Celebration of Involvement Awards

'Cane excellence in service and leadership

By Genesis Cosme

'Cane excellence in service and leadership

By Genesis Cosme
The annual Celebration of Involvement hosted by the Division of Student Affairs recognizes students and staff for their service and leadership to the University
Collage of winner photos
Award winners were recognized Tuesday on the Butler Center's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts using #CelebrationOfInvolvement

On Tuesday, April 14, students and staff were recognized by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler Center for Service and Leadership for their contributions to the University and local communities. During the annual Celebration of Involvement Awards, which took place this year on the Butler Center's social media accounts, 19 fellow ‘Canes were acknowledged for their hard work.

“I am continually inspired and energized by the impact that students make on our campus and in the community year after year,” said Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for student affairs. “While we are sorry that we could not celebrate in-person, we are so thankful to our gracious donors who join us annually during this special time to recognize the accomplishments in leadership and service of these esteemed students.”

The awards presented and its winners include: 

Edward T. Foote II Award for Excellence in Student Leadership 

Recognizes one outstanding undergraduate senior at the University of Miami who has best demonstrated exemplary involvement, leadership, and achievement in their college experience. 

Ezra Remer, senior, documentary production major
Primary involvements: lead naturalist on Student Government’s Eco Agency, resident curator at the John C. Gifford Arboretum, manager at the Billy Goat Kiosk, founder of non-profit Dominica Coffee Revitalization Initiative 

Vice President’s Award for Service

Recognizes outstanding undergraduate seniors at the University of Miami who have best demonstrated exemplary community service in their college experience.

Gabriela Aklepi, senior, exercise physiology major, chemistry, social science and medicine minors
Primary involvements: Camp Kesem Co-Director, Bronfman Interfaith Entrepreneurship Fellow

Gabrielle Bigham, senior, neuroscience and philosophy major, chemistry minor
Primary involvements: Chair of Counseling Outreach Peer Education (COPE), dog trainer for UPup, Bedside Buddy at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital

Jeffrey Eberhardt, senior, mechanical engineering major
Primary involvements: volunteer dive instructor and board member of Divers for Education and Environmental Protection (DEEP), member of the Veteran Student Organization

Asha Wedemier-Allan, senior, political science and business law major
Primary involvements: mentor and member of the executive leadership team for the Inspire U Leadership Academy, University of Miami Voter Registration Ambassador, member of the Caribbean Student Association

Sherwood M. Weiser Memorial Fund for Student Community Service

Awards $2,000 scholarships to undergraduate full-time students at the University of Miami with junior academic standing who possess a combination of character and compassion along with exhibiting a strong commitment to community service while at UM.

Albany Muria, junior, public administration major
Primary involvements: president of Get Out The Vote (GOTV) ambassador, First Year Fellow, President’s 100 Ambassador, mentor for first-year students on Freshman Leadership Council

Evelyn Menkes, junior, neuroscience major, chemistry minor
Primary involvements: participant and co-chair of Alternative Breaks, counselor for Camp Kesem, vice president for administration of the ‘Canes Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Maya Symes, junior, public health, English literature, and political science major
Primary involvements: member of Special Olympics, mentor in Upward Bound program, volunteer at the Lotus House Women’s Shelter, participant of the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training program

Magaly Santos Llaca Endowed Memorial Scholarship

Recognizes one first-generation undergraduate sophomore or junior student in good academic standing of Cuban descent with a history of demonstrated active involvement in being civically engaged within the UM and greater Miami area with a $10,000 scholarship.

Adrian Parra, junior, health science major
Primary involvements: volunteer for the Miracle League of Miami, volunteer at the chemotherapy unit at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Institute, School of Nursing and Health Studies ambassador

Ann S. Waldman Endowed Scholarship

Recognizes one first-generation undergraduate freshman, sophomore or junior student in good academic standing with a $10,000 scholarship who has excelled academically while being civically engaged within the campus and local community.

Esther Alexandre, freshman, computer engineering major
Primary involvements: member on the Freshman Leadership Council, ‘Cane for a Day host, FunDay volunteer, member of the UM chapter of the NAACP, volunteer for 2020 Tunnel of Oppression.

