Dean's Award

Each year, faculty in each of the ten Arts and Sciences departments submit their top recommendations to the Dean for their outstanding undergraduate graduating student(s). From this pool of candidates, the Dean along with a selection committee choose an outstanding graduate for the fields of Humanities and Theology, Mathematics and Sciences, and Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Characteristics that the candidates are judged on include scholarly achievement, leadership, and service within the Barry community as well as outside the university.

May 2018

Mathematics and Sciences

Diana Cordero Dumit
Majors: Marine Biology and Chemistry
GPA: 3.94
Diana Cordero DumitDiana exceeded not only academically, but also as an inspirational leader for students and faculty, and by providing an outstanding service to surrounding community. The entire faculty and staff in the Physical Sciences department awarded her with the “Recognition for Academic Excellence, Inspirational Leadership, and Outstanding Service” plaque. This was for the first time that the department gave such an honor to any chemistry graduate. In 2016, she was awarded the outstanding physics student recognition. In addition to being employed as general chemistry tutor and organic chemistry laboratory teaching assistant, she organized study groups for upper level courses. During her second semester at Barry presented her first research poster during the 6th Annual STEM Symposium. She worked under the guidance of chemistry faculty, Dr. Tamara Hamilton, on improving mechanochemical approach to synthesis of biologically relevant porphyrins. This is solvent-free approach which decreases the amount of waste generated and therefore it is considered environmentally friendly. During her time in Dr. Hamilton’s lab, she voluntarily acted as a mentor to newer research students, encouraging them in their own research projects, showing them lab techniques and organizing and giving helpful feedback at extra practice sessions for poster and oral presentations. Furthermore, Diana conducted fully-funded summer research in three related disciplines at three insituitions: oceanographic and atmospheric sciences at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab; oceanic chemistry at the Univeristy of Miami; and paleoenvironmental chemistry at the Brown University. She conducted numerous poster presentations at local, national and international scientific meetings and symposia where she obtained presentation awards. She was admitted into graduate PhD programs at MIT, Yale, and Vanderbilt and will be attending MIT.
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Paola Montenegro
Major: Political Science
GPA 3.68
Paola MontenegroIn addition to her major, Paola also took numerous French courses, completed an internship with Miami Waterkeeper, a South Florida environmental group that advocates for South Florida’s watershed and wildlife. Paola completed the Honors Program and successfully defended her Honors thesis entitled ‘United States Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela (1952-1964) and Chile (1970-1990)’. She was a panelist or moderator at numerous student conferences. She was inducted into the national Political Science Honor Society: Pi Sigma Alpha. Paola was one of our most active students in university and community service. She was a Barry Service Corps Fellow and a Student Ambassador. Paola completed Alternative Spring Breaks in Haiti and McAllen, Texas. She was a volunteer for College Brides Walk, Fair Food Action, Guardian Ad Litem, International Coastal Cleanup, the Salvation Army, and the Freshman Experience Day. Paola’s extensive service contributions resulted in her receiving the CCSI Community Impact Award, the Newman Civic Fellowship, and the St. Catherine Medal. Paola’s career goals are to attend graduate school and to eventually be employed by the United Nations in the area of global environmental sustainability.

May 2017

Mathematics and Sciences

Bertina Telusma
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry
GPA: 3.96
Bertina Telusma challenged herself at Barry and embraced an interdisciplinary approach in her classwork. In addition to her great success in her classwork, Bertina was exceptional for her involvement in research both at Barry University and beyond. Bertina’s goals as a researcher from the beginning have been to apply her research to the betterment of humanity as well as to promote science in countries that lack traditional science culture, like her native Haiti. In her first semester at Barry, Bertina carried out a group project examining how the vocalizations of male house crickets might signal genetic quality to potential mates. In her sophomore year, Bertina conducted research investigating the mechanisms of gene silencing by the Polycomb (Pc) group genes in zebrafish. In 2014, she accepted a summer research internship at the University of Missouri investigating a gene silencing mechanism that is important for proper sexual development.

