Five Graduating Seniors Receive UC Presidential Leadership Medal Of Excellence
The University of Cincinnati’s highest student awards for leadership and service at UC were presented in May.
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Five University of Cincinnati graduates will wear a special medal of honor from UC President Nancy L. Zimpher at the All University Commencement on June 11. The recipients of the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence were awarded at the university-wide Recognition Ceremony and Reception on May 16. The university crest is engraved on the front of the bronze medal and the name of the recipient is engraved on the back.
UC graduates Cynthia Chiang, Dominic Iacobucci, Payal Modi, Rob Reinerman and Smriti Srivastava were selected from 17 nominations from UC administrators, faculty and staff. To be considered for the award, the nominees must have had a minimum 3.0 GPA and proven leadership both in and out of the classroom. They are also honored for citizenship and service to their university and the community.
Here are the honorees:
Cynthia Chiang – This Beachwood, Ohio, resident will receive her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and will work in consumer market research for Procter & Gamble. The UC Honors Scholar was the student organizer of Camp Bearcat, an overnight retreat for first-year students that was sponsored by Procter and Gamble. She is past president of the UC women’s honorary, Cincinnati Women in Excellence and Spirit Together (CWEST), served as vice president of Sigma Phi women’s honorary, programming director of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society, former president of the Panhellenic Council, a member of the UC Mortar Board senior honorary, past vice president of the Order of Omega Greek honorary, member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and was 2002 UC Homecoming Queen. Chiang has worked as a tour guide for the UC Office of Admissions and is a member of Chi Omega Fraternity, the UC Student Alumni Council and the Eastern USA International Martial Arts Association. She is also a former secretary for the Calhoun Hall (a UC residence hall) Executive Council.
“Cindy is an advocate for every student with whom she comes in contact on this campus,” says Jeannette Songer, assistant dean for the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. “She embraces each student’s potential for success and leadership and serves as a wonderful mentor and peer in directing them toward their goals.”
Dominic Iacobucci – Iacobucci of White Oak, a graduate of La Salle High School, will be getting his bachelor’s of science and architecture from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). He will continue in graduate school at UC next fall as he begins work on his master’s degree in architecture. Iacobucci established “Bearcat Fridays,” an initiative to wear UC’s black-and-red colors on Fridays to build school spirit. He is past president of the UC Rallycats organization to promote school spirit, has held offices with the American Institute of Architecture Students and UC Mortar Board senior honorary, serves in UC Student Government, and is a member of the DAAP Tribunal and Student Advisory Council on the undergraduate budget. He has made presentations at the National Collegiate Honors Conference in Chicago (2001 and 2003) and at the Mid-East Honors Association Conference in Ann Arbor (2002). Iacobucci also served a UC co-op with BHDP Architects in Cincinnati, assisting on projects for Procter & Gamble and Reynolds and Reynolds. His dedication to service included participation in Walk As One, Relay for Life, the Crosstown Helpout and Habitat for Humanity. He belongs to the United Italian Society and the following Masonic organizations: E.T. Carson Lodge 598, Valley of Cincinnati Scottish Rite, and Syrian Shrine.
“My observations of Dom’s leadership style are his expressed enthusiasm for learning and his willingness to participate and share his experiences with others,” says Dennis Alan Mann, UC professor of architecture. “Architects must be leaders in their community if we as a society are to improve the physical environment. We look to architects to articulate the spatial needs of society. Dom has given me evidence that he will be a very effective community leader as an architect.”
Payal Modi – Modi, of Sugar Land, Texas, will earn a bachelor of science degree in biology and a minor in chemistry from UC. The Honors Scholar and Mid-East Honors Association regional representative plans to serve in Americorps before entering the UC Medical School in fall 2005. Modi has done research in cell biology at the UC Medical School, has participated in a summer medical and research training program at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and has worked as a medical assistant with the Heart & Vascular Association of Houston. On campus, her contributions include active membership in the Chi Omega Fraternity, executive leadership in Caducea Premedical Society, and participation in the Racial Awareness Program (RAPP) to promote cultural awareness and understanding. Her service involvement includes participating in the alternative spring break program in Carboneras, Mexico, and Appalachia, volunteering at a school for the deaf in India, and serving as a Red Cross Disaster Aid Volunteer during the Houston flood relief effort. The Cincinnatus Scholar is a recipient of the Cincinnati Women in Excellence and Spirit Together (CWEST) Scholarship Award, is president of the UC Mortar Board senior honor society, and is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.
