Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award

The Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award celebrates the top 1% of undergraduate students who are able to maintain a high standard of academic excellence while also giving back to their community through civic or volunteer work, conducting research, or being engaged in a co-op or work in their field of study. 

Criteria

  1. Undergraduate students at RIT who maintained a minimum grade point average of 3.85 out of a possible 4.0.
  2. Completed 83 credit hours of study, more than two-thirds of the credit hours required for a baccalaureate degree.
  3. Students are also selected based on other factors complementing academic achievement, such as creative work, service on student committees, civic activities, employment, and independent research.

For additional information about this award, please visit RIT's Governance Library.

Nomination Process

RIT's Registrar sends a list of the students who meet the award criteria to a committee in each college and degree-granting unit. The committee reviews each nomination submission and selects the award recipients.

Awards Ceremony

Due to New York's COVID-19 guidelines, award recipients will be honored during a virtual celebration on Thursday, March 18, 2021. 

More information about the ceremony

Information for Scholars

Congratulations on being named an Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar! You will be honored at a reception, award ceremony, and dinner, and you will be presented with a special medallion designed by the late Professor Hans Christensen of the School for American Crafts.

Scholars' biographical information is requested by January 6.

As part of your recognition, RIT honors former high school or community college teachers of our Outstanding Scholars. We encourage you to identify a high school or community college teacher whom you consider to be the exemplary. RIT will acknowledge the teacher you nominate with a certificate and will invite and cover travel expenses for those in the continental United States and Canada to join you at the recognition events.

Dinner invitation form and teacher nomination is requested by January 6. 

Important dates (deadlines for RSVP’s, dinner tickets, ceremony)

  • Deadline for submitting biographical content: January 6
  • Deadline for nominating a past high school or community college teacher: January 6
  • Deadline for approving biographical content for printed program: February 3 
  • RSVPs due for students, guests, and honored teachers: February 17
  • Deadline to modify guests: March 9

Information for Honored Teachers

Congratulations on being selected as an Honored Teacher at the RIT Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Awards!

As part of the Scholars’ recognition, we have asked them to identify a high school or community college teacher whom they consider to be the “best” — a teacher they would like honored as a model for others. These teachers have had a profound influence on their career and have been an inspiration in their life. As one of the few selected for this honor, please accept our congratulations.

A reception, award ceremony, and dinner in honor of these Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars and their high school or community college teachers will be held on March 19, 2020.

You will have an opportunity to visit with your former student at the reception and you will be seated with them and their family and guests, at dinner. A certificate of appreciation and an acknowledgement from your Scholar will be presented during the dinner program.

Travel and Expenses
RIT will pay your airfare or mileage, along with associated tolls, within the United States or Canada, and one night’s lodging at the RIT Inn and Conference Center (including breakfast on Friday). RSVPs are accepted online for this event; you will receive a link via email from Academic Affairs at RIT. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact Dawn Murray at 585-475-5334.

Please record your expenses on the expense form and return it to Dawn Murray, along with original receipts and the W-9 form, for reimbursement. When we receive your expense form, we will process a reimbursement check and mail it to you at the address indicated on the form. The process usually takes 10-14 business days.

Flight and Hotel Information
If you require flight arrangements, please contact Tzell Travel at 1-800-842-0941. Please let the counselor know you are making flight arrangements for RIT’s Outstanding Undergraduate Awards. Your flight will be direct-billed to RIT. If you book your flight another way, RIT will reimburse you for the cost of the flight.

A room has been reserved for you at the RIT Inn and Conference Center, 5257 West Henrietta Road, W. Henrietta, NY, 14586 (585-359-1800) for the evening of March 19. As a reminder, the cost of the room will be billed directly to RIT. At check-in, you will receive a gift certificate to Petals Restaurant for breakfast on Friday morning. You will be responsible for any other incidental charges (i.e. room service, movies, etc.)

Shuttle Service
The RIT Inn and Conference Center provides shuttle service to and from the Greater Rochester International Airport. Please contact the Inn by phone when you arrive to request shuttle service. The Inn is 10 minutes from RIT and provides shuttle service to and from campus. Please inquire with staff at the Inn to reserve the shuttle for transportation to and from the event. Drop off and pick up should be at the Gordon Field House and Activities Center at the south end of D lot (map).

Information for Guests

We look forward to joining recognizing your student’s outstanding achievement at this event. RSVPs will be accepted until February 17.

Special accommodations
The FAQ section includes information on parking, directions, accessibility, and other topics.

