Student Support Services honors Cameron faculty, staff, and student achievements

Cameron University recently held its annual Student Support Services (SSS) Leaders in Education and Opportunity (LEO) Awards ceremony to honor outstanding students, staff, and faculty for the 2008-2009 academic year. The LEO Awards were established by the CU Student Support Services program to honor those Cameron students, faculty, and staff who have given the most of themselves in support of program participants.

Ivanilda Silva received the SSS Alumnus Award, which recognizes a former CU student who was a member of the Student Support Services program and who has gone on to further his/her education and is successful in a career track. Silva graduated from CU in 2005 with a baccalaureate degree in Psychology; in 2008, she earned a Master's in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma. Currently youth services director for the Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma, she is also a coordinator for the Columbia TeenScreen program, a mental health prevention tool developed at Columbia University in New York. Silva plans to pursue certification in Dance Therapy with the goal of opening a dance studio to offer low income students a chance to vent in a creative and safe way.

Eight SSS students were named as recipients of the LEO Awards for their academic achievements while utilizing the SSS tutorial labs.  This year's recipients were Michelle Oliver of Elgin, computing; Oralia Jones of Walters, Shane Mahmood and Christopher Thomas, both of Lawton;  writing; Talisa Miller of Lawton, science; Teena French of Lawton, reading; and William Shane of Lawton, math.  Jones and Christopher Martin of Lawton received recognition for their success utilizing the individual tutoring services.

Deborah Kolade of Abule, Nigeria received the award for Outstanding SSS Tutor. Recognized as Outstanding SSS Math Lab Tutors were Kendra Collins, Matthew McLaughlin, Talisa Miller and Larry Young, all of Lawton.

Dr. Michael Dunn, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, received the SSS Outstanding Faculty Award, and CU Dean of Student Services Jennifer Holland received the Outstanding CU Support Staff Award.

During the awards presentation, current students Rhonda Killian, Marlow; Isabel Perez, Lawton; Debria Schuler, Temple; and Christopher Thomas, Lawton, provided personal tributes regarding their experiences in the SSS program. Outstanding peer mentors who received certificates of appreciation were Jutta Carter, Michelle Oliver and Thelonious Smith, all of Lawton.

Cameron University's Student Support Services (SSS) program is a federally funded TRIO program designed to provide free academic support and personal enrichment to students who may face economic, social and cultural barriers to higher education. SSS offers academic advisement, enrollment, peer mentoring, free tutoring, financial aid information, special classes, and a variety of enrichment workshops and cultural activities to participants.

For more information about Student Support Services, visit


April 28, 2009
PR# 09-120