Division of Student Affairs announces 2020-21 student leader awards

The Division of Student Affairs presented 2020-21 awards to outstanding student leaders Thursday in Memorial Auditorium on the Clemson University campus. In addition, Student Leadership and Engagement and other departments throughout the division honored outstanding students, organizations and leaders. The event was also live streamed over Zoom.

The traditional Student Affairs division award winners are listed below:

Almeda R. Jacks Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

Presented in honor of Clemson’s former vice president for Student Affairs. It is given to the best “all around” junior or senior who upholds Clemson’s core values, maintains high scholarly achievement and who shows a cross-section of involvement in university departments, clubs or organizations.

2020-21 recipient: Sophia Hennessy
• Junior bioengineering major, with a minor in Spanish Studies
• Serves on the Council of Diversity Affairs for Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG)
• Panhellenic New Member of the Year and executive board member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, where she currently serves as the chapter’s director of public relations
• Participated in Engineers Without Borders to support an international project for CDC-funded sanitation research
• Serves as undergraduate social chair for the Clemson Bioengineering Association
• Serves as a continuous improvement intern for the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences
• Larry S. Bowman Outstanding Junior in Bioengineering

Walter T. Cox Graduate Student Award

Presented in memory of the 10th university president and longtime vice president for Student Affairs. It is given to a first-year graduate student employed by the Division of Student Affairs. The recipient must show ongoing excellence as a member of the community through his or her leadership, support of the holistic academic experience and commitment to diversity and acceptance.

2020-21 recipient: Michael Almond
• First-year graduate student in the M.Ed. Counselor Education, Student Affairs program
• Serves as a graduate assistant for Healthy Campus
• Integral role in planning Clemson’s role in National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, Alcohol Awareness Month, Pride Week and Out of the Darkness Walk
• Has engaged student participation and fostered out-of-classroom learning with an intentional focus on inclusion and equity
• Has contributed to student health and well-being research through creative inquiry

R.C. Edwards Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Presented in memory of the longtime president best known for leading Clemson from an all-male military college to a major coeducational and integrated university. It is given to the best “all around” graduate student with high scholarly achievement and someone who contributes to the Clemson community through leadership in university and/or community organizations.

2020-21 recipient: Fengjiao Zou
• Ph.D. student in the civil engineering program
• Serves as a teaching assistant for the department, earning “best teaching assistant” recognition from Graduate Student Government in 2020
• Has worked in collaboration with University Facilities to collect campus sidewalk data, develop pedestrian accessibility geographic information systems and determine the best accessibility routes to help identify campus improvements
• Recipient of James Edwin Clark Fellowship
• Serves as president of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society chapter

Rising Star Award

Presented to a first- or second-year student with a minimum 3.0 GPA who is currently involved in leadership or service activities and is actively pursuing future leadership roles at Clemson University.

2020-21 recipient: Griffin Stephens
• Sophomore pre-business major
• Serves as president for the S.A.L.U.T.E. Veteran Honor Society — Service, Academics, Leadership, Unity, Tribute, Excellence
• Member of the Student Veteran Association chapter
• Works for Military and Veteran Engagement, serving as a mentor to incoming student veterans
• Member of the Fly Fishing Club