Extra guests
Dinner is provided for each scholar, their honored teacher and up to three guests at no cost. Additional guest tickets are available for the dinner for $25. All guests who plan to attend the dinner must complete an RSVP; walk-ins cannot be accommodated at this invitation-only, catered event. Attendance at the reception and ceremony is open to the public and free of charge.

Submit payment online for additional guests.
Deadline for guest RSVPs is February 17, 2020.

Guest Ceremony and Reception Details (open to all)
On Thursday, March 19, 2020, a reception for the RIT Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center. Your student will be required to check in at the Gordon Field House lower-level entrance to receive table assignments for dinner. Guests may proceed directly to the reception. The Scholars will be honored at an awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

Guest Dinner Details (invitation only)
Your student will be required to check in at the Gordon Field House lower-level entrance to receive table assignments for dinner. A catered dinner will be served following the ceremony; dinner choices do not need to be selected in advance. Please include any dietary restrictions with your event RSVP.

DF - Dairy free
GF - Gluten free
V - Vegetarian

If you have a nut allergy, please let us know. Desserts are prepared at an off-campus facility that contains/processes nuts. A substitute that is prepared on-campus will be offered.

If you have any dietary restrictions not mentioned above, please contact Dawn Murray.

Award Recipients

College of Art and Design

Maggie Blaisdell*

Heuijoo Byun

Emma Canny

Marian Draper

Siobhan Gannon*

Julia Hawley

Katie Hobler*

Yuki Lai

Anna Neuenschwander

Tirzah Pilet

Kyle Quevedo

Scilla Raymond-Gazave*

Spencer Raymond-Smith

Yaxin May Ren

Abigail Van Camp

Saunders College of Business

Bandar Alhaqbani

Jelena Benić**

Yahan Cheng**

Lauren Cybul

Mirko Dukic**

Jillian Fioravanti

Jamison Friauf*

Lei Huang**

Nikol Jamnić**

Martina Krčmar**

Dejana Kusic**

Li Jiayu**

Anja Pankretić**

Nicholas Ricci*

Alexander Rohring*

Nicolas Stagnitta

Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

Triton Adamski*

Christabelle Alvares**

JiWoo Baik

Brianna Bilich*

Pedro Bretón*

Mallory Bridge

Mark Drobnak*

Melissa Gould

Joshua Haber

Vjori Hoxha**

Ingrida Ivaska*

Nousadh Jisthi**

Caleb Katzenstein*

Camilo Lima-Castro

Devin Mochrie

Himani Munshi

Christopher Murphy

Paula Pufek**

Kent Reese

Alexander Rosenbach

Liam Tyler

Fatima Umar*

Blake Wesel

Kate Gleason College of Engineering

Christie Agbalessi*

Giovanna Baris

Ann Byerley*

John Czukkermann

Isabella Daquita

Connor Gerace*

Caitlin Grace

Samantha Jacobson

Filip Jander*

Abdullah Khan**

Stephen Kronenberger*

Ellie Larson

Daniela Lincoln

Matthew Madsen

Karl McNulty

Morgan Monteith*

Catherine Musumeci

David Nwokolo

Sarah Oakes*

Vishvam Pipaliya

Matthew Rigby

Om Saran*

Malcolm Sherman-Godfrey*

Olivia Spencer

Rachel Strader

College of Engineering Technology

Ryan Bliss

Noah Carrier

Mason Chase

Oluwatosin Femi-Lawal

Navit Gill

Dylan Hollender

Vicki Lin

Amanda Michels

Rachel Moller

Emily Rogers

Josef Trabold

Peter VanCamp

College of Health Sciences and Technology

Julia Biehler

Zayneb Ghazle*

Diamond Guy*

Jessica Milliman

Ashley Tucker

Sarah Tyler*

School of Individualized Study

Bind Ahmetaj**

Ardonit Arifi**

Robyn Francis

William Kenny

Aurora Kingji**

Lucas Kohorst

Truc Nguyen

College of Liberal Arts

Ashley Hum*

Cayla Keiser

Libnah Yvette Rodriguez*

Alex Ziebarth

National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Amanda Gilmore

Nadia Gunderson

Kira Hart

College of Science

Nana Aikins

Virginia Aswad

Niaya Jackson

Jake Koerner

Ashley Martsen

Celia Mercovich*

Gabriella Wolf

Emalee Wrightstone*

*Scholar is a member of the RIT Honors Program
**Scholar attends RIT China, RIT Croatia, RIT Kosovo, or RIT Dubai

Monica Allen
Grafton High School
Grafton, Ma.

Fahima Bacha
North Bergen High School
North Bergen, N.J.

Stephen Banno
Sharon High School
Sharon, Ma.

