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Ouachita Stories


Ouachita celebrates student achievements in Academic Awards Ceremony

Ouachita's 2021 top academic achiever Harly Dearing (center) and Outstanding Senior Man Joao Rodrigues (left) and Outstanding Senior Woman Eden Crow (right)May 20, 2021 - Rachel Gaddis
Ouachita Baptist University recently recognized students for outstanding academic, leadership and civic achievements during the 2020-2021 academic year with its annual Academic Awards Ceremony, which was held in Jones Performing Arts Center.
Harly Dearing

Harly Dearing

Harly Dearing, an accounting, finance and business administration/management triple major from Cove, Ark., was awarded Ouachita’s highest academic honor as the university’s Overall Academic Achiever. Dearing also earned top academic achiever in the Hickingbotham School of Business and was recognized as a Carl Goodson Honors Program Blue Ribbon Finisher.

Ouachita’s Senior Outstanding Man is João Pedro Rodrigues, a finance major from Ribeirão Preto, Brazil. Ouachita’s Senior Outstanding Woman is Eden Crow, a kinesiology & leisure studies/teaching and education double major from Texarkana, Ark. The Senior Outstanding Man and Woman are selected by Ouachita’s faculty and staff. Rodrigues also was recognized as a Carl Goodson Honors Program Blue Ribbon Finisher.

Other top academic achievers in each school include:

  • Pruet School of Christian Studies – Laura Beth Warner, a Christian studies/Christian ministries major from Benton, Ark.
  • Huckabee School of Education – Emily Koonce, a secondary education and English double major from Wylie, Texas
  • School of Fine Arts – Holli Barger, an instrumental music education major from Carrollton, Texas
  • School of Humanities – Elizabeth Steely, a communications & media/multimedia journalism major from Conway, Ark.
  • D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences – Emme Edmondson, a biology major from Benton, Ark.
  • H. Sutton School of Social Sciences – Taryn Bewley, a political science and psychology double major from Conway, Ark.
Eden Crow João Pedro Rodrigues

João Pedro Rodrigues (left) and Eden Crow (right)

The Mrs. J.R. Grant Endowed Awards for freshman and senior female students were given to Anna Kate Velasquez and Bailey Buettner, respectively. Velasquez is a Christian studies major from Pearland, Texas. Buettner is a psychology and Christian studies/Christian missions double major from Garland, Texas.

The Mrs. Betty Oliver Grant Endowed Awards for sophomore and junior female students were given to Dayja James and Madison Williamson, respectively. James is a biology major from McGehee, Ark. Williamson is a communication sciences & disorders major from Magnolia, Ark.

The Most Inspirational Professor Award was presented to Dr. Scott Duvall, J.C. and Mae Fuller Professor of Biblical Studies.

Individuals honored by the Carl Goodson Honors Program and Ouachita’s seven academic schools include:


  • Ben Elrod Scholar: Cora Saddler
  • Carl Goodson Scholar: Maddie Bailey
  • Garrett Ham Scholar: Jael Winterholter
  • Blue Ribbon Finishers: Tray Armstrong, Addison Bates, Jasmine Baughman, Christina Beger, Elijah Begin, Jordon Bone, Rebecca Braly, Scarlett Castleberry, Kayla Churchwell, Jessica Daniell, Harly Dearing, Kara DeLaune, Melodie DuBose, Lauren Dunaway, Emily Edmondson, Jordon Ford, Grace Gallagher, Travis Hankins, Caleb Harmon, Kathryn Harmon, Caitlyn Hatchett, Cade Haynie, Shawn Hill, Jennifer Johnson, Grace Jones, Madeline Knight, Emily Koonce, Moriah Manchack, Erin McNully, Jordan Myers, Rebekah Oliver, Breanna Parker, Hannah Perkins, Stephen Pilant, Stephany Quintero, David Rainwater, Alyssa Reece, João Pedro Rodrigues, Madeline Rottinghaus, Sidney Salyers, Carmen Scott, Madison Shankle, Rylie Slone, McKenzie Smith, Timothy Spiva, Zachary Tomlinson, Abigail Walker, Jennifer Wallace, Laura Warner, Julianne Weaver, Mallory Whitson and Estelle Zhang.
  • Most Valuable Professors: Dr. Sharon Hamilton, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Nathan Reyna, associate professor of biology.


