By Krystle Gladu
Senior Student & Alumni Affairs Representative, American Public University System
On behalf of our university’s faculty, staff, and great alumni community, we’re pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Alumni Awards. It’s with great pride that we honor each of them for their distinguished service, their merit, and their commitment to going the extra mile.
The inspirational people highlighted below are invited to our Academic Awards Ceremony on June 13, 2015 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland to be recognized alongside our Class of 2015 award recipients. Join us in celebrating the accomplishments of the following award-winning members of our alumni community.
Sherry Kotara — Alumni Community Service Award
AmeriCorps volunteer Sherry Kotara graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2014 and served in the 2014-2015 Class of Leadership in Pulaski County, a selective community-based leadership program, where she was also elected class president. During her AmeriCorps service, Kotara helped the Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) organization to optimize its Snack in a Pack program by increasing funding by 13 percent. In 2013, she volunteered and helped her local community with the emergency cleanup response following a flood disaster.
The Alumni Community Service Award recognizes exceptional members who exemplify the university’s spirit of commitment to service, and made significant contributions or rendered distinctive service to their community or to society as a whole.
Eugenie de Silva — Alumni Education Award
After earning her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in intelligence studies at the record-breaking ages of 14 and 15 respectively, University Ambassador Eugenie de Silva received the 2015 Luce Leader Award in recognition of her devotion to academic and humanitarian pursuits. De Silva is currently an adjunct faculty member at Walters State Community College, Head of Online Education Programs at the Virginia Research Institute, and she organizes education conferences. After earning a second master’s degree from the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education, de Silva is pursuing her Ph.D. in politics at the University of Leicester, England. De Silva is a published author and editor of the soon-to-be-released, “National Security and Counterintelligence in the Era of Cyber Espionage,” and “Applying Methods of Scientific Inquiry into Intelligence, Security, and Terrorism Studies.”
The Alumni Education Award recognizes outstanding members who demonstrate excellence in the field of higher education, promote and encourage lifelong learning, and serve as an example to inspire future academicians.
Robert Mazza, Distinguished Graduate Award
Robert Mazza dedicates his life to assisting the sick and injured members of his community. Mazza graduated with his MBA in May 2013. He’s certified in first aid courses, has taught tactical courses, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), and leadership, management, and medical training. Mazza also assisted with the deployment preparation of his medical battalion to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Robert participated in the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), evaluated and improved military medical training, and received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Naval commendation and Achievement Medals, and three Volunteer Service Medals.
The Distinguished Graduate Awards recognizes graduates who’ve made extraordinary contributions to the nation and their community. It honors character, accomplishment, and service that represent the university’s mission of service and leadership in a diverse global society.
Lewis Taylor — University Service Award
2013 History (B.A.) graduate Lewis Taylor served as president of the University’s Saber and Scroll Club (2013-14) and helped to grow membership by more than 1,000 members. Lewis also led Pi Gamma Mu (PGM) as their Social Director (2014-15). He serves as an official University Ambassador, and in 2014 he represented the university at Wreaths Across America at Cape Cod National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass. He is an active member in a number of additional organizations including: Student Veterans of America, where he is a candidate for vice president; R.E.A.D. Vice President and Social Media Director; and The Ancient Order of the Craft (Senior Warden). He is also working with the university’s Student Affairs department to establish a history honor society.
The University Service Award recognizes members who exemplify the spirit of the university’s motto of service and consistently demonstrate their selfless commitment and involvement with the university’s lifelong learning community.
Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the 2015 Alumni Awards. Their dedication to excellence and their remarkable accomplishments as leaders and members of our alumni community earned them this special recognition.
Will You Be A 2016 Alumni Award recipient?
Tell us about your accomplishments or accolades, and let us know why you’re a good candidate for one of the awards listed above. We’ll look for your application when the award approval process begins this fall. For more information on our Alumni Awards, please visit our Awards and Recognition website.
About the Author
Krystle has been with APUS for 7.5 years, and has had the opportunity to serve in a few different roles, in 2014; she landed on the Alumni Affairs team. She focuses her efforts on alumni communities, communication, and engagement. Krystle received her bachelors in business administration in 2011 and her master’s in business administration in 2013, both from American Public University.