Jenelle Bayus

Every year, Hiram College celebrates student leaders and campus community members for their work and effort to foster a vibrant campus. The Office of Campus Involvement is excited to announce the recipients of a new award this year, the Top Terrier Award, given to students, faculty, and staff for their positive and lasting impact on the College. 

The Top Terrier Award is given to 20 students based on their impact in the classroom, on the field, or across campus. Recipients demonstrate the College’s core values of Diversity, Innovation, Community, Learning, and Responsibility through all that they do.  

Recipients include:  

Abbey Anderson ’22 

Nominator said, “Abbey has been one of the most engaged, achievement-motivated, and culturally responsive students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching. She took my Stereotyping and Prejudice class as a biomedical humanities major and was an amazing discussant, was always prepared, and went beyond expectations to share her ideas and experiences with the class.” 

Brett Bentkowski ’21 

Nominator said, “Brett has the rare distinction of having served as a Resident Assistant (RA) for 3.5 years. This year, we asked him to serve as a head RA in the Quad, a building that had not housed traditional undergraduates for several years. He also helped the Hiram Chess Club get off the ground this year.” 

Madison Branch ’21 

Nominator said, “Since entering Hiram as an Emerging Scholar, Madison has consistently worked hard and taken advantage of the many opportunities that Hiram has to offer. She is a prime example of the well-rounded and high-achieving student that Hiram College assists in developing, and she is one of the greatest success stories of the Emerging Scholars Program.” 

Stephanie Cipa ’21 

Nominator said, “An excellent student, Stephanie was accepted to FIVE vet schools this year! She is the president of the Veticus and has overseen their Trap-Neuter-Release program to control Hiram’s feral cat population for several years. She also contributes her time to the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station, serves as a representative for the Eclectic Scholars, and is the treasurer for Habitat for Humanity. Stephanie is also a genuinely good person, always offering a helping hand when needed.” 

Taylor Cook ’22 

Nominator said, “Taylor is always looking for ways to make Hiram a better place. She cares deeply about learning and she constantly looks for ways to help others find their place. With a strong, yet calm, voice and intellectual ideas, Taylor makes a great leader for Hiram’s campus.” 

Amber Davis ’21 

Nominator said, “Amber fights for others’ ability to have a voice using creativity, activism, and courage. She always looks for opportunities to learn and builds community wherever she walks. She embodies Hiram’s spirit.” 

Andrew Lang ’21 

Nominator said, “Andrew has been a rockstar on campus, working as a Resident Assistant, in the Office of Alumni and Development, and being in the Eclectic Scholars program. This year he also got a full-time job at Hyland Software, while also remaining a full-time student.” 

Jaya Martin ’21 

Nominator said, “Not only is Jaya a dual-sport athlete for both the women’s volleyball and STUNT teams, but she also supports numerous other teams, helps out when needed, and is always super energetic and outgoing.” 

Chris Miller ’24 

Nominator said, “In his brief time this year at Hiram, Chris was a standout freshman. Besides playing two sports, Chris is a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Terrier Activities Board officer. I am consistently impressed with his amazing positivity and ability to look at the best in any situation. I look forward to seeing what the next 4 years will bring for him.” 

Essynce Mitchell ’21 

Nominator said, “Essynce is one of the most heart-warming, enthusiastic students I know. She welcomes everyone with open arms, and a great sense of fashion. Her leadership skills are top notch, and she will never leave a space without making people feel cared for.” 

Jiayre Moody ’21 

Nominator said, “Jiayre stands up for what he believes and welcomes those around him to enthusiastically join discussions of change. He strives to open the eyes of those around him to different perspectives, while showing them all the beauty the world has to offer.” 

Kellie Ristau ’23 

Nominator said, “Kellie is an excellent student, and she is very involved in Hiram’s community. Not only is Kellie the treasurer for Veticus, she is also an Eclectic Scholar, an International Peer Assistant, a member of the Wind Ensemble, and she volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.” 

Jeffrey Robb ’21 

Nominator said, “Jeffrey is a great student leader––one who leads by example. He is consistently on time to class, engaged, and asks thoughtful questions.” 

