2020 Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award Winners

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University has announced the winners of the 2020 Chambliss Student Academic Achievement. The awards recognize the exceptional individual achievements of KU seniors.

The awards ceremony has been postponed to a later date.

Winners were selected from students nominated by staff and faculty members for meeting one or more of the six areas of achievement: successfully completed research projects, high-quality original artwork, high-quality artistic performances, original writing in literature or meritorious writing in other fields, noteworthy achievements in athletics and outstanding service to the KU community.

The Academic Achievement Awards were established in 2004 through a donation provided by Dr. Carlson Chambliss, KU professor of astronomy from 1970-2003. Certificates and specially designed coin medallions of gold, silver and copper are presented to the students.

Fuhrman Gold
MACKENZIE FUHRMAN - Gold Medal

Mackenzie Fuhrman, of Lancaster, Pa., is awarded the Chambliss Academic Achievement Award Gold Medal in the category of noteworthy achievement in athletics. Fuhrman will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communication design. A four-year member of the KU field hockey team, Fuhrman was a three-time All-America First Team selection as a midfielder, placing her among the best players in Division II. She is a three-time All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) First Team player and was named a PSAC Fall Top 10 Award winner, the first Golden Bear fall athlete to earn a spot on the prestigious list since 2008. The PSAC Top 10 award recognizes student-athletes who distinguish themselves in the classroom as well as in the arena of competition. This spring, she was named KU's 2019-20 Female Senior Athlete of the Year. She was the catalyst of the Golden Bears reaching the NCAA Division II national semifinals. She scored the game-winning overtime goal that sent KU to the PSAC Championship game for the first time since 1988. Off the field, Fuhrman holds a 3.94 GPA, making her a multi-year member of the Dean's List and the PSAC Scholar-Athlete list. She has also been named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad and an NFHCA Scholar of Distinction.

Johns Gold
DANIEL JOHNS - Gold Medal

Daniel Johns, of Orwigsburg, Pa., is awarded the Chambliss Academic Achievement Award Gold Medal in the category of successfully completed research projects. Johns will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in physics and astronomy. A prolific researcher, Johns' work has contributed significant results from his research in the fields of exoplanets and interacting binary stars. Johns has published six research papers in professional, peer-reviewed journals, was a primary author on a piece published in The Astronomical Journal and multiple in various issues of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Johns has also delivered four conference presentations on his research, including his discovery and characterization of KELT-23Ab, a new, Jupiter-like exoplanet. He is a member of the Sigma Phi Sigma National Physics Honor Society, consistent Dean's List student and recipient of multiple awards and research grants. Johns will be attending Georgia State University to pursue a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics with aspirations to become a professional researcher in the fields of stellar astrophysics or exoplanetary science.

Durham Silver Medal
JAMES DURHAM - silver Medal

James Durham, of East Stroudsburg, Pa., is awarded the Chambliss Academic Achievement Award Silver Medal in the category of successfully completed research projects. Durham will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in education with a focus on English language arts and social studies. He was awarded the 2019 Professional Semester Katherine D. Christ Award and was an active member of Kutztown University’s Undergraduate Research Advisory Board. Durham has presented his collaborative research study, Gender Bias in the Middle Level Classroom: The Intersection of Data, Teacher Self-Perceptions and Student Perceptions, to multiple conferences since 2017. He has been a tutor both locally at the Fleetwood Middle School Assignment Center and in distance programs, such as the Alaska Distance Intervention Tutoring Program. Durham is the diversity and inclusion director, head counselor and ambassador to the local PALS program, a nonprofit group that provides experiences for teens and young adults with Down syndrome.

Petrillo Silver Medal
IAN PETRILLO - silver Medal

Ian Petrillo, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., is awarded the Chambliss Academic Achievement Award Silver Medal in the category of successfully completed research projects. Petrillo will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in middle level education with a focus in social studies and science and a minor in coaching and athletic administration. He conducted research contributing to a study titled, Perceived versus Measured Achievement in the Middle Level Science Classroom: The Impact of Socioeconomic Status, which has gained attention from multiple conferences. He has presented his research since 2018 and presented at multiple conferences in 2020. Petrillo is a recipient of the Kutztown University Elementary Education Excellence Award and Ashley and Billy Streiter Award Scholarship. He is a member of Kappa Delta Pi: Epsilon Zeta Chapter International Honor Society in Education and secretary to KU's Association for Middle Level Educators.

Plump Silver Medal
JENNA PLUMP - silver Medal

Jenna Plump, of Hanover, Pa., is awarded the Chambliss Academic Achievement Award Silver Medal in the category of successfully completed research projects. Plump will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in middle level education with a focus in social studies and math. She is a contributing author on her research study, Gender Bias in the Middle Level Classroom: the Intersection of Data, Teacher Self-Perceptions and Student Perceptions, and has presented at variously leveled conferences. Plump has been a substitute teacher for Carroll County Public Schools and an employment specialist for high school students with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 2017, as well as a volunteer tutor for fifth and sixth-graders at a local middle school since 2016. She served on Kutztown University’s Undergraduate Research Advisory Board and was president of the Kutztown University Chapter of the Association of Middle Level Education.

DiGalbo Copper Medal
COLLIN DiGALBO - COPPER Medal

Collin DiGalbo, of Secane, Pa., is awarded the Chambliss Academic Achievement Award Copper Medal in the category of noteworthy achievement in athletics. He graduated in December with a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in management. DiGalbo was a five-year member of the Kutztown University football team and held a 30-7 record as a starting quarterback. He led the Golden Bears to two PSAC East titles, two NCAA playoff seasons and a program-record 11 wins in his senior season. This past year, he was voted the 2019 PSAC East Offensive Player of the Year and KU's 2019-20 Male Senior Athlete of the Year. He owns three school records as the best running quarterback in school history, is a four-time All-PSAC selection and was named Honorable Mention All-America as a senior.

Zwiercan Copper Medal
EMILY ZWIERCAN - COPPER Medal

Emily Zwiercan, of Reinholds, Pa., is awarded the Chambliss Academic Achievement Award Copper Medal in the category of noteworthy achievement in athletics. Zwiercan graduated in December with a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in finance. Zwiercan was a member of the Golden Bears women's soccer team and was a team captain. She is the school-record holder for career points and goals. She broke the KU and PSAC record for goals in a game with six. She is an All-America Third Team selection, a two-time All-Atlantic region first-teamer and a three-time All-PSAC First Team player. As a sophomore in 2017, she was voted the Atlantic Region Player of the Year, PSAC Athlete of the Year and KU Female Athlete of the Year. She helped the women's soccer team reach the playoffs three times, win a regional championship and advance to the NCAA national final four. Along with a stellar athletic career, she is a multiple Dean's List student.