2016 Student of the Year Winners


Technical Category Winner - Kristen Wilson
Waynesburg University

Kristen Wilson worked for the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at North Dakota State University, where she analyzed student data from a general chemistry class for non-chemistry majors.

Kristen is a senior chemistry: secondary education (with ACS certification) major at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, PA. She is highly involved in her college where she is the president for the Waynesburg University chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS), president of the chemistry honor society on Waynesburg University’s campus called Gamma Sigma Epsilon (GSE). President of Commuter Club, education chair for Relay for Life/Colleges Against Cancer at Waynesburg University, and secretary for the Pittsburgh Section Student Affiliates of the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP). Kristen spent her summer in Fargo, North Dakota at North Dakota State University (NDSU) conducting chemistry education research in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). In this REU, she and her advisor, Dr. James Nyachwaya, worked together to conduct research on students’ understanding of chemistry when required to apply their knowledge to a biology content question. 

Kristen analyzed the students’ responses to worksheets and conversations in the group work to see the students’ biology understanding, chemistry understanding, and success of combining both of these understandings to fully answer the given questions. Dr. Nyachwaya and Kristen will be working on writing a paper for publication in the future. She will also be presenting her research in a poster presentation at the ACS National Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco, CA in April. Kristen is in her final semester of college where she is student teaching in a high school chemistry classroom. Kristen is still deciding between her preparation from Waynesburg University to go straight to teaching chemistry as a high school teacher or continuing her education in graduate school first. After her research in Fargo during the summer, she learned her love and enjoyment of chemistry education research and is now considering continuing her education with a degree in this specific type of research. 

Liberal Arts Category Winners  - Christopher Cizek & Sohpie Herzing 
Lycoming College 

The students worked together on a video interview project for the Heart of Williamsport, a non-profit partnered with the Susquehanna Greenway and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.

Sophie Herzing was born and raised in Saint Marys, PA, but has recently lived in Williamsport, PA for the past three years attending Lycoming College as a Poetry and Painting double major. This past summer, she was a part of Lycoming's WISE Program, which is their Williamsport Internship Summer Experience. There, she worked with The Heart of Williamsport as a creative intern where she conducted interviews, managed transcriptions, and wrote articles about the interviews for the website‚Äč   Along with her partner, Chris, she helped at other events held in the community where they represented HoW.  Speaking about her internship, Sophie remarked: 

“Overall, it was such an incredible experience to meet so many people that make the city of Williamsport as wonderful as it is. I loved being able to see real change happening in communities and being able to provide a voice to people who felt like they didn't have one. Thank you, PennACE for the Joanne Day Award. Truly a blessing.”

Christopher Cizek is a senior at Lycoming College, where he will be receiving his bachelor's in Poetry and Digital Filmmaking with a minor in English Literature. During his time at Lycoming, he studied literature from every era since the Renaissance, as well as developed a confidence in his own poetic voice and ability. He prides himself on his Beat Generation-esque, scatterlogical work. He’s also honed his filmmaking skills and is very focused on framing, color, continuity, and perfection. He is currently working on his senior thesis film, "THE MOLLIA UPSET," which is a film set in a nonobjective art-centric world, and follows the efforts of a clipart painter as he attempts to change the world.  He is much more than his majors, though, as anyone should be. He likes to read, go skateboarding, paint, draw, have a nice cup of instant coffee, and play video games.  According to Chris: “All in all, it's a good life.” 

Business Category Winner - Ariana Heter
Slippery Rock University 

Ariana Heter worked for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), within the Paralympic International Games Department, in Colorado Springs and Rio de Janerio, at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

 Ariana is a 2016 summer graduate of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sport Management with a minor in Communication. Ariana was an intern with the United States Olympic Committee with the Paralympic International Games department. Throughout her four-month internship, Ariana assisted with the planning and logistical process of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   Leading up to the Paralympic Games, Ariana was responsible for organizing and distributing all credentials to athletes and staff, monitoring the completion of athlete and staff Games Forms, planning and coordinating the Paralympic Village rooming accommodations, and planning and organizing the training for all staff members attending the Paralympic Games. Ariana was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work at the 2016 Paralympic Games. While in Rio, she maintained the emergency communication with a team of four. She was also responsible for coordinating and organizing ground transportation for staff while working in collaboration with Essence, the Brazilian contracted company. 

At Slippery Rock University, Ariana was the Vice President of the Sport Management Alliance, a student worker for the Athletic Communication Department, an active note taker for the Office of Students with Disabilities, and in the Green and White Society, an organization that engages with current students and alumni in events on and off campus. Throughout her time at The Rock, Ariana volunteered with the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania on the Event Management Team for the annual Western Fall Sectionals.  She also participated in a Care Break trip to Petersfield, Jamaica (where she assisted local educators by teaching students basic mathematical skills) and an International Leadership trip to Peru, South America (where she interacted with current college students and shared experiences). Ariana’s leadership, dedication to volunteering, and her variety of experiences earned her the 2016 Slippery Rock University Sport Management Scholarship. Ariana is currently employed with USA Taekwondo in Colorado Springs, CO where she is the Membership Manager for the National Governing Body. 

Associate’s Category WinnerWinner not selected