UofL Student Awards are in their 11th year. Nominations come from students, faculty and staff, and a committee selects recipients based on leadership, service and involvement.

It is rewarding for the entire university community to recognize and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of students, said Dean of Students Michael Mardis, who helped present the awards. The University of Louisville has a wealth of exceptional student scholars that contribute so much to our vibrant campus community and beyond. The various student awards, their recipients and organizations are representative of the diverse and meaningful contributions of our student body.

Here are the recipients:

Individual Awards

The Cardinal Award of Excellence – Scholar/Leader Award: Venkat Ramakrishnan

Goes to the graduating senior with a 3.5 or higher GPA and an outstanding record of leadership throughout his or her career at UofL.

Ramakrishnan is graduating magna cum laude in May while having been an active member of the Honors Student Council for four years. Ramakrishnan also has been an Honors 101 student assistant, CAPS leader, Freshmen LEAD graduate, REACH Ambassador, GEMS participant, health advocate volunteer and undergraduate teaching assistant for biology.

The Cardinal Award of Excellence – Scholar/Volunteer Award: Sam Jones

Goes to an outstanding student volunteer who has volunteered his or her services to the greater Louisville community and beyond. The award honors exemplary continuous service to the university community through volunteering. 

Jones volunteered with Collegiate 100 and engaged in such projects as the Everyone Reads program, Brooklawn Psychiatric Residential Treatment Center, American Red Cross Blood drives and Louisville Metro Park Services. Through UofL’s Society of Porter Scholars, he had service projects with Americana Community Center, Boys & Girls Club of America, Louisville Scholar House and Student Outreach Uniting Louisville. He also has served with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in full-time church ministry, cleaned national park pathways through Boy Scouts of America, been a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and collected donations and worked with the Paducah (Ky.) Head Start Literacy Program.

Outstanding Students


Justin Brandt: Brandt is active in the McConnell Scholars Program; serves as the communications director for Sigma Chi, the Student Government Association liaison for the Interfraternity Council; is a volunteer with the Rotoract Club; and was selected to be a Task Force Freshman for SGA.


Kyle Kuric: Kuric both excels in his academic work and balances a rigorous schedule as a member of the men’s varsity basketball team. He also makes time to connect to his community by serving as a math tutor and coaching a basketball team for five-year-olds.

Puja Sangoi: Sangoi serves as the academic chair for Kappa Delta Sorority. She is the treasurer of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council and is a REACH Ambassador. Sangoi has had an opportunity to work as an intern for Research Integrity in her hometown and to perform pharmaceutical research.


Trisha Maclin: Maclin served as the corporate solicitation chair for the successful UofL Dance Marathon. She was able, with the help of her adviser and executive board, to secure more than $45,000 of the $61,000 raised by obtaining three new sponsors. Trisha served as a student orientation leader, is the secretary of Chi Omega Sorority and served as the SGA senate appropriations vice chair. 

Emily Baldock: Baldock has maximized her opportunities at UofL and has contributed to the growth of Beta Alpha Psi, serving as treasurer and president-elect. She is treasurer of Delta Zeta Sorority. Baldock has been active in the study abroad program with the College of Business- Kentucky Institute for International Studies partnership, representing UofL in six European countries.

Bryan Wessel: Wessel is the go to person for starting and reviving student organizations. He took on the challenge of restarting the Biology Undergraduate Society and served as secretary and vice president. He later got involved with increasing student involvement in the Resident Student Association at Stevenson Hall and took over as president. He founded the Project Sunshine chapter and serves as the building manager every Saturday night for the Student Activities Center.


Tamara Varon: Varon has performed in the UofL Marching Band for four years. She serves as the secretary of the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society.  During her student teaching assignment at Atkinson Elementary, she spent considerable time teaching students about environmental issues and she has been a mentor for the Green and Healthy Schools Summit for K-12 students on campus.   

Jared Hatfield: Hatfield has been involved in groups and initiatives at the Speed School of Engineering since first enrolling at UofL. He has progressed through many leadership roles with the Speed School Student Council, and now is director of administration. In 2007, he founded the Student Tablet User Group (STUG) that focused on helping students who were required to use a Tablet PC in their classes. Hatfield filmed, starred in and edited all but one of the more than 30 episodes (to date) of Tablet Tips, an Internet video series.

Lauren Hendricks: Hendricks serves as the president of the Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society. She has participated in the International Service Learning trip to Belize for the past two years. She also is a cardinal host and a student ambassador, and is active in Chi Omega Sorority. 

