News Archive

Over 25 Nazareth University students recognized for dedication and leadership

Published June 28, 2023

More than 25 Nazareth students were recognized for leadership work that has sparked change within and beyond the Naz community. The formal Presidential Student Leadership awards banquet in spring 2023 shined a light on these hard-working young adults. 

Office for Student Success

  • Victoria Morgan ’25 won a Peer Mentor of the Year award for her exceptional dedication and support in Nazareth’s Academic and College Success 101 transition course for new first-year students. Victoria's impact on her mentees is truly remarkable. One of her students wrote, "She is more than wonderful. A great planner, mentor, and human. She motivated me to pursue another major in public health, which is one of the best decisions I made." Victoria's guidance extended beyond academics, providing study tips for challenging classes and offering invaluable life advice.
  • For taking proactive measures to gauge students' well-being and areas of interest, Sophie Bazzett ’24 wins an Academic and College Success 101 Peer Mentor of the Year award. In this transition course for new first-year students, Sophie was chosen for going above and beyond as a peer mentor. Her instructor nominated her and said, “If I could teach this ACS 101 class all over again with Sophie, I would do it in a second! Partnering with Sophie made all things easier and more enjoyable!” Sophie prioritized building a community in the classroom and created belonging among students.  
  • Sophia Caruana ’24 won Peer Mentor of the Year for Academic and College Success 090, for her organization and feedback that helped create connections in this transition course for new transfer students. The instructor said, “She did an amazing job leading some of the classes and keeping the students engaged. She was always full of energy (even at 8 a.m.)!” 
  • Gabby Larsen ’23, ’25G was awarded Peer Mentor of the Year for Academic and College Success 200, an advanced study strategies course for first-year and upper-level students. Gabby has not only served as a peer mentor for ACS 200 but also for ACS 101, demonstrating her commitment and expertise in supporting students across different courses. According to one of Gabby's ACS 200 students, she is relatable, knowledgeable, and always ready to address any questions or concerns. Gabby actively engaged with the class, ensuring that every student's voice was heard. Her ability to initiate meaningful discussions enriched the learning experience for everyone. 
  • Jenna Phillips ’23 received the Undergraduate Tutor of the Year Award. Over the course of five semesters, Jenna has tutored an impressive number of students, particularly in biology and chemistry courses. Her passion for teaching shines through, even amid a busy schedule, volunteer work, and preparations for medical school. Despite these commitments, Jenna maintained a 4.0 GPA. Nazareth’s Stephen Tajc, Ph.D., said, “Jenna is one of the best tutors I have encountered in my 12 years working at Naz.”
  • Aryelle Barbagallo ’21, ’23G and Maddison DeStefano '23G were awarded Graduate Tutors of the Year. They both provided valuable support and mentorship to dozens of students. Nominations praised them both for consistently going above and beyond in their tutoring roles. Tutoring & Student Success Coordinator Sarah Denis said, "It is a challenge to balance the demands of grad school with tutoring, and Aryelle and Maddison do this with ease. They exemplify what tutoring is all about.”

Residential Life

  • Brady Logan ’23 won Residential Life’s Resident Assistant of the Year award. Residential Life Director Vicky Gebel says, “Whenever someone needs help, no matter the task, she does not hesitate to jump in and do what she can to help them.” Brady’s creativity shined through her amazing bulletin boards and door decorations.
  • Darcy Guerra ’25 won a Resident Assistant of the Year award from Residential Life. One of Darcy's standout qualities is her ability to create impactful programs. She goes above and beyond to ensure that no aspect is overlooked, collaborating with fellow RAs and working with other campus offices to bring the best experiences to her residents. Darcy's thorough planning and execution showcase her commitment to providing a well-rounded and engaging living environment.
  • Gabrielle Kashorek ’25 was awarded New Resident Assistant of the Year from Residential Life. Gabrielle often went out of her way to do work in the common space so she could engage with her residents. She used her skills from working in Campus Safety and as a future occupational therapist to meet her goals and assist others to overcome various challenges. Her warm, caring, and hardworking demeanor has been a welcome addition to the department and Nazareth. 

Campus Operations

  • For maintaining a 4.0 in the physical therapy program while serving as the Nest (game room) supervisor, Brenna Johnson ’22, ’24G won a Student of the Year award from Campus Operations. Assistant Director of Campus Operations and Golisano Training Center Manager Angelashley Diaz says, “She has taken charge of every position she takes on and makes it look easy.” Brenna will be the graduate assistant next. 
  • Sarah Merriwether ’23, ’25G won a Campus Operations Student of the Year Award. Diaz says, “She treats the room as her own and has no fear in making sure all equipment is returned and well taken care of.” 

