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Graduates recognized for outstanding achievements

Liz O'Donnell | Thursday, May 14, 2009

Several members of the graduating class have been recognized nationally and by the University for outstanding achievements during their time at Notre Dame.

Andrew Manion, a senior from Coon Rapids, Minn., was awarded one of the prestigious Churchill Scholarships this March. The award, valued at about $44, 000, will allow Manion to pursue graduate work at Cambridge University.

One of only 14 college students nationwide to be presented with this award, Manion will study for the certificate in advanced studies in pure mathematics at Cambridge.

“It will be challenging but fun to adapt to life in the U.K. without ever having spent a significant amount of time outside the U.S.” he said. “I’ve also heard the math courses at Cambridge are very difficult.”

He is the first student at Notre Dame to win the award since the program’s inception in 1963.

Manion said he hopes to make the “most of the major European capitals and see the museums and landmarks, as well as experiencing the musical culture through the various orchestras and opera houses.”

In addition to this national award, Notre Dame’s Division of Student Affairs also awarded four seniors with Student Leadership Awards.

The John W. Gardner Student Leadership Award was presented to Megan Rybarczk, a senior from Muncie, Ind. This accolade is given to a graduating senior who “exemplifies the ideals of Notre Dame through outstanding volunteer activities reaching beyond the University,” according a press release.

In addition to participating in international service programs in Ecuador and Haiti, Rybarczk also took part in service trips to New Orleans and Appalachia.

“I have been privileged to have received much more than I have given in all of the service activities in which I have participated over the years,” she said. “I plan to take what I have learned and apply it to the work I plan to do in the future, which is to hopefully finally give back more than I have been given by serving medically under-served communities within the United States or elsewhere as a physician.”

Javena Waked, a senior from Winter Springs, Fla., was presented with the Rev. Leonard Collins, C.S.C. Award.

The award is given to a graduating senior who has made a substantial personal effort to advance the interests of Notre Dame students, according to the press release.

Waked served in the freshmen and junior class councils and was also sophomore class secretary and senior class vice president.

In addition to her commitment to student government, she also served as a resident assistant in Howard Hall.

Waked said her ability in being able to bring her experience in student government to other activities as a great accomplishment. As a co-leader for the Senior Retreat, Waked said she was able to use what she had learned as a member of student government and apply it when helping to run the event.

Former Editor-In-Chief of The Observer Chris Hine, originally from West Pittston, Pa., was presented with The Denny Moore Award For Excellence in Journalism.

The award is presented to a senior who exemplifies the qualities for which Moore was known including personal integrity and character, writing ability and commitment to the University. In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief his senior year, Hine previously interned as a sports writer for The Los Angeles Times, and will intern at the New York Times this summer, also as a sports writer.

Daniel Rodgers, a senior from Phoenix, Md., was presented with The Ray Siegfried Award for Leadership Excellence.

This award was established in 2006 in memory of Mr. Siegfried, who was both an alumnus and University Trustee.

Rodger’s activities range from various service programs to a number of interhall sports teams. He participated in both the South Africa Public Health Program as well as the Center for Social Concern’s Urban Plunge program.

Aside from being a four-year member of Siegfried’s cross-country, ice hockey, lacrosse, and soccer teams, he also served as president of the boxing club and was a three-time Bengal Bouts champion.