Rho Robinson ’22 

Nominator said, “Rho has worked heavily with the First Year Program the last two years as a Writing Assistant, both in class and at the Writing Center, an ARCH Tutor, and Peer Mentor for Emerging Scholars. She has also worked with many students on papers, and she is a wonderful resource and mentor.” 

Jasmine Rosiak ’21 

Nominator said, “Jasmine has been instrumental in helping lead our Resident Assistants in Miller and Bowler during the pandemic with fantastic programming and conduct enforcement. During a difficult year, she has really risen to the test.” 

Kathryn Slates ’22 

Nominator said, “Kathryn goes above and beyond as a Teaching Assistant for general psychology, an activist for social justice, an artist, ally, scholar, and all-around amazing person.” 

Carolyn Todd ’21 

Nominator said, “Carolyn is creative, courageous, open, and so enthusiastic. She strives to be a great leader, and she walks Hiram’s campus looking for ways to help others. The discussions that she leads are always centered around ways to help other people.” 

JaByron Webb ’21 

Nominator said, “JaByron is a prime example of positivity, perseverance, and always offers a smile to others. He has overcome numerous obstacles, both personally and in school, since first starting Hiram College. He is a prime example of a student, as well as student-athlete.” 

Moe Yarbrough ’22 

Nominator said, “Not only does Moe create exceptional graphics for Hiram College Athletics, but he is also a huge supporter of all of our athletic teams, consistently going above and beyond.” 

Rachna Prasad ’22 

Nominator said, “From day one, Rachna has proven to be an exceptional leader in the Hiram College community. She has served as an Intercultural Forum (IF) Officer for the past two years, and most recently as President for the 2020-2021 academic year. She has worked extremely hard in planning events such as International Education Week, the Annual IF Dinner and Show, IF Movie Nights, and other club events. Despite the pandemic and the many constraints it posed on gatherings, Rachna along with the IF Officers and Club Members, were able to pull off a successful International Education Week and IF Dinner.” 


The Top Terrier Award is also given to five faculty and staff members who went above and beyond for their students during the academic year, making a difference in their lives, and preparing them for their professional careers.  

Recipients include:  

Annie Matz 
Instructor of Nursing 

Nominator said, “Professor Matz always puts her students first. She is someone who makes the challenging work of the nursing program doable, and she works with students to provide a great classroom environment. Professor Matz is a Top Terrier not only because of her dedication inside and outside of the classroom, but also through her dedication to the health and wellbeing of her students in a program like nursing.”

D. Ellis Rates
Director of Campus Involvement/Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Nominator said, “Although new to campus, D. Ellis has made a significant impact as the Director of Campus Involvement and Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Speaking from experience, he’s open to student input, is more than happy to spend time talking to students about his own life experiences, and he has helped to make the most of an academic year with few options for campus engagement. He’s always upbeat, quick with a joke, and brightens my days when I see or hear from him.” 

Julie Maxon, Ph.D. 
Visiting Assistant Professor in Biology 

Nominator said, “Professor Maxson embodies Hiram because she is genuine, understanding, and goes out of her way to make everyone feel welcome. I appreciate all of Professor Maxson efforts during the pandemic, taking away unnecessary stresses, and helping the best that she could.” 

Bethani Burkhart 
Director of Career and Academic Development 

Nominator said, “Not only does Bethani wear the Director of Career and Academic Development and the Director of Orientation hats, but she truly puts her all into her positions, and does anything and everything to try and help students. Without her, many of the activities, events, and opportunities (like Sugar Day, Mock Interviews, Resume Reviews, Etiquette Events, etc.) would not be possible, which would be to the detriment of the students. Her work is essential to helping students succeed.” 

Douglas Brattebo, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor of Political Science 

Nominator said, “Professor Brattebo made learning during the pandemic manageable. I felt as though I was able to comprehend his lectures/material without feeling overwhelmed. He was very compassionate and really understood that his students are humans, not machines. I appreciate his emphasis on mental health, navigating being a human, and learning during hardship. I will be forever grateful for his kindness and advice this year. He is also truly knowledgeable in his field of study and an amazing advisor!”