Graduate/profession program students:

Kenneth Betts: Betts is pursuing a Master of Science in Justice Administration. He is excellent in the classroom, involved in university endeavors and receives highest recognition for his community engagement. 

Sarah Ahern: Ahern is pursuing a Master of Science in Communicative Disorders/Speech Pathology. During her short career as a graduate student, she has achieved a 4.0 G.P.A., has served the university in various activities, including work with REACH, and is extremely involved in the community. 

Spirit Awards

The Spirit of Community: Stephanie Bonenberger

Recognizes an individual student who has demonstrated a focus on the effort to create a better sense of community at the university through marketing, programming, outreach and/or community service. 

Bonenberger, a four-year campus resident, has been an active member of the Residence Student Association, serving on its executive council for two years. Her great experiences as a resident led her to champion improving campus life through the Student Government Association. As president of the College of Education council, she transformed the group into a thriving and successful organization. This year, as SGA executive vice president, she increased senator accountability and education. 

The Spirit of Diversity: Katy Garrison

Recognizes a student whose activities represent the ideals of diversity. 

Katy Garrison has served as the president of commonGround for two years. She has helped the organization transition from a social programming focus to one of genuine advocacy and social change. She speaks out often about other dimensions of oppression and serves as an ally regularly at meetings of UofL’s Black Student Association.

Spirit of Service: Alana Baker

Recognizes an individual student who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment and service to the Louisville community

Alana Baker has participated in the Relay for Life since she was eight years old. Upon arriving at UofL, she joined a newly formed campus group called Colleges Against Cancer. She has since served as sponsorship chair and as team development chair, increasing the number of teams from 14 to 32. Her work led to an internship with the American Cancer Society. In addition to Relay for Life activities, she was the 2009 Panhellenic Council president and served as the philanthropy chair of Kappa Delta sorority her freshman year. She has performed more than 500 community service hours per year at UofL.

Other Individual Awards

Student Orientation Rookie of the Year: Tyler Luckett

Student Orientation Member of the Year: Michael Rolf

Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership America Reads Tutors of the Year: Lydia Baki and Ramon Wales

Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership Bonner Leader Programs of the Year:  Wes Ficher, development of the UofL Frazier International History Museum Internship program; and Nick De Guzman and Bryan Wessel, for starting a national chapter of Project: SUNSHINE at UofL

Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership Bonner Leader of the Year Award: Laura Don Oliver

SOUL Awards (given for attending multiple SOUL events): Kristina Tames, Alex Knipper, Laura Don Oliver and Wes Fischer

Housing and Residence Life, South Atlantic Affiliation of College and University Residence Halls Executive Board Member of the Month: Cara Monaco

Housing and Residence Life, Outstanding Program at Kentucky Association of Residence Halls: Caleb Piper

International Center Outstanding Members: Xinyu Zhang and Sebastien Lauhle

SGA Staff Member of the Year: Blake Christopher

SGA Senator of the Year: Amber Carrier

Rodney Williams Interfraternity Council Greek Man of the Year: Michael Rolf

The Panhellenic Council Greek Woman of the Year: Michelle Harpring

Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils Outstanding Presidents Awards: Michael Rolf, immediate past president of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity; Ashleé Austin, current president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council; Dorcea Brown, immediate past president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the current treasurer of NPHC; and Alana Baker, immediate past president of the Panhellenic Council.

Student Activities Board Executive Member of the Year: Karen Clough

Cultural Center ACES Award: Khotso Libe

REACH Tutor Award of Excellence: Kyle Osborne

REACH Ambassador Award of Excellence: Jackie Massounda

REACH 2010 PEACC Program Leadership Award: Ben Donlon

Athletic Department Awards: D’Ana McCarty,  track and field; Bergan Foley, lacrosse; Colin Rolfe, men’s soccer; Austen Childs, tennis; Jeff Arnold , baseball

Kentuckiana Metroversity Council Undergraduate Student Award: Peter Eichhorn II

Kentuckiana Metroversity Council Graduate Student Award: Julie Douglas

Group/Organization Awards

Spirit of Community – Project Award: Resident Student Association, Haiti Day

Recognizes a project that has demonstrated a focus on the effort to create a better sense of community at the university through marketing, programming, outreach and/or community service. 

RSA reached out to provide service in a time of tragedy and need for the citizens of Haiti. The event featured a number of donation stations where attendees were asked to provide monetary donations or personal items, baby food and medical supplies. The event raised more than $600 for Haiti relief, and hundreds of items were donated to the Clinton Bush Haiti fund and Broward County Public Schools. 

Spirit of Diversity: Student Activities Board

Recognizes a student organization or student group whose programs or activities represent the ideals of diversity. 

