May 21, 2018

Batten's 2018 Graduates Honored for Perseverance, Integrity, Leadership, and Academic Achievement

More than three dozen 2018 Batten graduates received year-end recognition with an impressive range of accolades honoring intellectual curiosity, athletic success, character, service, kindness, among other attributes. 

Among those honored is Shayla Burnham, a recipient of the Batten Undergraduate Council’s 2018 Legacy Award for Perseverance, who recovered from serious injuries sustained in a three-car collision and went on to complete her undergraduate degree with a 4.0 grade point average. (Her story and those of many of her classmates, are below.)

Burnham and her classmates are heading into a wide variety of opportunities and careers, including serving in the Peace Corps, providing federal consulting, and teaching: in California—and Sri Lanka.

Burnham is joined by fellow 2018 Legacy Award recipients, new Bachelor’s degree graduates noted for specific characteristics: Elissa Boghosian, for Intellectual Curiosity; Aethena Brooks, for Integrity; Robert McCarthy, Leader Among Leaders; and Kim Johnson, Pioneer.

Master’s degree graduates honored with the Batten Graduate Council’s 2018 Pilot Awards are Phillip Menard, Anna Troutman, Victoria Hanway, Maggie Gratz, and Aran Teeling.

Gratz also received the Edgar F. Shannon Award, named after UVA’s fourth president, from the Z Society. The award is presented to the best graduating student from each of UVA’s schools “who has pursued academic greatness with fervent ardor and keen insight while never forgetting the importance of those priorities aside from school.”

Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for students of public administration, recognized two-dozen graduates—and Batten faculty member Paul Martin, Assistant Professor of Public Policy.

Bachelor’s degree graduates honored are Jordan Bernstein, Elissa Boghosian, Shayla Burnham, Courtney Cuppernull, Sharon Fernandez, Megan Girvin, Caitlin Kim, Jonathan Meyer, Matthew Tully, and Derek Zeigler.

Master’s degree graduates honored are Justin Doromal, Kylie LeBlanc, Ramsay Stewart, Emily Wiseman, Madison Lahey, Emily Ewing, Grant Schwab, Anne Lukehart, Maggie Gratz, Avery Moyler, Lena Lewis, Aran Teeling, Emily Mooney, and Olivia Roat.

Nick Mares received the Richard Heath Dabney Award, presented by the Richmond Chapter of the University of Virginia Alumni Association to a fourth-year student from the Richmond metropolitan area who best embodies personal integrity, scholarship, leadership, citizenship, and service to UVA.

At the May 18 Valedictory Exercises, part of Finals Weekend for graduation, Batten graduates received significant recognition. Class of 2018 President and Senior Lawn Resident Malcolm Stewart delivered the ceremony’s moving closing remarks. Class of 2018 Vice President Diane D’Costa, the first graduate to double-major at Batten and the Curry School of Education, delivered remarks during the ceremony.

Malcolm Stewart (click here or on the picture to hear his speech)

Receiving school-wide awards at the ceremony were Maeve Curtin, an accelerated MPP student and 2018 Bachelor’s degree graduate in Government and Global Development Studies who received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award; four-year volleyball player and Batten graduate Haley Fauntleroy, who received the Seven Society’s Louis A. Onesty Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award; and Batten graduate Sarah Brotman, who received the “Miss Kathy” Award for kindness, positivity and good nature, in honor of Newcomb Dining Hall-Aramark employee Kathy McGruder.

During the Batten School’s Academic Regalia Ceremony on May 19, undergraduate Robert McCarthy and MPP graduate Madison Lahey were nominated by their peers to speak.

(Details about many of these honored graduates are below; click on their names, above, to read more about their achievements.)

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Few recent Batten graduates could match Shayla Burnham’s ability to lead on the themes of resilience, endurance, and perseverance.

But Burnham’s achievements in the face of severe adversity didn’t come primarily in the classroom—but amid challenges that have been a part of her life for nearly two years.

Burnham, the 2018 recipient of Batten’s Legacy Award for Perseverance, recently finished her college career with top marks, earning a 4.0 grade point average as a first-generation student.

But it was the strength, grit, and sheer determination she demonstrated at the start of her Batten years that exemplifies what the school strives to impart to all of its students.

