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Student Life Award nominations due Friday, past winners reflect

By Marissa Piccolo
On February 25, 2014

Nominations for the university's 2014 Student Life Awards are due this upcoming Friday, Feb 28 at 12 p.m. Students may be nominated by faculty, fellow students or themselves, and both recipients and finalists will be recognized during the Department of Student Activities Leadership Program's "Recognition Week" in mid-April.
The scholarships and awards, sponsored by the UConn Co-Op, Division of Athletics, Office of Multicultural and International Affairs and the Division of Student Affairs, honor both individuals and student organizations in a variety of categories.
John Dearborn, UConn '13 alum now pursuing his PhD in political science at Yale University, was one of fourteen individual Student Life Award recipients last year, recognized for his outstanding UConn spirit by the Individual Husky Pride Award. In his words, "What Hogwarts was to Harry Potter, UConn was to me."
Well-known for his blue and white face paint, wig and energy at Gampel, Dearborn exuded pride beyond just basketball, although as you can imagine, he still comes up for a game whenever he has the chance. As a former coordinator of the Honors Initiative for Prospective Students, commonly known as HIPS, he still tries to convince high school students to seriously consider UConn and become part of the Husky family.
"UConn allowed me to study abroad in London, do an internship in D.C., witness amazing sport teams and be part of great student organizations," Dearborn explained. "I still try to show husky pride in a number of ways. As a graduate student now, I work hard not just because of the goals I want to achieve, but because I believe my actions as an alum reflect on UConn."
Margaret Lamb, former Associate Director of the Honors Program, nominated Dearborn. "With John, you heard and saw his pride, over and over again, and you could see the influence of his enthusiasm on others, right before your eyes."
Tommy Lee, biology and psychology '14, was also honored at the 2013 Recognition Week by receiving the Andrea Dennis LaVigne Scholarship for Advancing Diversity. "As a first-generation college student," Lee emphasizes, "I take pride in my family values because I would not be the person I am today without them."
Graduating this year, Lee hopes to attend a neuroscience doctoral program and ultimately become a professor at a university. Yet in addition to his academic passions, Lee has been motivated to become involved in organizations and activities that "promote, encourage and enhance diversity of campus."
His commitment is clear: Lee is a Resident Assistant in McMahon Hall, coordinator of the Kids & UConn Bridging Education program (which won the 2013 SLA Organization Community Service award), employee of the Asian American Cultural Center, brother of Beta Theta Pi and has in the past worked as a Violence Against Women Prevention program facilitator and he attended two alternative break programs.
"Opportunities for furthering education should be a right that is granted to every person in the world regardless of their race, culture or background," Lee says,
"Understanding that each individual in the world has his or her own story is key to being open, tolerant and accepting of diversity."
Lee's nomination came from UConn Cultural Centers and UConn Residental Life.
Nomination forms and descriptions of available awards can be found on the Student Activities website and filled out Friday.

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