April 16, 2014 10:15AM
Pittsburg State University has selected Kaitlyn Herder and Nicholas Popejoy as its outstanding senior woman and outstanding senior man for 2014. The university’s highest student honors were announced at the annual student leadership and awards banquet on Tuesday, April 15.
The selection of an outstanding senior woman and man is a campus tradition that goes back more than 60 years. Initially it began when students selected two popular students to reign as king and queen over the Apple Day commemoration observance. Today, students are nominated by faculty, staff or student organization presidents. A committee evaluates the nominees, considering their academic records, campus involvement, leadership in the organizations they belong to, their awards and honors, community service and volunteer work and their contributions to the university and the community.
“Each one of the 14 finalists for this honor has an extraordinary record of achievement,” said Steve Erwin, associate vice president for campus life and auxiliary services. “The involvement and the contributions that each of the nominees has made to the university community is amazing.”
Following tradition, the outstanding senior woman and outstanding senior man will deliver remarks to their fellow graduates at commencement ceremonies planned for Friday, May 9, and Saturday, May 10. A brass plaque will be installed in the Senior Walk in front of Russ Hall in their honor.
Kaitlyn Herder, from Louisburg, Kan., is a double major in marketing and Spanish. She will graduate with honors from the Kelce College of Business and is a recipient of the Golden Gorilla Award. She has received All-A scholastic honors, Dean’s scholastic honors, and has been inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa, Lambda Sigma, and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies.
Herder participated in a study-abroad experience to Spain and a second to France, earning an International Knowledge and Experience (IKE) certificate.
Herder has been highly involved on campus, serving in leadership roles in the Student Government Association, Student Activities Council, University Student Ambassadors, Gorillas in Your Midst, PSU Dance Club, Pitt Pals, and PSU Symphonic Band.
Herder’s community service includes Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Crawford County, SGA Big Event, SAC Safe Trick-or Treat, SWIPE Out Hunger food packaging for Africa, Lambda Sigma Adopt-a-Family for Christmas, SGA Adopt-a Street, Lions L.E.O. Club, Girls State Kansas by American Legion Auxiliary, Red Cross, Gorillas in Your Midst Safe Spring Break Week, Alcohol Awareness Week and Love Your Body Month.
Kaitlyn is the daughter of Jay and Karen Herder of Louisburg, Kan.
Nicholas Popejoy, from Arma, Kan., is an early childhood/late childhood education major. He is a member of the PSU Honors College and has been inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Lambda Sigma, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Delta Kappa and Kappa Delta Pi honor societies.
A Kansas Teacher of Promise nominee, Popejoy served on the PSU College of Education Leadership council. His children’s personal finance curriculum won national SIFE recognition and is now distributed by local banks.
On campus, Popejoy has served in leadership roles for the Future Educators Association, Pitt CARES, Crimson Club, University Student Ambassadors, the Newman Club and the Homecoming Steering Committee.
Off campus, Popejoy was a three-time umpire-in-chief for the Little League State Tournament and was selected to umpire the 13U state Babe Ruth Tournament. He is a Crawford County Youth Leadership facilitator, helped organize a book drive for the Learning Center in Girard and helped organize a Halloween party for international students at PSU. His volunteer work includes service to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Crawford County, the Big Event, the Salvation Army, Festa Italiana and Bowl4Kids Sake.
Nicholas is the son of Scott and Renee Elaine Pommier Popejoy of Arma.
The remaining finalists for the Outstanding Senior Award were:
Boya Abudu, Coffeyville, Kan.
Micah Black, Mound City, Kan.
Krisanna Graham, Assaria, Kan.
Ann Hutchison, Altoona, Kan.
Abigail Smith, Uniontown, Kan.
Sarah Poland, Junction City, Kan.
Carly Twarog, Girard, Kan.
Jessica Wade, Pittsburg, Kan.
Tyler Egbert, McCune, Kan.
Clinton Hayes, Cleveland, Mo.
Austin Price, Girard, Kan.
Christopher Ward, Pittsburg, Kan.