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Members of the class of 2020 receive Furman’s highest honors

Last updated November 20, 2020

By Furman News

Congratulations to these members of the Furman class of 2020, who received the university’s highest honors:

Scholarship Cup Awards

Catherine Lippert

Catherine Lippert discovered her major fairly late in her time at Furman and immersed herself 100% in her pathway. She exemplified an ideal, engaged sustainability science student of highest academic integrity. “Without a doubt, Catherine Lippert demonstrates the highest level of integrity and empathy in the classroom that I have seen in 20 years as a professor,” one of her professors said of her. “In multiple classes, I have seen Catherine work with peers to share her gifts and surface the gifts of others, all with an amazing sense of patience and genuine interest, while elevating everyone’s performance.” Catherine represents the utmost scholarly excellence across all phases of The Furman Advantage, including study away in Africa, internships, undergraduate research and community engagement in Greenville, while participating in co-curricular activities such as Mere Christianity Forum and the Millennium Fellows program. Catherine Lippert is also a recipient of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Scholar award for 2019-20.

Madeline Holt

Madeline Holt graduated Phi Beta Kappa at Furman with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. During her time at Furman, she was well known among peers and faculty as an exceptionally hardworking student, committed to constant learning and high academic standards. She went above and beyond the traditional academic pre-medical course of academic studies, seeking out unique opportunities to learn about social determinants of health through her work with underserved communities in the Greenville area. Madeline provided nutrition education to underserved populations through the Health Sciences FUEL internship and, through her work with the Greenville Free Medical Clinic, learned how access to medical care can transform the life of vulnerable patients. Madeline is currently a first year medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.

Natalie Tikhonovsky
Natalie Tikhonovsky graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in public health. She is known by her classmates and colleagues as a bright and passionate student who is tenaciously committed to serving others through the field of public health and always looking new ways to develop her skills for the benefit of others. Natalie has been accepted to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for completion of a Master’s of Science in Public Health but has deferred this program for a year to work as a COVID-19 case investigator supervisor at the Georgia Department of Public Health. She manages a small team of investigators to respond to restaurant, hotel and grocery store outbreaks in her Georgia district. Natalie has been able to directly apply the skills she gained during her time studying public health at Furman to her current COVID-19 pandemic work in outbreak investigations and disease surveillance.

Danielle Vines

Danielle Vines graduated Phi Beta Kappa at Furman with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. Her classmates and faculty know her as an intelligent and extremely hard working student who strives to succeed. She also demonstrated empathy and kindness towards others, volunteering at Johnson City Medical Center in Tennessee and at the Greenville Children’s Hospital through the Valiant Player organization. Danielle’s academic and scholarly achievements alone are remarkable, but are even more impressive as a student-athlete and leader of the women’s tennis team, in which she managed a demanding practice and competition schedule. Danielle is currently a first-year dental student at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Chandler MacKenzie Ciuba 
Chandler MacKenzie Ciuba was one of two recipients of the C. Leland Rodgers Award in spring 2020, as she was tied for the highest GPA in biology coursework among biology seniors graduating in 2020. She also had a 4.0 overall GPA at Furman. In addition to outstanding performance in her classes, Chandler did original research in biology professor David Hollis’ lab on molecular responses of brains of fish to injury. According to Hollis, Chandler “excelled and showed exceptional skill in the research setting. Despite a lack of background in this area of research, Chandler took on the work with a passion and excelled in the research environment.” Her work, which was part of a collaborative effort with the Medical University of South Carolina and Queen’s University Belfast, resulted in Chandler being a co-author on a publication in the journal Molecular Brain. She presented the work at the Society for Neuroscience National Conference at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, California. Chandler also worked on an independent study co-supervised by professors Min-Ken Liao and Linnea Freeman to develop four different case studies on the intersections of nutrition, genetics and the gut microbiome.

Jordan Ingram
Psychology and neuroscience professor Onarae Rice described Jordan Ingram as “the best student I have ever taught in my brain imaging class. She was certainly on a graduate level as it pertains to her level of understanding – amazing. And in our neuroscience capstone course, both Professor Dave Hollis and I thought she gave the best research talk we’d heard from any student.”

Jordan not only completed the neuroscience major, but double majored with Spanish and met the additional requirements necessary to apply to medical school and study abroad for a semester.

Jordan also volunteered at the Greenville Free Medical Clinic as a Spanish interpreter, mentored math and science students at Lakeview Middle School and collaborated with teachers at Armstrong Elementary. She continued her research and clinical interests, expanding her portfolio with experiences at a variety of institutions, including Emory University, The Hawkins Foundation of the Carolinas and Greenville Healthcare System.

“As her academic advisor, I have had contact with most of her supervisors who in every instance, gave her the best evaluations citing her maturity, professionalism and ability to communicate effectively with everyone she met,” said biology professor Victoria Turgeon. “I have no doubt that she will be successful and that she will continue to use her gifts to improve the lives of those around her.”

Bradshaw-Feaster Medal

Jordan Ingram has the rare ability to draw connections across disciplines such as biology, psychology, art and literature that is the ultimate goal of a liberal arts education. For example, her multidisciplinary project on Representations of Food in Mexican Casta Paintings in her “Mexico: Text and Image” class last spring was so creative, original and perceptive that the professor, Ron Friis, told her it would change the way he teaches those paintings from now on.

Jordan similarly impressed her other professors with her motivation, initiative, curiosity, preparedness, dependability and impressive intellectual qualities. Furthermore, Jordan was a leader both in and out of the classroom, always leading by example and her solid work ethic. Mature beyond her years, she thinks deeply and reflectively, giving her full effort to all she undertakes. She is humble and confident, independent and collaborative. Jordan has the heart of an explorer and a true love of learning. In sum, she is the kind of student professors feel lucky to be able to teach, and it’s exciting to think about what new ideas she will bring into the world.

Donaldson-Watkins Medal

Shekinah Lightner was an outstanding double major in economics and politics and international affairs. In her economics major, her interest in and talent for empirical research particularly set her apart from her peers. During her Furman career, she conducted an independent empirical research project exploring wage differentials by race and gender using data from the American Community Survey One-Year Public Use Microdata Sample. Her research was thoughtful, careful and precise.

Because of Shekinah’s demonstrated excellence in empirical research and her interest in graduate study, her professors encouraged her to apply to participate in the American Economic Association’s 2019 Summer Program, a prestigious and intensive two-month, residential program that enables students to develop and solidify technical skills in preparation for the rigors of graduate studies. Shekinah was accepted to the competitive AEA Summer Program, and, predictably, excelled. Her experience confirmed her prior interest in graduate study and her enthusiasm to specialize in empirical research methods and their application to important public policy questions. Shekinah is currently in her first year of the joint Public Policy and Political Science Ph.D. Program at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

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