Jaguar Senior Medallion Society Receives Honors
Posted on April 27, 2023
University of South Alabama’s Division of Student Affairs honored 24 students inducted into the Jaguar Senior Medallion Society for outstanding academic and leadership achievements, community service, engagement and for displaying Jaguar pride. The honorees were recently celebrated during a program and induction ceremony on campus.
“The University is honored to recognize the student honorees at the second annual Jaguar Senior Medallion Society Induction Ceremony,” said President Jo Bonner, who assisted with presenting each student with a medallion. “Each of these students has left an indelible mark by distinguishing themselves among their peers through outstanding academics, leadership and stellar achievement.”
Two students were recognized for working to change perceptions of disability and accessibility; another has been committed to furthering diversity, equity and inclusion; and two others persevered to overcome adversity to achieve academic success.
Students were nominated and voted on by a University committee. The idea for the Jaguar Senior Medallion Society awards was developed by Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Michael Mitchell.
“Our Division of Student Affairs joins the University in recognizing and congratulating the Jaguar Senior Medallion Society honorees for being excellent,” Mitchell said. “This is our second year recognizing outstanding seniors, which signifies the highest level of achievement for student engagement, academics and leadership. We are very proud of our senior honorees. We wish them the best as they graduate from the University of South Alabama. Go Jags!””
Students, faculty, staff, administrators and parents supported the honorees during the induction ceremony and attended the reception that followed.
The 2023 Jaguar Senior Medallion Society Honorees
Grace Abernathy is a USA professional health sciences major from Sylacauga, Alabama. She is a graduate of Sylacauga High School. With a 3.7 grade-point average, she is a member of USA Southerners, Kappa Omega Chapter of the Phi Mu
Sorority, Pre-Physician Assistant Society, Mortar Board, National Society of Leadership and Success and the Student Government Association.
Abernathy is the recipient of the USS Alabama Crewmate Award and a USA Freshman Leadership Scholarship, and she is a University of South Alabama Student Retention Council Representative. She is the daughter of Jon and Tracy Abernathy.
Camille Bonura is a USA hospitality and tourism management major from Enterprise, Alabama, and graduated from Enterprise High School. With a 3.8 grade-point average, she is a member of the Student Government Association, Hospitality and Tourism Management Ambassadors, Mortar Board Honor Society, and the Eta Sigma Delta Honor Society.
Bonura is the recipient of the Children of Alumni Scholarship, Mobile Area Lodging Association Scholarship and Hospitality Advisory Board Endowed Scholarship. She is the daughter of Meredith Mitchell Hamilton and Ross Bonura.
Jamie Carpenter is USA communication broadcast journalism major from Brookfield, Wisconsin, and a graduate of Waukesha North High School. With a 4.0 grade-point average, she is a member of USA Southerners, National Society of Leadership and Success, and National Residence Hall Honorary. She has been active in Due South Magazine, The Prowl Radio, the Office of Prospective Students Programs and New Student Orientation, and she has been a First Year Council Student Engagement Chair and USA Success Coach.
She has interned at WKRG and has won awards including the Michael S. Hanna Endowed Communication Scholarship, Jim Hansen and Peggy Aucoin Scholarship, and Exceptional Achievement in Academics. She is the daughter of James and Sharon Carpenter.
Sydney Downes is a USA nursing major from Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and graduated from Vestavia Hills High School. With a 3.83 grade-point average, she is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, Honors College Association, Student Nurses Association, Nurses Christian Fellowship and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She is a PASSAGE USA Mentor and captain of USA Cheerleading.
Downes is the recipient of the Ambitious Alpha Award and the Zeta Gamma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau research grant. She has completed her undergraduate research, “Nursing Students’ Attitudes Toward Clients with Intellectual Disabilities.” In her research, she analyzed which factors affect nursing students’ attitudes toward patients with intellectual disabilities the most. She is the daughter of Jeff and Penny Downes.
Noel Godang is a USA biomedical sciences major with minors in biology and music from Mobile. He is a graduate of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science. With a 4.0 grade-point average, he is a member of many organizations including Alpha Epsilon Delta National Pre-Health Society, the Sally Steadman Azalea Chapter of Mortar Board National Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Honors Community Association and the Honors Student Advisory Council Joint Research Committee.
Godang is a violinist for USA Opera and USA Orchestra. He has won many awards, including USA Outstanding Physics Student Award, USA President's List, Department of Music Instrumental Scholarship, USA Presidential Scholarship, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Scholarship. He plans on pursuing his medical degree at the University’s Fredrick P. Whiddon College of Medicine. He is the son of Romulus and Rosmawaty Godang.
Sydney Green is a professional health sciences major from Niceville, Florida, and graduated from Niceville High School. With a 3.4 grade-point average, she is a member of the Epsilon Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Black Student Union, Women of Excellence, Pre-Occupational Therapy Club, National Collegiate Scholars Society and the National Pan-Hellenic Counsel. She also has worked in New Student Orientation.
Green was the University of South Alabama Homecoming Queen for 2022. She is the daughter of Fredrick and Carolyn Green.
