On March 31, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences held the Freshman Academic Achievement Award Ceremony, which recognized 250 freshmen in the college with the highest grade point averages.
Two hundred and ten out of the 250 award recipients RSVP’d to attend the ceremony in Dewberry Hall. According to John Cicchetti, director of Student Outreach, CHSS started this tradition five years ago.
“It’s really a celebration. We’re honoring our students, they worked so hard, and it’s great to see them all gathered together and celebrate those achievements,” Cicchetti said.
The ceremony began with three Mason upperclassmen giving speeches to the honored freshman. Each speaker shared advice on how they have been successful in their college careers.
Taylor Sprague, a sophomore with a major in Government and International Politics, emphasized the value of trying new things.
“Stepping into the unknown courageously and without hesitation is how I achieved all I have thus far in my undergraduate career,” Sprague said.
Rachel Grimesey, a senior also with a major in Government and International Politics, highlighted the importance of networking on campus.
“Talk to your peers in the diverse student body that the university holds. Ask people about their passions and experiences, and share yours while you’re at it,” Grimesey said.
The award ceremony not only recognized the students’ academic achievements, but it also served as an opportunity for them to learn more about all of the academic and extracurricular activities that Mason has to offer.
“If students are engaged in their community, they’re more satisfied with their educational experience and they’re more successful academically,” Cicchetti said.
There were 17 kiosks that offered information on how students could get the most of out their time at Mason. The participating programs included the Accelerated Masters Programs, Career Services, the Office of Student Involvement, the Transition Resource Center and the Center for Global Education.
A’Darien Johnson, a senior with a major in Communication that recently studied abroad this past spring break in Costa Rica, promoted taking advantage of study abroad opportunities through the Center for Global Education.
“I had an amazing time. It felt like I wasn’t even learning, but at the same time I was. You have a great time and get an “A” while doing it,” Johnson said.
Hannah Matangos, award winner and double major in Global Affairs and Art History, explained how she was successful in her classes this academic year.
“I’m definitely not afraid to ask questions. When it comes down to it, if you don’t know what’s going on, then your grade is probably going to suffer,” Matangos said.
At the end of the event, the freshman received one final benefit for all of their hard work. Cicchetti gave the students information on how to apply for scholarships that are only available to them. There are a total of 11 scholarships, 10 of which are valued at $1,000 and one at $3,000.
Cicchetti said that his favorite part of his job is to call the 11 scholarship winners telling them the good news.
“To tell a student that because of your achievements and because of your personal statements, we’re going to hopefully make college a little more affordable for you,” Cicchetti said.