Left to right: Dr. Scott Gratson and Diamond Award honoree Tyler DeVice at Wednesday's ceremony. Photo by Deb Cai.
Five SMC students received the university's Diamond Awards at the annual event on Wednesday April 27. The Diamond Awards are Temple's highest honors for undergraduate students. The awards are given by Student Affairs in recognition of academic excellence and leadership within the university community.
The recipients were Communication Studies major Tyler DeVice, Journalism students Brianna Spause and Emily Rolen and Media Studies and Production students Michael Sharkley and Kristopher Castro.
Tyler DeVice received the award for his work with Alpha Beta Upsilon, SMC's chapter of the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, where he helped organize the chapter's Philly AIDS Walk and a clothing drive for the Morris Home, a homeless shelter for transgender individuals. He is also Residence Assistant and supervises the Learning and Living Community for the School of Media and Communication, where students talk about their experiences and learn from each other.
"It was such an honor to receive the Diamond Award," he said. "The reception and ceremony were incredible and it was such a wonderful experience that I'm glad my family and other SMC students and faculty were able to be involved in."
Professors who know the students speak to the quality of their work and character. Dr. Scott Gratson, director of Communication Studies, has known DeVice since his freshman year, when DeVice participated in SMC's New York City Study Away program, which Gratson directs.
"Tyler is the very epitome of a mature, gracious, and engaged student leader," he said. "He is interested not only in furthering the academic experiences for his peers, but also in furthering social justice."
George Miller, professor and Assistant chair of the Journalism department, speaks to her abilities as a leader.
"I think the student newspaper this year has been fantastic, I think the stories they're covering, the stances they're taking and the issues they're putting forth are really the most important and relevant things to the community," he said. "I think her leadership has been fantastic for the Temple News this year."
Miller has known Brianna Spause since her freshman year. She is a contributing editor for "Jump" a music magazine he oversees. Spause has also been nationally recognized for her work in South Africa with the SMC study away program by being nominated for the Best College/University News Feature EPPY Award for her project, Rainbow Nation.
In an article about the nomination, Spause said her time at Temple prepared her for her experience in South Africa. "I was able to apply the foundational skills I have learned at Temple to produce content and the ethical guidelines of ensuring that my photos always told the full story," she said.
Michael Sharkley has participated in a multitude of student organizations on campus including as an RA and as the vice president of the Temple Project Haiti, which traveled to the St. Francis Xavier Orphanage to provide it with the resources it needs.
Kristopher Castro is a Media Studies and Production senior. He is an honors student and was recently presented with an award from The National Academic Advising Association. The award is meant to recognize students dedicated to supporting and fostering the growth of academic advising in higher education.
The five SMC honorees were part of 24 undergraduate students from across the university. Collectively, SMC had the second highest number of honorees after the College of Liberal Arts.