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Meet the 2015 Dean’s Award for Excellence in the Liberal Arts Laureates!

The twelve DAELA laureates have a mean grade point average of 3.910. Seven of them are members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest liberal arts honor society, and four are members of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s most prestigious comprehensive honors society. Five have presented their research at regional or national conferences. The DAELA laureates have been community advisors, campus ambassadors, peer mentors, and tutors on our campus, helping their fellow students. Our laureates are also leaders: they have held numerous leadership positions on campus: in student government, in their student organizations, and social service organizations. Together, these twelve students have had five refereed publications (with other research papers currently under review), they have participated in twenty internships and eight study abroad excursions: to countries including Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, China, Tanzania, and Russia.

The 2015 DAELA Winners

  • Kim Bernstein
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  • Alison Buske
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  • Carly DaSilva
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  • Rebecca Flores
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  • Jeimy Herrerra-Velasquez
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  • Nick Lauda
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  • Joanna Peluso
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  • Ashley Schreyer
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  • Katherine Scott
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  • Olivia Smith
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  • Andrew Wallach
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  • Caitlin Wiesner
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Kimberly Bernstein: Kimberly majored in both Criminology and Psychology, with a minor in Statistics. She interned for three summers at Herstory Writers Workshop, a nonprofit organization aimed at advancing social justice through the use of memoir. Kimberly was responsible for organization’s social media platforms. In addition, she liaised with the New York Corrections Association in support of their Raise the Age campaign. Kimberly was a Ralston Crime Analytics Fellow. She served as president of the Out-of-State Student Alliance. Kimberly is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key, Psi Chi, and Alpha Phi Sigma. She has applied to graduate programs in social psychology, psychology and law, and criminal justice. Kimberly aims to have a career in research related to psychology and the criminal justice system. She is the DAELA laureate in Criminology.

Alison Buske: Alison majored in English Secondary Education, with a minor in Holocaust & Genocide Studies. She interned with the New Jersey Department of Holocaust Education and volunteered at the Holocaust Education Center at Mercer County Community College. Alison participated in the Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience (MUSE) Program. Her article ‘Empowering Motivation Through Service Learning,’ co-authored with Professor Maureen Connolly, has been published in the ASCD Journal. She is a member of Golden Key and Kappa Delta Pi. Alison plans to have a career in education. She is the DAELA laureate in English Secondary Education.

Carly DaSilva: Carly majored in English Liberal Arts, with minors in Interactive Multimedia and Marketing. She has interned at the Zoa Pagnamenta Agency, Beaufort Books, and the Bedford, Freeman &Worth Publishing Group. Carly is a Community Advisor and the president of INK, TCNJ’s creative writing organization. She is a member of Alpha Psi Omega and Sigma Tau Delta. Carly presented an original poetry collection, “The Glass Memoir,” at a national conference and she has published several poems, including one in the Paterson Literary Review and two in the Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle. Carly is an active member of All College Theatre. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue assistant editorial positions in NYC. Carly aspires to become an editor in a major publishing house. She is the DAELA laureate in English Liberal Arts.

Rebecca Flores: Rebecca majored in both Political Science and History. She interned with the New Jersey Republican State Committee and in Tom MacArthur’s congressional race. Rebecca has volunteered at KidsBridge Tolerance Museum. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Delta Phi Alpha, and the National Society of Leadership & Success. Rebecca’s research project, “What Causes Divided Federalism,” has been accepted for presentation at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s prestigious Posters on the Hill Conference. She plans to apply to graduate programs in Political Science. Rebecca is the DAELA laureate in Political Science.

Jeimy Herrera-Velasquez: Jeimy majored in Spanish Secondary Education. She is currently a student teacher at Knollwood School in Fairhaven, New Jersey. Jeimy is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Delta Sigma Pi. She plans to become a Middle School or High School Spanish teacher and aims to pursue a PhD in Spanish Linguistics. Jeimy is the DAELA laureate in Spanish Secondary Education.

