MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees presented Student Achievement Awards to Mark Surrell of Marquette, Cassandra Hastings of Hillsdale, Neil Poglese of St. Johns and Alex Nye of Homewood, Ill.
Surrell received the award for outstanding student of any class. He is a senior with a double major in biology and philosophy. He has studied abroad in India and researched the ecology of Zambia. Surrell has served as president of Platform Personalities the last two years and is a member of the philosophy club. He has attended the American Philosophical Association conference, the Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress and the weekly meetings of the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center. He also has coached youth soccer and worked as a tutor for the Upward Bound program and philosophy courses.
Nye and Hastings received the outstanding male and female graduate awards, respectively. Nye earned a bachelor’s degree in English writing and graduated cum laude earlier this month. He was involved in residence hall government and Live Learn Lead, served as a member of the ASNMU student government organization and was president of Prime Time Productions. Nye plans to enter the master’s program in English at NMU this fall.
Hastings, who just graduated with a physics degree, entered NMU as a Presidential Scholar and member of the Honors Program. She shadowed and assisted doctors in Tanzania while also volunteering at an orphanage. In 2013, she went to Paris as part of a research grant. Hastings participated in the Student Leadership Fellowship Program and earned the NMU Superior Edge. She was involved in the physics club, pre-med club and honors student organization. She also founded the women’s club ultimate frisbee team. Her volunteer work included Bay Cliff Health Camp; Camp STAR, a children’s bereavement summer camp; Science Olympiad; Meals on Wheels; Special Olympics; and the U.P. Sled Dog Races. Hastings will begin medical school at Oakland University in the fall.
Poglese received the nontraditional student award, which is for undergraduates over the age of 25. He is a physiology major with a chemistry minor. He attended Divers Academy International and began a career as a commercial air diver in Louisiana and Texas, becoming a diving medical technician and a hyperbaric chamber operator. Since transferring to NMU, he has pursued a career in health care and been a member of the pre-med club. He is president of the South Superior Climbing Club. Poglese has received three Heart and Soul Awards for his volunteer efforts with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and Beacon House, a hospitality house for patients receiving medical care at Marquette General Hospital and their loved ones. Poglese has completed the Student Leader Fellowship Program and three edges of the Superior Edge program.