  • Lera Kelly Outstanding Senior in Business Administration Award: Ali Chapman, Cole Alexander
  • Margaret Wright Outstanding Senior in Accounting Award: Erin McNully
  • Eddie Ary Outstanding Senior in Finance Award: Will Guerra
  • Johnny Heflin Excellence in Leadership & Academics Award: Stephany Quintero
  • Outstanding Business Scholar Athlete: Rileigh Fielder, Luke Scaggs


  • Outstanding Student in Biblical Studies: Lucas McCann
  • Outstanding Student in Christian Ministries: Laura Beth Warner
  • Outstanding Student in Christian Missions: Rylie Slone
  • Don Harbuck Award for Excellence in Philosophy: Zach Tomlinson
  • Preben Vang Award for Christian Theological Studies: Cody Cagle
  • Biblical Hebrew Award: Emma Smith
  • Robert Stagg New Testament Greek Award: Gabby Grau


  • Alice Searcy Award: Anna Katherine Green
  • Outstanding Current Education Sophomores: Isabella Bejarano (elementary), Sydni Watts (middle), Hannah Tullos (secondary)
  • Sylvia Gates Webb Award: Garrison Jensen
  • Maude Wright Memorial Award: Katie Gray
  • Phi Delta Kappa Teachers in Training: Gracen Seabaugh (elementary), Jonathan Rubin (middle), Sydney Mendel (secondary), Bethany Crawley (K-12)
  • Charles Chambliss Distinguished Educator Award: Olivia Yarbrough
  • Bob Gravett Outstanding Kinesiology & Leisure Studies Teaching Award: Alexis Castillow
  • Tona Wright Outstanding Kinesiology & Leisure Studies Fitness Award: Gabriel Curlin
  • Outstanding Kinesiology & Leisure Studies/Exercise Science: Ryan Wilson
  • Outstanding Kinesiology & Leisure Studies/Recreation: Ben Adair
  • Outstanding Kinesiology & Leisure Studies/Pre-Professional Studies Award: Julianna Mack
  • Outstanding Kinesiology & Leisure Studies/Recreation & Sports Administration: Luke Schmidt


Division of Applied Arts

  • Francie Phelan Outstanding Senior – Graphic Design: Maddie Bayer
  • Francie Phelan Outstanding Senior – Studio Art: Jenna Whitlow
  • Raybon-Berry Outstanding Freshman Visual Arts Major: Jill Parsons
  • Russell Shad Memorial Art Award for Outstanding Junior: Tehya Hinkson
  • Theatre Arts Outstanding Design/Tech Student Award – Freshman: Brynlee Beams
  • Theatre Arts Outstanding Student Award – Freshman: Abby Burlison
  • Theatre Arts Outstanding Student Award – Junior: Sammy Campione
  • Alpha Psi Omega Senior Award: Danielle Hall, Molly Kennedy

Division of Music

  • Sigma Alpha Iota College Honor Award: Kailee Morehart
  • Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship Award: Lexi Reimer
  • The Presser Scholar: Sam Youmans
  • Rachel Fuller Scholarship: Eryn Riley
  • James Harrison Scholarship: Bryce Krisell

Friends of Fine Arts Scholars

  • Visual Arts: Saba Esho
  • Instrumental Music: Graham Scarborough
  • Piano: Katie Bayer
  • Theatre Arts: Julia Letcher
  • Voice: Matthew Mayfield


