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Student Affairs names 8 ND student award recipients

| Friday, May 15, 2020

Although the Division of Student Affairs was unable to host its annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet due to the outbreak of COVID-19, eight students are being recognized for their commitment to Notre Dame and the contributions they have made in their time as an undergraduate.

Eric Kim, a marketing and film, television and theatre double major, received the Rev. A. Leonard Collins, C.S.C. Award, which honors a graduating senior who has displayed a substantial personal effort to advance the interests of students at Notre Dame. Kim was involved with the Student Union Board throughout his time at Notre Dame and served as its executive director his senior year where he focused on creating a welcoming space.

“My main goal, even beyond [being] an executive director but throughout my four years, was to help create a diverse and inclusive environment at our events,” Kim said.

Christian Abraham Arega, a biochemistry major with an anthropology minor, received the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C Award, meant to honor a graduating senior whose contributions have advanced the climate of welcome and inclusion within or beyond the University community. A resident assistant in Howard Hall, Arega has also been involved in the International Scholars Program, Building Bridges Mentorship Program and Fighting Irish Scholars Program. She said she was shocked to receive this award.

“It really caught me off guard the most because I felt like this was a very challenging year for me and that I didn’t really do as much as I would have liked,” Arega said. “It was a really cool way to realize that even when we’re going through the hardest of times, it’s possible to still be good and still do good, and people see through the hard times, and they see you for who you are.”

Julaine Zenk, a fifth-year psychology student studying brain cognition and behavior, received the Sister Jean Lenz, O.S.F. Leadership Award, honoring a post-baccalaureate student who has displayed leadership in promoting a more diverse, inclusive campus community. Zenk has had a large role in organizing graduate orientation each year to help introduce new graduate students to the Notre Dame community.

“As a grad student, you sometimes just don’t feel like you’re part of the University community because you’re not living on campus, and it very much feels more like a job than like this is your school, your community. So I strove to help people find their place in the Notre Dame community,” Zenk said.

Carolina Robledo, a music vocal performance major with minors in history and education, schooling and society, received The Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., Leadership Award, which honors a graduating senior who embodies Father Moreau’s vision of educating both the heart and mind and who has demonstrated significant effort to advance the Catholic character of the University. Robledo was heavily involved in campus ministry in her time at Notre Dame and said she was ecstatic when she heard she had received this award.

“Having been given this award reminds me of the mission of evangelization that we have, and sometimes we’re evangelizing without even knowing it,” Robledo said. “I knew that I was living out my Catholic faith and trying to do it for myself in my own personal life, but sometimes we forget that we can also have an impact on others.”

Tim Jacklich, a political science major, received The John W. Gardner Student Leadership Award, given to a senior who exemplifies the ideals of the University through outstanding volunteer service beyond the University community. Jacklich served in many different volunteer positions in his time at Notre Dame, including the Robinson Community Learning Center, serving as an assistant teacher at Holy Cross School and spending the summer after his junior year in Puerto Rico as part of the Cross-Cultural Leadership Program.

“I was involved in a really exciting project in San Juan that was in service of a very poor neighborhood in San Juan, and we were designing an entrepreneurship curriculum to be used in a local high school,” he said. “I worked with some great colleagues, fellow students from Notre Dame, and was able to apply my Spanish and my knowledge of education and ultimately achieve some really cool results.”

Senior Laksumi Sivanandan, political science and American Studies double-major, received the Mike Russo Spirit Award, which honors an undergraduate student who exemplifies service and personal character and strives to bring out the best in themselves and others. Sivanandan was a leader in Class Council and was elected vice president of her class her sophomore year. She said she was not expecting to receive the award.

“I have the privilege of working with so many caring, compassionate people who love Notre Dame so much, and I would never have thought that I would be on the same level as them. When I heard the news I was honestly pretty shocked but also it’s nice to feel that all of your work is respected and valued,” Sivanandan said.

Madeline Coady, an accounting major with a Catholic social tradition minor, received the Ray Siegfried Award for Leadership Excellence, awarded to a graduating senior who exemplifies leadership, generosity and devotion to the Catholic faith and an affinity for athletics. Coady was a member of the Notre Dame women’s rowing team and was heavily involved with the Center for Social Concerns.

“I never realized how important [a Catholic college] was to me until I pegged that Notre Dame had such a big Catholic tradition,” she said. “I’m super thankful for my time at Notre Dame; it has truly changed my life. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

David Korzeniowski, a film, television and theatre major with minors in journalism, ethics and democracy (JED) and history, received the Denny Moore Award for Excellence in Journalism, given to a graduating senior who exemplifies personal integrity and character, commitment to Notre Dame and writing ability. He was a student broadcaster at Fighting Irish Media and worked for Scholastic Magazine, serving as managing editor his junior and senior year. He said he felt grateful to represent Notre Dame through journalism.

“I think that journalism is a really important part of our school and our country in terms of getting accurate and helpful information out to people who might otherwise not be informed,” Korzeniowski said. “I think it’s a responsibility that journalists have to take their job seriously, and I’m glad to have been able to represent Notre Dame and the JED program in that realm.”

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