Hannah McBean selected as 2014 Walker Award recipient at New Kensington

Hannah McBean is a model of efficiency as she juggles her schedule at home, where she is a full-time mother, and on campus, where she is a full-time senior majoring in organizational leadership, a program designed for adult learners. The two engaging profiles are harmonious and match the insight of former Penn State President Eric Walker.

McBean was named this year's recipient of the Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award on May 2, at the Academic and Student Achievement Awards ceremony at Penn State New Kensington. The Walker Award is given to the student whose outstanding qualities of character, scholarship and leadership contribute to the prestige of the campus. The award was established in 1980 by former Penn State President Eric A. Walker and is presented at each of the 24 Penn State campuses.

“Hannah is a highly motivated student with a sense of humor and excellent communication skills,” said Angie Fisher, administrative support assistant for student affairs, who nominated McBean for the award. “She exemplifies the qualities of leadership.”

The Organizational Leadership program’s flexibility allows McBean to take traditional classroom instruction offered during the day, at night or on weekends, and to study online from home. Buoyed by a 3.4 grade-point average, she expects to graduate in December with the wherewithal to begin a start-up company that addresses issues of at-risk children.

“I would like have my own corporation that offers extensive outreach to underprivileged youth and others facing difficult situations in life,” McBean said. “The organizational leadership degree will help me get the company going.”

McBean’s leaderships skills, coupled with her academic acumen, earned her an induction into the Alpha Sigma Lambda, a national honor society for adult learners. She was recognized by the Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education, an organization committed to improving and ensuring the education of underrepresented students, with three scholarships and awards. Two years ago, she received the K. Leroy Irvis Scholarship. Last year, she was honored as one of five students selected for the Outstanding Student award. In February, she was named a 2014 recipient of the Robert D. Lynch Scholarship.

When she is not focused on her family or her studies, McBean can be found volunteering her services for activities on campus and in the community. On campus, she is the president of the Multi-Cultural Club and is a student representative on the Student Activities Fees, Campus Diversity and Strategic Planning committees. She has written for the Nittany Pride student newspaper and sang with the student jazz ensemble.

In the community, she holds numerous leadership positions including secretary of the youth department and assistant chair of the choir department at Bethlehem Temple Church, secretary for the United Council Home Mission Department and assistant secretary of the national youth department of True Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ Inc. She recently started a tutoring program for children, K-12, at her church, Saved by Grace Ministries in North Vandergrift, Pa., where she was raised. She also volunteers at Tri-City Life, a nonprofit organization for single mothers.

During her “down” time, McBean is a published author, poet, singer/songwriter, radio host and motivational speaker. She is a frequent guest speaker at area high schools and colleges. Her book, “Silence Speaks: Sounds from Within” features inspirational poetry that she uses in her motivational speeches. The book delves into three phases of life -- The Struggle, The Mountaintop and The Awakening -- that are essential to living a meaningful life. "Silence Speaks" was featured at the 2010 Book Expo America in New York, N.Y.

“I have traveled throughout Pennsylvania and abroad to conduct poetry workshops,” said McBean, a graduate of Kiski Area High School. “I encourage students through inspirational poetry, singing and playing the piano.”

McBean lives in New Kensington with her husband, Stephen, pastor of Saved by Grace Ministries, and their six children.

Academic and Student Achievement Awards
At the annual Celebration of Excellence ceremony, students, faculty and staff were honored for their achievements inside and outside the classroom. More than 100 students were recognized for their academic prowess and extracurricular accomplishments during the fall and spring semesters.

Three faculty members were honored with the Excellence in Teaching Awards -- Natacha Bolufer-Laurentie, instructor in Spanish (full-time); Frances Blanco-Yu, instructor in chemistry (part-time); and Jason Zimmerman, adjunct instructor in technical training (Continuing Education). Faculty has three areas of responsibility: teaching, research/scholarly activity and service. The award recognizes campus faculty contributions in teaching. The principal criterion is excellent classroom performance, but excellence in other activities such as advising, supervision of learning outside the classroom and course development are also considered.

In addition to the faculty teaching awards, Jyotsna “Josi” Kalavar, associate professor of human development and family studies, was honored with the Arlene E. Hall Service Award. The award was established in honor of the former director of academic affairs, who retired in 2012 after 36 years at the campus. The award is presented to a faculty member who has shown outstanding service in committee work, student advising, involvement in student affairs activities, and other service to the University, campus and community. Frank Santimauro, instructor in business administration, was named Adviser of the Year.

Students received academic honors for highest grade-point average in each major as well as for earning membership in honor societies and honors programs. Anthony Stimmell received the President Sparks Award for earning a 4.0 GPA with at least 36 credits. Student achievement honorees included Steven Warhola, the recipient of the Alle-Kiski Society's Penn State Spirit award, and Mikaela Dunegan, who earned the title Lion Ambassador of the Year. In athletics, Dean Lusk (wrestling) was named Male Athlete of the Year, and Bridget Fisher (softball) was selected as Female Athlete of the Year.

For a list of award winners, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/45875.htm.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015