After completing a Quantitative Methods Workshop at MIT in January 2015, she was accepted into a summer research program where she conducted research on meiotic initiation in mice germ cells. Based on her exceptional performance she was invited by MIT to a position as a “visiting student” the following spring conducting research on helicase loading during DNA replication while also auditing a molecular biology course there.

Bertina was then awarded a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP) Fellowship to continue her work at MIT throughout the summer of 2016. She was also awarded this fellowship a second time to allow her to further her work in the Bell Lab during summer of 2017.

Bertina was accepted to Ph.D. programs at several prominent universities: Stanford, Harvard, the University of California San Francisco, John Hopkins, and the University of California Berkeley, and MIT, where she will be attending. No program to which she applied rejected her.

Bertina performed significant service for the Barry and Little Haiti communities. As the treasurer of the Haitian Inter-Cultural Association, Bertina was very involved in bringing awareness to health issues in the Haitian community and fundraising for the earthquake in Haiti. She mentored underprivileged middle school children in science in both Miami and Boston.
Humanities, Fine Arts, and Theology

Jessica Cousett
Major: Philosophy
GPA: 3.83
Jessica had an excellent GPA in the demanding major of Philosophy. She was an Honors student who completed her thesis on the Libertarian Justification of Poverty in the United States. She was a member of Barry’s Ethics Bowl Debate Team for 3 years. The team, led by Jessica, went undefeated at the Southeast Regional Ethics Bowl Competition in Orlando, FL, and placed third overall. As a result of the 3rd place finish, the team was invited to the National Championship Competition in Dallas, TX where they again finished third out of 37 teams. Jessica is without question is an excellent debater and a highly intelligent, articulate, persuasive and confident person. She received a generous scholarship to attend Emory University Law School beginning Fall 2017.

Jessica served as a Logic Tutor in the department of Theology and Philosophy (2016) and President of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Society (2014-15). As President, Jessica conducted weekly meeting, collaborated with outside and internal organizations to conduct campus events, and hosted a Political Panel on Racism and held a mock trial of the Trayvon Martin case. Vice President of Barry University Model United Nations (2013-15). Jessica’s team placed 1st in the Model UN competition in 2014. She also served in PACT, which unites, organizes and trains leaders from diverse congregations, schools, and community groups to hold officials accountable, achieve systemic change and promote justice and fairness in Miami Dade County. Jessica volunteered for Feeding South Florida and served as a note-taker for disability services at Barry.
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Kevin Dalia
Major: Pre-Law
GPA 3.83
Kevin was a Pre-Law major with outstanding academic achievements in the Ethics Bowl competition, the Model United Nations competition, and in the Honors Program. Kevin was one of our most active students in university and community service. He was active in Barry’s Student Government Association, the Campus Activity Board, the All Greek Council, Barry’s Center for Community Service, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Food for the Poor, and the Humane Society of Miami, just to name a few. He was inducted into numerous academic and service honor societies. Kevin also worked part time to help pay for his education. Kevin plans to attend law school.

May 2016

Mathematics and Sciences

Wesam Aziazeh
Major: Biology
Minors: Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
Azaizeh majored in Biology (pre-professional program) and minored in Physics, Math and Chemistry. He was able to maintain a 3.66 GPA and consistently made the Dean’s List. His outstanding scholastic achievements were recognized with induction into Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society. Azaizeh had several publications and presentations at local, national and international meetings in diverse areas, including a computer code in MESAPlot and a paper in “The Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education.” His research potential was recognized with the induction into the Barry Chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

He was recognized and awarded a cash prize at Barry University STEM symposiums and was chosen to participate in the 2014 Quantitative Biology Workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Azaizeh was selected as an Outstanding Physics Student in 2013 and was inducted into the Beta Beta Beta Biology National Honors Society.

