April 23, 2024
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Night on the town

Division of Student Affairs honors Binghamton’s best and brightest at the 2023 Student Awards Gala

President Harvey Stenger presents Nora Monasheri with the Student of Distinction award at the Student Awards Gala on May 1, 2023. President Harvey Stenger presents Nora Monasheri with the Student of Distinction award at the Student Awards Gala on May 1, 2023.
President Harvey Stenger presents Nora Monasheri with the Student of Distinction award at the Student Awards Gala on May 1, 2023. Image Credit: David Williams.

At Binghamton University, student excellence isn’t limited to what happens in the classroom. From student organizations to community engagement to on-campus jobs, students continually go above and beyond to get involved on and off campus, take on leadership roles and make Binghamton a vibrant, welcoming community.

To applaud and recognize just some of the outstanding students who contribute to Binghamton’s culture, the Division of Student Affairs hosted the annual Binghamton University Student Awards Gala May 1, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in downtown Binghamton.

After a welcome reception with hors d’oeuvres, Baxter the Bearcat dressed to the nines in his custom tuxedo and a Binghamton-themed ice sculpture — all accompanied by the upbeat tunes of the Harpur Jazz Ensemble — a plated dinner was served in the ballroom for all nominees, nominators and special guests. Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose spoke to the crowd of students, staff and faculty, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the many talents our students bring to campus and continue to develop during their time here.

“Thank you to all of our nominees and winners for the extraordinary contributions you make to campus,” he said. “You make it such a vibrant place to be and a privilege to work at, and you really help create our identity as the crown jewel of the SUNY system and all of the higher education institutions in the state of New York.”

Over the course of the evening — interrupted only briefly for dessert and a performance by members of the Ballroom Dance Association — University staff, administrators and members of the Student Association executive board presented awards to 14 students, one student organization and one staff member, honoring their contributions to the University. Each award winner also receives a $500 check.

Rose also took time to thank Binghamton alumni, many of whom contributed to the Binghamton Fund for Student Life, which makes many of the awards possible.

“So many of our alumni remember their experience at Binghamton — the student organizations, student employment opportunities and other ways in which they were involved on campus,” Rose said, “and they wanted to give back and help recognize the outstanding achievements of all of you.”

The following awards were presented:

Al Vos Excellence in Community Engagement

Patrick Saint Ange

Saint Ange mentored a student at Benjamin Franklin Elementary for four years through the New York State Mentor Program. In addition, he worked with program leadership to recruit other students from campus to participate, creating the New York State Mentoring Club at Binghamton University.

Excellence in Community Engagement (student organization)

Happy Medium

The producers of Binghamton University’s student-run, non-partisan, Happy Medium magazine, strive to create space for students to respectfully and productively discuss the politics of the nation and world. Editor in chief Trevor Fornara and copy editor Amanda Escotto expanded their reach to local secondary school students at Chenango Valley Central School District, where they provided a unique opportunity for a group of students in eighth to 11th grades to explore their interest in political journalism, engage in college-level political research and become published authors through the process of founding a politics magazine.

Excellence in Civic Engagement (individual student)

Luca Cassidy

In his role as chief of staff for the vice president of student success in the Student Association, Cassidy worked with the Center for Civic Engagement and several multicultural student organizations to increase voter participation. He also worked with the campus Technology Accessibility Advisory Group to improve technology and facilities for students with disabilities.

Best All Around New Bearcat (first-year)

Roy Lu

Lu was elected to be the vice president of finance for Hughes Hall in Hinman College during his first semester on campus. Known for going out of his way to create a sense of community (he brought six tubs of ice cream to share with potential new friends on his first day on campus), Lu is involved in the Hinman Public Service Learning Community, led multiple fundraising events for local nonprofits and stepped up at the last minute to become a certified poll worker for the short-staffed on-campus polling site during the 2022 midterm elections.

Best All Around New Bearcat (transfer)

Jeremy Masterson

From his first day on campus as a new transfer student, participating in the Transition and TRANSFERmation summit, Masterson has shown an eagerness to step up and step in. He helped with setting up for that event and has continued to go out of his way to meet new people, help out and ensure others are included at Transfer Student Services events and programs. He is also involved across campus with the Philosophy Club, Parliamentary Debate Society, the College-in-the-Woods Council and the Student Association Congress.

