Awardees pose for a group photo
Toggle caption Photo by Seth Cohen

SASN Awards Banquet Celebrates Student Achievements in the Arts & Sciences

SASN Dean Mattis
SASN Dean Jacqueline Mattis. Photo by Seth Cohen

On May 3, 2023, outstanding Rutgers University-Newark students were honored at the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark (SASN) Annual Awards Banquet, held at the Paul Robeson Campus Center. The students received their awards among an audience of professors, mentors, and peers, while family and friends were able to watch a livestream on YouTube and cheer them on remotely.  

Every year, the Office of Academic Services (OAS) works together with the Office of the Dean and the academic departments across SASN to present awards to a select group of students, mostly seniors, for going above and beyond in their chosen areas of study. The awards are a combination of scholarships, monetary awards and plaques or certificates. 

Sofia Pinto-Figueroa, Dean of Academic Services, looks forward to the event each year. 

Be humble, be rebelliously brilliant, be compassionate in your excellence, but do the work of making this world a better place.

“The SASN Annual Awards Banquet, a yearly tradition at the university, is a special event where faculty and staff from the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark come together to celebrate and acknowledge our exemplary undergraduate scholars,” she said. “It’s a very exciting time to gather as a community to not only celebrate the impending graduation for each of our scholars, but to also honor them for their excellence in one or more areas of study.” 

She added “We appreciate everyone that was able to attend the event, including Chancellor Cantor, Executive Vice Chancellor Butterfield, Vice Chancellor Gunkel, all of the SASN faculty, staff, and students, and our incredible keynote speaker, Dean Jacqueline Mattis.  We wish our graduates much success as they step into the next chapter of life.” 

In her remarks to the audience, SASN Dean Jacqueline Mattis encouraged the students to use what they’ve learned during their time at Rutgers-Newark to improve the world around them. She reminded students that those who have the capacity to achieve excellence also have the responsibility to be excellent.  “Take your excellence in the world, be humble, be rebelliously brilliant, be compassionate in your excellence, but please do the work of making this world a better place.” 

The event was livestreamed on YouTube for those who could not attend and is available to watch in full below. View a photo gallery of the event on Facebook.

The full list of 2023 awards and recipients are as follows:

Academic Foundations (EOF)
Community Service Award - EOF Akua Asante
African American and African Studies
Wendell A. Jean-Pierre Award of Excellence Avion Todd
Merit Award Zhania Cooper
Arts, Culture and Media
Creative Achievement in Fine Arts Mahinour Abdou
Creative Achievement in Graphic Design Chantal Perez-Coral, Mikhail Fernandes, Yoseth Chaves
Creative Achievement in Video Production Award Jacob Gradaille, Jaynil Patel, Manual Meija
Journalism Excellence Award Devon Corry
Theatre Excellence Award Franchesca Ortega, Veronica Pappiani
Art History Excellence Award Ana Monteiro
Biological Sciences
Bessie Dolgan Memorial Award Andrew Lee
Biological Sciences Award - Excellence in Scholarship Ashot Kirakoyan, Dijonnay Anderson, Imtiaz Ahmed, Mohamad Ihab Ballan, Zahlea Martin
Biological Sciences Award - Health Professions Career Award Ahmed Moawad, Mark Tadrosse
John Keosian Award Rebecca Krupek
General Chemistry Teaching Award Imani Rolling, Lena Schumacher
Harold A. Fales Memorial Award Naser Abuali
Hugh W.Thompson Memorial Award Leanna Origenes
 Charles Sabat Award Ashvini Patel
Dean's Office
CARR Academic Scholars Alejandro Layana, Andrew Lee, Bryant Delacruz, Giovana Castaneda, Ricardo Cantanero, Sebastian Marte 
Charles Pine Memorial Fund Award Ricardo Cantarero, Williem Encarnacion
School of Arts and Sciences-Newark Dean's Award Andrew Lee, Imtiaz Ahmed, Julia Tanaka, Mohamad Ihab Ballan, Zahlea Martin
John Faulstich NCAS Alumni Award Tonanziht Aguas
Richard Robey Memorial Award Tiffany Habersham
Earth & Environmental Sciences
Herbert P. Woodward Memorial Award Tanisha Flatts
Morris H. Beck Student Achievement Award Seray Lale
Certificate of Excellence Dianniris Lorenzo, Olatunji Kunnu
Louis R. Zocca Award Nuralhoda Elsaid
David Diorio Memorial Award Mia Herrera
Madison C. Bates Award Laurenann Asuzano
David Robert Friedlander Memorial Award Katherine Cardenas, Mariah Ramos, Patrick Connelly
Edward H. Zabriski Memorial Fund Award Priscila Cruz
Sydney Zebel Award - NCAS History Gabriella Parodi
Math and Computer Science
Computer Science Award Bryant Delacruz
Ingrida Soldatova Award for Women in Math Sehrish Taqweem
Samuel Greitzer Math Award Williem Encarnacion
Office of Academic Services
Cassie Edward Miller Award Valery Mena-Maldonado
Dean Norman C. Miller Award Jayna Suoninen
Dean of Academic Services Award Alyssa Waters
Tau Sigma National Honor Society Brian Herrera, Jayna Suoninen, Justin Wrightson, Leena Yoo, Salum Bukhari, Sayantini Mukhopadhyay
Yolande Rubianes Memorial Award Kim Cureton
Charles I. Biederman Award Meleny Gonzalez
Betty Skuse Thompson Prize in Physics Sebastian Marte
Political Science
Benjamin M. Weissman Memorial Scholarship Emely Betancourt-Leon
Heinz Seelbach Award Salum Bukhari
Mei-Fang Chang Award Ami Shah
Lillian Robbins Memorial Award Marcelle Halfeld-Bauzon, Thomas Moussa
Lourdes Casal Memorial Award Franchesca Ortega, Thomas Moussa
Social Work
Academic Excellence and Leadership Award Rose Pratt
Academic Excellence in Social Work Award Tatyana Ikhelson
Dean James Plummer Award Ariadna Juarez-Lopez
Dr. Phylis J. Peterman Book Award Sheronda Martin
Excellence in Field Practice Award Blanca Pagan
Sociology and Anthropology
Jay Rumney Memorial Award Aliyah Almonte
Joannie L. Huberman Memorial Award Dianniris Lorenzo
Spanish and Portuguese Studies
Academic Excellence in Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies Kathy Barros
Outstanding Achievement in Spanish and Hispanic Civlization Dijonnay Anderson
Urban Education
Outstanding Urban Teacher Candidate Secondary Education Katherine Cardenas
Women's and Gender Studies
Beth Niemi Award for Excellence in Women's and Gender Studies Titilayo Afolabi
Dean James Credle Award Jubilee Rexach