As part of our virtual degree conferral this weekend, we are recognizing the outstanding undergraduates who are receiving special awards for their academic and extracurricular contributions to the iSchool community and the University. 

We applaud the countless hours of hard work that each one of these students put in during their time on campus. And we hope that we can gather this Fall to celebrate their accomplishments.

Please join us in congratulating the following students:

Ghufran Salih was honored with the Katie Bennett Leadership Award, which is given to an iSchool student who demonstrates all around excellence as a student, made contributions to the school through service, and who serves as a role model for other students.

Salih served as the Syracuse University Student Association president for the 2018-2019 academic year. She also served as the public relations director for the Muslim Student Association, and as an iSchool peer advisor. She described the jump into leadership roles as “10 steps up” from academics, but that her experiences as a black woman in STEM drove her to try and improve Syracuse.

“We’re all kind of in our friend groups, we can’t know everything that’s going on on campus,” Salih said. “I wanted to be able to help, and because one of the things I value most is empathy, I thought this would be a good way to do that.”

Hanna Yacubov was presented with the John R. Weitzel Award for Information Services Research, which honors one outstanding undergraduate student who has demonstrated excellence in the area of information systems through research. 

Yacubov’s research centered on collecting data about “unstable” comments on social media, focused on politics. She worked with Professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley to build an algorithm that categorized online comments into various levels of incivility. 

Joshua Konowitz was recognized with the iSchool Undergraduate Award for Excellence in IM&T Professional Practice, awarded to one outstanding undergraduate student who has demonstrated excellence in professional practice in the field of information management and technology by assuming a leadership role in the workforce at an accelerated pace, and/or has had their ideas for change integrated into the company in which they have interned or worked. 

Konowitz served as a project lead and director at the iSchool’s NEXIS lab, where he helped increase the lab’s students and helped improve workflow by allowing students greater freedom to work on projects that interested them. Konowitz also developed his own projects, including a way for NFL coaches to analyze their fourth-down plays.

Anna Mohd Khairi was honored with the Adam Levitt Innovation Award. This annual award is presented to one outstanding undergraduate student who has demonstrated excellence in innovation in the field of information management and technology through innovative projects or start up ventures, particularly as it has solved a challenging problem or made notable contributions to the IM&T field and/or start up community.

Khairi, who is a dual major at the iSchool and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, worked at CLLCTVE, an ad agency founded by Syracuse alumna Kelsey Davis that targets Generation Z consumers. Khairi said that one of the most important parts of her job was finding out what her target audience found worth consuming and thinking outside the box to market to them.

Maeve Rule was presented with the iSchool Service Award, which honors a student who has performed service to the campus and global community. 

Rule served as the iSchool’s lead peer advisor and worked as part of the Senior Squad committee for the Class of 2020, planning activities for this year’s graduating seniors. Outside of the iSchool, she also worked at the Daily Orange as a digital editor and director of social media. Rule credited the iSchool’s Assistant Director of Undergraduate Recruitment and her former professor Stephanie Worden with helping her get involved outside of her classes.

“I was very nervous my first year, and Stephanie Worden helped me get involved,” Rule said. “I knew that she ran peer advising, and I decided to apply, and it took off from there.”

Dana Barry was presented with the Donald & Joyce Marchand Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, which honors a graduating student who has best demonstrated overall academic achievement.

Barry transferred into the iSchool from Centreville College in Kentucky. In addition to her coursework, she also served as a teaching assistant, lab consultant, and technology analyst at the iSchool. One of the class projects she was proudest of was her capstone software, which the ITELL labs used to automatically code a template for other classes.