2021 LEAD Awards Roundup and Celebration

This year's virtual LEAD Awards celebration and ceremony recognized excellent students, clubs and organizations that contributed to the Merrimack College community.

The 2021 Lead Awards Ceremony, held virtually on Tuesday, April 27, was facilitated by Assistant Dean of Students Preston Croteau and Director of Student Involvement Peter Rojas

The celebration honored outstanding students and student organizations and featured readings from Father Ray Dlugos. Merrimack faculty and staff members also volunteered to present each award.


The Merrimack College Athletics Department also announced its 2021 LEAD Awards, recognizing various student-athletes, teams and groups for accomplishments during the 2020-21 academic year.  See Merrimack Athletics’ LEAD Award Winners

Cultural Program of the Year

Day of the Dead, Sponsored by the Merrimack Cultural Diversity Alliance (MCDA)

MCDA’s Day of the Dead festivities this past autumn generated an immense amount of student community engagement. The event included socially distanced, cultural crafts and Merrimack’s first Spanish-language-led Mass. Special recognition goes to two graduating seniors, Nathan Nkabasele and Patrick Romulus, who have been instrumental leaders in MCDA’s success over the last several years.

SWAG Award

Association of Latinos Moving Ahead (ALMA)

ALMA has worked diligently this past year to ensure consistent and engaging programming that supports not only the Latinx community but the broader Merrimack community. ALMA has exhibited outstanding campus engagement through partnerships with a number of offices and groups such as Merrimack Dining, International Student Support and the Office of Student Involvement.

Blue and Gold Award

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

SWE strives to provide a supportive, inclusive environment and strengthens the Merrimack community through networking and co-sponsorship of programming with a multitude of organizations. SWE won a regional award this year for retention in maintaining and growing their membership. They have also brought multiple STEM speakers to campus.

Fine Arts Organization of the Year

OnStagers Dramatic Society

OnStagers Dramatic Society continually provides an open and inclusive community for students to express themselves with joy and passion. This past year, the OnStagers have successfully produced a full season of student-designed productions. They have embraced and overcome many unique challenges to continue producing live theatre safely during a socially distanced pandemic.

Cultural Organization of the Year

Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

GSA has consistently promoted inclusion and awareness, including amplifying LGBTQ+ visibility on social media campaigns, hosting virtual roundtable discussions for Transgender Day of Visibility, participating in Unity in Diversity Days and hosting immersive visual events such as Flags of Love.

Outstanding Student Leader Awards

These awards are presented to students who stand out among their peers for exemplifying enthusiasm and pride in Merrimack College through their attitude, behavior and involvement. They encourage Merrimack spirit, maintain high standards of learning, actively participate in campus life and serve as role models to other students.

Class of 2024: Max Beland and Alex Conte
Class of 2023: Rebecca Needleman and Lily Schaefer-Calderon
Class of 2022: Madelyn Smith and Donald Anastasi

Donna Startwout Unsung Hero Award

Coleman Hayes and Kathryn Martello

This award is given to a student leader on campus who is actively involved in student organizations and various offices on campus. They are not required to be an executive board member of any organization. They support campus events and encourage others to participate in campus events and initiatives.

Coleman Hayes continually fosters community through compassion and thoughtfulness. He serves as a role model and exemplifies leadership as an intern for the Promise Program, through his involvement with the National Society of Black Engineers and the Black Student Association, and in the service work he has done throughout the Greater Boston Area.

Kathryn Martello knows what it is like to work behind the scenes. As a wellness peer educator and as president of the OnStagers, she promotes wellness and inclusivity by creating an environment for her peers that is both fun and educational. Kathryn is always ready and willing to lend a supportive ear and to foster open discussion about mental health.

Father Jim Wenzel Mission Award

Angela Walukevich

Angela Walukevich exemplifies Merrimack’s Augustinian values by constantly volunteering her time to the Merrimack community and by participating in a wide variety of student organizations and activities. Her kind and giving spirit complements her dedication to spirituality as demonstrated by her pursuit of a minor in religious and theological studies.

Joseph P. Daley Award

Andrew Borromeo and Haley Norris

This award is presented in recognition of outstanding character and unheralded service to the Merrimack College community.

Andrew Borromeo has made a powerful impact on the Merrimack community during his time here. He has given back through various involvement efforts, including WMCK and serving as an orientation captain. He has always held himself to the highest standards and continues to show his love for the Merrimack community. He has made an impact on countless students who have come after him and encourages his peers to stay engaged.

Haley Norris does not back down from a challenge. At the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, she saw a need on campus for better education surrounding LGBTQ+ culture. As a result, Haley revamped Merrimack’s Safe Zone Training in order to make an immediate positive impact on the Merrimack community. She helped educate peers, faculty and staff members. She has now facilitated this training to nearly 200 people at Merrimack and continually develops supplemental workshops to provide further education around the LGBTQ+ community.