Anne Baughman
East Rochester High School
East Rochester, N.Y.

Anthony Beckwith
Concord-Carlisle High School
Concord, Ma.

Laurenn Bertoglio
Nonnewaug High School
Woodbury, Ct.

Karen Blaisdell
Bishop Carroll Catholic High School
Ebensburg, Pa.  

Katherine Bolognese-Gress
Monroe Community College
Rochester, N.Y.

Samira Bregeth
Roswell High School
Roswell, Ga.

Cassi Brownlow
George Washington University Online High School
Ashburn, Va.

Dustin Burdick
Indian River High School
Philadelphia, N.Y.

Cathy Byrne
St. Pius V School
Melville, N.Y.

Kimberly Campbell
Ophir Elementary Steam Academy
Newcastle, Ca.   

Tara Charles
Marcellus High School
Marcellus, N.Y.

Jim Chrisfield
Liverpool High School
Liverpool, N.Y.

Charlene Chrysler
John C Birdlebough High School
Phoenix, N.Y.

Joke Chukwumah
Children's International School, Lagos
Lagos, Nigeria

Phillip Cicione
Commack High School
Commack, N.Y.

Maureen Collier
Skaneateles High School
Skaneateles, N.Y.

Michael Crittenden
Genesee Community College
Batavia, N.Y.

Robert Curtis
Delaware Valley High School
Milford, Pa.

William Darling
Hudson Valley Community College
Troy, N.Y.  

Laura Decker
Mandeville High School
Mandeville, La.

Ann Derrick
Burnt Hills Ballston Lake High School
Burnt Hills, N.Y.

Ann Duran
Rome Free Academy
Rome, N.Y.

Nancy Eaton
Gould Academy
Bethel, Me.  

David Engel
Fayetteville-Manlius High School
Manlius, N.Y.

Andrew Fischbeck
Dobbs Ferry High School
Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Regina Fisher
Smithtown High School West
Smithtown, N.Y.

Joanne Gillette
Revere High School
Richfield, Oh.

Kathrin Griggs
Colegio Bilingue New Horizons
Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Anthony Guzzetta
EJ Wilson Spencerport High School
Spencerport, N.Y.

Rina Harris
Eastern Monroe Career Center
Fairport, N.Y.

Mindy Hopper
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Rochester, N.Y.  

Christine Jackson
Souderton Area High School
Souderton, Pa.

Kathryn Jensen
Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School
Rochester, N.Y.

Andrew Johnson
Fairport High School
Fairport, N.Y.

Yu Kanazawa
Jamestown Community College
Jamestown, N.Y.

Jamie Kelley
Eastridge High School
Rochester, N.Y.  

Valerie Klosky
Pine-Richland High School
Gibsonia, Pa. 

Ian Krywe
Ithaca High School
Ithaca, N.Y.

Richard Kurtz
Commack High School
Commack, N.Y.

Dina Kushnir
Fayetteville-Manlius High School
Manlius, N.Y.

Lori Larocco
Webster Thomas High School
Webster, N.Y.

Jeanne Lauer
The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering
Stamford, Ct.

Mary Long
Lexington High School
Lexington, Oh.

Gina Lord
New Visions Medical Careers Program
Eastern Monroe Career Center
Fairport, N.Y.

Daryl Lundin
Hutchinson High School
Hutchinson, Mn.

Trish Martsen
Homeschool
East Otis, Ma.

Dorothy Masiello
Columbia High School
East Greenbush, N.Y.   

Patricia May
Red Jacket High School
Shortsville, N.Y.

Mike Mehan
Baccalaureate School for Global Education
Astoria, N.Y.

Larry Morales
Edison Career & Technology High School
Rochester, N.Y.  

Tricia Muraco
Arlington High School
LaGrangeville, N.Y.

Richard Myott
Argyle Central School
Argyle, N.Y.

Steve Pierce
Stow-Munroe Falls High School
Stow, Oh.

Peter Pratt
Pittsford Mendon High School
Pittsford, N.Y.

Alan Rappaport
Plainview Old Bethpage John F Kennedy High School
Plainview, N.Y.   

Steven Reiss
Brockport High School
Brockport, N.Y.

Nicole Rose
Rose Homeschool
Rochester, N.Y.

Amita Saily
Apeejay School Faridabad
Haryana, India

Sam Salamone
Little Falls High School
Little Falls, N.Y.

Nadia Salzer
Saint Joseph High School
Metuchen, N.J.

Kimberly Scholl
Ithaca High School
Ithaca, N.Y.

Matthew Skelly
Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School
Marlborough, Ma.