Vivian Berger Giller Impact Award 

Recognizes one outstanding full-time undergraduate student with junior academic standing at the University of Miami. The award recipient is honored the $3,000 scholarship for making a significant impact on campus through his/her leadership experiences and/or involvement with volunteering activities, student organizations, and special projects.

Kathleen Hanson, junior, accounting and business law major
Primary involvements: founder of UM’s first Injured Student Athlete Support Group, president of Best Buddies, volunteer at the Holtz Children’s Hospital, mental health liason on the Campus Liaison Council, Captain of University of Miami’s rowing team

Robert Bates Cole Award for Volunteer Leadership

Recognizes a student of sophomore academic standing that exemplifies the characteristics of integrity and dedication through exceptional, committed, and unassuming participation in community service activities. This award includes a $2,000 scholarship presented by the Lennar Foundation.

Reina Mitchom, sophomore, business administration major, finance and broadcast journalism minor
Primary involvements: co-president for Kids and Culture, vice president for Service of the Delta Sigma Pi professional fraternity, volunteer at the Gibson Bethel Community Center, Ronald McDonald House, the Lotus Women’s Shelter, and Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church

Graduate Award for Excellence in Student Leadership

Recognizes a graduate student who demonstrates great personal integrity, exemplary character, a commitment to helping their peers, and nurturing involvement through leadership while maintaining excellent scholarly records.

Jake Krupa, graduate Ph.D. student, accounting
Primary involvements: ad-hoc reviewer for The Accounting Review and Contemporary Accounting Research, fraternity graduate advisor to Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Greek Life graduate assistant, past executive board member of Iron Arrow Honor Society

Excellence in Civic Engagement Award

Recognizes faculty members who engage University of Miami students with the community through academic service-learning courses and community-based research.

Dr. Ashmeet Oberoi
Primary involvements: Assistant professor of professional practice in the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, director of the community and social change master’s program, graduate degree in Child Development and a Ph.D. in Community and Prevention Research with a distinction in statistics and measurement from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Gerald J. Pierri ’65 Read and Lead Award for Excellence in Academics and Intramural Sports Leadership Award

Established in 2014 by UM alumnus Gerald J. Pierri, recognizes one University of Miami undergraduate student who has achieved excellence in academics, while demonstrating exemplary leadership qualities within the University’s intramural sports program and receives a $1,000 scholarship.

Juan Carlos “JC” Ramirez, sophomore, journalism major, finance and Spanish minor
Primary involvements: member and intramural chair of Federacion de Estudiantes Cubanos (FEC), intramural referee, intramural supervisor, men’s chair for the UCatholic Campus Ministry, reporter for the Miami Hurricane, volunteer for ‘Canes Chat.

Iron Arrow Honor Society Sophomore Leadership Award

Awarded to a sophomore student at the University of Miami who has contributed to the UM community and embodies the five qualities of Iron Arrow; Character, Leadership, Humility, Scholarship, and Love of Alma Mater.

Landon Coles, sophomore, political science and business law major, strategic communications minor
Primary involvements: member of 2020 Homecoming Exeecutive Committee, member of Undergraduate Honor Council, president of United Black Students, President’s 100 tour guide and student ambassador, student employee in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

Newman Civic Fellow

Honors inspiring student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country and who are making the most of their college experience to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

Jendayi London, senior, public administration major, criminology and communications minor
Primary involvements: tutor for at-risk young men, community-based researcher in improving law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assaults in South Florida

University of Miami Civic Scholars Program

Honoring their sixth graduating cohort from the program and recognizing their civic engagement work and leadership efforts throughout the University and the greater South Florida community. Graduates of the program are:

Stoni Drane, senior, sociology major, Africana studies and education minor
Primary involvements: president of Kids and Culture, vice president of the Sociology/Criminology Club, supervisor at the Calling ‘Canes Telefund, future teacher for the Miami-Dade County Public School system.

Cachay Byrd, senior, health science major, Africana studies and Mandarin minor
Primary involvements: interim chief and medicine woman of Iron Arrow Honor Society, student assistant in Student Activities and Student Organizations, vice chair for the Committee on Student Organizations