In addition to his class work, Azaizeh served as a tutor for University Physics I & II, Quantitative Chemistry I & II, Organic Chemistry I &II, Biological Foundations, Cell Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, and as a teaching assistant for General Physics I & II Lab and Biological Foundations Lab (BIO104). He was recognized as an Outstanding Physics Teacher Assistant and helped start the Astronomy, Math & Physics Club.
Humanities, Fine Arts, and Theology

Kelly R. Merrill
Major: Mathematics & Broadcast/Emerging Media
Merill double majored in Mathematics and Broadcast and Emerging Media, and graduated with a 3.88 GPA. He consistently made the President’s and Dean’s List, and made a presentation on immigration at the annual Barry University Mini-Conference.

During his time at Barry, Merill served in many capacities, including: news director and interim president of WBRY radio station; Dalton Hall resident assistant; volunteer at Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Miami; worked with approximately 30 students from local middle schools serving as a peer mentor and role model through Barry’s Community Learning Partnership; Barry University orientation leader; mathematics tutor; and visited and mentored youth through the Little Haiti Optimist Club.

Merill’s honors and awards include: Department of Mathematics and Computer Outstanding Student; recipient of the Sr. Paul James Villemure Scholarship; Outstanding Student in Broadcast and Emerging Media; Goizueta Minority Science Scholarship recipient; National Academy for Television Arts & Sciences Suncoast Scholarship recipient; freshman, sophomore and junior Excellence in Leadership Award; John Graves Thompson Award for Outstanding Freshman; and member of five honors societies (Phi Eta Sigma, Lambda Pi Eta, Delta Epsilon Sigma, Delta Epsilon Iota and Sigma Alpha Pi).
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Rebecca J. Leppert
Major: Political Science
Minor: History
Leppert majored in Political Science with a minor in History. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Leppert was also a STAMPS Scholar and recognized for her academic leadership. In 2015, she presented a research paper at the Florida Political Science Association titled, “The Empirical Analysis on the Correlation of War Casualties and Birth Rate,” which made her a finalist for best undergraduate paper.

Leppert attended the Florida Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values in Tallahassee in 2015 and 2016, and was a facilitator at the 2016 forum. She was selected also as a nationally and state recognized leader for The National Student Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., in 2015, and served as a management intern with the City of Arlington in summer 2015.

Leppert had an impressive record of service during her time at Barry, including: president of Sigma Alpha Pi: The National Society of Leadership and Success; leadership committee member of Barry’s Grade Appeals Committee; president advisory board member of the National Society of Leadership and Success; and a New Student Orientation volunteer. Her honors/awards include: Phi Alpha Theta, International History Honor Society; Pi Sigma Alpha, Political Science Honor Society; Delta Epsilon Iota, Academic and Career Honor Society; Sigma Alpha Pi, Leadership and Success Honor Society; and an Excellence in Leadership Award from Student Affairs.

May 2015

Humanities, Fine Arts, and Theology

Cheryl Frazier
Major: Philosophy
Minor: Art History
Although it took her two years to officially declare her major, Cheryl Frazier became a philosopher during her first week at Barry. Sitting in her philosophy class, Cheryl’s first thought was, this is impossible, and her second thought was, so I must learn to do it. That attitude basically sums up Cheryl. A Stamps Scholar and an Honor Student, Cheryl became an officer in the Philosophy Club her first semester and was president by her sophomore year, a role she has held for three years. She has been a leading member of Barry’s Ethics Bowl team for three years. She has been active in many campus organizations, including a four-year member of the Honors Program Student Advisory Board. Cheryl is a talented and prolific writer, having presented papers at six conferences, two of which have been published in academic journals. This spring she served as an Assistant Editorial Board member for Stance, an undergraduate philosophy journal. She received the Gerrit and Edith Schipper Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Philosophy Paper in a Four-Year College or University. Last summer, she participated in philosophy institutes at Carnegie Mellon University and Rutgers University. She has been inducted into seven honor societies and is the recipient of numerous awards. Cheryl will begin a PhD program in philosophy at the University of Oklahoma in the fall. She plans to specialize in aesthetics with the goal of becoming a philosophy professor.
Mathematics and Sciences

