Penn State Lehigh Valley announces 2018 student life award winners

Group shot of student award winners

Student Life Award winners (from Left to Right): Kaley Ebling, Lexi Cosenzo, Katie Kravatz, Harshal Patel, Elise Yardley, Criss Braynen, president of the Student Government Association, and RJ Santos, president of the LAN club posed together on Apr. 26 at the Lehigh Valley campus.

Credit: Daniel Omron

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — More than 130 students, faculty and staff of Penn State Lehigh Valley celebrated the end of the spring 2018 semester with the Finally Finished Fest on April 26 at the Lehigh Valley campus. The fest featured Free Daps, an improve rap group that performed for the campus community. The festivities were then followed by the Student Life Awards ceremony.

“The Penn State Lehigh Valley Office of Student Affairs believes in recognizing the endeavors and dedication of students outside of the classroom. Students at Penn State Lehigh Valley are constantly working on improving their clubs, serving the local community and planning programs that benefit the campus community,” said Tom Dubreuil, director of student affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

student award winner announced in court yard

Patrick Cassidy, coordinator of student life and student affairs of Penn State Lehigh Valley, announced the Student Leader of the Year Award before student nominees on Apr. 26 at the Lehigh Valley campus.

Credit: Daniel Omron

Students, faculty and staff were invited to nominate winners in each category.

This year's Student Life Award winners included:

Student Adviser of the Year: Kaley Ebling, Lion Ambassadors

Student Organization advisers are all volunteers dedicated to helping students accomplishing their goals. Some advisors go above and beyond the call of duty and this award recognizes their efforts. One of Ebling’s nominators said, “Kaley has served as Lion Ambassador adviser for the past two years and has remained dedicated, enthusiastic and welcoming to all students involved in this club. Kaley is very passionate and engaging, always looking for the student perspective to help make Lion Ambassadors a positive experience for the members.”

Program of the Year: SGA’s annual ball Casino Royale, Student Government Association (SGA)

Student Organization Program of the Year recognizes an event or program planned by a student organization. Campus organizations provide positive experience for their peers. A nominator said, “This formal ball held off campus included a DJ, light snacks, casino tables and prizes. It was a great opportunity for networking and building friendships outside of the academic environment. This event allowed students a break from school work and overall increase positive attitudes toward the campus and programming.”

Organization of the Year: LAN Club

The Organization of the Year award recognizes a student-run organization at Penn State Lehigh Valley that has had a successful school year and given back to the campus community. Candidates for this award should have met goals set for the year, followed Penn State policies, and been an active part of the campus community. A nominator said, “The LAN club is one of the most visible and welcoming clubs on campus. LAN offers monthly all day gaming events, is active on the fundraising front, has attended the EVO conference in Las Vegas and a winter break gaming conference. Members of LAN are often the first to respond to any requests for help and involvement on campus. One of the most impressive attributes of this group is their dedication to the Annual Thanksgiving food drive. The LAN students have gone above and beyond in donating canned goods to ensure we meet our goal for this community service. Their generosity and kindness is impressive.”

Emerging Leader of the Year: Lexi Cosenzo

The Emerging Leader of the Year award recognizes a first-year student who has taken on leadership responsibilities and given back to the Penn State Lehigh Valley community. This individual must have exemplary grades and demonstrated a passion for Penn State. Self-nominations are accepted for this award. One of Cosenzo’s nominators said, “Lexi is extremely dedicated and determined. She shows great promise as a future leader of campus. Her hard work and positive outlook is exactly what an emerging leader should possess. She is a member of the Campus Activities Board and was recently elected as president of SGA for 2018-19.”

Spirit of Service of the Year: Katie Kravatz

The Spirit of Service of the Year award recognizes a student who has demonstrated engagement in on and off campus service activities above and beyond the typical student; this person shows their dedication on a regular basis to helping others and fulfilling a mission of service through their volunteer involvement One of Kravatz’s nominators said, “Katie was involved with a multitude of service both on and off campus this year including the Thanksgiving Food Drive for the Sixth Street Shelter, MLK Day of Service, Valentine’s Day, Spring Break Days of Service, and was a regular blood donor when Miller Keystone visited campus during the school year. Additionally, Katie volunteered to help with the Alumni Lion Up for Hunger food drive and assisted at the Alumni special event prior to the Penn State Hockey game at the PPL center.”

Dedicated Student of the Year: Justin Honer

The Dedicated Student of the Year award recognizes a full-time Penn State Lehigh Valley student who has continually demonstrated their dedication to Penn State Lehigh Valley through involvement on campus and ability to encourage their peers to be involved. This individual will have shown on several occasions a commitment to and passion for Penn State. One of Honer’s nominators said, “Justin is a dedicated student for so many clubs, departments and fellow students here at Penn State Lehigh Valley with involvement on the Student Life Committee of SGA, an active member of the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and an Adult Learner Peer Mentor. Justin can always be counted on to help with any tasks that is needed, is actively involved in service and is dedicated to engaging all members of our campus community.”

Student Leader of the Year: Harshal Patel

The Student Leader of the Year award recognizes a full-time Penn State Lehigh Valley student who has taken on leadership responsibilities and given back to the Penn State Lehigh Valley community. This individual must have exemplary grades and demonstrated a passion for Penn State. Self-nominations are accepted for this award. One of Patel's nominators said, "Harshal shows amazing commitment and drive that has allowed him to be involved with some of the busiest and more demanding clubs including THON, Lion Ambassadors and SGA. Many nominators spoke of Harshal as one of the best role models on campus. He is a genuine and strong leader that is excited about every organization he is a part of. He exemplifies the 'lead by example' mentality by working alongside his peers at all events and campus activities."