The Epitome of a Scholar

The Epitome of a Scholar

Pursuing advanced study and research is a long-held tradition at Wilson. That practice culminates with the Annual Barsy-Colgan Student Research Day and the annual Academic Awards Ceremony, where students present their advanced study and receive recognition for their scholarly pursuits.

A highlight of these events is the announcement of next year’s recipient of the esteemed Margaret Criswell Disert Honors Scholarship, and a presentation by the current Disert Scholar, summarizing their senior research project made possible by the award. Named in honor of Disert ’20, who served as dean of the college in the mid-1900s, this award is presented to a rising senior who has, in the judgment of the selection committee, submitted the proposal for senior advanced study and research considered most worthy of support.

Elissa Heil, Ph.D., provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, presented the Disert Scholarship to Hailey Steele ‘ 25


Hailey Steele ’25 was selected as the 2024–2025 recipient. She plans to focus her senior research and advanced study on the damaging effect of the synthetic dye Allura Red AC (Red 40) on the DNA of human colon cells.

Lydia Story ’24, the 2023-2024 Disert Scholar, shared her senior research project entitled “The Effectiveness of Sulfur-Containing Compounds on the Inhibition of Growth of Streptococcus pyogenes.” During her introduction of Story, Deborah Austin, professor of chemistry, described her as the epitome of a scholar. “It has been a privilege to serve as Lydia’s instructor and one of her research advisors,” said Austin. Story previously presented her work at the annual meeting of the Pa. Academy of Science, where she received an honorable mention for her research. Her project received partial funding from an E. Grace White Research Grant, a Barsy-Colgan Student Research Grant, and the Disert Scholarship.

Lydia Story ’24, the 2023-2024 Disert Scholar, shared her senior project at the Annual Barsy-Colgan Student Research Day.

Story finished her Wilson career strong as she graduated in May summa cum laude with a dual major in biology and chemistry, earning honors in the major. She excelled in her coursework, receiving awards in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and Latin, and serving as a peer tutor for several science courses. Her academic achievements culminated in her induction into Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership honor society.

Following her first year at Wilson, Story was selected as a research assistant for a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) project on water quality that took place on the Wilson campus. After her sophomore year, she worked as a biology lab assistant at Wilson, and last summer, she secured a competitive summer internship at the Boyce Thomson Institute at Cornell University, where she analyzed the composition of aphid saliva to identify metabolites that could influence the aphid host relationship.

This summer, she will intern as a research assistant for the USDA Agricultural Research Service Northeast
Summer Program. There she will work on gene editing of poplar trees to control the tree architecture and examine the alterations in their growth patterns in their ratio of leaf to wood. Story’s professional interests are
phytochemistry and the use of natural products in drug discovery. In August, she will begin graduate studies at Michigan State University where she will pursue a dual doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology, and molecular plant sciences.

2023-2024 Academic Awards

Each year, students from all disciplines are chosen by their professors to receive a variety of Wilson College awards based on exemplary and outstanding academic merit and achievement. An awards ceremony is held in their honor at the closing of the annual Barsy-Colgan Student Research Day.

1957 Civic Engagement Award: Keaira Lutz ’26

Barsy-Colgan Academic Research gift award: Hailey Steele ’25 and Erin Roszkowiak ’25

The Donald F. Bletz Awards for Excellence in Teaching:
• Sr. Faculty: Wendell Smith
• Jr. Faculty: Bonnie Rock-McCutcheon
• Adjunct Faculty: Hailey Haffey

E. Grace White Prize: Lydia Story ’24

E. Grace White Summer Scholarship: Katherine Kimmel ’25 and Cassidy Sowers ’25

Excellence in Organic Chemistry Award: Judith Wolf ’25

General Chemistry Award: Kaylee Pomfret ’27

Joan M. Thuebel ’52 Earthwatch Prize (see page 34):
• Student: Erin Roszkowiak ’25
• Student: Zeke Changuris ’24
• Faculty: Chris Mayer

Lt. Colonel William A. Knaus Award for Veteran’s Service:
Victoria Cooper ’24, Alyssa Wenger ’24, and Shawnee Cordero ’24

Lucy Bremmer Global Citizenship Award: Ryan Reinhardt ’25

Sophie’s Six Award: Sydney Caprara ’24 and Haiden Brookens ’24

The Alice Martin Brumbaugh Award in Sociology: Ryan Reinhardt ’25

The Alta Lindsay McElwain Prize: Matthew Line ’25

The Carolyn Zeleny Prize: Hennessy Strine ’25

The Davison Greenawalt Grove Award: Abby Sentz ’24

The Donna Gomer VMT ADP Award: Nicole Sadlowski ’25

The Dorle Haas Memorial Prize: Hannah Lyons ’24

The Edward and Sarah Anderson Psychology Prize: Haiden Brookens ’24

The Estep-Lawson Memorial Prize: Brittney Parker ’24

The Gloria Randle Scott-Frances Richards Hesselbein Prize: Rebecca E. Galvin ’24

The Grace Tyson Schlichter Award in Communications: Jordan F. Hastie ’24

The Helga Rist Prize: Maddie Flores ’24

The James Applegate Award:
• Performance: Chelsea Zimmann ’25
• Scholarship: Julianna Vaughan ’24

The Joanne Harrison Hopkins Literary Achievement Award: Natalie Beckner ’26

The Josef Michael Kellinger Award: Emma Lowman ’24

The Margaret Criswell Disert Honors Scholarship (see above): Hailey Steele ’25

The Margaret Strode Haines Award: Andrew Gervasi ’26

The Mary Beers Sheppard Prize: Mariah Kiefer ’24 and Madeline Neway ’24

The Mildred Franklin Prize: Jasmine Gruver ’25

The Nicky Hoffman Reich Award (preference to a veterinary nursing student): Paige Schade ’24

The Richard C. Grove Award in Business and Economics: Saria Alshaikhali ’24

The Robert Shannon McElwain Prize: Ellisa Gamby-Mickey ’27

The Suzanne Blumenthal Prize in Healthcare and Medical Humanities: Andrea Sandoval ’24

The Virginia Dodd Cooper Prize: Madelyn Bush ’24

The William and Ivy Saylor Prize: Madeline Neway ’24

The William P. Van Looy Business Prize: Brady Andre ’24

The Wilson Glencairn Bowlby Equestrian Award: Victoria Cooper ’24

Wilson College Nursing Clinical Leadership Award: Melissa Green ’24

Wilson College Nursing Division Award: Raina Sylvestre ’24 and Mercy Osei ’24

Wilson College Nursing Leadership Award: Abigail Buck ’24

Photos of those in attendance for the awards ceremony can be found online at

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