay in which the applicant has to describe what he or she thought the requirements for the Faculty Award should be. The award committee reviews all submitted applications and selects between 10 and 15 semi-finalists.
“The committee gets together and reads through all the applications and then decides on some semi-finalists, and that isn’t a predetermined number. It’s usually narrowed down to at least 10,” said Martin.
An interview is scheduled for the applicant to meet the committee. Each finalist was asked to read an article in preparation for the interview. Hopfinger expressed that she did not realize the magnitude of being a semi-finalist until she was walking up the stairs for her interview.
“Similar to any CTI here at Jewell, I was ‘grilled’ in the interview process. I was asked my opinions, political stances, future plans, etc. I left that room with a hurt brain, but a more curious and energized mind. It was a fun challenge,” she said.
The committee deliberates on the interviews, and semi-finalists are notified of their finalist status before Spring Break. Annie Murphey,senior Oxbridge molecular biology major, said she had the last interview out of the group of semi-finalists chosen and was excited to find out the next day that she was selected as a finalist.
“[The Faculty Award] is given to someone who most demonstrates the liberal arts education,” said Martin.
All finalists expressed the honor that they felt in being chosen as a finalist.
“I feel very honored to be recognized by the faculty. They have given me so much with regards to my education. The faculty certainly makes Jewell the exceptional place that it is,” Murphey said.
Lisa Brune, senior Oxbridge literature and theory major, expressed the same sentiment. Brune felt very honored to know that the Jewell faculty thinks she has given back to the school in such a way to be selected as an outstanding senior.
“It makes me feel honored, like my time here has been well spent…the most meaningful thing here that I’ve experienced have been the faculty,” Brune said.
Michaela Ousnamer, senior Oxbridge literature and theory major, never expected to be selected for this award. Ousnamer said she tried to be as honest as possible in her application essay and interviews when it came to her opinions and is honored that the award committee thinks she has spent her time at Jewell well.
Bradley Dice, senior physics, chemistry, mathematics and ACT-In major, said he is humbled to be acknowledged as a finalist with Ousnamer, Brune, Murphey and Hopfinger.
“Each of the five Faculty Award finalists have done incredible work to cultivate their educational experiences, discover and pursue their passions inside and outside the classroom and serve and lead in the Jewell community and beyond. It is humbling to think of the many great scholars and leaders that have preceded us at Jewell and to know that our futures will uphold the College’s reputation of excellence,” Dice said.
All finalists have plans post graduation. Ousnamer will be taking a year off to experience internships and travel. Murphey has been accepted into the AmeriCorps program City Year, where she will be working with Kansas City schools to help curb the student dropout rate. She looks forward to applying to medical schools in June. Dice will be pursuing a doctoral degree in physics while working in the field of computational materials science at the University of Michigan. Brune will be attending Washington University in St. Louis for a doctoral program in English. Lastly Hopfinger will begin her nursing career at Children’s Mercy Hospital this summer.
Every finalist will be honored April 22 at Jewell’s Honor’s Convocation in Gano Chapel, where Martin will announce the Faculty Award winner.