Westfield State University students receive President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership

WESTFIELD, Mass.—Westfield State University recognized 10 students for their academic excellence, leadership, and service to the community with the President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership at a Dec. 3 ceremony held in Scanlon Hall. 

“These service-focused students have distinguished themselves from their peers by combining outstanding academic achievement with demonstrated leadership skills, both on and off campus,” said Westfield State University President Linda Thompson, DrPH, MPH, RN, FAAN.  

Established in 2007, the President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership recognizes the achievements of highly qualified students. Student recipients must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or higher and demonstrate an array of volunteer services performed in the local community and on campus. Along with an essay, students must complete an application listing their co-curricular activities, leadership experience, and volunteer work.  

(Image: Westfield State President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership recipients Lindsay McNulty, Lyric Lamagdelaine, Hannah Swanick, Rawan Ebrahim, Samantha Falcone, Thomas Mespelli, Westfield State President Linda Thompson, Madison Dufries, Caitlin Cogan, and Josselyn Donahue. Missing: Megan Taylor)

The 10 students were selected out of 33 applicants from nearly 5,000 undergraduate students eligible this year. The recipients are:  

Caitlin Cogan ’22, movement science major, Mansfield, Mass.  

Cogan serves as president of the Health Professions Club, is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success networking team, and is a peer tutor for the Banacos Academic Center on campus. In addition, she has volunteered for the Pan-Mass Challenge, the SMB Softball Tournament; and the University’s Fresh Check Day, which promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention.  

Josselyn Donahue ’22, biology major, Raynham, Mass.  

Donahue holds leadership roles on campus as president of the Biology Club, officer and publicist for her Class Council, treasurer of Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, and past student representative of the College of Math and Sciences. She is also involved on campus in the First Responders Club and the National Society for Leadership and Success.   

Madison Dufries ’22, communication major, Leicester, Mass.  

Dufries developed her leadership skills as a captain of the 2021 MASCAC champion women’s soccer team, president of the Communication Club, vice president of the National Communication Association’s Honor Society, and as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and The Westfield Voice (the University’s student-run newspaper).  

Rawan Ebrahim ’23, nursing and Spanish major, Feeding Hills, Mass.  

Ebrahim serves the University’s Urban Education as a program ambassador, is a former secretary of the Nursing Club, and past vice president of the Muslim Student Organization. A veteran campus tour guide, Ebrahim trains beginner tour guides for the Admission office. Ebrahim has volunteered for teaching positions at the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts’ school, after-school, and summer-school programs. 

Samantha Falcone ’22, biology major, Wilbraham, Mass.  

Falcone is vice president of the Biology Club, a tutor and former note-taker in the Banacos Center, a Westfield State student ambassador, and served as a student summer undergraduate research fellow for the University’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity last summer. In addition, Falcone has extensive volunteer experience as a peer mentor for the University’s Perch Program. 

Lyric Lamagdelaine ’22, criminal justice and political science major, Springfield, Mass.  

Lamagdelaine has served as vice president of academic life within the Student Government Association, president of the University’s chapter of the national honor society for political science, president of Westfield State’s student ambassadors, and as a member of several University operational committees. She is a member of the University’s Dance Company and a dedicated volunteer with the Campus Activities Board. She has also volunteered at the University’s annual events, the community service-oriented Helping Out Our Town Day and Fresh Check Day, which promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention.  

Lindsay McNulty ’22, environmental science major, Bellingham, Mass.  

McNulty holds leadership positions as vice president of the Environmental Planning Club and vice president of publicity for the Student Government Association. She is also a member of the Campus Activities Board. McNulty has volunteered for the University’s annual Fresh Check Day, which promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention.   

Thomas Mespelli ’22, communication major, Northbridge, Mass.  

Mespelli is a student representative of the Honors Advisory Council and a teaching assistant for the University’s “Communication in the Classroom: Leadership Mentoring” course. He also has experience with the Northeast Regional Honors Council (past student representative and organizer). In addition, Mespelli has volunteered at Accepted Students Day, and assisted with the University’s Welcome Week and multiple events sponsored by the Honors Program. Last spring, he volunteered as an assistant varsity football coach at Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School in Worcester. 

Hannah Swanick ’22, nursing major, North Grafton, Mass.  

Swanick serves as secretary of the Student Affairs Committee and is a peer mentor for the Nursing Club. She is a class representative to the Student Government Association and served as a student representative to the University Efficiency Analysis Advisory Committee. A volunteer and insured working first responder, she has volunteered at the Northampton Senior Center’s flu shot clinic and assisted in administering COVID-19 vaccines to the surrounding community through the Behavior Health Network.   

Megan Taylor ’23, mental health counseling major, Williamsburg, Mass.  

Taylor is the founder of Valley ADHD, a free online resource center for individuals and families seeking support, treatment, and advocacy for ADHD. She is also a Bright Spot Certified Therapy Dog Handler and an active member of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council and the Justice, Education, Diversity, and Inclusion Board Committee of Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School. In addition, Taylor has volunteered and co-facilitated Valley ADHD’s Parent Support Group through Northampton Area Pediatrics and its Adults with ADHD Support Group. She hopes to earn a master’s degree in counseling from Westfield State.    

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender, or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society. For more information, visit www.westfield.ma.eduwww.twitter.com/westfieldstate, or www.facebook.com/WestfieldStateUniversity. 

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