The Charger Blog

University Recognizes Leadership, Achievements of Exclusive Group of Scholars

Half a dozen juniors and seniors of various majors were recently recognized as part of the University’s Hatfield Scholars program. The prestigious honor recognizes students’ service, commitment to the Charger community, and academic achievements.

October 20, 2023

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

The Hatfield Scholars with Phil Bartels ’11 Hon. and Susan Bartels ’23 Hon.
The Hatfield Scholars with Phil Bartels ’11 Hon. and Susan Bartels ’23 Hon.

Aiyannah Lewis ’24 has accomplished so much during her time as a Charger. She has served as an orientation coordinator, as an academic peer mentor, and as vice president of the Honors Student Council, as well as president of the University’s Alpha Lambda Delta honor society and as vice president of the Psi Chi honor society chapter. But, she believes, one of her greatest achievements was recently being named a Hatfield Scholar.

A psychology major with a concentration in forensic psychology, Lewis has enjoyed the meaningful connections she’s made with her fellow Chargers as a student leader. She believes her role as a Hatfield Scholar is a meaningful recognition of the impact she’s made at the University.

                        Aiyannah Lewis ’24 with her award.
Aiyannah Lewis ’24 with her award.

“It means the committee was able to recognize my hard work both in and out of the classroom,” she said. “I came to the University of New 51 with the intention of making the most of my college experience by excelling in school and engaging with my community. Being named a Hatfield Scholar was a way for me to see that my aspirations are coming to fruition.”

‘Changed my outlook on life’

Lewis was among the six students honored for their exemplary academic and civic achievements. The John D. Hatfield Scholars Program recognizes seniors and juniors who have excelled in the University’s Honors Program. They represent all fields of study and exemplify what it means to be a Charger.

One of her fellow Hatfield scholars, Christopher Protheroe ’25, was also grateful for the recognition. Community service chair of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, he has demonstrated his dedication to the community, organizing several campus food drives and coordinating events in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. He has also helped collect supplies to send to soldiers in Ukraine. His focus on service – and on academics – has been his north star since he was a kid, and he endeavors to continue to find fun, engaging, and creative ways to promote service as a Charger.

“This recognition means so much to me because I know that it made my parents proud,” said Protheroe, a cybersecurity and networks major. “The award is everything I was brought up on. The memories I have made doing community service events are what I want to make possible for everyone else. The people I have met and the stories that I have heard and shared have changed my outlook on life, and I hope one day I can be the wise person sharing their life stories with young people.”

Hatfield Scholar Olivia Hall ’25 was recognized at the recent luncheon.
Hatfield Scholar Olivia Hall ’25 was recognized at the recent luncheon.
‘Striving for excellence’

The program bears the name of John D. Hatfield, Ph.D., the University’s first executive vice president, provost, and chief operating officer. He died in 2003, and the John D. Hatfield Scholars Program was established in 2004 by Henry Bartels ’91 Hon., a longtime University benefactor and Board of Governors member, and his wife, Nancy Bartels ’11 Hon. Their son, Phil Bartels ’11 Hon., a former Board of Governors chair and current member, and his wife, Susan Bartels ’23 Hon., have continued the Bartels family legacy of philanthropy to the University by supporting this program among many other University initiatives. Additionally, generous donors established the John D. Hatfield Endowed Scholarship to support deserving students attending the University of New 51.

“The Hatfield Scholarship is the most prestigious award that the Honors Program at the University of New 51 can bestow,” said Matthew Wranovix, Ph.D., director of the University’s Honors program. “These six extraordinary students have not only demonstrated achievement in the classroom, they have also helped and inspired others through their commitment to service and a sense of purpose.”

The Hatfield scholars were recently recognized at a luncheon, during which they interacted with University supporters and leaders. Gabrielle Picón ’24, a business management major, says being named a Hatfield Scholar was “incredibly impactful,” and she appreciated learning more about Dr. Hatfield at the luncheon.

“He had a passion for spreading kindness and encouragement to peers in his academic community,” said Picón, a business management major. “I also had the pleasure of meeting the Bartels family at the ceremony, and Phil Bartels stressed to us the importance of ‘striving for excellence’, which was Dr. Hatfield’s shining accomplishment. I now use this motto as a way to continue pushing toward my new goals and objectives in my academics.”

‘Efforts do not go unnoticed’

President of the University’s , Picón serves as a Learning Assistant in the Center for Learning Resources, offering support in business finance courses. A commuter student, Picón has immersed herself in the University community. She’s grateful for the opportunities she’s had to be a leader and an active member of the Charger community, as well as for the opportunity to be recognized as a Hatfield Scholar.

                        Syrena Carver ’24 accepts her award as part of the luncheon.
Syrena Carver ’24 accepts her award as part of the luncheon.

“Events that celebrate student achievements allow the awardees and their communities to celebrate and recognize the hard work and passion of each student,” she said. “It is so incredible to meet likeminded people and to learn about their projects and successes. While I had never met the other awardees until the awards ceremony, I connected with them immediately and was inspired by their stories. I was surrounded by passionate and intelligent people with fantastic work ethics, and the energy in the room was just spectacular.”

Lewis, the psychology major, says the opportunity to be recognized with her peers was poignant. She’s grateful for the support she’s received at the University, and she enjoyed celebrating her – and her fellow scholars’ – accomplishments as part of the luncheon.

“Programs such as the Hatfield Scholars Program are so important because they allow students to recognize that their efforts do not go unnoticed,” she said. “Sometimes, it is difficult for students to take the time to acknowledge what they are doing and how they are helping their communities. Initiatives such as this can help show how much the school appreciates its leaders.”