While faculty spend a great deal of time evaluating students, so do their peers. They note who works hard and lends a hand to others. They value classmates who are as aspirational as they are. That’s what makes the Dr. Jeanine B. Samuelson Student Distinction Award so special.

This year’s winner is Emma Lucas, a double major in communication and English. Lucas’ classmates spoke highly of her leadership not just in the department, but across campus. They noted her internship with WEAX, service as president of Kappa Sigma Alpha sorority, work as a Resident Assistant and more.

Additionally, Lucas provides a strong role model for classmates with her internship at Ambassador Enterprises in Fort Wayne during summer 2017. She was the first student to ever earn the internship from a humanities background. Her writing has been published in the local paper as well as placing her in the Cunningham Writing Contest.

All of those achievements are things that faculty could tell you about Emma, however. What really makes her stands out for this award is the respect she’s earned among her peers for her outreach. As one student noted, “Emma’s the first to welcome anyone new into a group.” They added, “People are attracted to her friendliness and sense of a humor. She excels at making others feel included and comfortable.”

Emma Lucas operates the mixing board during a podcast.

Emma Lucas operates the mixing board during a podcast.

The Samuelson Student Distinction Award is given each year. Faculty from the department choose based on nominations from other students. They are asked to pick a classmate that best exhibits the key qualities the department feels are instrumental to a successful Humanities and Communication student. Those are:

  1. Teamwork, exhibiting great communication skills
  2. Leadership in the classroom and departmental activities
  3. Valuing of diversity in the classroom and across campus
  4. Commitment to academic excellence
  5. Dedication to the HAC department and his or her professional field
  6. Excitement and passion in the classroom and departmental activities
  7. Ethical behavior and decision making in and outside of the classroom

The award is named for Dr. Jeanine Samuelson, who worked at Trine University for over 20 years. In that time, she served primarily as a German instructor, who also taught many sections of speech and developed student trips to Europe as part of the study abroad program. She was beloved by her students as she took a personal interest in their lives and brought them cookies on Friday afternoons—all the while demanding and receiving academic excellence. She remains active with the department.


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