11:35 a.m., May 8, 2009----The University of Delaware Alumni Association has selected Teagan Gregory and Cassandra (Casey) Patriarco as the recipients of the Alexander J. Taylor Sr. and Emalea Pusey Warner awards recognizing the outstanding man and woman, respectively, in the 2009 graduating class.
A president/vice president team in the StUDent Government Association for two years-they switched roles between their junior and senior years-both students also excelled in academics as participants in UD's Honors Program and share a commitment to public service.
Gregory, from Newark, Del., majored in political science and international relations, with minors in East Asian studies, philosophy and religious studies, and will attend law school in the fall.
A dean's list student every semester, Gregory maintained a GPA above 3.9 and was one of 12 students in the Class of 2009 to be awarded a Eugene DuPont Memorial Distinguished Scholarship. He also was a member of the Delaware chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. In addition to his work with and leadership in student government, Gregory was a DelaWorld leader for new student orientation, a LIFE peer mentor for freshmen, a student admissions officer and a Blue Hen Ambassador.
“Teagan combines his intellectual abilities with a likable, down-to-earth personality,” said Katharine C. Kerrane, senior associate director of the University Honors Program. “He is fun to work with and actively works to put other people at ease.”
Gregory will attend the University of Michigan Law School, where he is considering pursuing a simultaneous master's degree in public policy. He said he hopes to return to the Delaware area in the future to practice law, get involved in politics and possibly run for office some day.
“If my UD experience has taught me one thing, it is that any one person can effect real change and make a difference,” Gregory said. “I'd love to do that in the community that I've grown up in and love.”
He attributed some of his success at the University to the campus community and to the accessibility of those, including faculty members Bernie Kaplan, Robert Denemark and Alan Fox and student government adviser Marilyn Prime, who he said served as valuable mentors and advisers to him.
“What truly made my experience at UD special was the sense of community that exists here,” Gregory said. “Almost from the moment I first stepped onto campus, I realized that I was surrounded by individuals who were not only incredibly intelligent but also very welcoming. It was this rare combination that allowed me to become so easily engaged in both my classes and various organizations.”
Patriarco, of Allentown, Pa., majored in English education, with minors in history and philosophy, and will join the Teach for America corps in Washington, D.C., next school year.
She earned a GPA above 3.9, was on the dean's list every semester and was awarded the 2008 Delta Kappa Gamma International Society Award for demonstrating outstanding scholarship, participating in educationally relevant activities and exhibiting future promise in education. Patriarco also received the Frank B. Murray Scholarship Award from the School of Education's Alumni Association and the Outstanding Female Leader Award. In addition to her student government participation, she served as an honors DelaWorld orientation assistant during the summers of 2007 and 2008.
“Casey is gracious, fun and personable,” Kerrane said. “She is a delight to work with-one of those memorable students who comes along once in a great while.”
As a member of Teach for America, Patriarco will be teaching secondary school English. She said she also plans to explore future opportunities in the fields of education policy and teacher education reform. Her undergraduate work included a senior research thesis that examined how teacher education programs can be developed to bridge the gap between university coursework and early field experiences.
“I believe my research experiences will prove invaluable in the pursuit of future graduate studies or work in the fields of education policy or teacher education reform,” she said, thanking the Honors Program, Undergraduate Research Office and her thesis director, Deborah Bieler, assistant professor of English, for their support.
Patriarco also expressed appreciation to mentors who encouraged her during her undergraduate studies, including Prime and Profs. Ray Peters, Heyward Brock and Jeffrey Raffel.
“These individuals have made my experience at UD so transformative and memorable,” she said of all those who shared advice and guidance. “I also credit [them with] supporting me and positively challenging me in the pursuit of my interests throughout the years. The Honors Program staff has offered me a multitude of academic and extracurricular experiences that have stimulated my intellectual growth and encouraged my active involvement and leadership within the University community.”
Article by Ann Manser
Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson