March 14, 2003

Student academic excellence makes national headlines

Two students featured in USA Today as All-USA College Academic Team Honorable Mentions

Alexis Franks and Karel Sloane were featured in USA Today as All-USA College Academic Team Honorable Mentions. USA Today listed the names of the students in its February 13, 2003 issue.

Franks is a graduating senior English writing and Japanese major from Millington, Tenn., and Karel Sloane, from New Haven, Conn., graduated in December from City College with a bachelor of science degree in psychology. Franks and Sloane were two of only 21 Honorable Mentions selected nationwide, and Loyola was the only Louisiana university/college with students honored.

"I am very happy about receiving the recognition," Franks said, "and I am proud that I can represent Loyola on the national level like this. I know that it is my experience at Loyola that has helped me to achieve this honor."

A multimedia artist, Sloane's nominated project was a 56-minute film that deals with youth violence. She mixed Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in its original language with the influences of the hip hop culture, namely rap music, clothing and graffiti art. The film has been screened at academic conferences.

As Sloane explained, youth violence arises out of the disempowerment of youth in both inner cities and suburban neighborhoods across the country. While there are conflicting factors that underline inner-city youth violence versus those that underline suburban youth violence, Sloane says the film examines the universal factors present in both scenarios.

"I am extremely grateful that the project has received attention on a national level because youth violence is a national issue and not one confined to certain areas," Sloane advocates.

The All-USA College Academic Team comprises full-time undergraduates seeking their first baccalaureate degree at four-year institutions in the United States and its territories. Winners are nominated by their colleges and selected in a three-step process. This year, 500 students were nominated. Judges, all educators, considered their grades, academic honors, leadership roles on and off campus, and the use of the students' talent beyond the classroom.

Business student is finalist in the national Truman Scholarship competition

Brandon Thibodeaux, a junior economics/finance major in the College of Business Administration, is a finalist for the coveted $30,000 national Truman Scholarship. Thibodeaux is a native of Erath, La.

Thibodeaux advanced to the final round and flew to Dallas Monday, February 24, for a regional interview. He was among students from Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. The interview was an intense, sometimes confrontational procedure designed to test the finalist's depth of knowledge, reasoning skills and ability to handle pressure. Thibodeaux was interviewed by the presidents of Texas A&M and Southern Methodist universities as well as the assistant to the president at Baylor University, federal Judge Barefoot Sanders, and a member of the Truman Foundation.

Loyola officials nominated Thibodeaux and he advanced to the final round after completing application materials that focused specifically on his record of campus and community service, commitment to a career in the nonprofit and advocacy sectors of government, communications skills and a high probability of becoming a "change agent," and his academic record.

The Truman Scholarship, an official memorial to America's 33rd president, is a highly competitive, merit-based award offered to U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals from the Pacific Islands who plan to attend graduate school in preparation for a career in public service. The award provides $3,000 for the recipients' senior year and $27,000 for graduate school. There are only two finalists from Louisiana; the other is a student at LSU. Recipients will be announced March 21.

The Maroon wins Mark of Excellence Awards

The Society of Professional Journalists presented several Mark of Excellence Awards to the staffs of The Maroon and FLOW. For the second consecutive year, The Maroon was named the best non-daily paper.

FLOW was named best student magazine and Bob Wardlaw was named best columnist. Peyton Berguess won first place in nonfiction magazine writing and Joe Kutner won second place in sports writing. Lane Cotton Winn landed second place for spot news photo while Emmanuel Davis and Gillian Dicker won second place in news photography.

Awards were presented at the Society of Professional Journalists convention March 8 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Angela R. Anthony, editor