Honors, Awards Abound Prior to Spring Commencement

PBA Provost Dr. Gene Fant presents the Corts Outstanding Teaching Award 2017 to Dr. Linda Raeder.

Nine students were honored Tuesday as the outstanding graduates of their schools while others received departmental awards as part of Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Honors Day ceremony. The outstanding graduates each receive special recognition during spring commencement on May 6.

In addition one faculty member received the Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching. This year’s recipient is Linda Raeder, professor of politics in the School of Arts and Sciences.

The outstanding graduates are:

Thomas Lubben, of West Palm Beach, is the outstanding graduate in the School of Arts and Sciences. A student in the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program, Lubben will graduate with an English degree and minor in music. His poetry and fiction have been published in academic journals including PBA’s Living Waters ReviewThe Rectangle, a publication of Sigma Tau Delta; and Catfish Creek, a publication of Loras College. He co-produced Student Literature Night and has served as a writing coach for the Center for Writing Excellence. In addition, he performs as part of the Lubben Family Bluegrass Band with his triplet brothers, Joshua and Michael, and their wives.

Hunter Durham, of Springfield, Missouri, is the outstanding graduate in the Rinker School of Business. He is a marketing major, listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and is a student in the Supper Honors Program. Durham started the collegiate chapter of the American Marketing Association at PBA, he’s been a national finalist in two AMA competitions, and led the chapter to award-winning performance. He completed internships with Dell’s Global Thought Leadership Team and Microsoft as a product marketing manager. He’s a member of the President’s Lyceum and was a Q Union speaker. His wife, Tabitha, graduated from PBA last spring with her BSN degree. After graduation, he will be working with Facebook in Austin, Texas.

Megan Freeman, of Concord, California, is the outstanding graduate in the School of Communication and Media. Freeman is majoring in communication. Prior to coming to PBA, she was in a gap year program, the Joshua Wilderness Institute in Hume, California. Freeman served as president of Lambda Pi Eta, the communications honors society and is listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She has been on the Provost’s List and President’s list for academic achievement. She serves as a volunteer with Family Church, presently with the kid’s ministry and previously with the worship ministry at the church’s Wellington campus. In addition, she’s completed a number of service projects with the City of West Palm Beach Parks and Recreation Department, including clean-ups at Woodlawn Cemetery to honor the memory of those buried there.

A Boca Raton resident, Gabriella Silva is the outstanding graduate in the School of Education and Behavioral Studies. A psychology major with a minor in biblical studies, Silva is listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She received a Quality Initiative Grant to present her research at the American Psychological Association Division One Convention where her study received the Raymond Corsini Student Poster Award. Silva serves as an intern and worship team member at Cross Community Church. After graduation, she plans on attending graduate school to become a clinical child psychologist.

A native of Bedford, Virginia, Joshua Jackson is the outstanding graduate in the MacArthur School of Leadership. An organizational management major, Jackson established the MSL Student Leadership Forum, a monthly lecture series that connects evening students with dynamic community leaders. He works as an associate engineer at a local specialty tax firm, where he recently was promoted to project manager. He additionally has taken responsibility for training and education within his organization.

Melissa Barciela, of Miami, Florida, is the outstanding graduate in the School of Ministry. The biblical and theological studies major is the first in her family to earn a college degree. She has served as a volunteer with Urban Youth Impact, Memorial Presbyterian and First Presbyterian North Palm Beach where she works helping refugees. Barciela studied abroad at Oxford, she is a member of Theta Alpha Kappa Honors Society and listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She will continue her studies at PBA in the Master of Divinity program.

Stephenie Revell, of Winter Haven, Florida, is the outstanding graduate in the School of Music and Fine Arts. A music education major, Revell is a clarinetist who won the PBA Concerto Competition. She performs with the PBA Symphony, PBA Symphonic Band and, for three years, with the Florida All-State Collegiate Band. She was a student conductor with the Symphonic Band and a guest conductor for the Palm Beach County School District Middle School Music Performance Assessment. Revell is a member of the Kappa Delta Epsilon Education Honors Society. She plans to seek a middle school band director position and attend graduate school.

Jenna Martin of Palm Harbor, Florida, is the outstanding graduate in the School of Nursing with her BSN degree and a minor in biblical and theological studies. Martin has been named to the President’s or Provost’s Lists consistently and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. In addition to her service to her classmates and school, she has traveled to Africa and the Middle East on two extended mission trips. After graduation, Martin plans to work in trauma ICU at St. Mary’s Medical Center and enroll in PBA’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Justin Cunard, originally from Howell, New Jersey, is the outstanding graduate for the Orlando Campus. An organizational management major, Cunard quickly distinguished himself academically, becoming a mentor to other students and an academic coach. In addition, he leads a prison ministry at First Baptist Church of Orlando. After graduation, he plans to enroll in the graduate counseling program at the Orlando campus.

Other award recipients on Honors Day included:

School of Arts and Sciences

McKenna Paulley, Outstanding Graduate-Biology

Austin Kostelansky, Outstanding Graduate-Computer Science

Thomas Lubben, Outstanding Graduate-English

Emmalee Sears, Outstanding Graduate-Mathematics

Tatum Price, Outstanding Graduate-Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Kristy St. Louis, Outstanding Graduate-Philosophy

Cassie Stanton, Outstanding Graduate-Politics

Jeremiah Clarke, Outstanding Graduate-Pre-Law


Rinker School of Business

Kathryn Wise, Outstanding Graduate-Accounting

Benjarong Murray, Outstanding Graduate-Finance

Fabiana Bucciol, Outstanding Graduate-International Business

Rachel Drummer, Outstanding Graduate-Management

Olivia Welborn, Outstanding Graduate-Marketing


School of Communication and Media

Samantha Raulli, Outstanding Graduate-Cinema-Television

Alexis Cahall, Outstanding Graduate-Communication

Jacklyn Streng, Outstanding Graduate-Journalism

Valentina Ferreira, Outstanding Graduate-Public Relations

William Bernard Pino, Outstanding Graduate-Theatre


School of Education and Behavioral Studies

Alyssa Hearing, Outstanding Graduate- Athletic Training

Heather Wroth, Outstanding Graduate- Education

Jaimie Gasch, Outstanding Graduate- Health and Human Performance

Carly Hodge, Outstanding Graduate-Psychology


School of Ministry

Melissa Barciela, Outstanding Graduate-Biblical and Theological Studies

David Larson, Outstanding Graduate-Cross-Cultural Studies

Sarah Kincaid, Outstanding Graduate-Ministry Leadership Studies


School of Music and Fine Arts

Yessira Rosario-Rivera, Outstanding Graduate-Art

Michael Lubben, Outstanding Graduate-Music


Honors Program

Megan Alsene, PBA Freshman Honors Award

Deanna Stephens, Frederick M. Supper Honors Program


Center for Writing Excellence

Christopher Chovet Santa Cruz, Outstanding Freshman Writing Award


Interdisciplinary Research Conference Awards

Aliana Bell, Joshua Rowe and Dr. Angela Witmer, Outstanding Research Conference Poster

Professor Ericka Squire, Outstanding Presentation, Liberal Arts/Social Sciences Track

Sean Campbell and Brian Lowe, Outstanding Presentation, Science/Health Care Track