#BingPride Spirit Award

Sarah Celt

Celt shares her enthusiasm and love for Binghamton University nearly every day. She is a tour guide for prospective students and families, and proudly wears Pantone 342 on every Green Day Friday (and many other days, as well).

BFirst Resilience Award

Wilson Li

Awarded by the BFirst Committee, the BFirst Resilience Award recognizes a student who has demonstrated perseverance in the face of the hardships and obstacles often experienced by first-generation college students. Li exemplifies this sense of dedicated perseverance in his academic work and goes out of his way to foster a sense of belonging by enthusiastically engaging with his peers in TRIO Student Support Services.

Excellence in Fraternity and Sorority Life

Casey Ruth Anderson

Anderson has served Alpha Omega Epsilon engineering sorority as chapter social chair, fundraising chair, professional chair, webmaster, sisterhood chair, chapter president and recruitment chair. She also represented her sorority at the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council Miss Aphrodite Pageant, where she was crowned the winner and raised $2,300 for Golisano Upstate Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

Undergraduate Student Employee of the Year

Arianna Costanzo

Costanzo has been employed by the Dean of Students Office (DOS) since Feb. 2022. She started as an ice rink monitor during the first winter back on campus after the beginning of the pandemic, and continued in a supervisory position as the lead ice rink monitor the following year. She also worked as a student receptionist in the DOS and as an Orientation advisor for New Student Programs.

Graduate Student Employee of the Year

Megan Sticco

Sticco began working for the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) as an undergraduate student performing rapid antigen testing for thousands of people across campus at the Surveillance Testing Center, and because of her exemplary work, she excelled as part of that team. Because of her knowledge and professionalism while in this role, she was selected to work in the diagnostic section of the testing site. As a graduate student, she has continued to work with OEM to enhance several University-wide emergency plans, dedicating significant time to helping Binghamton University recover from COVID-19.

Campus Recreation Employee of the Year

Sophia Azzara

Azzara has worked at Campus Recreation for over two years, starting as a student intern, then progressing to a manager and finally a teaching assistant. This semester, she filled critical staffing deficits in the fitness program that resulted from professional staff shortages.

Residence Life Community Builder of the Year

Olivia Giangrasso

Giangrasso began her Residential Life experience as a member of the PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) Scholars Program residing in Newing College. For the past two years, she has continued to demonstrate a commitment to building community in Newing as a residential assistant, hosting events, supporting voter registration and cultivating meaningful relationships between students.

Student Organization President of the Year

Trevor Fornara

Fornara, a senior philosophy, politics and law major, has served as the president of Happy Medium since founding the group in Dec. 2021. He has dedicated over 1,000 hours to Happy Medium since its founding, serving as the editor in chief of Happy Medium magazine, launching Happy Medium’s website and guiding the organization in producing four print editions of the magazine during the 2022-23 academic year.

Outstanding Organization of the Year

Happy Medium

With nominations coming from the Binghamton University Office of Communications and Marketing, the Center for Civic Engagement, faculty members and the Chenango Valley Central School District, this organization has impressed many in the community with its efforts to foster and support constructive civic dialogue among students on campus and in the community.

Accomplished Graduate Student

Xi Wang

Xi is a Translation, Research and Instruction Program (TRIP) doctoral candidate who has served as the president of the TRIP Graduate Student Organization and a TRIP graduate instructor. In these roles, she has organized events for graduate students including de-stress yoga sessions and a bowling night at The Union, in addition to arranging translators for guest speaker series.

Bearcat Award for Outstanding Service and Support

Anna Jantz, assistant director and advocate of case management services

The Bearcat Award for Outstanding Service and Support recognizes a faculty, staff member or administrator who goes above and beyond to help students. Jantz daily works with students going through difficult situations in her role on the CARE Team. She advocates for students, makes sure their needs are met during crisis situations and uses a consistently compassionate, empathetic, trauma-informed approach to her essential work.

Student of Distinction

Nora Monasheri

In addition to holding a 3.99 GPA in the School of Management, Monasheri is a member of the Student Association Financial Committee, leader in Chabad of Binghamton and co-professional committee chair for Alpha Kappa Psi, a business professional fraternity on campus. She also worked with President Harvey Stenger to restart the University’s Road Map Internship program, overseeing four interns who meet regularly with campus administrators, faculty and staff to develop campus projects.

“Nora is truly a remarkable student,” said Stenger, who presented the award. “The best that Binghamton has to offer.”

Posted in: Campus News