Students, Faculty Member Recognized at Alumni Celebration

Posted: April 14, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Each year the George Mason University Alumni Association presents scholarships and awards to deserving students at its annual Celebration of Distinction. Wednesday night, the following students were recognized at a dinner in the Johnson Center Multipurpose Room:

The Senior of the Year Award was presented to Maria Sonia Montero for her contributions to academic excellence and student life, service to the university, and leadership. A Mason Scholar and recipient of the Michael W. McCarthy Scholarship, Montero graduates in May with an honors degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. In addition to maintaining a perfect grade point average, she has worked with faculty members in conducting research, served as a teaching assistant for three university courses, and held positions as part of the George Mason Judicial Board, the GMU Honor Committee, and the Student Funding Board.

The Peter Forame Student Leader Scholarship was awarded to Christopher Roberts, a second-year student in the medical technology program, and the only freshman accepted to help conduct laboratory research on the topic of drug progression and neurological substrates under Psychology Department chair Robert Smith. Roberts has appeared on the Dean’s List every semester he has been enrolled at George Mason. As president of the Federation for Off-Campus Students, he gives a voice to the commuter student population. As president of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, he plans meetings, organizes monthly community service activities, and creates chapter awards to help bolster student participation.

The John C. Wood Scholarship was awarded to Juan Francisco Pacheco, a nursing student and community outreach counselor. Working with Barrios Unidos/United Neighborhoods of Northern Virginia, Pacheco coordinates camp programs to help keep disadvantaged children off the streets. Pacheco also has pioneered a technology program in which children learn computer skills that will help them advance their education. Pacheco recently received a grant from the Virginia Department of Health to complete a support program that he hopes will inspire Hispanic parents to become more involved in the lives of their children.

Jennifer Luhrs, a graduate student in school psychology, was awarded the John C. and Louise P. Wood Graduate Scholarship for her unusual motivation in pursuit of her education and her contribution to the university. A single mother of a two-year-old daughter, Luhrs works part time in addition to attending school full time. Since her transfer to George Mason, she has secured a space on the Dean’s List, earned her B.S. in Psychology, and begun graduate study. Over the past academic year, she has volunteered as a vacation Bible school teacher, substitute Sunday school teacher, and nursery attendant for the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

The Alumni Association also sponsors the Faculty Member of the Year Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions by a faculty member in the areas of academic activities, university participation, and service to the university and the community. This year’s recipient, Stuart S. Malawer, is the Distinguished Service Professor of Law and International Trade at The Institute of Public Policy and director of the Oxford Summer Trade Program, a nationally known graduate program in international trade and the largest study-abroad program at George Mason. Malawer’s help was indispensable in creating and implementing the Master of Arts in International Commerce and Policy, which brings together resources from law, business, technology, and social sciences in a unique program.

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