Nicholas Lauda: Nicholas majored in Philosophy, with minors in Business Administration and International Studies. He interned at Teleos Leadership Institute, the Nomi Network, and at TrentonWorks. Nick studied abroad in China and in Spain. He participated in a selective faculty/student research seminar on the topic of ‘Justice.’ Nick is a Bonner scholar. Among his community engagement projects, Nick led a team of students that mentored over 40 inmates for the GED and in ESL in 3 NJ State prisons. Nick is a Career and Community Studies Mentor. He is a member of Golden Key and Phi Beta Kappa. In 2013, he received the Harold W. & Rosa Lee Eickhoff Student Leadership Award. Nick plans to pursue a graduate degree in Human Rights Studies. He is the DAELA laureate in Philosophy.

Joanna Peluso: Joanna majored in Sociology, with a minor in Russian Studies and a concentration in Environmental Studies. She interned with the Staten Island Forestry & Ecology Department, a division of New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Joanna studied abroad in Tanzania; plus, she led a group of five students on alternative spring break/study abroad experience in Vladimir, Russia. Joanna participated in four mentored undergraduate research projects. Joanna served as a Peer Mentor/Peer Advisor for Open Options students. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Alpha Kappa Delta. Joanna presented her research project, “Framing Recovery: Understanding Inequality and Privilege during Hurricane Sandy Recovery in New Jersey,” at a meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society. She is a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team and she plans to apply for a position in Americorp. Ultimately, Joanna aims to pursue a PhD in Environmental Sociology. She is the DAELA laureate in Sociology.

Ashley Schreyer: Ashley majored in Journalism and Professional Writing, with a minor in Psychology. She has interned at the New Jersey Herald and has published numerous articles and photographs in the Herald. Ashley has already accepted a position as associate editor at Pentavision Media (Ambler, PA), a publisher of periodicals focusing on ophthalmology, optometry and opticianry. Ashley aspires to have a career in children’s book publishing. She is the DAELA laureate in Journalism and Professional Writing.

Katherine Scott: Katherine majored in Psychology, with a minor in Music. She has been involved in a pair of internships while at TCNJ, one with Camp Fire NJ and another with the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Katharine studies abroad in Spain. She has presented a research project, “Relations among Intercultural Thinking, Motivations to Respond without Prejudice, and Interethnic Anxiety among African American Adolescents,” coauthored with Dr. Julie Hughes, at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research and Child Development. Katharine is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Psi Chi (serving as vice president), Sigma Alpha Pi, and Golden Key. She is also a member of the TCNJ Chorale. Katharine will pursue a Ph.D. in Social Psychology. While she is still weighing her options, it is likely that Katharine will enter the graduate program in Psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall. She is the DAELA laureate in Psychology.

Olivia Smith: Olivia majored in Women’s and Gender Studies. She has interned at the Howley School, in Trenton. Olivia has studied abroad in Italy. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Golden Key, and Triota. Olivia is the DAELA laureate in Women’s and Gender Studies.

Andrew Wallach: Andrew majored in International Studies. He has served as lead peer mentor for International Exchange Students at TCNJ. Andrew has had internships with Klein Legal Research and TD Bank. He studied abroad in Granada, Spain. Andrew served as teacher’s assistant for TCNJ’s Moot Court, and he won second place in a national Moot Court competition. He is a member Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Iota Rho. Andrew will be pursing a JD at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He plans to explore careers related to litigation, corporate, or government work. Andrew is the DAELA laureate in International Studies.

Caitlin Wiesner: Caitlin majored in both History and Women’s and Gender Studies, with minors in English and U.S. Studies. She interned at Historic Cold Spring Village and Museum in Cape May, NJ. Caitlin studied abroad in Greece & Turkey. She participated in a selective faculty/student research seminar on the topic of ‘Constructing the Past.’ Caitlin is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta (serving as president), and Golden Key (serving as secretary). She has presented her research at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference and at the New Jersey Women & Gender Studies Undergraduate Consortium. Caitlin has accepted a fully funded position in Rutgers’ History PhD program. She aspires to be a scholar of U.S. Women’s History. Caitlin is the DAELA laureate in History.

An Overview of the DAELA winners from years past.


—Layout by Jack Meyers

—Photography by Jaryd Frankel

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