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2017 Skookum Award Recipients

  • (L-R) Bottom row: Nilsa Salas (Forensic Chemistry), Kristina Altomonte (Health Services), Chas Figueroa (Sociology), Kathryn Jordan (Biomedical Engineering), Lexi-Amber Hassell (Neuroscience), and Gina Lanzano (Creative Writing). Middle row: Rachel Bolduc (Criminal Justice), Michael Spagnolo (Accounting and Finance), Tiffany-Rae Robinson (Biomedical Engineering), Iman Shehemi (Accounting and Finance), Ryan Brault (Business Analytics and Information Management and Finance), Hayley Johnson (Psychology), and Alexis McCrae (Criminal Justice). Top row: Michael Veronesi (Biomedical Engineering), President Anthony S. Caprio, and Tucker France IV (Accounting and Finance).

The Skookum Award of Excellence was established in 1989 by the Western New England University Alumni Association as a way to recognize the outstanding achievements of students. The Skookum Award recognizes the commitment and dedicated service of Western New England University students throughout their college career by their demonstrated leadership roles on campus, community service/volunteer experiences, and participation in athletics and cocurricular programs. The word Skookum means excellence in the Chinook Indian culture. This annual award process takes place each spring semester to prepare for the Skookum Awards dinner the following fall.

For information on Skookum Award criteria, click here.

View photos from the 2017 awards ceremony.

Grand Skookum

  • Tiffany-Rae Robinson

    Biomedical Engineering • Dalton, MA

    Tiffany-Rae discovered her real passion in life during the summer of 2016, when she conducted cancer research at Augusta University, in Augusta, GA. Tiffany was halfway through college, and previously had experiences that pushed her outside her comfort zone, but nothing to this extent.

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"Being named Grand Skookum, personally, is an incredible honor," says Tiffany. "As a first generation college student, I’m accomplishing more than I ever could have imagined. I am so grateful for all those who have supported me in the past, and those who continue to do so today. Being recognized for all of my hard work on campus in my senior year is quite humbling. This is an honor that I am so appreciative of, and one I carry with me proudly."

Royal Skookum

  • Ryan Brault

    Business Analytics and Information Management and Finance • Springfield MA

    As a heavily involved commuter on campus, Ryan saw and experienced the difficulties and needs of commuter students. So he helped found the Golden Bear Commuter Council and has worked to make commuters feel more connected to their resident classmates and to feel more at home on campus.

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Royal Skookum

  • Tucker France

    Accounting and Finance • Brimfield, MA

    One of the first organizations Tucker joined on campus was the Residence Hall Association because he wanted to connect with and help freshman students in transition. After three years on the job, Tucker is proud to say that he still has relationships with his original residents.

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Other Skookum Award Recipients

  • Kristina Altomonte

    Health Sciences • Woodland Park, NJ

    The experience that made the most significant impact on Kristina’s life was her month volunteering in the Central American country of Belize. In the summer of 2016 she was a community health worker there, traveling to small villages and helping to set up clinics for people in order to provide free health care and health education.

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  • Rachel Bolduc

    Criminal Justice • Lebanon, ME

    Rachel has been a member Army ROTC for four years and is currently Battalion staff responsible for personnel, funding accounts, recruiting and social media. Additionally, she spent last summer in Poland studying foreign military standards. She is also an expert marksman.

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  • Chas Figueroa

    Sociology • Lawrence, MA

    Chas has been involved in a variety of clubs and organizations, taking a leadership role in some, including the Gender/Sexuality Alliance. As a general member of the Alliance, and then as Public Relations Officer, and now President, Chas has brought awareness to the campus about LGBTQ+ issues.

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  • Hayley Johnson

    Psychology • Ludlow, MA

    Haley has been recognized on both the Dean’s List and the President’s List as well as being a member of Omicron Delta Kappa honor society and the Western New England Chapter of the Psi Chi psychology honor society. She plans to earn her Doctorate of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology.

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  • Kathryn Jordan

    Biomedical Engineering • Manchester, NH

    Katie is a shining example for her fellow students in her volunteer work. She has been a member of Community Action Rewards Everyone, known as C.A.R.E., since her freshman year and has participated in events such as the Springfield Crop Walk, the Teddy Bear Tea, and the Love to the Rescue Radioathon.

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  • Gina Lanzano

    Creative Writing • Wethersfield, CT

    Gina’s passion for literature, which developed at a young age, inspired her to pursue creative writing in college. After visiting our University for the first time, she knew the campus and its program would be a perfect fit, and instantly worked to become involved and engaged within the campus community.

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  • Lexi-Amber Hassell

    Neuroscience • Warwick, RI

    A member of the the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Lexi has been on the President's List every semester. The volunteer activities that have had the biggest impact on her were Alternative Spring Break trips to Washington, DC, Hatfield, MA, and Des Moines, IA to fight hunger, poverty, and homelessness.

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  • Alexis McCrae

    Criminal Justice • Springfield, MA

    Alexis is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, the Criminal Justice Honor Society and Mortar Board Senior Honor Society and has served as an Open House Associate, Secretary of the 2018 Class Council, and Vice President of the U&ME Diversity Club.

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  • Nilsa Salas

    Forensic Chemistry • Chelsea, MA

    When she first stepped onto campus, Nilsa never imagined that she would be the leader that she is today. She joined the U&ME's Connections Mentoring Program to integrate into college life. She quickly fell in love with the program and knew that she wanted to be a mentor for her sophomore year.

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  • iman Shehemi

    Accounting and Finance • Feeding Hills, MA

    Iman is a dual Accounting and Finance major who has been preparing for her career through four internships: at Brooks Brothers, Permastella, Fabbrica, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the last of which has offered her a full-time auditing position in Hartford, CT.

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  • Michael Spagnolo

    Accounting and Finance • Pepperell, MA

    Michael is a Dean’s List student and a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society. But it was his experience as an Orientation Group Leader that inspired his most growth as a leader because he learned so much about what it’s like to collaborate and work as a team.

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  • Michael Veronesi

    Biomedical Engineering • Berlin, CT

    Michael's engineering projects include an infant electrocardiogram prototype, which measures fetal heartbeat during the later stages of pregnancy, and a smart lock system—a remote control device that identifies any unlocked doors in a house and locks them with the press of a button

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