Lukas Bijaminas
Majors: Computer Science and Mathematics
Lukas is a double major in computer science and mathematics with a cumulative GPA of 3.992 where he has consistently exhibited outstanding performance and grasp of concepts. Faculty members have described his abilities as “setting a standard in homework, projects, and tests that few are able to match even occasionally let alone consistently” and “an outstanding student performing at the highest level”.
He has been involved in research with faculty mentors. He has presented his research results on Barry’s campus (Poster presentations at the 5th and 6th annual Barry STEM symposium) as well as at the 2014 Life Sciences South Florida (LSSF) STEM Undergraduate Symposium. He co-authored and presented a paper (with faculty mentor Dr. James Haralambides) on “Reducing Double Data Rate (DDR) Latency for Embedded Image Steganography” at the 2014 International Conference on Embedded Systems in Las Vegas, Nevada. His other research projects included; “Power Consumption Comparisons for Cryptographic Algorithms using Symmetric Encryption and Primality Tests for Mobile Devices”, “Enhancing Blood Vessels in Retinal Images using Gaussian Filters” conducted with student co-authors under the direction of Dr. Haralambides and “Gradual Admittance into Network Groups (GANG)” with Dr. Rick Jimenez.
Lukas has also been involved in a variety of community service initiatives. His work with Computers for the Community under the direction of Dr. Jimenez has helped repair, upgrade and distribute computers to local high schools and community partners which cannot afford to purchase machines for use. He has worked with the Citizenship Clinic helping people with the process of becoming US Citizens.
Lukas has used his knowledge and skills in his academic field as developer and founder of Life Quality Studio Incorporated, an on-line retail business. He has also implemented an anonymous social network called Whimblr for college students on the same campus to exchange ideas, share news and communicate in general.
The faculty and staff of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences unanimously and enthusiastically recommended Lukas for this award. His combination of academic excellence, research experience and service to the community are well deserving of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Outstanding Graduate in Science and Mathematics (STEM disciplines)
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Shantell Monreal
Major: Pre-law
Minor: Psychology
Shantell Monreal is a Pre-Law major and a Psychology minor. Her academic work in both areas has been outstanding. Shantell is an ICUF Presidential Fellow. Her service to the University and community was recognized last year when this body awarded her the St. Catherine Medal. Shantell was a Student Government officer, was an officer in the Pre-Law fraternity, and for three years served as a student lobbyist in Tallahassee during Barry Days. She completed an internship with a Miami-Dade commissioner, was a volunteer at Sinai Plaza nursing center, was a volunteer at the Haitian Youth Community Center, and a tutor at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School. Shantell worked part-time at numerous jobs to help pay for her education. In the fall, Shantell will be attending law school.

May 2014

Humanities and Theology

Dianna Bellian
Major: English
Specialization: Literature
A famous businessperson once wrote that “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” These words provide a good, brief description of Dianna Bellian’s career here at Barry. She pursued excellence in all her endeavors, planned her schedule and her life carefully, and focused a tremendous amount of effort on the things about which she cares. She excelled in her academic work, with a GPA of 3.87, a major in English with a specialization in Literature, and the successful completion of the Honors Program. She presented at academic conferences, including a paper she read at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference in Niagara, New York. She served as a writer and copy editor for The Barry Buccaneer. In addition, she was a member of the extremely successful Barry Ethics Bowl Team. Outside the classroom, she shone as well. She was president of the Honors Program Student Advisory Board for two years. She served as vice-president of both the English Association and the Philosophy Club. She worked as a Youth Leader at the Miami Shores Presbyterian Church and participated in several of the Annual College Brides’ Walks Against Domestic Violence. The only problem with a student such as Dianna is that inevitably we must lose her. Four years pass so very quickly. Nevertheless, we wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors, which include teaching summer school in Arizona this summer and beginning graduate school in the Fall at Eastern Illinois University.
Mathematics and Sciences

