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In a virtual ceremony on Oct. 2, Lycoming College revealed Mikayla Feldbauer ’20 as the 2020 Chieftain Award winner. The Chieftain Award is the highest honor given to a graduating senior who has contributed the most to Lycoming College through support of school activities, has exhibited utmost dedication and outstanding leadership qualities, has evidenced good moral character, and whose academic rank is above the median of the preceding senior class. First bestowed in 1952, the Chieftain Award is typically presented during Honors Convocation each spring. Given the unusual circumstances created by the pandemic, this year’s award presentation was delayed. Other nominees included Sarah Bain ’20, Braeden Gonzales ’20, and Victoria Ricedorf ’20.
Traversing the boundaries of biology, mathematics, and computer science, Feldbauer had already gained substantial research experience with the interdisciplinary major she crafted to fit her future research interests while at Lycoming College. “I definitely want to go into the field of computational biology, possibly with a goal of pursuing a research career in industry,” she said. “I'm really thankful for all the computational skills I gained at Lycoming, because they've set me up to do well in the field.”
In 2019, Feldbauer received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the premier prize in the nation for undergraduate students in science and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986 for college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering to help ensure that the United States is producing highly-qualified professionals in these fields. From a pool of more than 5,000 applicants, she was chosen for her academic merit, as well as her strong commitment to and potential for significant contribution to science research.
She completed two prestigious summer internships for highly talented undergraduates. In 2018, she attended a Summer Research Experience in the department of molecular biology and genetics at Cornell University, where she investigated new adaptive immunity strategies. She spent the summer of 2019 at the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington.
In addition to the aforementioned accolades, Feldbauer is the recipient of a Rose Pfaff Scholarship, Ada Remley Memorial Scholarship, Trustee’s Scholarship, Anna E. and Stephen J. Gabriel Endowed Scholarship, Class of 1988 Endowed Scholarship, Ohlinger Study Abroad Grant, and a Joanne and Arthur Haberberger Fellowship, as well as a Fundamentals of Physics Award, Principles of Astronomy Award, J. Marco Hunsberger Service to Lycoming Award, M.B. Rich Endowed Prize, and the Bishop William Perry Eveland Prize.
Active in her campus community, she was a member of the Society of Physics Students, Student Senate, STEM Affinity Community, Spanish Club, Campus Activities Board, Association of Mathematically Interested Students, General Committee on Academic Affairs, and the Lycourier. She served as an Academic Resource Center and Math Center tutor, planetarium assistant, mouse husbandry crew, math department grader and research assistant, and an academic liaison and teaching assistant for both the biology and math departments. She was inducted into the IRUSKA Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Beta Beta Beta.
“I am so honored and grateful to have been chosen as the 2020 Chieftain! A sincere thank you to my friends, family, and everyone at Lycoming who helped me along the way,” commented Feldbauer. Presently, she is attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program with a plan to pursue a Ph.D. in either bioinformatics or biophysics.
Sarah Bain ’20 double-majored in psychology and history. She was actively involved in Student Senate, having served as the Class of 2020 secretary during her freshman year and president her sophomore year. A sister of Alpha Xi Delta, she served as president, house manager, and alumnae relations director. She is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, IRUSKA Honor Society, and the Order of Omega, and was named Panhellenic Council Woman of the Year. Her spare time was filled with volunteer work with the Food Recovery Network, DWELL Orphan Care, the Class of 2020 fundraisers such as the SPCA adoption fair, various Circle K service projects, and Alpha Xi Delta service initiatives for Autism Speaks. Always engaged around campus, she served as an admissions tour guide, a writing and subject tutor through the Academic Resource Center, a grader for the department of psychology, an assistant in the Lycoming College Archives, and a member of Club Franco. She also completed a project management internship at Evangelical Community Hospital. Bain is currently a staff associate with Strategic Insight Ltd.
Braeden Gonzales ’20 majored in chemistry with a minor in German. Active both on and off campus, you could find Gonzales participating in the Lycoming Environmental Awareness Foundation, Sustainability Committee, Campus Activities Board, and Student Senate. A resident assistant and brother of Lambda Chi Alpha, he volunteered with Lycoming’s Food Recovery Network, Feeding America, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, and Relay for Life. He served as Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 110 and as a lab coordinator and summer intern for Lycoming’s Clean Water Institute. He presented at the Annual Susquehanna River Symposium at Bucknell University, assisted with the Hiawatha Floating Classroom sessions, and served as a chemistry teaching assistant at the College. He participated in the Gettysburg Leadership Experience during his sophomore year, and in 2019 he took part in a May Term to the Dominican Republic as a chemistry research student through work with the Warrior Coffee Program. Gonzales is a member of the IRUSKA Honors Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon, Gamma Sigma Alpha, and the Order of Omega. He is currently working towards a master’s degree in biology at Bloomsburg University.
Victoria Ricedorf ’20 double-majored in managerial economics and business administration. She is a Lycoming College Institute for Management Studies Scholar, as well as a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Beta Delta, IRUSKA Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi. She is the recipient of a Robert W. Rabold Economics Excellence Award. Not only was she a resident assistant and active on the Campus Activities Board, Ricedorf was a tutor through the Academic Resource Center and the department of economics, having helped students with history, microeconomics, and macroeconomics coursework. She completed a Lycoming College Office of Student Involvement Internship and a WISE Internship with Robert M. Sides Family Music, as well as presented at the Global Landscapes Conference and NODA (Student Orientation, Transition, and Retention) Region VIII Conference. A lover of music, she played in Lycoming’s Concert Band, Jazz Band, Saxophone Quartet, Wind Ensemble, Clarinet Choir, and as a relief player for the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra. She also volunteered with the Williamsport Symphony Youth Orchestra, the East Juniata High School musical pit band, and beginner music lessons. Ricedorf is attending Slippery Rock University for a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education and is a graduate assistant in the Office for Student Engagement and Leadership.