  • Dorothy Latek ’24G and Conor Kelly ’23 were awarded the Campus Operations Rookies of the Year,  after proving themselves to be valuable assets to the Golisano Training Center. Dorothy and Conor's confidence and welcoming personalities have allowed them to make a lasting impression on both fellow students and external clients. Their ability to remain calm and professional in decision-making situations is commendable and reflects their strong character and leadership qualities.

Health and Counseling

  • For going above and beyond with helping coordinate events like Goat Yoga, Wellness Wednesdays, and Relaxation night, Victoria Morgan ’25 wins the Student Health Ambassador Award from Nazareth’s Health and Counseling. Victoria has demonstrated a passion and dedication to student wellness within the Naz community.
  • Natalie Mignemi ’21, ’23G is this year’s Student Health Ambassador Graduate Award winner. Natalie’s hard work helped create a safe and healthy campus community. Her behind-the-scenes work for the Student Health Advisory Committee did not go unnoticed. She helped coordinate a successful self defense class, and her supervisor says her organization and communication skills set her apart.


  • Admissions Student Leadership Award winner Camryn Davis ’24 is one of the first Naz student ambassador interns. He was recognized for his work assisting in supervising Admissions student ambassadors, on top of his internship at Dunne Goodwin as a copywriter, social media caption creator, and blog writer. “Camryn has shown incredible tact in his leadership. What stuck out to me was his ability to remain fair across all 86 ambassadors, despite having some very close friends among them,” said Stephanie Graham, Admissions counselor. “Camryn is well respected by all and was essential to the success of our MANY events this semester.” Camryn is a junior majoring in communication and media, with a musical theatre minor, from Miami — but he is originally from South Africa and has visited every continent except Antarctica. 

 Center for Spirituality Award

  • For encouraging interfaith dialogue and for creating opportunities for people to come together to share diverse perspectives, Kayleigh Hegerle ’23 wins the Sr. Kathy Weider Award from the Center for Spirituality. CFS Director Jamie Fazio said, “Over the past four years, Kayleigh worked tirelessly with the CFS interfaith leadership cohort. Her passion for fostering positive relationships between faiths and cultures was admirable. She provided a platform for people to share their beliefs and ideas. Her accomplishments inspired all who worked with her, and she will leave a lasting impression on the Nazareth interfaith community.”

Student Engagement and Leadership

  • Described as "the backbone of Nazareth," Elena Baugh ’23 was recognized as the Executive Board Member of the Year from Nazareth’s Student Engagement and Leadership office. Elena has excelled in various areas and has been involved in multiple clubs on campus. As the President of the French Club, one of the most active clubs on campus, Elena showcased her inclusive leadership skills by bridging gaps and educating others while creating fun and engaging events. In addition to her club involvement, she also serves as a leader of Naz Alt Breaks and contributes to various areas on campus, including Admissions, Alumni Engagement, and the Atlas center through Lambda.
  • J.J. Pelechaty, executive assistant in Student Experience, was awarded the Student Club/Org Advisor of the Year. Pelachaty’s dedication, support, and guidance as the advisor of WNAZ have been instrumental in the success and revival of the on-campus radio station. With her own background and experience in radio, she has been able to provide invaluable advice and assistance to the students, helping them bring WNAZ back after a long hiatus. Under her guidance, WNAZ has flourished, with 20 DJs running shows weekly. The students eagerly attend staff meetings to discuss new ideas and strategies for improving and growing the station. Pelechaty’s approach of letting the students take the lead while providing necessary support and checking in to ensure she isn't stifling their vision has been crucial to their success.
  • Ibrahima Cisse ’25 received the Greatest of All Time Award, aka GOAT Award, from Nazareth’s Student Engagement and Leadership office. Ibrahima has been an active student athlete, a dedicated resident assistant, and a talented actor in theater productions. He joined the Campus Activities Board to help plan events, further showcasing his commitment to enhancing campus life. Attending most, if not all, events to show his support, Ibrahima's infectious laughter and positive attitude have a unique way of bringing people together. His dedication, adaptability, resilience, and growth are evident in his contributions to the campus community.
  • Rebecca Kilpecek ’23 earned the Most Valuable Club Person of the year award. Rebecca has been an integral member of the AMTAS-Naz music therapy club this year and an active club member all four years. She designed and painted a mural in the tunnel on behalf of the organization, leaving a lasting mark. She is a positive influence on younger club members and an active voice in the music therapy community. Her day-to-day involvement in the club showcased her passion and dedication.

