Seven Outstanding Students Selected for 2021-22 Distinguished Service Award

JONESBORO — Seven exceptional Arkansas State University students have been selected as Distinguished Service Award (DSA) winners for 2021-22. The DSA recipients are recognized during Convocation of Scholars as the institution’s most outstanding graduates based on their record of leadership, scholarship and citizenship. 

One of these students will be announced as the 2022 recipient of the university’s highest honor, the R.E. Lee Wilson Award, on Thursday, April 28, at a campus dinner for the DSA winners.

This year’s recipients of the Distinguished Service Award are Keyon Atkins of Mineral Springs; Anna Handloser of Sheridan; Reed Middleton of Marianna; Blake Alexander Moore of Jonesboro; Jackson St. Pierre of Jonesboro; Molly Grace Williams of Piggott; and Sydney Wofford of Rector.

Faculty, staff and advisers nominate top students for the prestigious annual awards.

All of the nominees have achieved excellent academic records and provided countless hours of service to the community, their classmates, campus organizations, their departments and colleges, and to Arkansas State University. A committee comprised of students, faculty, staff and previous Wilson Award recipients makes the final selections. Here are some highlights about each of this year’s DSA winners.

Keyon Atkins of Mineral Springs
A psychology major in the College of Education and Behavioral Science, Atkins will graduate in May. A leader with the Student Activities Board, Atkins served as campus entertainment director before serving as SAB president last year, during which time he collaborated with the Student Government Association and Volunteer A-State to host the Earth Day celebration.

In addition to leading as vice president then president of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, he served as president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council this year. His additional service activities include senator in the SGA, vice chair of the Arkansas State Leadership Council, a pack leader for New Student Orientation, and recruiter for Red Wolves for St. Jude.

Atkins’ academic achievements include the Thompson Minority Scholarship, the Arkansas Challenge Scholarship, and A-State’s Dean’s List. His adviser is Dr. Amy Pearce.

Anna Handloser of Sheridan
A strategic communication major in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, Handloser will graduate in May.

Highly active in campus life, she has held leadership positions including diversity equity and inclusion chair and campus activities chair in her sorority, Chi Omega, as well as marketing chair for Volunteer A-State, volunteer for the Food Pantry and Chancellor’s Ambassador for the Recruitment Office. She followed her interest in theatre by filling stage roles, assisting with choreography, and social media promotion. She also was inducted into Alpha Psi Omega theatre honor society.

An Honors College student, Handloser received the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship, was named outstanding strategic communication student in 2021, and was a top scholar in the Kappa Tau Alpha journalism honor society among her major academic achievements. Her adviser is Dr. Myleea Hill.

Reed Middleton of Marianna 
Middleton was student speaker at Fall Commencement, where he received his degree in finance, financial management emphasis, through the Neil Griffin College of Business. He completed a triple minor, in business management, history and political science.

As president of the Student Conduct Board, he also served on the A-State Leadership Council. Additional campus activities include Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society, the Honors College Association, the strategic planning group for the Griffin College, professional development director for Phi Beta Lambda, and senator and action fund commissioner for the Student Government Association

A Chancellor’s List student every semester, Middleton was an Honors College student. His academic achievements were highlighted by several scholarships, including the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship, the A-State Alumni Association License2Howl Scholarship, and Farm Credit Midsouth Scholarship. His adviser is Dr. Matthew Hill.

Blake Moore of Jonesboro
Moore will graduate in May with a degree in communication disorders through the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

As a campus leader, he served in the Student Government Association for four years, including a term as vice president. He became president of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and he rose to chief of staff of the Black Student Association, of which he was a four-year member. He also served as first vice president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. He was in Arkansas State Cheer for three years, and helped lead his team to a second-place win at nationals in 2021.

Academically, Moore’s achievements include the Thompson Minority Scholarship, the Anderson and Marietta Neal Scholarship, the NPHC Outstanding Fraternity Man Award, a Choral Scholarship, and the Dean’s List. His adviser is Dr. Christina Akbari.

Jackson St. Pierre of Jonesboro
St. Pierre, who is completing his degree in biological sciences through the College of Sciences and Mathematics, will graduate in May. He has been accepted into the next class at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at A-State.

His campus service activities include senator in the Student Government Association, Chancellor’s Ambassador for the Recruitment Office, and several leadership positions in his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. He also actively participated in the Student Activities Board and Medical Pre-Professionals Club.

An Honors College student, St. Pierre’s academic achievements include the Dr. W.W. and Lou Nedrow Scholarship for four years, along with the Dalton and Alec Farmer Scholarship, the Tim O. Brown Scholarship, and the Chancellor’s List. St. Pierre helped conduct research for a National Institutes of Health-funded project directed by Dr. Robert Shields. His adviser is Dr. Ronald Johnson.

Molly Grace Williams of Piggott
Williams, a communication disorders major in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, will graduate at Spring Commencement. A Chancellor’s List student, she received the Pride Scholarship. She has participated in clinical observations at A-State’s Speech and Hearing Clinic as well as other facilities in the region.

Her service activities include working as an English as a second language tutor for El Centro Hispano, giving campus tours to prospective students as a Chancellor’s Ambassador, and giving tours at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, an A-State Heritage site in her hometown.

Williams has been involved on campus as an SGA senator and parliamentarian, as a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the National Panhellenic Council, and vice president of the A-State chapter of the Arkansas Speech and Hearing Association. Her adviser is Dr. Amy Shollenbarger.  

Sydney Wofford of Rector
Wofford, who is completing her degree in communication studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, also will graduate in May.

Her campus service includes several activities with her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, including volunteer work for the NEA Food Bank and participating in multiple hunger-relief initiatives for the less fortunate. In 2021 she also served as president of the National Panhellenic Conference, a sorority governing council. She gave leadership for the organization’s work, including assistance with sorority member recruitment activities.

Wofford was named outstanding communication studies student in 2021, and regularly makes the Chancellor’s List. She also placed in the Dennis White Speech Competition in 2018. As a student coach for the Communication Center, she has assisted fellow students in her program with practicing and preparing oral presentations. Her adviser is Dr. Scott Anderson.

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