Francella Smith
Rush-Henrietta Senior High School
Henrietta, N.Y.

Brian Sterr
Stuyvesant High School
New York, N.Y.

Pamela Swarts
Genesee Community College
Batavia, N.Y.

John Unson
Gates Chili High School
Rochester, N.Y.

Sue Utz
Victor High School
Victor, N.Y.

Sushil Varshney
Sanyam Institute
Delhi, India

John Vas
Olmsted Falls High School
Olmsted Falls, Oh.

Jon Ventulett
Holyoke Community College
Holyoke, Ma. 

Jonathan Warner
Saratoga Springs High School
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Chris White
Seneca Senior High School
Seneca, S.C.

Khaled Zaher
Al Motqadimah School
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

History

Since 1976, RIT has honored the top 1% of students who are able to maintain a record of academic excellence while also giving back to their community through civic or volunteer work, conducting research, or being engaged in co-op or work in their field of study.

RIT is pleased to pay tribute to these undergraduates who have demonstrated devotion to excellence is an inspiration to the university community.

Medallion
The bronze medallion awarded to RIT Scholars was designed by the late professor Hans Christensen, renowned silversmith and first holder of the Charlotte Fredericks Mowris Chair in Contemporary Crafts in the School for American Crafts. Professor Christensen was the youthful recipient of two medallions for excellence in silver design and execution from the King of Denmark. His memory of this special event in his own life became the genesis for RIT's bronze medallion.

Professor Christensen chose traditional symbols for wisdom and respect—the Athenian owl and the olive branch—as images for the medallion. Each student attending the ceremony receives their medallion from the President, who personally acknowledges their academic excellence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Home-schooled students may nominate a home-school educator, parent, or relative that has played an important role in their home school education. Please submit the name of your home school educator you’d like to honor and how you would like your home school name to appear in the program. You may also nominate a community college teacher.

This event is designed to honor high school and community college teachers who have influenced the Scholar and the Scholar’s career. There are other programs at RIT to recognize outstanding RIT faculty.

A certificate of appreciation and an acknowledgement from the Scholar will be presented during the dinner program.

RIT's president and provost will recognize this year's scholars during a celebration on Thursday, March 18, 2021. The format is pending due to New York State's COVID-19 guidelines. If the ceremony is held in-person, additional information for RIT's scholars and their guests is below. 

Most students elect to wear business or business casual attire to this event (such as you would wear to an interview or nice restaurant.) Please do not feel obligated to purchase new clothing for this event.

Academic regalia is not required for faculty. Most faculty elect to wear business or business casual attire to this event.

The ceremony is American Sign Language interpreted. The Gordon Field House and Activities Center is equipped with an FM hearing assistance system. Receivers will be available at the ticket office in the main lobby.

Service dogs are the only animals permitted inside of the venue.

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted in any of RIT’s facilities. Smoking is permitted on campus in the following areas: 

  • Eastside of Lyndon B. Johnson Hall
  • Outside Nathaniel Rochester Hall
  • Northeast of entrance to Gene Polisseni Center
  • East side of S Lot
  • East of Greek housing
  • South of Golisano Hall

Floor seating is reserved for scholars and faculty; guest seating is available in the bleachers. Please contact Dawn Murray if you or a family member require special accommodations for wheelchairs or walkers.

Parking for students, guests and honored teachers is available in D Lot, northeast of the Gordon Field House. Disabled parking is available for those with a permit.

Students, guests, and honored teachers should plan to arrive by 4:30 p.m. in order to participate in the pre-ceremony reception. Students and honored teachers must check in at the lower level entrance of the Gordon Field House. For those attending the ceremony only, plan to arrive no later than 5:15 (check-in for ceremony guests is not required).

Students, guests, and honored teachers should check in at the lower level of the Gordon Field House to receive table information (for those invited to dinner) and instructions for guests.

Scholars are provided three guests at no charge. For more information, please see the Information for Guests section.

People without an RIT username can connect to the "RIT-Guest" wireless network. Open a Web browser and follow the on-screen prompts to get Internet access. Guests must have a phone number capable of receiving text messages in order to register (carrier text message rates may apply). RIT guest access prohibits access to some internal RIT network resources. Students, employees, and others with RIT computer accounts should continue to use the encrypted RIT wireless network. If you have any questions about guest wireless at RIT, please contact the RIT Service Center at or 585-475-5000.

Walking up to a quarter mile may be required between buildings and parking lots for this event. Please wear comfortable shoes. 

Contact

Dawn Murray, Senior Staff Specialist, Office of the Provost, 585-475-5334, dlwdfp@rit.edu