Weider Awards 

  • Mikayla Guck ’26 was honored with a Weider Community Engagement Award. Throughout the year, Mikayla has been actively involved in various community service initiatives. She worked with Partners for Serving at three different sites, demonstrating her versatility and passion for making a difference. 
  • Matthew Roberson ’26 was honored with a Weider Community Engagement Award for his exceptional dedication to working for social change. He serves as a board member for both the YMCA of Central New York and the Madison County Youth Bureau. Furthermore, Matthew represents Madison County on the New York State Governor's Youth Council, where he engages in civic and political engagement to advocate for youth-related issues. Matthew is also a certified emergency medical technician, further demonstrating his commitment to serving others and making a tangible difference in people's lives.
  • Ava Leboo ’24 was recognized with a Weider Community Engagement Award. Ava's involvement in Nazareth’s Health and Human Services Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board exemplified her dedication to creating a more accepting and loving environment. Through active participation in board meetings, she contributed to the development of initiatives that fostered inclusivity and promoted a sense of belonging for all students. A significant part of Ava's efforts this year were focused on supporting students in the LifePrep@Naz Program. As a member of the Best Buddies club, she helped plan the Festival of Inclusion, an event aimed at promoting inclusivity and celebrating diversity. She is a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association club, further demonstrating her engagement in her field of study.
  • Amy Jacobs ’25 won a Weider Community Engagement Award. As the site coordinator for the Monroe Milers site with Partners for Serving, she demonstrated her leadership and organizational skills in coordinating and facilitating community service projects. This role allowed her to make a direct and positive impact on the local community. In addition, Amy serves as the president of the Helping Hands student club, further exemplifying her commitment to community organizing and activism. Through this role, she organized and participated in various initiatives aimed at addressing social issues and making a difference in people's lives.
  • Isabella Sherron ’24 participated in service projects with Alternative Breaks in Virginia, focusing on housing repairs. Her dedication to addressing community needs and making a tangible difference in people's lives earned her a Weider Community Engagement Award. Additionally, Bella's involvement in the Civil Rights Journey trip to Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee showcases her commitment to civic and political engagement and her recognition of the importance of understanding the historical context of social justice movements. 
  • Karlee Robb ’25 was honored with a Weider Community Engagement Award. Karlee's involvement as a site coordinator and office staff member for Partners for Serving showcased her commitment to direct service and capacity building. Through her work at the YWCA and Latino Family Literacy Project, she actively engaged with organizations that address critical community needs and promote inclusivity and equity. Karlee participated in two Alternative Breaks teams, which allowed her to expand her knowledge and understanding of various social issues. By learning about deported veterans, the Chicano community in San Diego, communities in the Appalachian mountains, and skills needed to build sustainable housing, Karlee gained valuable insights into the challenges faced by marginalized communities and the importance of sustainable and equitable solutions.
  • Ivy Dulysz ’23 received a Weider Community Engagement Award. As president of the Active Minds Club, Ivy took on a leadership role facilitating club meetings and organizing mental health awareness and action events. As a Newman Civic Fellow for the 2022-2023 academic year, Ivy had the opportunity to further develop her civic engagement skills and put her experiences into action. By planning and facilitating discussions on ableism, delivering lectures on the autistic experience at Nazareth, and advocating for more accessible coursework in music therapy for students with disabilities, Ivy actively promoted inclusivity and raised awareness about the needs of diverse populations. 
  • Julia Merzig ’23, ’25G was recognized with a Weider Community Engagement Award and the Partners for Learning Award. As a site coordinator for PFL, Julia demonstrated her commitment to supporting and empowering children and families through education and mentorship. Julia's volunteer work with Autism Up further exemplified her dedication to making a positive impact in the lives of individuals with autism and their families. As the vice president of the American Sign Language club and the vice president for the Communication Sciences & Disorders Association, Julia actively promoted communication accessibility and advocacy for individuals with communication disorders. Through her involvement in these clubs, she fosters awareness and understanding of diverse communication needs. 
  • Mustafa Alhabib ’21, ’24G was honored with a Weider Community Engagement Award. Mustafa provided inventory management and data analytics for the Cameron Community Ministries food pantry, and created a food pantry, clothing closet, and a children's sensory room at the Tepeyac Migrant Welcome Center in Livingston County. Mustafa's involvement as a consultant with the Center for International Education on Arabic outreach showcases his commitment to cultural exchange and inclusivity. By assisting in bridging communication gaps and promoting understanding, he contributes to building a more inclusive and diverse community.
  • Nina DeMilta ’24 received the Jessica Shackelton Maclay Partners for Serving Award and the Newman Civic Fellowship Award. Nina's involvement with Partners for Serving began freshman year when most opportunities were virtual. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, she participated in workshops and training sessions, educating herself on various social issues and reflecting deeply on her experiences. Over the years, Nina progressed from being a participant to becoming a site coordinator and office staff member, taking on responsibilities that involved coordinating program logistics, mentoring other Partners, and leading workshops and training. As the president-elect of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association for Music Therapy Students, she initiated a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, highlighting her dedication to advancing DEI concerns within her profession.
For More Information

Julie Long | Senior News & PR Officer | | (585) 389-2456 | (585) 781-8186 (cell)

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.