“Payal is a woman of depth, instinct and integrity,” says M.J. Woeste, assistant professor of communication. “Her level of performance as an Honors Scholar has been exemplary. This is demonstrated through her daily commitment to educational and professional aspirations and her dedication to community service. She has been actively engaged on campus in her role as the vice president for campus service with Alpha Phi Omega, coordinating the Valentine’s Day Dance that benefited special education students from the Tristate area. She has served as a committee chair for Relay for Life to recruit teams to walk in the battle against cancer. As far as excellence in academics, Payal earned her biology major and chemistry minor in three years – a colossal achievement.”
Rob Reinerman – This Oak Hills High School graduate from Bridgetown was only 16 and a high school junior when he started attending the University of Cincinnati through the Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program. Reinerman is a double major in operations management and information systems and is earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The Honors Scholar, communications chairman of the Golden Key International Honour Society and membership director of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society is a student in the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholarship Program. This is a demanding UC bachelor of business administration program that blends professional work experience, study abroad and volunteerism training. The full-tuition scholarship program accepts only 15 high school seniors each year. As part of that program, Reinerman visited companies throughout France, Belgium and The Netherlands to explore global business and politics. Over spring quarter, he studied at ITESM Queretaro, a Mexican university, as he pursued studies in international business operations. He was crowned 2003 Homecoming King, is vice president of Sigma Chi Fraternity, was a senator in Student Government and has been a member of several racial discussion panels. Reinerman also serves on the UC Student Activities Board, was active in the Interfraternity Council and has been a facilitator for UC Freshman Orientation events. His service includes participation in Leadership Cincinnati, Community Problem-Oriented Policing and the Boy Scouts of America. Through his UC co-ops, he has held year-round positions with the Plastic Moldings Company and he continues to work at The Convergys Corporation as a systems analyst intern. His nominators praised him highly not only for excellence in academic, leadership and service, but also for his commitment to racial diversity.
“He has gone beyond talking about the issues, and has made a significant positive difference for many local students in his visits to high schools and grade schools,” says Jeri B. Ricketts, director of the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program. “His involvement with the Cincinnati Community Problem-Oriented Policing program (CPOP) required him to undergo training at the Cincinnati Police Academy and work with the community council in Over-the-Rhine to work on finding innovative ways of addressing racial problems in the city. He has a willingness to put himself on the line to discuss and solve these issues which many would shy away from.”
Smriti Srivastava – The West Chester resident and graduate of Lakota West High School will receive her bachelor’s of science degree in chemical engineering. The Cincinnatus Scholar and member of the UC Racial Awareness Program (RAPP) is founder and president of the UC Asian American Association, a student group to unite students who are Asian Pacific Americans and to promote the Asian American culture on campus and in the community. She conceptualized the UC Worldfest Ball that celebrated the many cultures of the world in presentations of food and fashion. She is a member of Student Government, Student Activities Board, Student Alumni Council, CWEST Leadership Honorary, Golden Key National Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa, Alpha Phi Omega and Pi Sigma Epsilon Business Fraternity. Srivastava was crowned 2003 UC Homecoming Queen. She is a member of the Alpha Phi Omega community service fraternity, Theta Phi Alpha Sorority, Engineering Tribunal and the Chemical Engineering Society. She has worked several co-ops for BP Chemicals and was an intern for Johnson Controls in Holland, Mich. Her service includes participation in Walk As One, Habitat for Humanity and WalkAmerica.
“I have had the privilege of working with Smriti for the past four years in both the role of a UC faculty member and currently as a UC administrator,” says Anthony F. Dardy, associate director of the UC Career Development Center. “As her co-op faculty advisor, I had the privilege of working with Smriti and watching her progress academically and professionally in her six quarters of work with BP Chemicals at various sites in Ohio, Illinois and Texas. Her outstanding performance reviews for each of these co-op quarters definitely documented leadership, communication, character and service.”
Srivastava has accepted a job at Procter & Gamble in consumer marketing.