To receive a 4.0 in any undergraduate class at Michigan State University is a notable accomplishment, but to earn a perfect 4.0 throughout your entire undergraduate career, is all the more impressive, one that only a few students achieve each year.
Two College of Arts & Letters students who are graduating in May have earned this distinction. They are Samantha Ward, Professional Writing major, and Karah Smith, a dual major in English and Psychology. Both are members of the Honors College.
Completing her degree in only three years, with minors in both Public Relations and Arts & Cultural Management, Ward was selected as the recipient of the 2017 Professional Writing Outstanding Major Award, given annually to an exemplary senior within the program.
She participated in a Professional Writing study abroad program to London in the summer of 2016, where she worked with an advocacy group called Raising Films. She has worked as a Communications and Social Media intern for the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University for the past two years, where she’s learned to love the liberal arts and all of its ensuing opportunities. She also has interned at Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region, Allen Neighborhood Center and The Awesome Mitten.
The people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve made have had a profound impact on my life and my career and I will miss this place and these people immensely.
Ward has been very involved with Alternative Spartan Breaks, acting as a participant, site leader, and member of the executive board, and traveling to Oklahoma, Georgia, and Louisiana to volunteer with a group of MSU students over spring and winter breaks.
“I’ve grown exponentially during my time at MSU, both as a professional and as a person,” Ward said. “The people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve made have had a profound impact on my life and my career and I will miss this place and these people immensely.”
Among the many awards she has received throughout her time at MSU, Smith is the recipient of the 2016-2017 Outstanding Senior Achievement Award in the College of Arts & Letters. The award is given annually to an outstanding graduate who embodies the following hallmark characteristics: service and leadership; personal and professional development; interdisciplinary scholarship and practice; and a commitment to cross-cultural diversity.
Smith did a study abroad, Literature in London, the summer of 2015, and has had a number of internships and work experiences, including being an Undergraduate Researcher, Lab Lead and Intern for the MSU Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Lab; a Freelance Editor for Editana, a digital start-up company based in Melbourne, Australia; and an Educational Programming Intern for the Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, Michigan.
I have grown as a person, a citizen, and a scholar and I know that MSU and the College of Arts & Letters has prepared me for whatever career path I choose to take from here.
She has presented research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and the MSU University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) and has been involved with a number of student organizations, including serving as the current Vice President of Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and an MSU Honors College Dean’s Ambassador. She also has volunteered with several community service organizations, including being a College of Arts & Letters College Curriculum Committee Member, a Read to Succeed Lansing Literacy Coalition Tutor, and an MSU Service Learning Teacher’s Assistant at both Waverly Middle School and Averill Elementary.
“Attending MSU these past four years has truly been a journey,” Smith said. “I have grown as a person, a citizen, and a scholar and I know that MSU and the College of Arts & Letters has prepared me for whatever career path I choose to take from here.”
Board of Trustees’ Awards
Smith and Ward are two of the 52 MSU students who received Board of Trustees’ Awards for having achieved the highest scholastic average at the close of their undergraduate career at Michigan State University. All 52 students received a 4.0 GPA, a record number in the University’s history.
The students were presented with the awards at the April 13 Board of Trustees meeting. They also will be recognized at their spring commencement ceremonies May 5-7. The College of Arts & Letters commencement is Sunday, May 7, at 9:30 a.m.
For a complete list of all 52 award-wining students, see the 2017 Board of Trustees’ Awards article on MSU Today.