Cameron University Alumni Association honors students and local family with awards

The Cameron University Alumni Association (CUAA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Outstanding Aggie of Tomorrow Award and the Cameron University Family of the Year Awards. Students Eloise Herbert; Angelica Lopez, Kathryn Parsley, Kaley Patterson and Sarah Vrla will each receive the Outstanding Aggie of Tomorrow award. The Seiger family of Lawton and the White family of Tipton will both be honored with the Family of the Year award. The awards will be presented during the CUAA’s Aggie Family and Friends Awards Luncheon on Saturday, February 21, held in conjunction with Tune In: Homecoming 2015.

“Like our alumni, our students and families play a valuable role in making Cameron the quality university it is today,” says Jennifer McGrail, Director, Office of Alumni Relations. “The CUAA is proud to be able to recognize the impact these students and families have in support of Cameron University. It is fitting that we recognize the contributions of the different groups that complete our Aggie family during our annual awards luncheon.”

Nominations for Outstanding Aggie of Tomorrow were received from Cameron faculty and staff. The award recognizes well-rounded and successful students who epitomize the true value of a Cameron Aggie. Selection is based on three areas: academic achievement/honors, career-related experience and extra-curricular activities.

The Family of the Year Award honors families whose members possess exceptional uniqueness, dedication and enthusiasm for their student(s) and Cameron University. Nominations were open to any family that is actively involved with Cameron University. It is not necessary for all family members to be Cameron students and/or graduates.

Herbert, a native of Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, completed her Bachelor of Arts in communication in December 2014. She has been a reporter and anchor for CUTV News as well as producer and host of “This Week in Student Government.” Herbert has been active in numerous student organizations, including Diversity Diplomats; Students of the Caribbean Alliance, where she served as president; and the Student Government Association. She was selected to participate in the Oklahoma National Education for Women’s Leadership Initiative. She has been inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, has been recognized by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters for her academic work, and is in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities”

A native of Vernon, Texas, Lopez transferred to Cameron after earning an associate degree from Western Oklahoma State University. She completed her Bachelor of Science in sport fitness management in December 2014. The first in her family to go to college, Lopez plans to become a physical therapist. She is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and is listed in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.” A member of the Health and Physical Education Club, she served as the organization’s Student Government Association representative. She received the Bill G. Shahan Family Endowed Scholarship in Health and Physical Education from the Cameron University Foundation and the Karen J. Dowd Undergraduate Student Scholarship presented by the Oklahoma Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (OAHPERD). Lopez has served as an undergraduate research assistant for the Department of Health and Physical Education. Her poster presentation, “Behind the Eyes of Obesity,” has been accepted for the Research Program of the 2015 SHAPE America National Convention and Exposition in Seattle, Wash., in March. She is active in the FitKids Coalition and is a member of OAHPERD.

A senior biology major from Sterling, Parsley plans to become a plant paleontologist. She is actively involved with undergraduate research; her current project is working to identify a spore type from sediments contained in a 325 million-year old fossil plant from Alabama. She will submit a paper on that topic to the “Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology,” an international, peer-reviewed journal. She plans to pursue a master’s degree at Texas State University and will then pursue a doctorate. She is the president of the Biology Club, representing that organization in the Student Government Association, and vice president of the Psi Eta Chapter of the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society. Parsley is also responsible for the establishment of Cameron’s Botany Club under the auspices of the Botanical Society of America.

Patterson, a native of Frederick, is a senior majoring in communication. She will graduate in May. After serving as a page in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for then-Rep. Don Armes, she set her career goal as being a press secretary for a member of the Legislature. She has been actively involved in Baptist Collegiate Ministries, serves as president for Aggie Ambassadors, is a member of the Student Government Association, and is the arts and entertainment editor for the Cameron Collegian. Patterson has been inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, the national honor society for undergraduates in communication. She devotes much time to volunteer service in the community, including various Oklahoma Blood Institute activities, reading at Community Action Development Center Headstart, serving as a Kids Café Tutor at Frederick Methodist Church, and coordinating that Little Mr. and Miss Frederick Pageant. She also donates her time to Meals on Wheels, Toys for Tots, Cameron’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Operation Christmas Child

Vrla, a native of Duncan, is a senior biology major. She is a member of the Cameron University Honors Program, serving as president this year, and was selected to represent the program at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference last fall. She has gained valuable experience as a research assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences, forming collaborations with researchers from other universities. Vrla has been a presenter at Cameron’s Scholars Summit on Research and Scholarly Activities. She spoke about her research experiences at the 2014 State Regents for Higher Education’s Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Vrla is recognized in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities,” was named as one of Cameron’s Top 20 students, and is a member of Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society. She is a founding member of Cameron’s Botany Club  and is currently vice president of that student organization as well as the Biology Club. She is also a member of Sigma Alpha Omega. Vrla has also served as a University Life student mentor. She regularly volunteers at the Hearts That Care Free Clinic and has been an active participant in Cameron’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Former Cameron student Lester Seiger and his wife, Mary, demonstrate their support of Cameron University and its students in numerous ways. Through their participation in the Cameron Baptist Student Union’s Friendship Family program, they provide support to many international students, helping them to adjust to a new environment, encouraging them in academic pursuits and community endeavors, and essentially acting as surrogate parents. Of their involvement with the program, the Seigers say, “When we started, our intent was to make an impression on their lives, but we found they made a more profound impression on ours.” The Seigers can be seen at university events including the Nigerian Independence Celebration and the International Student Scholarship Banquet, and they have supported scholarship efforts at both events. They are also strong supporters of Aggie athletics. The Seigers are members of the Cameron Gold Club and are season ticket-holders for Aggie basketball. In addition, they attend other CU sporting events, including softball and volleyball.

The White family of Tipton boasts four Cameron graduates within the past decade and two current students, all earning or pursuing degrees in the area of education. Father Teddy White has seen two sons, Justin and Travis; a daughter-in-law, Marisa; and a niece, Lutricia, earn Cameron degrees. He will earn his own degree this May, and a nephew, Kerry, is also a current student. Justin graduated summa sum laude in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in math education; Travis graduated cum laude in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in physical education; Marisa graduated magna cum laude in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and then earned a Masters of Education in teaching and learning in 2011; and Lutricia graduated cum laude in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in English education. Teddy and Kerry are both pursuing degrees in physical education. Clearly, education and the attainment of a college degree carry great meaning for the White family.

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February 9, 2015

PR# 15-018