Friends and Neighbors: Community members’ achievements


Friday, May 19, 2017

Renee Levant earned a master of arts degree from the University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, Kentucky.


Jenna Dulchinos was inducted into Pi Mu Epsilon National Honor Society at the Western New England University, Springfield. Dulchinos is majoring in actuarial science.

Curtis Robillard took home both second place and the people’s choice honors at the Western New England University, Springfield, 15th annual student media festival for his music video entry titled “Weak.” Robillard is a communication major concentrating on media theory and production.

Laura Freeman, a junior at Nichols College in Dudley, received level 2 academic tutor certification.


Elliot M. Weiss, 21, son of Mikal Weiss and Welli Yeh Weiss, graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He majored in physics and minored in mathematics, and was honored to receive the Sung Kyu Kim award for best physics capstone paper. Weiss will be interning at DiaSorin, an Italian multinational biotechnology company with a plant located near Minneapolis, this summer. He is a 2013 graduate of Northampton High School.


Noelle Menard, a business major at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, co-led a college service and solidarity program at the International Institute of New England in Manchester. Manchester is a designated refugee resettlement city and the group assisted refugees and taught English in local schools.

Natasha M. Mercado-Santana was inducted into Alpha Mu Alpha National Honor Society at Western New England University, Springfield. Alpha Mu Alpha is the national marketing honorary society. Mercado-Santana is majoring in marketing-communication/advertising.

Angela Tocchio has been inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society at Curry College in Milton.


Savannah Ring has been inducted into Sigma Beta Delta, the international honor society in business, management, and administration, at Curry College in Milton.

Richard Hynninen received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan.


Maddison Stemple-Piatt, a member of the class of 2017, was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society at Union College in Schenectady, New York.

Emily Pitchko was inducted into the Alpha Chi Honor Society at Becker College in Worcester. She also received the Graphic Design Award at the college.


Brooke Fairman received Springfield College Sport Management and Recreation Department Distinguished Senior Award.

U.S. Air Force National Guard Airman 1st Class Kayla M. Priest graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Priest is the daughter of Marybeth Stoops of Westfield and Curtis Priest of Huntington, and step-daughter of Leah Priest of Blandford.

She is a 2016 graduate of Gateway Regional High School in Huntington.


Joan Sullivan was initiated into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Jo Gutierrez-Barnes, a Northampton High School senior, was awarded the 2017 Elsie Frank Scholarship Award. The scholarship is awarded annually to high school students who have demonstrated leadership in improving their school climate for LGBTQ youth and their allies.

Cecilia Hoff was inducted into the Tau Sigma National Honor Society at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Hoff is studying culture and communication.


Anna Tarren, a student at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York majoring in biochemistry, gave a presentation at the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.


Coleman Lynds was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society at Emmanuel College in Boston.


Colleen Glidden was inducted into Phi Sigma Tau International Honor Society at Assumption College, Worcester. Glidden is a member of the class of 2019 and a student in the philosophy department.

South Deerfield

Kimberly Logan was inducted into the Mortar Board National Honor Society at Western New England University, Springfield. Logan is majoring in finance.

South Hadley

Kathryn Chevalier was initiated into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Connecticut.


Kerri Ann LaBerge graduated from Mount Ida College, Newton, earning a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture and design. LeBerge graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Alpha Chi honor society. She is the daughter of the late Beth LaBerge and Jim LaBerge.


Elizabeth Jekanowski has been accepted for fall enrollment at the University of California, Berkeley for the dual degree of master’s of public health and master’s of public policy.

Connecticut College

The following local students received outstanding student achievement awards at the college in New London, Connecticut.

Ege Sakirt of Amherst, class of 2019, Connecticut College Bookshop Prize; Jillian Ryan of Florence, class of 2017, Hispanic Studies Book Prize; Samantha Weisenthal of Northampton, class of 2018, Henrietta O. Rogers ‘28 Prize, for excellence in poetry. Rogers.

Elms College

Nurses who have completed their baccalaureate degrees at the School of Nursing at College of Our Lady of the Elms were honored in a pinning ceremony May 15 on the college campus. Local graduates include: Kiah Crowley, Leeds; Kathy Nevejans, Florence; Anna Kosciolek and Hannah Powers, both of South Hadley; Rebecca McKenzie, Southampton, and Brittany Hulse, Belchertown.

Union College

Steinmetz Symposium Day at Union College in Schenectady, New York, features an extensive array of oral presentations, posters, performances and exhibits. Local students included as presenters are:

Brendan O’Connor, Kevin Tran, and Natalia Ciesielska, all of Amherst, and Maddison Stemple-Piatt, of Hatfield. All are members of the class of 2017.

UMass Dartmouth

The following local students graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Nathan Kane, Nash Lochner and Yenny Otalora Sevilla of Amherst; Sunha Chung of Belchertown; Shannon Baker of Florence; Miles Wilhelms-Tricarico of Hadley; Jillian Ruyffelaert of Leeds; Meredith Brown of Montague, and Jennifer Niedbala of South Hadley.

Wesleyan University

Local students who received academic prizes, fellowships and scholarships at a reception May 10 in Middletown, Connecticut, include:

Sofia Taylor of Deerfield (formerly of Deerfield Academy). Frank Capra Prize.

Jesse Cohen of Conway (formerly of The Academy At Charlemont). Plukas Prize.

Mae Moskin of Hadley (formerly of Amherst-Pelham Regional High School). Scott Prize-Arabic.

Nadja Shannon-Dabek of Amherst (formerly of Amherst-Pelham Regional High School). Trench Prize.

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