Five Earn 2017-18 Distinguished Service Awards at A-State
JONESBORO – Five outstanding students who are graduating during the 2017-18 academic year have been selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) from Arkansas State University in recognition of their exemplary service and contributions during their collegiate career. They will be honored at a recognition dinner, Thursday, April 26, at the Cooper Alumni Center on the A-State campus.
One of the five Distinguished Service Award winners also will be announced as this year's recipient of the R.E. Lee Wilson Award, the university’s highest honor for a graduating student, at the dinner.
The five students are Brett Hale of Doniphan, Mo.; Nathan Johnson of Jonesboro; Robert Morris of Jacksonville, Haley Stotts of Little Rock; and Reagan Williams of Jonesboro.
The DSA recognitions and Wilson Award announcement comes during A-State’s 40th annual Convocation of Scholars, a celebration of academic achievement that includes college and departmental awards.
The Distinguished Service Award winners are recognized as the institution’s most outstanding graduates because of their leadership, scholarship and citizenship. Faculty, staff, advisers to student organizations, and other members of the campus community submit nominations for the prestigious awards.
All of the nominees have achieved excellent academic records and provided countless hours of service to the community, their classmates, campus organizations, their departments and colleges, and to Arkansas State University. A committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and previous Wilson Award recipients makes the final selections.
Brett Hale of Doniphan, Mo.
Hale graduated in December with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) degree in plant science. Among his many activities, he served as an ambassador for the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Technology, a member of the Student Research Committee, president of the Plant and Soil Science Club, and secretary and vice president of the Collegiate Future Farmers of America chapter. He also is an ambassador for the Honors College Association.
In addition to campus activities, he has been highly involved in agricultural research. He was a presenter at the annual meeting of the Society for In Vitro Biology last summer, and he served an intern at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. He also won an award for his oral presentation at the 2017 Create@State.
Currently involved in soybean genetics research and development for a major international seed company, he plans to attend graduate school. He was nominated by Dr. Gregory Phillips, professor of plant biotechnology.
Nathan Johnson of Jonesboro
Johnson completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies in December. He served as captain of the Debate Team for three years, frequently winning awards as top debater and top speaker and becoming nationally ranked. He was the first Debate Team member to win the prestigious Top Professional Speaker Award.
He filled a vital role in design and development of his department's Communication Center, writing curriculum and foundational literature, along with the mission statement and training and promotional materials. As a communication coach and intern, he spoke to classes on the center's advantages and opportunities. In Lambda Pi Eta, the national communications honor society, he led the campus chapter as president, and he represented media and communication on the Dean's Advisory Board in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication.
After graduation, he plans to attend law school. He was nominated by Dr. Marceline Hayes, chair, Department of Communication.
Robert Morris of Jacksonville
Morris will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in strategic communication. He has been highly involved and fulfilled leadership responsibilities in Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, several charitable causes, the Honors College and other university activities. While pursuing a double emphasis, in advertising and social media management, and a double minor, in marketing and leadership studies, he has held numerous leadership positions such as Student Activities Board spirit and homecoming director, Honors College senator in Student Government Association, and Pack Leader for new student registration.
Morris, through his Honors senior thesis, has focused on analyzing perspectives from members of last fall's freshman class, in an effort to assist A-State with marketing, recruiting and retention. His honor society memberships include Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Tau Alpha and Sigma Alpha Pi.
He plans to pursue a master's degree in public service at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Morris was nominated by Dr. Shane Hunt, professor of marketing.
Haley Stotts of Little Rock
Stotts is graduating in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in creative media production. As president of the Student Government Association, she has represented student interests while working with numerous divisions of the university, including the Development, Communication and Alumni Committee, the Athletics Department, and the Shared Governance Oversight Committee.
She was A-State's student representative at the grand opening of ASU Campus Queretaro in Mexico, and was alumnae relations chair and social media chair for her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. Her dynamic leadership ability resulted in several opportunities to be a student ambassador, addressing alumni, donors, prospective students and their parents. Her philanthropic activities have including fundraising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Arkansas Children's Hospital and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Her future plan is to work on a Master of Science degree in college student personnel services at A‑State. Stotts was nominated by her adviser, Dr. Mary Jackson Pitts.
Reagan Williams of Jonesboro
Williams, who will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree, is a double major, in political science and Spanish. As a member of A-State's Debate Team, she has won numerous awards in regional and national competitions, and was ranked second top speaker in the nation in the International Public Debate Association the spring 2017. She also supported the team in numerous ways, including writing briefs on current events, training new members, writing debates cases, recruiting new members and assisting the debate coach.
Williams was involved in A-State's Moot Court Team for three years, serving as captain her third year and helping recruit new members to revitalize the group. She also is highly committed to the Honors College, taking several Honors courses and working with the Honors College staff to advance the program.
She is planning to attend law school. Williams was nominated by her Honors thesis adviser, Dr. Amy Buzby.
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