Profile: 2015 Faculty Award finalists

The Faculty Award is given out every year to a graduating senior who has been at Jewell for at least three years and has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher. The award is given for academic achievement and exemplification of the highest ideals of a liberal arts education. The five finalists for this year’s award have gone through a three-step application process, starting with a general application, which is available to all students who meet the GPA requirement, and then a 45-minute interview with faculty from various departments in which they are asked to address questions regarding the aims of a liberal arts education. Finally, they will finish at the Honors Convocation program with a chance to address the question, “What are the ideals of a liberal arts education?”

One of the finalists is Stewart Duncan, senior and Oxbridge music major, who has been a member of the concert choir during his years stateside, as well as many other ensembles during his junior year at Oxford University in England.

When asked what winning the Faculty Award would mean to him, Duncan said, “Winning the award would mean a lot to me; it would be a validation and confirmation of the hard work and effort I’ve put in over the past four years.”

In addition to spending time in the music program and abroad, Duncan has also been awarded accolades for his vocal compositions.

“Other highlights [of my work] have been singing my composition work: I’ve had two choral pieces published, several premiered by choirs in the U.S. and England, and I’ve got an upcoming performance of a commission by St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria,” Duncan said.

After graduation, Duncan will be pursuing his Ph.D. in musicology at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

“For this I can credit Jewell directly; I only applied for the M.A., but the admissions committee was so impressed by the structure and rigor of the Oxbridge program here at Jewell that they recommended me to bypass the M.A. degree and head straight for the doctorate,” Duncan said.

Rebecca Roach is a fellow Oxbridge music major who has won several awards over the past four years and is also a Faculty Award finalist.

“I received the Ed Larkin Music Theory Award and the Wes and Ginger Forbis Music Award. I was one of three recipients of the Women’s Committee Scholarship for 2014-2015,” Roach said. She has also completed a project on Stravinsky, the Grotesque and “The Rite of Spring,” completed a Creative Honors Project and will be presenting her work at the Duke Colloquium along with Duncan.

Roach cited the help of her teachers, friends and mentors as the reason behind her nomination.

“Winning the Faculty Award would mean the whole community wins the Faculty Award. I certainly wouldn’t call it a personal accomplishment. Literally everything I’ve done isn’t something I’ve done alone; it’s something I’ve done with, for or inspired by others,” Roach said.

Next year, Roach will attend Purdue University in pursuit of her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Over the summer, she will work serve as a liaison between a group of high school students and the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute.

“I hope that over these next few years, I can chart a budding career in the arts, directed by the purpose of cultivating the creative potential of high school students especially. The Oxbridge program has equipped me with the study skills and seriousness of purpose to pursue my passion for expressing innate creativity,” Roach said.

Lexi McDanel is an English and history double major. She has earned multiple scholarships, held leadership roles in Sigma Tau Delta English honor society and Sigma Alpha Iota women’s music fraternity and has been a member of Phi Alpha Theta history honor society, Phi Epsilon honor society and Mortar Board. She has also served as the chief editor of “Inscape.”

“This acknowledgement has proven to me that my hard work and my pursuit of education at Jewell has been successful and is evident to other individuals. It is said this honor is given to the individual that embodies the highest ideals of the liberal arts education, and to be acknowledged for this award means so much because I whole-heartedly believe in the ideals that the liberal arts education pursues,” McDanel said.

Next year, McDanel will be pursuing jobs in the Kansas City area in order to gain workforce experience. She plans to pursue a doctorate degree in the coming years.

“Ultimately, I hope to help individuals of the community to engage more fully with educational spaces by providing more accessible and innovative platforms and events. My education at Jewell has set me up for success in whatever path I choose post-graduation,” McDanel said.

She cites the CTI program, as well as her English and history majors, for her level of preparedness.

“Even more importantly, though, this education has taught me that the world and our reality is an endless wonder and that our limits of knowledge can always be pushed further,” McDanel said.

Emily Scott is a triple major in economics, mathematics and ACT-In with a minor in business administration. During her time at Jewell, she has been a member of Greek Life and several honor societies, a Pryor Leadership Studies Program fellow and managing editor of “Jewell Business Today.”

“Outside of school, I have a passion for running. Last weekend, I ran my fourth marathon, The Garmin Marathon, and finished second in my division. I plan on continuing my marathon career after I graduate,” Scott said.

After graduation, Scott has been hired as an analyst at Mortgage Investments in Leawood, Kan., and plans to eventually becoming accredited as a chartered financial analyst.

“My experiences at William Jewell College allowed me to obtain an internship with my employer last summer. I was immediately offered a job at the end of my internship,” Scott said.

For Scott, winning the Faculty Award would be a validation of all the work she has done over the past four years.

“It would be an honor to be recognized as having achieved the highest level of growth and accomplishment amongst my peers. To win this award would be further validation of the dedication and perseverance necessary to succeed both on Jewell’s campus and in the community,” Scott said.

Cameron VanDyke is a triple major in economics, Spanish and ACT-In. She is a member of and the membership coordinator for Alpha Gamma Delta, a Pryor Leadership Studies Program fellow and the secretary of Student Senate. She has been a first-year mentor, a resident assistant, a Cardinal Blazer and a Career Mentor Program participant. She is graduating from Jewell after three years of study.

“In spring 2014, I was also inducted into the Phi Sigma Iota Foreign Language Honor Society, and in spring 2015 I was selected as the Language Department Senior Star,” VanDyke said.

After graduation, VanDyke will work at Lockton Companies, an insurance firm located on the Plaza.

“Within Lockton, I will be participating in the associate account manager training program in the commercial insurance sector. After completing the 18-24 month training program, I will be advanced to an associate account manager position. Jewell’s CTI curriculum has definitely helped me in successfully getting a job for after graduation and will certainly help me in completing this program,” VanDyke said. “To me, winning the Faculty Award would be an incredible honor. It would mean that my peers, professors and advisors believe that I exemplify the epitome of a true Jewell student.”

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