Top Honors Awarded Across College

By | June 6, 2021

The exemplary achievements of the Class of 2021 were recognized at the annual Excellence Awards Ceremony, held May 27 as part of the college’s commencement weekend.

“There is such dignity in completing a journey, especially when it’s not easy,” Michael Brogan, dean of the college, told those in attendance. “This achievement will echo throughout your life and continue to shape you.”

Brogan spoke of the challenges issued by those with deep, well-rounded educations: 

“To ask what dignity, humility, compassion we can learn, even from our most difficult moments,” he said. “This past year was no exception—each of you were issued a challenge—and you responded with grace and grit. You kept going, you did not give up.”

With an education comes responsibility,” added Brogan, senior vice president of academic affairs. “It allows you to see inequality, its causes and understand how you can contribute to positive change and the betterment of others.”

Jevon Jordan and Telena Smith

Accolades and Distinctions

The President’s Award—annually recognizing a graduating senior who has enhanced the Daemen community through a record of extraordinary accomplishment—was presented to Telena Smith, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychological studies. 

Citing the several mission trips overseas served by Smith, as well as her role in helping high school students apply for college during summer breaks from Daemen, President Gary Olson highlighted the 2021 graduate’s generosity to others and drive to succeed.

“Telena seeks to help others where she is called and needed,” said Olson. “Persistent, patient, tenacious and deeply caring, Telena stands apart. … and pursues her passions with her whole heart.” 

Darcy Paradiso

Recipients of top campus-wide awards also included:

  • Jennifer Heritz of Granger, Indiana–Alumni Senior Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the larger community. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry.
  • Jevon Jordan of Jamaica–Mary Angela Canavan Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student who has made significant contributions to the betterment of student life at the college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on management and operations.
  • Daemen College Tradition Keeper Medal–Alexa Casacci of Alden; Aryana Dreyer of Orchard Park; Jennifer Heritz of Granger, Indiana; Joshua Riter of Orchard Park; and Telena Smith of Brooklyn.

The awards ceremony also honored the achievement and congratulated the students representing excellence in each academic department. 

Accounting and Business Administration

  • Darcy Paradiso of Angola – Accounting Undergraduate Award
  • Melinda Fisk of Wayland – Accounting Graduate Student Award
  • Taylor Sinclair of Buffalo – Business Department Service Award
  • Diann Walters of Rochester – Outstanding Marketing Student Award
  • Lauren Reinhardt of Buffalo – Charles Sabatino Sport Management Graduate of the Year
  • Jevon Jordan of Jamaica – Business Innovator Award
  • Anthony Ayers of Lancaster – Outstanding Veteran Business Student
  • Julie Karpinski of Buffalo – Academic Achiever Award

Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Theresa Dolph of Akron – Student Experimental Research Award
  • Chaya Plutchock of Brooklyn – Student Experimental Research Award
  • Moshe Ehrenreich of Brooklyn – Academic Excellence Award

Athletic Training

  • Anessa Sherman of Keuka Park – Sue Rocque Award
  • Mark Maruszewski of Otego – Clinical Excellence Award


  • Georgia Wicker of Woodstock, Illinois – Undergraduate Excellence in Education Award


  • Jevon Jordan of Jamaica – Excellence in Entrepreneurism

Health Promotion

  • Jericho Adams of Newfane – Student of Distinction Award
  • Claire Denies of East Aurora – Academic Excellence Award

History & Political Science

  • Derek Mancuso of Friendship – Departmental Valedictorian
  • Derek Mancuso of Friendship – Best Research Project in History
  • Lindsey Hornung of Amherst – Best Research Project in Political Science

Modern Languages

  • Jericho Adams of Newfane – Outstanding Senior Award

Natural Sciences

  • Joshua Riter of Orchard Park – Outstanding Student Award
  • Jennifer Heritz of Granger, Indiana – Outstanding Research Student Award


  • Jennifer Attfield of East Amherst – Outstanding Nurse Leader Award
  • Kassie Vogel of Buffalo – Emerging Nurse Leader Award
  • Alexander Rotolo of Hamburg – Excellence in Advanced Nursing Practice Award

Paralegal Studies

  • Annika James of Jamaica – Paralegal Excellence Award
  • Shawn Scampoli of East Amherst – Paralegal Excellence Award

Physical Therapy

  • Nicholas Frappa of Williamsville – Richard Schweichler Award for Academic Excellence
  • Hannah Miller of Seneca Falls – Physical Therapy Department Faculty Recognition Award
  • Dylan Lodowski of South Wales – New York Physical Therapy Association Student Participation Award

Physician Assistant

  • Sharissa Morton of Churchville – PA Department Award of Distinction

Psychological Sciences

  • Deven Nestorowich of Cheektowaga – Outstanding Academic Achievement Award
  • Telena Smith of Brooklyn – Departmental Citizen Award
  • Samantha D’Agostino of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada – Outstanding Senior Thesis Award
  • Isaiah Williamson of Schenectady – Outstanding Senior Thesis Award
  • Rita Buccieri of Fairport – Outstanding Academic Engagement Award

Public Health (MPH)

  • Kimberleigh Pottle of Westmanland, Maine – Master of Public Health Academic Achievement Award

Social Work and Sociology

  • Erin Gregoire of Lancaster – Bachelor of Arts in Social Work Outstanding Student Award
  • Chetrece Huff of Cheektowaga – Bachelor of Arts in Social Work Outstanding Field Student Award
  • Alyssa Mazurkiewicz of West Seneca – Master of Social Work Outstanding Student Award
  • Jessica Christ of Cheektowaga – Master of Social Work Outstanding Field Student Award

Visual and Performing Arts

  • Kelsey Mahoney of Grand Island – Studio Achievement in Animation (“Sweatbox Award”)