STARS shine on RIT’s Multicultural Center campus student-leaders and partners

Bernard Rodgers named ‘Shining Light’ award recipient, Karbara Maxey named Rochester City Scholar of the Year

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Michelle Cometa

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren was the keynote speaker at the Multicultural Center for Academic Success’s annual “Celebration of STARS.”

Members of the Multicultural Center for Academic Success at RIT recognized student, faculty and staff leaders on May 6 at the center’s annual “Celebration of STARS.” The awards program and dinner was highlighted by an evening of music, awards and inspiration from special guest Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.

The STAR Awards are given by MCAS to campus and community members who have provided support to the center, its programs and students. But the main focus of the evening is on the student-awardees, particularly those graduating from RIT with 3.0 grade point averages or better, those who participate in the center’s programs and many influential student-leaders, including Barnard Rodgers and Karbara Maxey.

Rodgers, a first-year communication major, was presented with the Gabrielle Oberti “Shining Light” Award, given for his participation on the center’s team during its Summer Bridge program initiatives and other events. (Oberti was a student at RIT until her untimely death in a car accident this past February.) Maxey was named the 2014 Rochester City Scholar of the Year. She is one of the first students accepted into the Rochester City Scholars program and in its first graduating class this May. She was recognized for her outstanding academic record and research activities as an undergraduate in biotechnology and molecular bio-science program.

Warren recognized Rodgers and Maxey as well as all the MCAS student leaders in her address to the group, sharing her experiences growing up in Rochester, as a student at Wilson Magnet High School, and later at the University of Albany where she received her law degree. She was inspired early on to pursue law after her grandfather had been shot, and it became her focus, she said, to be an advocate for justice, not only for him but for others in her community. She practiced law locally and was elected to Rochester’s City Council in 2007, becoming its president in 2010. In January 2014, Warren was elected mayor of her hometown.

“Even after being in government for 14 years, when I ran for mayor, I was told I was not ready, I was not good enough. If I had listened, I might not be here today,” said the city’s first African American female mayor. “Don’t let anyone stop your dreams or determine your future. If you just try to fly, you can begin to soar.”

She went on to remind the students that graduation from college, although a significant step, is not the end of the journey, but the beginning of their next chapter in life. The evening highlighted the 28 students in the MCAS program who will be graduating this May. Many have maintained 3.0 grade point averages or better throughout their time at RIT.

The 2014 STAR awardees include:

Multicultural Center for Academic Success Awards - Students

Gabby Oberti “Shining Light” Award – Bernard Rogers

Rochester City Scholar of the Year – Karbara Maxey

MCAS Scholar of the Year – Dimple Joseph

Summer Bridge Student of the Year – Scarlet Cespedes

Unsung Hero Award: Bernard Rodgers

Multicultural Center for Academic Success Awards – Faculty/Staff

Innovation Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence – dt ogilvie, dean, Saunders College of Business

AALANA Dedication Award – Eulas Boyd, Enrollment Management

Unsung Hero Award – Renee Baker, Executive Director, Office of Faculty Recruitment

Partner of the Year – Michelle Cometa, RIT University News

AALANA Faculty Staff Association (AFSA) Awards

Communication Award – NTID Diversity Group

Advocacy Award – Howard Ward, vice president, Housing Operations

Service Award – Megan Tornow, sr. staff assistant, MCAS

Engagement Award – Newt Watson, manager, Compensation Planning and Compliance, HR

AALANA Collegiate Association Awards

Executive Board Member of the Year – Alexis Harris

Affiliate of the Year – Latin American Student Association

Event of the Year – “Step Above” by Alkimia Chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon Fraternity Inc.

Phoenix Award – Gospel Ensemble

Community Awards

Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity Education: Christopher Ketant

Center for Campus Life: Lydia Moore

Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life: Chantelle Brown and Cesar Mendez

RIT Leadership Institute and Community Service Center: Lydia Moore and Tegan Spinner

Club/Organization Awards

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.: Candy Boston, Alumni Office

Latin American Student Association: Brian Urena and Gilberto Garcia

Lambda Alpha Upsilon Latino Fraternity Inc.: Santiago Murica

Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity: Jordan Rawls

National Society of Black Engineers: Kenton Connors

Omega Phi Beta Sorority Inc.: Denisse Garcia

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.: Jon Weddington and Alex Wright

Society of African American Business Students: Christa Harvey

Unity House: Olufunmilola Babalola

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.: Kaneesha Dukes