Barry University’s College of Arts and Sciences is proud to recognize the 2015-2016 Dean’s Award Recipients. The students – Rebecca J. Leppert, Wesam Azaizeh and Kelly R. Merrill – were nominated for their outstanding accomplishments in and out of the classroom. All three students graduated in May 2016.
Rebecca J. Leppert – 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.
Wesam Azaizeh – 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.
Kelly R. Merrill – 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).