Senior Tribute Week text with six students

Senior Tribute Week Celebrates Student Achievements

From May 3rd through May 7th, 2021,  outstanding Rutgers University-Newark students who received one or more of the 2021 School of Arts & Sciences-Newark (SASN) Annual Awards were celebrated with a virtual "Senior Tribute Week" featuring a series of congratulatory videos released daily. The videos included a message from SASN Dean Jacqueline Mattis, their faculty and mentors, and acknowledgements of the award recipients selected by each department.    

Every year, the Office of Academic Services (OAS) works together with the Office of the Dean and the academic departments across the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark (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. Usually, these awards are presented at the SASN Annual Awards Banquet, but in 2020 and 2021, the celebrations went virtual. 

The week began with a special message to the Class of 2021 from faculty and staff, and continued with videos featuring students throughout the week. "We hope that as you go off into this next phase of your life, that you'll think about the time you spent here at SASN," said SASN Dean Jacqueline Mattis in her video. "We hope that you'll think about the faculty, the staff, the students, your peers who had a tremendous impact on you. We hope you'll think about the sacrifices that family members and that you have made. We also hope that you'll think about the ways that you've risked intellectually, the ways that you've grown, the ways that you've changed, the ways that you've transformed the world already, and we hope that in this new phase in your life that you'll think about opportunities to transform the world even more." 

Sofia Pinto-Figueroa, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Dean of Academic Services, in her video to the students, said "What an incredible journey this has been, especially this past year. A year, that while a bit unprecedented, will certainly never be forgotten. You should be incredibly proud of yourself for accomplishing the goal of earning a bachelor's degree, especially during such a challenging time in our society. With all of the challenges and difficult moments, you could have given up, but you didn't. You hung on, you stuck it through and not only did you preservere, you excelled." 

The week continued with videos featuring beloved faculty and members of the class of 2021 who excelled in STEM, Arts & Humanites, Social Sciences, and Service and Scholarship, released one per day across social media and on the SASN website. 

The full series of videos can be viewed at

The full list of 2021 awards and recipients are as follows:

Academic Foundations (EOF)
Community Service Award - EOF Saba Rafiq
African American and African Studies
Wendell A. Jean-Pierre Award of Excellence Monben Mayon
Merit Award

Jason McQuilla

Arts, Culture and Media
Creative Achievement in Fine Arts Jan Kathleen Reyes
Creative Achievement in Graphic Design Hilijos Exume, Maria Ismail, Luis Reyes
Journalism Excellence Award Jhasua Scicchitano
Theatre Excellence Award Yesenia Rodriguez
Biological Sciences
Bessie Dolgan Memorial Award Imran Khawaja
Biological Sciences Award - Health Professions Career Award Sarah Ibrahim
Biological Sciences Award for Excellence in Research Valeri Altouma
ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Award Meroline Bazile
ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Award Junjie Ouyang
ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Award Haseeb Mughal
Charles Sabat Award Ramy Hosny
General Chemistry Teaching Award Mary Manansala, Ryan Houser
Harold A. Fales Memorial Award Haseeb Mughal
Hugh W.Thompson Memorial Award

Saba Rafiq

R. Ian Fryer Memorial Award Haseeb Mughal
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Herbert P. Woodward Memorial Fund Joseph Reiner
Morris H. Beck Student Achievement Award Akeem Miller
Louis R. Zocca NCAS English Prize Giana Figueroa
David Diorio Memorial Award Katherine Piedl
Madison C. Bates Memorial Prize Eman Odeh
David Robert Friedlander Memorial Award Syekha Alwini, Alea Butler, Saad Latif 
Edward H. Zabriski Memorial Fund Award Jonathan Landi Palacios
Sydney Zebel Award - NCAS History Carola Figueroa, Daniel Rivera
Math & Computer Science
Computer Science Award Fiorella Montes de Oca
Ingrida Soldatova Award for Women in Mathematics Jalimar Morales
Samuel Greitzer Math Award Utkarsh Gaur
Office of Academic Services
Cassie Edward Miller Award Zion Crichlow
Dean Inge Gambe Scholarship Claudia Hawse
Dean Norman C. Miller Award Molly Sullivan, Carolyn Kulick
Dean of Academic Services Award Mahjabeen Siddiqi
Tau Sigma National Honor Society Award Seba Saeed, Ann Boby Mathews, Julissa Gesumaria, Vishwa Jain, Emily Leszau, Valentina Serna Castrillon, Rebeca Soto Avalos, Molly Sullivan
Yolande Rubianes Memorial Award Myrna Bonin
Office of the Dean
CARR Academic Scholars Alea Butler, Harrison Chiu, Edith Cordova-Zeas, Kayla Da Cruz,  Fabiola Etienne, Amanda Fabri, Mohamed Ramy Hosny, Alyssa Kennedy, Varoon Phondge, Raquel Queiruga
Charles Pine Memorial Fund Award Utkarsh Gaur
School of Arts and Sciences - Newark Dean's Award Haseeb Mughal, Monben Mayon, Deena Rahhal
John Faulstich NCAS Alumni Award Janel Anicette
Richard Robey Memorial Award Luciano Baez
Charles I. Biederman Award Naser Tizhoosh
Betty Skuse Thompson Prize in Physics Dory Castillo
Political Science
Benjamin M. Weissman Memorial Scholarship Madeline Perard
Benjamin M. Weissman Writing Award Sophie Kim
Heinz Seelbach Award Heather Lee, Madeline Perard
Joel Girgus Memorial Award Valentina Serna Castrillon, Kira Jones
Lillian Robbins Memorial Award Taisha Blanc, Kawanda Gupton
Lourdes Casal Memorial Award Taisha Blanc
Social Work
Academic Excellence and Leadership Awilda Sierra
Academic Excellence in Social Work Taylor Ulikowski
Dean James Plummer Award Amanda Ross
Excellence in Field Practice Award Jessica Cruz, LeAnn Baker-Martin
Dr. Phylis J. Peterman Book Award Isabel Caparros, Munazzah Shahbaaz
Sociology and Anthropology
Jay Rumney Memorial Award Sally Durant
Joannie L. Huberman Memorial Award Arthur G. Searle
Spanish and Portuguese Studies
Academic Excellence in Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies Barbara Uehara
Israel S. Stamm Memorial Prize Fund Jonathan Gonzalez Montes, Glangelis de Leon
Outstanding Achievement in Spanish and Hispanic Civlization Cesar Ortecho-Mendoza
Urban Education
Outstanding Urban Teacher Candidate in Secondary Education James Joyner III
Women and Gender Studies
Beth Niemi Award for Excellence in Women's and Gender Studies Anthony Escarraman
Dean James Credle Award Joi-Breanna Derrick