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Two St. Bonaventure University students with exceptional academic and leadership accomplishments were recognized as the Ideal Bonaventure Students for the Class of 2018.
Haylei John, the Ideal Bonaventure Woman, and Jordan Powers, the Ideal Bonaventure Man, were recognized on Saturday, May 12, during the university’s Honors Ceremony, and again Sunday during its 158thCommencement Exercises.
The Ideal Bonaventure Students exemplify the spirit of St. Bonaventure and the ideals of St. Francis through community service and academic excellence. They are selected by a committee that considers nominations from the campus community.
John, of Salamanca, is a daughter of Mindy, ’95, and Kerry John, earned bachelor’s degrees in international studies and Spanish. Powers, of Lakewood, is the son of Mark and Denise Powers and earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.
Honorable mentions were accounting major Crisann Z. Bailey of Jamaica, N.Y., daughter of Ann-Marie Richards and Derrick Gowle, and theater major Taquan “Percy” Brown of Smithtown, N.Y., son of Shelia Brown-Jett.
In addition to her dual majors, John completed minors in international business and political science and the Honors Program. She has been on the dean’s list every semester and was inducted into two academic honor societies, Phi Eta Sigma and Sigma Delta Pi.
Dr. Mary Rose Kubal, associate professor of political science and director of the International Studies Program, has seen John excel in numerous academic and leadership positions. John was the student representative to the Faculty Senate this year while Kubal was Senate chair. Kubal also advised John on her international studies senior thesis, in which she looked at the rise of right-wing movements in North America and Europe.
Kubal said John has done an outstanding job as SGA president, responding to campus and national incidents and supporting a social justice agenda in SGA and other campus activities.
“Haylei is an exceptional person. In addition to her excellent academics, many extra-curricular and leadership activities, she works several jobs on campus and works as a substitute teacher in her local school district when she is on break,” said Kubal. “Yet, she always has a pleasant and positive attitude. I have never once heard her complain about being stressed or about the amount of work she has to do. She does it all with a smile while raising up those around her.”
An academic tutor with the university’s Learning Center, John has also been a student ambassador with the Office of Admissions, a resident assistant, orientation leader and peer coach. John was selected as the student representative on many university committees, including the Presidential Search Committee and the Academic Excellence Task Force of the University Planning Commission.
John has served as the head delegate of the campus Model United Nations Club as well as a member of Enactus and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.
“In addition to her many contributions to the university community, she has served others outside the university in a host of ways, including service projects for Saint’s Place in Rochester (a refugee resettlement center) and Enactus in the Bahamas, and serving meals at the Warming House,” said Dr. Chris Stanely, professor of theology.
“How in the world she finds time to do all of these things is a mystery to me, but the fact that she engages in so many service activities outside the university clearly shows her to be an exemplary Bonnie,” said Stanely.
John completed internships during the past two summers. Last year she interned at Columbia University, where she assisted students with academic, professional, and social development, and during the summer of 2016 she worked at the International Immersion Institute in Valladolid, Spain, where she taught English and performed translation work.
John has received scholarship offers from four law schools and plans to attend Cornell Law School.
Ideal Bonaventure Man Jordan Powers has been a powerhouse in the pool and in the research lab.
Powers has been a member of the men’s Division I swimming and diving team since he transferred to St. Bonaventure in fall 2015. Among his athletic accomplishments this year, Powers was the winner of the 100-freestyle three times this season for the Bonnies and also won the 50-freestyle. At the 2018 Atlantic 10 Swimming and Diving Championships, Powers was a part of the silver medal 200-freestyle relay team. He also earned a place on the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference Team for his work in the pool and the classroom.
“Jordan’s work ethic has been exhibited through his accomplishments in the pool and training realm, but his biggest impact is yet to come from the professional end of his résumé and it will be impactful,” said Sean McNamee, head men’s swimming coach.
Powers has been on the dean’s list as well as the A-10’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll all five semesters.
“Jordan has a record-high scholarship achievement among science students at St. Bonaventure,” said Dr. Xiao-Ning Zhang, director of the university’s Biochemistry Program.
The biochemistry major’s research has earned him two competitive awards in the past two years. He won the Undergraduate Student Oral Presentation Award at a regional professional meeting in 2016 and a competitive travel award from the American Society for Plant Biologists to present his research at an international conference (Plant Biology Meeting) at Hawaii last summer.
Also, Powers co-authored with Zhang a peer-reviewed research paper published in 2017. His work provided evidence of a new biological function of a known protein that expanded current understanding in the field.
During his time at St. Bonaventure, Powers has participated in numerous service activities, including volunteering at the Warming House and Cattaraugus County SPCA.
In addition, Powers has helped high school students gain research experience in a laboratory setting. The summer before his junior year, Powers mentored three high school students in conducting and presenting research on campus. One of the students decided to attend SBU the following year.
Powers has demonstrated leadership in establishing the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Student Chapter on campus.
“Although the student chapter is only three months old and is granted zerio budget, members of the chapter have managed to collaborate with external groups and other organizations on campus to promote STEM education, research and outreach to SBU students on campus and the surrounding community,” said Zhang.
Events the chapter members participated in include mentoring Allegany-Limestone Middle School students at Girls in Manufacturing Day, serving as student judges for the Twin Tiers Regional Science Fair, and participating in the Twin Tiers Maker Expo at Wellsville Elementary School. Powers and the chapter also organized a trip for 11 St. Bonaventure undergraduate students and two faculty members to visit the Pathology Department at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and to talk to Health Sciences Charter School students during a STEM Café event in Buffalo.
Powers’ excellent academic achievements earned him offers from four major Ph.D. programs. He plans to pursue a doctorate at Duke University this fall.
About the University:The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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