Nearly two years ago, Burnham, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., was driving her car on U.S. 29 when another driver rear-ended her and totaled her car. The crash was part of a three-car collision on just the second day of classes for Burnham as she began her third year at UVA.

“I emerged with several injuries, including severe neck and back pain. Due to these injuries and the resulting medication and physical therapy regimens, it was difficult to keep up with my studies, especially at the beginning of my enrollment in Batten.

“Although there were discussions about potentially taking a semester off of school to focus on my health, I was determined to push through and finish my degree from Batten on time. As a first-generation college student, pursuing and completing a four-year degree is one of my most valued aspirations.

“Not only do I wish to demonstrate to my four younger sisters the benefits of going to college, I also want to instill in them and others the self-motivation and perseverance I utilized to graduate from the University at the top of my class with a 4.0 grade-point average.

“Throughout my entire life, perseverance has allowed me to achieve dreams I never thought possible. Due to this, the Perseverance Award is monumental for me, and I am honored to receive this award from Batten, which has enabled me to grow into the leader I am today.”

Burnham will begin work with the consulting company Bain & Company in New York City, and she remains interested in programs “that focus on cultivating young leaders from low-income families.

“Coming from a large, low-income family myself, I understand the struggles many of these young individuals face and the lack of opportunities available. I hope to one day use the skills I have learned in Batten to assist children with backgrounds similar to mine achieve their goals.”

Elissa Boghosian, from Pasadena, Ca. double-majored in Global Studies: Security and Justice, as well as in Public Policy and Leadershp. Her thesis explored “Nama and Herero perspectives on genocide reparations in Namibia.” She intends to be in Rwanda soon, with the goal of working with a non-governmental organization until the fall. She’ll then return to the United States to work in Washington, D.C. for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, the largest of the “big four” accounting and professional services organization.

Aethena Brooks of Los Angeles also double-majored in Global Studies: Security & Justice and Public Policy and Leadership. She cited the Undergraduate Capstone course, “Policies for Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland,” as being especially memorable, as well as the mentorship of Paul Martin, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, and the role of Patti Edson, Assistant Director of Admissions. “If I had to sum up the esteem I have for Patti, I would venture to say that she is the heart and soul of Batten’s student body.”

Shayla Burnham, Elissa Boghosian, and Aethena Brooks, left to right

Robert McCarthy, from Garden City, N.Y. double-majored in Religious Studies and Public Policy and Leadership. He served as Batten Undergraduate Council President this past year. He’ll be a third-grade teacher at the Cathedral School of the Annunciation in Stockton Ca., through the Alliance for Catholic Education of the University of Notre Dame.

In addition to his service at Batten, McCarthy said that one of his most meaningful commitments “was serving as the Service Vice President of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity. My partner and I arranged over 3,000 hours of service, and building relationships with the community was unique. I was pushed to think more reflectively about service and how to work to better others lives.”

Kim Johnson, who served in the U.S Marines prior to enrolling at Batten, also cites Paul Martin,”the Jedi Master,” for his influence. Referring to Martin’s course Institutional and Political Context of Public Policy, Johnson said that the concept taught in the course on “understanding the faces of power has been an invaluable tool in a veteran initiative project I have been working on since January with three other university staff members as part of the Cornerstone Leadership Program.” Reflecting on her four years at Batten, Johnson summerized, “Yes, I will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree—and it’s taken me 27 years to get there!”

Robert McCarthy and Kim Johnson

Phillip Menard, one of the five recipients of the 2018 Pilot Awards, recalled that one of his “most rewarding and meaningful experiences” was being a Batten Admissions Ambassador. He appreciated ”the privilege of representing the Batten School as a conduit between the Admissions office and prospective students.

“This role has given me the opportunity to speak with and meet all of the insanely impressive prospective students in order to answer any questions that they have about UVA, courses, professors, living in Charlottesville, and graduate school in general. In the Masters of Public Policy (MPP) program, the Admissions staff aims to create a small tight-knit community, with each student bringing a unique set of perspectives and experiences to the cohort, so it has been an absolute pleasure being able to share my experiences, reflect on all of my lessons learned over the past two years, and to help prospective students determine if Batten is a good fit for their professional and professional growth.”

