Celebrating Leaders Across Campus

Published on 08 July 2019

St. Louis College of Pharmacy students, faculty and staff attended the Oscar-themed Student Leadership Awards Banquet on April 18.

The annual banquet, hosted by President John A. Pieper, Pharm.D., FCCP, FAPhA, recognized student organizations as well as student and faculty leaders who go above and beyond to help make the College a better place. The banquet’s planning committee selected an Academy Awards theme to narrate the outstanding work that students, faculty and student organizations display through their work and actions around campus.

“Our student leaders are center stage stars and deserve a night full of celebration,” said Macy S. Russell, institutional events manager. “Our students’ commitment to achieving personal and professional growth is exemplary. “

Ahead of the event, the planning committee reviewed 44 nominations for this year’s ceremony.

Russell added, “Every student who was nominated for an award puts their heart and soul into making the College a better place. I’m grateful to work with these inspiring leaders every day.”

Junior Nicole Gasparovic’s leadership within the Community Service Scholars Program, volunteer work through Kappa Epsilon, athletic prowess on the women’s soccer team and service on the Student Athlete Advisory Council earned her the title of Undergraduate Student of the Year.

“Getting involved on campus is one of the best decisions I have made,” Gasparovic said. “It is an honor to receive this award and it showed me that others recognize my efforts.”

Although she was nervous to carry out her first few leadership positions, Gasparovic has grown confident in her abilities.

“At first, I think people chose me to lead and now it’s something that I am electing to do,” she said. “I have enjoyed learning and meeting new people throughout my different leadership experiences. I hope the leadership skills I’m practicing now will provide me with the skills necessary to advance my career after graduation.”

During the banquet, P3 student Ivan Porto was named Professional Student of the Year. His passion for leadership is evident in his previous leadership roles. As an orientation leader, Porto welcomed new students to campus and introduced them to the ins and outs of the College. Eventually, Porto transitioned into a transfer student mentor and biochemistry tutor. Currently, Porto represents Phi Lambda Sigma as a chapter delegate and serves as president elect for the College’s student chapter of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

“Being around other student leaders has helped me learn and grow,” Porto said. “I know the more I grow, the better residency position I can obtain after graduation, which ultimately means I can provide better patient care in the future.”

The College also celebrated faculty members who empower students and show a commitment to educational excellence. Each year, students nominate faculty members demonstrating these qualities. Once all of the nominations are compiled, faculty members vote to narrow the pool down to exceptional finalists, who are then interviewed and voted on by a student committee.

This year, Juan Rodriguez, Ph.D., professor of physics, earned the Outstanding Educator Award for the School of Arts and Sciences. He is known for starting each class with his signature catchphrase, “Hey, it’s time for physics!” Rodriguez’s passion for physics and student learning is effervescent in his teachings.

“Receiving recognition from my students means the world to me,” he said. “I hope students remember physics as the discipline that helps them rationalize biology, chemistry, and even pharmacy. I hope one day they will use it in their professions, and when that happens they will smile and tell themselves, ‘Hey, it’s time for physics!’”

Nicole Gattas, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy practice and assistant director of community and ambulatory care in the Office of Experiential Education, received the Joe E. Haberle Outstanding Educator Award for the School of Pharmacy. Gattas’ dedication to helping students discover their passion within pharmacy and guidance throughout the rotation selection process set her apart as an exceptional educator.

“I met Joe Haberle when I was working at Schnucks Pharmacy,” she said. “He had heard that I was working at the College and tracked me down. To my surprise, he asked me questions about my experience at the College and more about my personal mission. Through our conversation, he became an on-the-spot mentor for me. He was an inspiration to many and being recognized with his namesake award is truly an honor.”

The evening also included award presentations for students in a variety of leadership roles, as well as the presentation of the Norton Writing Center Awards and student organization awards.

2018-19 Student Leadership Award Recipients

Champion for Diversity and Inclusion of the Year: Sobia Hasan
First-Year Orientation Leader of the Year: Abigail Hart
Interest-Based Student Organization of the Year: Sustainable STLCOP
Mentor of the Year: Chloe Johnson
New Student Organization of the Year: Pay It Forward
Norton Writing Center Consultant of the Year: Anne Droege
Norton Writing Award for Faculty Nomination: Emily Stevenson
Norton Writing Award for First-Year Writing: Aamina Syeda
Norton Writing Award for Global Heritage I: Amber Lord
Norton Writing Award for Global Heritage II: Daniella Duban
Norton Writing Award for Literary Analysis: Emilee Broeker
Professional Orientation Leader of the Year: Gina Mbachu
Professional Student of the Year: Ivan Porto
Professional Student Organization of the Year: Student National Pharmaceutical Association
Resident Assistant of the Year: Rachel Watson
Transfer Orientation Leader of the year: Rachel Marchi
Tutor of the Year: James Simmons
Undergraduate Student of the Year: Nicole Gasparovic

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