Rachel Iweka is a geography major from Mobile and is a graduate of Baker High School. With a 3.8 grade-point average, she is a member of Gamma Theta Upsilon Honor Society, the Sally Steadman Azalea Chapter of the Mortar Board Honor Society and USA College Democrats, and has served as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Liaison for the University of South Alabama's Pre-Law Society.
Iweka also has served as a United Nations Commission on the Status of Women delegate and is also a recipient of the Coca-Cola STEM Internship Scholarship. She is the daughter of Robert and Janice Iweka.
Josephine Jalkh is a biomedical sciences major from Mobile and a graduate of McGill Toolen Catholic High School. With a 3.97 grade-point average, she is a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta National Health Pre-Professional Honor Society, Catholic Student Association, Future PharmD Association, Indian Student Association, Honors Student Advisory Council and Jaguar Marching Band.
Jalkh is the recipient of the Lebanese American Club of Mobile Scholarship, Outstanding First-Year Member of the Jaguar Marching Band Award and the President’s Scholar Award. She is the daughter of Chucri and Marleine Jalkh.
Lance Johnson is majoring in business administration with a concentration in human resource management and a minor in marketing from Mobile. He graduated from Saraland High School. With a 2.92 grade-point average, he is a member of South Alabama’s Society of Human Resource Management, the Mobile Society of Human Resource Management and the National Society of Human Resource Management.
Johnson is also a South Guide and was named South Guide of the Month for February 2023. He is the son of Sheila and Terry Johnson.
Gabrielle Jones is a professional health sciences major from Hueytown, Alabama.
She is a graduate of Timber Creek High School. With a 3.13 grade-point average, Jones
is a vice president of the Black Student Union, vice president of the Society of
Healthcare Management, vice president of the Big Club, treasurer of the NAACP, a
member of Women of Excellence, Abeneefoo Kuo Honor Society and the W.O.K.E. Club.
She is also a member of The Divine Servant’s Praise Dance Team and the daughter of
Venechella and Charles Jones.
Leah Kunneth is a psychology major from Naperville, Illinois, and a graduate of
Neuqua Valley High School. With a 4.0 grade-point average, she is a member of the
Mortar Board National Honor Society and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Kunneth is a member of the Student Government Association and was named the
Student Government Association’s Key Player of the Year for 2021.
She has been on the President’s List, and is a member of the Indian Student Association,
Muslim Student Association, Camp Kesem, and the Donor to Diner program. Kunneth is
the recipient of the Psychology Department’s Academic Excellence Award and the Dr.
James W. Green Scholarship for Pre-Med Students.
She is the daughter of Shibu Kunneth and Anna Kunneth.
Annie Mascia is a psychology major with an English minor from Birmingham,
Alabama, and a graduate of Hoover High School. With a 4.0 grade-point average, she is
president of the Mortar Board National Honor Society, and a member of the Honors
College Association, where she is a 2021 recipient of the Honors College Exploration and
Experiential Learning Scholarship.
Mascia has been on the President’s List, and she is a 2021 Whiddon Honors Scholar,
2021 Southerner of the Year, and the 2022 Psychology Student of the Year.
She is the daughter of John and Nancy Mascia.
Ivy Nguyen is a biomedical sciences major from Mobile and a graduate from Baker
High School. With a 4.0 grade-point average, she is president of the Alpha Epsilon Delta
National Honor Society, vice president of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, member of the
Alpha Eta Honor Society, and initiation chair of the Mortar Board Honor Society.
Nguyen is the 2022 Goldwater Scholar, recipient of the USA College of Medicine Dean’s
Achievement Award, the Hillcrest Foundation Endowed Scholarship, the Leeman
Harper Covey Endowed Scholarship, Mobile County Foundation for Public Higher
Education Scholarship, and the recipient of the Coca-Cola Internship in STEM
Nguyen is an undergraduate researcher, and a tutor with Education 4 Life
Tutor at Wilmer Hall. Her parents are Minh Nguyen and Truyen Bui.
Richard Nguyen is a biology major from Orange Beach, Alabama, and a graduate of
Foley High School. With a 3.2 grade-point average, he is president of the Scabbard and
Blade Honor Society. He is also a recipient of the Kappa Sigma National Scholarship,
the National Army ROTC Scholarship, and Boy State Scholarship. He’s a member of the
USA Army ROTC and USA Color Guard.
Nguyen is also a member of Kappa Sigma, the USA Interfraternity Council, the Diversity
Equity and Inclusion Board, and the Vietnamese Student Association. He was selected
for Active Duty Service in the United States Army Corps of Officers.
He is the son of Billy (Hung) Ly and Nancy (Lieu) Nguyen.
Mariam Omar is a chemical engineering major from Mobile and a graduate of the Al-
Iman Academy. With a 3.83 grade-point average, she is a member of the Tau Beta Pi
Engineering Honor Society, Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honors Society,
Mortar Board Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and the Alpha Epsilon Delta
Omar is a member of the Muslim Student Association, the American Institute of
Chemical Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Indian Student
She is the daughter of Husam Omar and Hayfa Omar.