Talia Guardia
Major: Biology
Minors: Chemistry and Mathematics
Talia Guardia, a biology major and chemistry minor, exemplifies the mission of Barry and has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and community service. Since coming to Barry in Fall 2010, Talia maintained a GPA of 3.6-3.8. As an active participant in the NIH-supported RISE program, she began research as a freshman through the ROADS club and completed three years of cancer research in the biology department with Dr. Tang Hu. While enrolled at Barry, for three summers Talia also conducted research at research-intensive institutions - MIT, Cornell, and the National Cancer Institute, and presented that research at national scientific meetings. Talia was inducted into Sigma Xi, Delta Epsilon Iota, Tri Beta, and Gamma Sigma Epsilon; she was a member of the American Association of Cancer Research and was president of the Barry chapter of the American Medical Student Association. She accumulated a strong record of service to Barry and the wider community, including participating in toy drives, the Brides walk, Miami Beach clean-up, the Heart Walk, preparing Thanksgiving basket donations, and helping prepare chemistry ‘magic show’ demonstrations for elementary school children. Talia served as a role model and inspiration to her peers. Talia will complete a cancer research internship at MIT before applying to the MD/PhD program.
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Leslie Redmond
Major: Political Science
Minors: Africana Studies
Leslie was a Political Science major with a minor in Africana Studies. She was inducted into several academic honor societies including: Phi Sigma Alpha (Political Science), Sigma Tau Delta (English), Phi Eta Sigma (Freshman), and Delta Epsilon Iota (Career Services). Leslie was president of the Barry Student Government Association. She was the recipient of the St. Catherine Medal, the Barry Resident Assistant of the Year Award and the Dr. George Wanko Award for junior class excellence. Leslie volunteered for Organizing for America, College Brides Walk, Martin Luther King Day of Service, and the Girl Scouts of America. She completed an internship with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Leslie will attend the University of St. Thomas Law School in St. Paul, Minnesota.

May 2013

Humanities and Theology

Thomas Depalo
Major: Philosophy
Thomas Depalo came to Barry University specifically to study philosophy at Barry. While at Barry, Thomas was an outstanding member of Barry’s Ethics Bowl Debate Team, which earned an invitation to the National Championship Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a member of the national philosophy honor society, Phi Sigma Tau and the Barry Philosophy club, where he served as an officer in both. Thomas was also a member of Barry’s academic honor society Delta Epsilon Iota. Thomas was known for his insightful comments during class discussions, and for reading widely beyond the assigned texts; he regularly requested summer reading lists from faculty members. The Barry philosophy faculty all recognized Thomas’s unique philosophical talent. Not only was Thomas a distinguished undergraduate scholar, he also had an excellent university and community service record. He served as Secretary of the Student Government Association, as the undergraduate representative of the Grade Appeal Committee, as one of Barry’s representatives who lobbied for the continuation of FRAG, and as a member of Barry’s Multicultural and Diversity Task Force. Thomas also gave back to the community by tutoring local elementary school students. Thomas was an outstanding student who blended high academic achievement (he graduated with a 3.899 GPA and completing his undergraduate education in three years) with active participation in University and community service. Thomas is a true intellectual who is working and planning to begin law school in the fall of 2014.
Mathematics and Sciences

Alec Davila
Major: Biology
Alec Davila, a biology major, graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.966. At the end of his freshman year, he was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma and Delta Epsilon Iota honor societies, and subsequently, the Gamma Sigma Epsilon, Tri-beta, Sigma Xi, and Alpha Chi honor societies. He was also the recipient of one of the 2013 Excellence in Leadership President’s award for seniors. Biomedical research was an integral part of his training at Barry, first as a participant of the National Institutes of Health-supported ROADS research club in 2010, and then in 2011 and 2012 he was selected for summer research internships at the University of Florida and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, respectively. As an NIH Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) scholar, he also conducted research in the department of biology, winning research presentation awards at undergraduate symposia. In 2012, he participated in a quantitative biology workshop at MIT and later, received the Outstanding Physics Student Award. He was also committed to social and educational causes by helping to bridge the healthcare gap in under-served communities as a Spanish interpreter at health fairs, helping to organize food drives and deliver food to families during the Thanksgiving season as vice-president of Tri-beta, by encouraging the next generation of scientists, and by volunteering at science fairs and exhibits. Alec was accepted to several medical schools and PhD programs. He chose to enter the MD Program at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University beginning Fall 2013.