Menard, of Plainsboro, N.J. will be in Washington, D.C. as a Management Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, working primarily on the firm’s U.S. Department of Defense account.

Anna Troutman said her work as a graduate teaching assistant in Assistant Professor Andy Pennock’s class, “ ‘Leadership in the Public Arena,’ changed the way I looked at and practiced leadership, both personally and professionally. This course gave me a new lens through which to view groups, organizations, and problem solve successfully. It also helped me understand how to work best with people, how to work for people, and how to make healthy systems that successfully work with and for people.”

Troutman, of Burke, Va, earned her UVA Bachelor’s degree 2014, double-majoring in Foreign Affairs and East Asian Studies. She will be with Deloitte in Washington, where she has been employed before, ”reworking government systems to meet the needs of both their employees and the U.S. government and public as a whole.”

Victoria Hanway graduated as an accelerated Master’s student who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physics. She began at Batten as an undergraduate, where her experience ”with Batten undergraduate academics, professors, students, and staff inspired me to apply to the Master’s program after my third year. I recognized that the more quantitive-focused MPP curriculum would best equip me to pursue my passion for problem solving in the public policy realm.”

Hanway, who is from the D.C. area, will be working at Deloitte in Washington, as a Strategy and Operations consultant. But first she’ll serve ”as a camp counselor at my favorite place, Summer’s Best Two Weeks, and (then will take) a short break to travel around Europe.”

Phillip Menard, Victoria Hanway, and Anna Troutman, left to right

Maggie Gratz will begin serving in November in Sri Lanka as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant.

“There is no doubt that the year ahead will prove challenging. Following an almost 26-year civil war, Jaffna, the city in Northern Sri Lanka where my placement will be, was closed off from the rest of the country until 2010. Therefore, it seems many people still do not have a full understanding of what life in Jaffna is actually like. I feel honored to have an opportunity to find out!

“I view my position with Fulbright as a first step towards achieving my long-term aspirations of becoming an effective and thoughtful development practitioner and policymaker. Experiential learning is, after all, what facilitates empathy—a central, guiding force crucial to the career and life I imagine for myself.

“Until departing in November, I will be interning with Results for Development in Washington, D.C. My hope is to also return to Cambodia for a month or so this fall to further past research projects, both locally and virtually.”

Gratz, of Doylestown, Pa., graduated from the accelerated Master’s program. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Global Development Studies, with distinction.

Aran Teeling, from Painter, Va. also was an accelerated Master’s student. As an undergraduate, he double-majored in History and Latin American Studies. Next year Aran will serve in Costa Rica with  the Peace Corps as a “Business Advising Volunteer.

Teeling cited the help of Jill Rockwell, Senior Assistant Dean for Student and Career Services, in directing him to intern in Chicago with “Experience Ignite, which works with its partner, Spark Ventures, to empower local businesses and (non-governmental organizations). Ignite coordinates trips to visit our partners abroad—essentially, offering a socially-responsible travel opportunity for individuals, or groups of employees from individual companies…I’ve made many life-long connections and relationships as a result.”

Maggie Gratz and Aran Teeling

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Three from Batten Receive Awards at At Valedictory Exercises  

Editor’s note: The full story of the awards presented at the Valedictory Exercises is at UVA Today; this excerpt is posted with permission.

Maeve Curtin, left, Sarah Brotman, third from left, and Haley Fauntleroy, second from right, received awards Friday, May 18. (Photos by Photos by Dan Addison and Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

Batten graduates Sarah Brotman and Haley Fauntleroy and Batten accelerated MPP student Maeve Curtin were among seven graduating UVA students and two employees honored Friday, May 18 at the University of Virginia’s annual Valedictory Exercises, which are part of Finals Weekend events.

Curtin, who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Government and Global Development Studies, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, presented annually at dozens of universities and colleges in the southern United States to recipients who have demonstrated notable character, integrity and service. (The awards are presented by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation, which is named for a New York lawyer, businessman and philanthropist.)

Curtin was lauded by award committee member Rohan Kumar for her depth of character and for being motivated by the needs of others, from baking cookies for a friend undergoing a bad week to serving as a leader in the Best Buddies organization, which she has done since high school. She also has been involved with the University’s Sustained Dialogue organization, Green Dot bystander training and other community engagement channels.