Savan Patel is majoring in biomedical sciences with a double minor in biology and
general business. With a 3.97 grade point average, he is secretary of the Alpha Epsilon
Delta Honor Society, Mortar Board Honor Society, the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society,
president of the Pre-Dental Society, and a USA Dean’s Scholarship recipient.
Patel is also vice president of the Indian Student Association and has been on the
President’s List. He is the son of Dasharath Patel and Jaya Patel.
Ashleigh Taylor is a professional health sciences major from Prattville, Alabama, and
a graduate of Prattville High School. With a 4.0 grade point-average, she is in the top 20
percent of the Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions Class of 2023.
Taylor is an All Career Presidential Scholar and a member of the Alpha Eta Honor
She is the founder and team director of the Delight Women’s Ministry, the Disciples
Group Leader at Cottage Hill at South, and a USA Campus Tour Guide.
Her parents are Wayne Taylor and Kerri Cobb.
Melanie Watson is a general management major from Helena, Alabama, and a
graduate of Helena High School. With a 3.8 grade-point average, Watson is a member of
the USA Air Force ROTC, where she is an officer of physical fitness, safety, public affairs,
and squadron commander. She is Cadet of the Year, a four-time Accommodation Award
recipient in the USAF, recipient of the Military Order of World Wars Award of Merit in
the USAF, and the recipient of the Cadet Training Ribbon. She is the recipient of the
“You Can Fly” Award, where Watson earned her private pilot’s license while at South
Watson is also a member of the Arnold Air Society, the Officers Christian Fellowship
with the Army and Air Force, a USA Southerner, a member of the USA Running Club,
and a tutor for immigrant children.
She is the daughter of Benny and Ericka Watson.
Clement Williams is a criminal justice major from Mobile and a graduate of
Davidson High School. With a 2.67 grade-point average, Williams is a member of
Collegiate 100, president of the Black Student Union, and president of the Zeta Kappa
Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, where he was named Omega Man of
the Year for 2021 and 2022.
Williams is a resident assistant at USA. He is the son of Clement and Angela Williams.
The following inductees in this year’s class will each receive a $500 award in recognition of their specific service and or challenges as they complete their degrees:
Disability and Accessibility Champion Award Recipients
Ansley Majewski is a USA therapeutic recreation major from Pensacola, Florida. Majewski has a 3.51 grade-point-average. She is a graduate of Pensacola Catholic High School. She is the recipient of the Penn Air Federal Credit Union Scholarship.
Majewski is a member of Chi Omega, Order of Omega Honor Society, Campus Civitan Club and Student Government Association, Panhellenic Council. She has been a PASSAGE USA mentor. Her parents are Stanley and Patrice Majewski.
Liam White is double majoring in English and Spanish. He is from West Blockton, Alabama. White has a 3.26 grade-point average, and has been named as one of 10 Phi Sigma Iota Scholars for the prestigious National Phi Sigma Iota Scholarship. He will receive the top scholarship award of $3,000.
In addition, White has been selected to teach English as a second language at the University of Castilla-LaMancha in Ciudad Real, Spain. He has been mentored by Dr. Zoya Kahn, associate professor of Spanish. White is a Blanco Award and Felicia Cooley Award recipient.
He has been a member of the Jaguar Marching Band. His parents are Keith White and Gloria White.
Excellence in Diversity Award Recipient
Kaya Wilkinson is a professional health sciences major from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she graduated from Paul W. Bryant High School. At USA, Wilkinson has a 3.1 grade-point average, and is a member of the Epsilon Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Black Student Union, Women of Excellence and ImprovUSA. She has served as president of the University chapter of the NAACP, vice president of Abeneefoo Kuo Honor Society, S.W.A.T. Dance Team Assistant Coach and A-List Model Troupe Co-Director.
Wilkinson also has served as a member of Fashion Club USA, Circle Kiwanis International and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. In addition, she was the 2020-2021 Black Student Union Black Girls Rock Bronze Honoree and 2021-2022 National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek Woman of the Year.
She is the daughter of Vanjessitha Wilkinson.
Overcomer Award Recipients
Erin Brown is a USA exercise science major from Semmes, Alabama, and a graduate of Murphy High School. She has a 3.08 grade-point average and is a member of Women of Excellence, the Pre-Occupational Therapy Club, Black Student Union, BSU Outreach Ministries, the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success, and the I-Leadership Program.
She served as co-chairwoman of the Black Girls Rock Scholarship Organization. She is the daughter of Sonya Brown and Demetrius Brown.
Jeremy Perryman is a USA music education major from Mobile and is a graduate of Mattie T. Blount High School. Perryman has a 2.89 grade-point average. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, Incorporated, and the Jaguar Marching Band and Jaguar Pep Band.
Perryman has been named on the Dean’s List for the spring and summer of 2020 and for the fall of 2021. He was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success in the spring of 2022. He is the son of Jo Perryman.
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