Outstanding Academic Organization of the Year

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

NSBE has advanced the academic experience of its members and their work has benefitted the entire Merrimack community. They have welcomed a multitude of guest speakers, hosted valuable networking events and partnered with Promise to generate incredible Black History Month programming that featured professionals of color from a variety of STEM fields. NSBE has strengthened representation and visibility of diverse professionals in the STEM field and has brought that representation to Merrimack’s campus community.

Student Organization of the Year

Active Minds

Active Minds has tirelessly worked to provide the Merrimack Community with education, engagement, activities and important conversations surrounding mental health topics. Throughout the past year, which has been challenging at best for so many members of the Merrimack community, Active Minds has continued tackling difficult subject matter and raising awareness for the unique ways that a diverse student body approaches mental health. By creating open forums and welcoming events, Active Minds works to end the stigma, promote self-care and boost their peers with care and commitment.

Allen J. Ash Outstanding Service Award

Hanna Kloiber-Bravo and Zoe Driscoll-Sbar

This award is given to the senior or seniors who have made an outstanding contribution to the senior class.

Hannah Kloiber-Bravo has been an outstanding orientation captain and an essential team member for the event coordinators. Her dedication to planning memorable events, and her representation of Merrimack’s values and school spirit have made a lasting impact on the class of 2021.

Zoe Driscoll-Sbar has made a deep impact on Merrimack’s campus during her time here. From holding leadership positions on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Athletics Diversity Committee to being a standout student in the classroom and across campus, Zoe’s spirit of leadership and dedication has been an immense contribution to the senior class.

Campus-Wide Program of the Year

Kneel in Solidarity, Sponsored by the Athletics Diversity Committee (ADC)

Kneel in Solidarity made a meaningful and lasting impact on the Merrimack College community at a pivotal moment in history. On Monday, October 26, 2020, ADC rallied their peers to gather in honor of the memory of George Floyd and to kneel together for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as a call for police accountability and racial justice. Their strong conceptualization, organization and completion of this event amplified their message, which has been heard across Merrimack’s campus and will continue to make a lasting impact for years to come.

Travis G. Kong Student Leadership Award

Jackie Rouse, Gina DiFelice, Isabella Tersoni, Nathan Nkabasele, Kae Andrews, Leena Ali

The award was established by the Senior Class Gift of the Class of 2010 in honor of Travis Kong, a member of their class who passed away during his sophomore year. It is awarded to seniors in recognition of outstanding service to the Merrimack College community.

William J. Murray Award, OSA

Emily Hoar and Samantha Frey

This award is presented to a senior who is a role model and whose lifestyle emulates Fr. Murray’s concern, open-mindedness and compassion for others and makes a conscious attempt at social and spiritual growth. The award was established by members of the Class of 1983 to honor Father Murray, a former Vice President for Student Life at Merrimack College.

Emily Hoar is the definition of a selfless leader. She has served as a role model for so many of her peers. As an orientation leader, her enthusiasm, character and individuality have continually made lasting positive impacts on incoming Merrimack students. Emily’s open-mindedness and willingness to jump in the deep end have inspired countless others to follow in her footsteps. Students who have experienced Emily’s shining character echo a common sentiment: Emily makes others want to be better, both within the Merrimack community and beyond.

Samantha Frey is the consummate example of what a Merrimack student should strive for. She serves as a role model to peers and as a liaison between students and faculty. She has spent her four years at Merrimack working to improve campus climate through peer engagement and education in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion. As the president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and an e-board member of other student organizations, Samantha has challenged herself to dive even deeper into DEI work. She has been involved in the programming with Unity in Diversity as a DEI ambassador, has helped in the facilitation of Merrimack’s Diversity Badge and Safe Zone training, and has taken on the role of lead facilitator for the community outreach program “Be the CAUSE.” While balancing these new endeavors, Samantha has taken the time to support many members of the LGBTQ+ community who have reached out to her for help and guidance. The positive impact and powerful legacy that Samantha leaves here at Merrimack will serve to boost, amplify and encourage current students and future generations alike.

The Merrimack Medal

Audrey Regan

Audrey Regan embodies Merrimack’s Augustinian values. She has demonstrated a tireless dedication to serving her classmates, peers and the Merrimack campus community. She has worked across campus and in a number of leadership roles in athletics and student organizations. She has also worked closely with faculty and administration in Orientation, Admissions and FYE, and she has served as the President of Austin Scholars. Audrey has given back to the greater community by volunteering with Lawrence Catholic Academy and participating in annual SEND service trips. Whether serving her peers, her campus community, the wider Merrimack Valley or communities around the world, Audrey sets a phenomenal example for others who are fortunate enough to know her.
See Profile of Audrey Regan

See Merrimack Athletics’ LEAD Award Winners


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