SAB provides a wide array of educational and entertainment programs that encompass the diverse population of the student body. The events embrace many different races, cultures, ages, gender and sexual orientation. From the International Fashion Show to Getting back to Campus, a program for non-traditional students and their families, this group makes a conscious effort to have quality and vibrant programs for all students. 

Spirit of Service: Louisville Sign Language Association

Recognizes a student organization or student group that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment and service to the Louisville community.

Louisville Sign Language Association has regular meetings, events and social activities to expand the knowledge of the American deaf culture, history and literature to UofL students, faculty and staff. Deaf Awareness Day, which media attended, showcased American Sign Language awareness as a community awareness program and not just a campus event. The group lobbied for ASL classes when they were in danger of being cut. American Sign Language Interpreter Education is now part of the modern languages department. 

Outstanding Entertainment/Social Program: commonGround, Pride Week

Recognizes an outstanding program/activity/event coordinated by a student organization or group that contributes to making the UofL campus community more vibrant.

commonGround’s Pride Week is a weeklong celebration that features several fun events built around three main goals: education, building advocacy and spreading awareness. It is carried out with professionalism, purpose and effectiveness.

Outstanding New Program/Initiative: Delta Zeta’s Alcohol Awareness Party

Recognizes a program/event not previously held by a student organization or group that contributes to making the UofL campus community more vibrant.

This program began as a party in the Red Barn. Some attendees were given clear drinks in clear cups while others were served Root Beer in opaque cups. At the bottom of each cup were numbers representing statistics about alcohol and college student drinking. Also food coloring was added to the clear drinks of the people who were not watching their drink.  Every 10 minutes the statistics that related to the numbers and the importance of watching your drinks, were read over the sound system to engage everyone to listen and participate.

Collaboration Award: Speed School Student Council

Recognizes an outstanding project, activity or program jointly coordinated by student organizations or groups that has enhanced the university community.

Speed School Student Council is host to several activities that are designed to bring out students to meet other students, professional societies, faculty and the dean. At UofL they work with the Career Center with the career fair and the dean’s office with the Dean’s Forum. Throughout the summer they invite incoming freshman to attend outreach events to help them get connected to the school. Statewide, they travel to Morehead State University for the Governor’s Scholars Program where they help students learn about what engineering is and all the fun involved in it. Finally they work with the Triangle Fraternity on a Leadership Advantage Program — a four-day day camp for incoming freshman that takes place two weeks before the fall semester to prepare them to start their college experience. 

Outstanding New Organization: Women 4 Women Student Chapter

Recognizes a student organization or group that has been in existence fewer than three years and has demonstrated leadership potential and/or had a positive impact on the university or community.

The mission of this organization is to help improve the health and economic well-being of women and girls by increasing awareness, expanding resources and creating solutions to strengthen our community. This new organization provides a safe place where women can meet and network with friends and go to for support with financial and personal problems. Many of the members dedicate their time providing invaluable community service at the Wayside Christian Mission, Relay for Life and Child Identification programs. 

Student Organization of the Year: Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity

Recognizes a student organization or group for overall efforts to contribute to the university community.  The Student Organization of the Year is considered a role model for other campus organizations.

Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity has had tremendous success this past year. By increasing its leadership involvement, community service involvement and chapter successes, this group has transformed itself into a flagship chapter at UofL. PKA was the sole recipient of the Harvey T. Newell Most-improved Chapter in the Nation honor and a Chapter Excellence Award from the national fraternity.  Locally they received the Interfraternity Council the IFC Fraternity of the Year.

Cultural Center Group Awards

Advocacy Award: BlkOut

Celebration Award: American-International Relations Club

Engagement Award: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

SUCCESS Award: Society of Porter Scholars Executive Board

Faculty/Staff/Administrator Awards

Advisor of the Year: Sean Bogle, Resident Student Association

Award recognizes the adviser of an officially registered student organization who has demonstrated outstanding contributions with his or her time and expertise. 

Bogle was nominated by nearly all of the leadership board members of RSA. The comments that came with the nominations spoke of his depth as an adviser, unlimited time and dedication, and true progress and innovation. 

Harold Adams Award: Jenny Sawyer, executive director for admissions

The award is a tribute to Adams, a former assistant vice president for student life, who was known for his nurturing nature toward students and concern for every phase of students’ educational experience.

Sawyer was nominated by Jim McGovern, 1974 graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences, and a 1978 Law graduate. He described her as a tireless advocate for all things involving students and as someone who begins fostering relationships with students before they are on campus and continues to parent them when they arrive at UofL.