Cassandra C. Bertele receives President’s Cup, Kelly Hobbs receives Vice President’s Cup
The College of Southern Maryland recognized students for their leadership, involvement in the college community and impact within Southern Maryland at the annual Student Government Association (SGA) Banquet April 20 at Middleton Hall in Waldorf.
The President’s Cup was presented to Cassandra C. Bertele of Hollywood for her selfless commitment to community service, including her work in partnership with the St Mary’s County Department of Aging and Human Services in collecting presents for local children in need, volunteering with the Toys for Tots program, representing CSM on Student Advocacy Day in Annapolis and training through the One Love Foundation to co-facilitate a workshop for students on relationship violence. Bertele served on the Student Activities Committee and as an elected representative at the Leonardtown Campus Student Association.
“I have consistently been impressed not only by Cassie’s ability to lead but by her deep commitment to the student body and community as well,” said CSM Student Life Coordinator Jennifer VanCory. “Her gregarious personality and skill in promoting activities has benefited the campus by doubling attendance at many Student Association events. … There are those who may take on leadership roles solely to further their future, receive accolades or secure scholarships. However, this is not Cassie. What makes her exceptional is that she uses her leadership abilities to benefit others, and it’s always apparent she receives genuine satisfaction from this.”
The Vice President’s Cup was presented to Kelly Hobbs of Great Mills for her work promoting mental health awareness and education for CSM students. Last fall, Hobbs organized a panel discussion about suicide awareness and prevention and during the spring semester she started a mental health club, CSM CARES, at the Prince Frederick Campus.
“I think Ms. Hobbs is remarkable on two counts,” said CSM Counselor Jennifer Fossell, who nominated Hobbs for the award. “First, she deeply cares about her fellow students and the CSM community. Her warmth and compassion shine through, and she seems to put people at ease wherever she goes. Second, she translates her caring into action. Organizing an event and launching a new club are both activities that require planning, organization, dedication and lots of hard work. Together, her spirit of caring combined with her ability to make things happen are a powerful force indeed … The CSM community is so lucky to have her.”
The Student Employee of the Year Award was presented to Eileen Parry of La Plata for her work as a biology and nursing tutor at the Student Success Center at the La Plata Campus. Parry provided this service to others while simultaneously completing CSM’s nursing program.
“She is one of the hardest working biology tutors at La Plata,” said Laurie Cangelosi, Parry’s supervisor at the center. “An innovator, she is able to handle a room full of diverse students, tutoring the specific biology courses they need and satisfying the students by organizing each subject at a different table. Then she moves from table to table helping each group of students with the material they seek. Eileen earns every penny she is paid. So far this fiscal year, she conducted 536 biology and 35 nursing tutor sessions. Many tutors only have 100 tutoring sessions a year … Eileen goes above and beyond expectations every day by tutoring such a large number of students efficiently and effectively.”
The Club of the Year was presented to the CSM Talons, the college’s competitive robotics team, which qualified to compete at the VEX-U World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, April 19 to 22. It was the fourth consecutive year that the team had qualified for the international event. At the championship, the three-member CSM team competed against 61 qualifying university teams from across the United States and the world.
The Talons made it to the semi-finals, the team’s best finish ever. In addition, the CSM team also walked away with its division’s Innovate award, which recognizes the team with the most innovative design feature on their robot.
“Team members apply their school work in engineering, programming and physics, knowledge they learned and are currently learning, to build a competitive robot,” wrote Student Life Coordinator Heather Zeolla and Director of Student Life and Athletics Michelle Ruble, in nominating the club for the award. “They treat all teams with respect, handling competitions and matches with a level of integrity that they won’t compromise on. They have truly come together as a team, club and overall friends this year. They count on each other.”
In addition to the regular annual awards, this year the SGA chose to recognize and honor one club adviser from a CSM campus as the CSM Student Club Adviser of the Year. The honor went to Anna Kephart, who is the adviser of Planned Parenthood: Generation Action, a club at the La Plata Campus.
As the club’s adviser, Kephart guided the club president and her officers through the club approval process, while helping them learn the importance of compromise in leadership and how to effectively interact with the college administration and how to work together to achieve shared goals. She supported and mentored the students while giving them the autonomy to plan and carry out their goals as independently as possible. Alyssa Moffat, president of the club, said, “Anna helped us communicate our message and advocated for us on many levels in the college and community. She helped us with project management, breaking down large projects and prioritizing things efficiently.”
During program remarks, SGA President Nick Combs of Chaptico thanked CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried for his 11 years of leadership at the college, as Gottfried prepares to retire at the end of June. Combs reviewed some of Gottfried’s achievements and said, “It is for all of these and for so many more significant ways in which you have supported the students of the College of Southern Maryland and have been committed to preparing us for a strong future and creating a safe environment for us to learn, Dr. Gottfried, that we are beyond grateful for your dedication, support and efforts made on our behalf.”