Seniors awarded highest academic honor

Story by Maya Hodison, Staff Writer

Every year, students get recognized for going above and beyond and completing outstanding work. In May 2020, 12 Baker seniors were invited to Alpha Delta Sigma, which is the highest academic honor the University bestows. It recognizes the top ten percent of the senior class based on overall GPA, including transfer hours. The Alpha Delta Sigma honor society was established in Baker’s early years, so it has been a tradition for a long time.

Students who are deemed within the top ten percent academically of the senior class are given a certificate and two honor cords — a blue one and an orange one. The orange cord represents the University and the blue cord represents wisdom and strength.

Traditionally, students are inducted into the society on the day before Commencement. They have a ceremony with family members, guests and alumni present. All members of the society are invited to join.

Unfortunately, since all on-campus activities and events have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, this year’s students are not able to be inducted in-person. They are being invited to participate in the induction ceremony in either December 2020 or May 2021.

Martha Harris is president of the honor society. As president, Harris plans and runs the induction ceremonies and gathers the information needed to carry out the selection process. She works alongside Dr. Louis Levy, who is both the secretary and treasurer, and Dr. Judy Smrha, who is the vice-president.

“[These students] come from many majors and have a variety of interests. They have accomplished a great deal in their college career, and we know they will have many achievements to celebrate in the future,” Harris said.

Through hard work, discipline and involvement on campus, students earned this honor. The Baker University Class of 2020 inductees to the Alpha Delta Sigma honor society are as follows:

Richard Bakiaj – La Spezia, Italy

Bakiaj is double majoring in Psychology and Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice. He played for the Baker men’s soccer team and was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, along with being a writing tutor and teaching assistant for Research Methods in Psychology and Human Development.

Bakiaj is grateful for the friends he made at Baker that he now considers family. “I have been very lucky since the beginning because, despite facing many difficult situations as an international student, I have been able to overcome them and thrive together with my friends. I am very grateful for this,” he said.

Mary “Caroline” Birt – Overland Park, KS

Birt is double majoring in English and Psychology while minoring in Spanish and Primary Texts. During her time at Baker, she was a Harter Scholar, honor program member, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, co-student director of parMentors, a Student Senator, a University Admissions Assistant (UAA), a Salon/BK100 leader. She was also a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta international honor society and Psi Chi honor society.

“I have always been dedicated to my education and have maintained a love of learning my whole life. While I ultimately achieved this honor through my own hard work, I also recognize the monumental role my professors have played,” Birt said. “The Baker community has fostered so many wonderful connections with my peers, professors, alumni, etc. These relationships will stay with me forever.”

Zachary Calovich – Tonganoxie, KS

Jacob Dunlop – Parker, KS

Dunlop is a Chemistry major. He picked up a Mathematics minor along the way because of how much he loved the mathematics department at Baker. He worked for several semesters as a Student Academic Service (SAS) tutor and has been a Teacher’s Aid in the chemistry department since his sophomore year.

“Between the antics of the chemistry department and the late nights chatting over a game of ping pong, I couldn’t say which will become my fondest memories from Baker. Regardless, I’m sure both will always bring a smile, or a smirk, to my face,” Dunlop said.

Hannah Greer – Olathe, KS

Greer is double majoring in English and Secondary Education, with a minor in creative writing. On campus, she was involved in Chapel Ambassadors, School of Education Ambassadors (SEA), sorority life (Alpha Chi Omega and the Panhellenic Council), and several honors organizations. She was also a writing tutor in SAS and an office aid in the English department.

“I most enjoyed building relationships at Baker. Specifically, I appreciate that Baker gave me the opportunity to connect with my peers and professors over our shared religion. I was able to grow in my faith because of the relationships I had with people who encouraged me to seek God daily,” Greer said.

Erynne Jamison – Andover, KS

Hannah Madsen – Prescott, AZ

Alyssa Monson – Olathe, KS

Monson is an Exercise Science major. While at Baker, she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and the dance team. She was also involved in UAA, parMentors and Wildcat Welcome. Putting school work first, keeping lists and making time for friends and fun have helped Monson succeed. Monson says she is proud of the hard work and dedication she put in throughout her four years.

“I will miss those nice spring days with friends, for sure. Whether it was sand volleyball, spike-ball, going to the softball games, or making El Patron trips, those days were always the best memories,” Monson said.

Dillon Prokop – Topeka, KS

Prokop is a Biochemistry major. On campus, he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, the baseball team, the Move-In Crew, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Order of Omega. By limiting distractions and finding quiet work spaces, Prokop was able to diligently get his work done. He made sure not to burn himself out by relaxing and spending time with friends as well.

“My most enjoyable experience at Baker was my interaction with the chemistry professors, Dr. Barbush, Dr. Perry and Prof. Anderson. They were always willing and able to answer questions and offer advice,” Prokop said. “It was easier to be passionate about the difficult subjects when I could see the passion of these professors.”

Martin Radosevic – Kansas City, MO

Julia Sanders – Lenexa, KS

Sanders is double majoring in Secondary Education and History, with a minor in Psychology. She was a Resident Assistant (RA) her sophomore year and went on to be promoted to an Assistant Hall Director her my junior year. Aside from residence life, Sanders was involved in Called to Greatness, Chapel and SEA. Sanders found ways to balance school, work and other responsibilities with self care and social time.

Sanders loved the community aspect at Baker. “While getting an education, I also learned about life outside of school and made connections with people. Additionally, Baker is a great place to grow as a person. Because of the immense support that Baker provides, it was easy to learn and better myself.”

Anthony “AJ” Totta – Overland Park, KS