Department of Language and Literature Awards

  • Outstanding Senior English Major: Emily Koonce
  • Outstanding Junior Louise Searcy Bennett Scholarship Award: Cora Saddler
  • Outstanding Sophomore Herman Sandford Scholarship Award: Emily Pease
  • Outstanding Freshman in English: Sydney Motl
  • The Sharpest Speer Award: Emily Koonce, Tray Armstrong
  • Bugtruck Gumption Award for Outstanding Service: Langley Leverett
  • Outstanding Junior Spanish Major: Lauren Gaharan
  • Outstanding Senior Spanish Major: Mady Cate Rottinghaus
  • El Tigre Award: Chase Hartsell
  • Outstanding Student in Latin: Emilee Webb

Rogers Department of Communications Awards

  • Bill & Vera Downs Outstanding Sophomore Mass Communications Student Award: Caroline Derby
  • Matt Turner Outstanding Junior Mass Communications Major Award: Abby Blankenship
  • William D. Downs Outstanding Mass Communications Graduate Award: Caity Hatchett, Ben Swanger
  • Roy Buckelew Outstanding Speech Major Award: Hayden Reedy
  • Publications Awards: Ben Swanger (Ouachitonian), Caity Hatchett (Signal), Caity Hatchett (Online Signal) Abby Blankenship (Photo Lab), Hannah Smith (Photo Lab), Matthew Branch (Ouachita Sports Digital Network)


  • Outstanding Freshman Biology Award: Kaylee Johnson
  • Richard H. Brown Biology Award: Rylie Davis
  • Outstanding Senior in Biology Award: Emme Edmondson
  • Outstanding Dietetics & Nutrition Award: Madeline Steely
  • Freshman Chemistry Award: Kaylee Johnson
  • Ethel & Nell Mondy and E.A. Provine Scholar: Kayla Whittington
  • Outstanding Graduate in Chemistry: Travis Hankins
  • Harvey Research Award: Kayla Churchwell

Rowland Memorial Awards in Physics, Mathematics & Computer Science

  • Outstanding Senior – Mathematics: Sarah Freeze
  • Outstanding Senior – Mathematics Education: Katie Harmon
  • Outstanding Senior – Physics: Travis Hankins
  • Outstanding Senior – Computer Science: Caleb Harmon
  • Academic Excellence – Mathematics: Jonah Mears
  • Academic Excellence – Computer Science: Kaitlyn Campbell
  • Academic Excellence – Physics: JaCoya Hodges
  • Mathematics Ambassador Award: Graycie Bohannan
  • Academic Excellence – Nursing: Grace Pickleman, Miranda Petit, Kaylee Martin, Courtney Myers, Cassie Lackey
  • Florence Nightingale’s Spirit of Human Kindness Award: Madi Esch
  • Most Likely to Exceed: Bay Novak


  • Everett Slavens Award to Outstanding Sophomore: Landon Denman
  • Lavell Cole Award to Outstanding Future Teacher: Kaleb McAdams
  • Fran Coulter Award to Outstanding Junior: Sarah Spakes
  • C. Daily Award to Outstanding Senior: Jenna Whitlow
  • Phi Alpha Theta Award for Outstanding Research Paper: Spencer Worth
  • Bob Riley Outstanding Graduate in Political Science Award: Taryn Bewley
  • Psychology Faculty Award: Ashton Hurst, Pietra Gois, Saba Esho
  • Zeitgeist Award: Josie Collins, Victoria Martin
  • Weldon Vogt Outstanding Psychology Senior Award: Madison Shankle
  • Outstanding Junior Sociology Award: Kiki Youmans
  • Outstanding Graduating Senior Sociology Award: Carli Copell


Lead photo: Ouachita awarded Harly Dearing (center) the university's Overall Academic Achiever award, Joao Rodrigues (left) Senior Outstanding Man and Eden Crow (right) Senior Outstanding Woman for the 2020-2021 academic year during its annual Academic Awards Ceremony. Photo by Abby Blankenship. Download full size image.