May 2012

Behavioral and Social Sciences

Sade Brooks
Major: Criminology
Sade Brooks graduated with a 3.649 cumulative GPA. Importantly, she clearly demonstrated her critical thinking skills throughout her time in the department. She was a thoughtful and engaged student who was on the Dean’s List numerous times. Sade was also a member of Pi Gamma Mu honor society. In fall 2011, Sade completed a study abroad experience in Greece. In summer 2011, she interned with the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention in Baltimore, Maryland, where she was also accepted to participate in the Roper Victim Assistance Academy, a 40-hour training for crime victim service providers as well as the 2011 National Center for Victims of Crime conference. Sade was also president of Ignite, the Sociology/Criminology club. The group, under Sade’s leadership, sponsored a debate in the fall and a forum in April 2012. Sade dramatically expanded the club’s activities, including on-campus events as well as service both on campus and off. She organized a very successful toy drive and holiday party for the children receiving services through No More Tears, a 501(c)3 organization that assists victims of domestic violence, and helped co-sponsor the Teens for Jeans program. Sade was actively involved in Barry’s Environmental Sustainability Team (BEST) and helped to coordinate earth month programming. In addition, Sade was involved with Art in Motion on campus, serving as that group’s Secretary and Public Relations volunteer. Sade worked as a Resident Assistant, helping to supervise residence hall students and coordinate educational programming. Sade went on to study law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
Humanities and Theology

Grace Collins
Double Major: Philosophy and History
Grace Collins was one of Barry’s most outstanding students. She earned a 3.872 GPA with a double major of Philosophy and History. She was in the Honors Program and successfully defended her Senior Thesis entitled “Perfect Races to Perfect Babies: The Moral Impermissibility of Genetic Enhancements.” She was a member of the Barry University chapter of the National Philosophical Honor Society, Phi Sigma Tau, and the History Honor Society Phi Alpha Theta. Grace was also a member of Barry’s Ethics Bowl team that won an invitation to the National Championship Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. Not only was Grace an outstanding student, she was extremely active in university and community service and was awarded the St. Catherine Medal for Outstanding Service her junior year. She was a four-year member and Captain of the Barry University Softball Team and won All-American honors for her excellent athletic achievements. Grace’s career ambition was to become a lawyer and she is currently attending law school at the University of Florida.
Mathematics and Sciences

Daniel Morales
Major: Chemistry
Daniel Morales graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry with a specialization in Biochemistry and earned a cumulative GPA of 3.947. Daniel entered Barry after serving four years in the United States Navy. In his first year, Daniel was named the Outstanding Freshman Chemistry Student at Barry, and he was the recipient of the Department of Physical Sciences Honor Scholarship and the Chemistry and Physics Faculty Endowed Scholarship (the department’s most prestigious scholarship award based on academic excellence, departmental mission support, and community service leadership). Daniel was active in service initiatives in both the Department of Physical Sciences and the community at large (Ronald McDonald House, Science Olympiad, and third Grade Chemistry Demonstrations to name a few). Daniel served as the President of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and presented a poster describing the award winning activities of the club at the 243rd National American Chemical Society Meeting in San Diego, California. Finally, Daniel conducted research in two different research groups. He performed theoretical calculations in astrophysics to detect the existence of the axion, a hypothetical elementary particle, with Dr. Maurizio Giannotti. He also conducted synthetic organic research synthesizing muscarinic agonists for the potential therapeutic use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease with Dr. John Boulos. Daniel truly exemplifies the qualities of outstanding service and academics that earned him the honor of being named the Outstanding Graduate in science and mathematics for the College of Arts and Sciences for 2012. Daniel went on to study medicine at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada.