Ettl, Fracassi, Baker, Collins, Khoury named 2012 Oswald Award winners

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Five Penn State students in their respective areas of leadership have been honored with the 2012 John W. Oswald Award. Natalie Ettl is the recipient in the field of athletics; Adam Fracassi, journalism; James Baker, creative/performing arts; Erin Collins, representing scholarship; and Peter Khoury, social services.

The John W. Oswald Award, established in 1983, annually recognizes graduating seniors who have provided outstanding leadership in at least one of several areas of activity at the University. The award consists of a medallion honoring John W. Oswald, president of the University from 1970 to 1983.

Athletics
Natallie Ettl, a kinesiology major from North Prairie, Wis., came to University Park as a walk-on student-athlete and earned a full gymnastics scholarship after her freshman season. She won First Team All-Big Ten honors during her sophomore and junior seasons, was crowned the Big Ten Uneven Bars Individual Event Champion two years in a row and received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2010 and 2011. Team co-captain in 2011-2012, she serves on the University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board and the Athletic Director’s Leadership Institute and has been a counselor for three summers at Penn State Girls Gymnastics Camp.

“Her teammates look up to her and strive to put forth the same amount of effort in every aspect of their lives,” one nominator said. “I truly believe that her accomplishments as a Penn State gymnast have enhanced the public esteem and renown of our gymnastics program and the University.”

Journalism
Adam Fracassi of Erie, Pa., is a political science major at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. He was editor of humanities and social sciences at The Behrend Beacon, followed by a year as managing editor, and during his senior year has been editor-in-chief. In that role, he is responsible for all areas of production and business. He also is president of the Political Science Society and is an Interfraternity Council/Student Government Association representative. In 2011, he received the T. Reed Ferguson Award for impacting other students in the areas of scholarship, leadership and citizenship.

“Adam has been very active with leadership roles,” one nominator said. “On the Behrend Beacon newspaper, he began a Humanities and Social Sciences page, where he worked with reporters to produce and edit a page every other week that was devoted to articles about the Penn State Erie School of Humanities and Social Sciences.”

Creative/Performing Arts
James Baker of Lower Burrell, Pa., is a corporate communications major at Penn State New Kensington. He has acted on stage in numerous campus productions, and he directed and produced “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in 2011 as a fundraiser for Penn State New Kensington THON. He has served as a freshman-orientation leader, Student Activity Fee Board member and Student Government Association financial manager. He also directs plays and musical productions at Saint Joseph High School in Natrona Heights.

“Jimmy has succeeded in sharing his many talents with our University and bringing them to the local community, role modeling the best that Penn State has to offer,” one nominator said.

Scholarship
Erin Collins of Bethesda, Md., was the student marshal representing the College of the Liberal Arts at the fall 2011 University Park campus commencement. A Schreyer Honors College Scholar, she earned overall GPAs of 4.0 for three bachelor of art degrees — in German, French and international studies, with minors in Middle East studies and Arabic language — and for a concurrent master of arts degree in German.

She has completed study abroad programs at American University in Egypt, Mohammed University in Morocco, Humboldt University in Germany, Sorbonne University in France and the Arabic Language Institute in Morocco. She has been a graduate teaching assistant for German language courses at Penn State and a volunteer English and German instructor for women and youth in Egypt and Morocco.

Social Services
Peter Khoury, of Schnecksville, Pa., is a biology major at University Park and also has attended Penn State Lehigh Valley. He is the governor-appointed student member of the Board of Trustees, president of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments and a member of the Student Activity Fee Board. He has served as a student representative to the University Faculty Senate and was founding chair of the Commonwealth Student Caucus.

“Through his involvement in these activities and other leadership roles, Pete has balanced advocating on behalf of students with working collaboratively with University staff and administration,” one nominator said. “He is a strong, driven leader who is goal-oriented.”

Last Updated January 10, 2014