Maeve Curtin was one of three recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, along with student Tyler Ambrose and UVA employee Tabitha Enoch. Curtin received the award from Rohan Kumar, student member of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award committee.

Curtin, who lived on the Lawn, “derives energy and inspiration from creating experiences that build a network of care and support that makes all feel welcome,” Kumar said.

Curtin, of Falls Church, Va., will work this summer as a Policy Research Intern for Uniquely the Same, an organization that works to address the needs of families and individuals affected by disability and economic disadvantage.

“The community within the Batten School is truly unmatched,” she wrote in an e-mail message. ”I have been incredibly grateful for the ways in which I have been able to bond with my cohort and all the other Batten students, faculty, and staff members this past year.”

Haley Fauntleroy, left, received one of two of the Seven Society’s Louis A. Onesty Memorial Scholar-Athlete Awards. At right is Lauren Moses. Kirby Evett, a trustee of the Class of 2018, presented the awards. At right is UVA President Teresa Sullivan.

The secret Seven Society presented Louis A. Onesty Memorial Scholar-Athlete Awards to volleyball player Haley Fauntleroy and to Lauren Moses, an American studies graduate and basketball player.

As volleyball team captain, Fauntleroy was a dominant presence on the court and a strong and positive presence off the court as well. She is an ACC Scholar-Athlete.

Fauntleroy, from the Chicago suburb of Winnetka, Ill. served as an orientation leader, a council member of UVA’s Student-Athlete Mentor program, an executive on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a Class of 2018 Fourth Year Trustee, and a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority.

She also has been an advocate for survivors of sexual assault and interpersonal violence through her involvement with the programs Take Back the Night, One Love and Green Dot.

Her coach, Aaron Smith, described Fauntleroy as a “constant motivator” for her team, and “loyal, hard-working and passionate.”

“I definitely don’t feel deserving of the Seven Society award, but I have to admit being on stage to accept the award was truly an incredible experience,” Fauntleroy said later in an e-mail message.

Fauntleroy will be a Strategic Relations Fellow for the African Leadership Academy, helping the organization work on fundraising, sponsorships, alumni relations, student programming, and other activities.

She cited the influence of Assistant Professor Paul Martin, his course Institutional and Political Context of Public Policy, and his Undergraduate Capstone course, Policies for Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland, which she called “the most exciting class in my undergraduate career” and “the most direct application of my school work in a real life public policy crisis…You can only get that kind of experience in Batten.”

Sarah Brotman, left, received the “Miss Kathy” Award. Presenter Holly Stevens is a Class of 2018 trustee.

Brotman received the “Miss Kathy” Award, given for kindness, positivity and good nature, in honor of Newcomb Dining Hall-Aramark employee Kathy McGruder.

Brotman is known as an “intentional listener” who selflessly shows compassion for others while encouraging them in their endeavors. She participated in community service activities, served as philanthropy chair of her fraternity, volunteered to aid in caring for Charlottesville’s homeless community, and worked on projects addressing homelessness.

“She sees the best in everyone and makes sure you understand how much she believes in you,” a fellow student remarked for her citation.

Brotman plans to work for a D.C.-based nonprofit organization. She identified the Batten course Philanthropy: Public Initiatives for the Private Good as being “truly pivotal. Throughout the duration of the class (taught in part by Paul Martin, Assistant Professor of Public Policy), we learned about the issue of affordable housing in Charlottesville. We were responsible for researching local nonprofits working on this issue, conducting site visits to speak with leaders in these organizations, and ultimately creating grant recommendations.

“At the end of the course, the Aduivans Foundation (a philanthropic organization run by one of our professors, Batten Lecturer Grey McLean) gave both operation and capacity grants to many of the nonprofits we researched throughout the semester. This class allowed me to see tangible outcomes of policy research, and to begin to grasp the complex and nuanced needs of vulnerable populations,” Brotman said in an e-mail message.

Brotman, from Columbia, S.C., also cited the value of her experiences studying abroad in Jerusalem, Israel, and Pune, India. In Jerusalem, she worked with an advocacy organization aiming to advance peace in the Middle East. During her five-month experience in Pune, India, Brotman studied areas ranging from  public health to contemporary religion.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards, class awards and secret society awards went to several members of the University community Friday during Valedictory Exercises.