The 10 shining stars who will be inducted into the Florida Gulf Coast University Hall of Fame this year have been announced. These are the recipients of the highest recognition given to student leaders at FGCU.
According to J. Michael Rollo, Ph.D., vice president of student affairs, the group is chosen by a committee formed by members of faculty, staff and an alumnus member of the Hall of Fame.
“It’s really about involvement in campus, leadership, service to the university and how they best exemplify that,” Rollo said. “They’re a vibrant group of students, and they clearly are outstanding representatives of our student body. They are worthy of recognition.”
They are all very different and have only one thing in common: they all have an internal drive to succeed. The 10 seniors inducted into the 2015 Hall of Fame are Jordan Nation, Cory Mentzer, Emma Svensson, Romel Durandisse, Lucy Leban, Jason Hoop, Kelsey Carpenter, Christie Mauretour, Madeline Heath and Hannah Amundson.
Among the inductees, there are two international students: Svensson and Mauretour.
Svensson, a senior economics major with a minor in mathematics, is the captain of the FGCU swim team and a student in the Honors Program. She is an international student from Sweden, and she considers herself lucky to have found the opportunity to practice swimming and studying at the same time here.
“It has always been my goal to be successful in both the classroom and the pool,” Svensson said.
She is going to go to Florida State University next fall to pursue a master’s degree in financial math with a concentration in actuarial science next fall.
She believes in the ‘lead-by-example’ approach and credits her success to everyone around her.
“It is an award that couldn’t have been won without the people around me,” Svensson said.
Mauretour, a senior majoring in mathematics with minors in computer science and statistics, is an international student from Haiti. During her time in FGCU, she became an Eagle I Ambassador.
“Adjusting to the new culture was a little bit hard at first. The campus was huge, and I was new and alone,” Mauretour said. “That is the main reason I became an Eagle I Ambassador. I decided that it was my turn to help new international students have a smoother cultural transition.”
She also published a paper in an A-list math journal and helped organize a math summer camp last year.
Her future plans include going to the University of Florida for graduate school.
Lucy Leban, a senior political science and philosophy major, is also an Eagle I Ambassador. She was homeschooled and part of the Accelerated College Experience program as a dually enrolled high school student her freshman year.
Leban not only studied abroad twice but also revived the chapter of Amnesty International on campus.
Romel Durandisse, a senior majoring in mathematics and minoring in statistics, is not exactly an international student but he was born in Haiti and moved to the United States when he was 20 years old.
He has been involved in many organizations throughout his four years at FGCU. This year he served as the treasurer of the Dominican Republic Outreach Program, the president of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, and the president of the Actuarial Club.
When he first found out he had gotten into the Hall of Fame, it was an unforgettable moment.
“I was in class,” Durandisse said. “I could’ve jumped and shouted ‘I got it!’”
Two of the inductees have been involved in Student Government: Mentzer and Hoop.
Mentzer, a senior bioengineering major, is highly involved on campus. Apart from having been an orientation leader, a resident assistant, an Eagle Ambassador and a Programming Board director, he also served as the student body vice president this year.
Mentzer has also won nine flag football intramural championships along with his team during his time in FGCU.
“I am and forever will be grateful to call FGCU my home away from home,” Mentzer said. “The best years of my life have been spent at FGCU.”
Mentzer also co-founded a chapter of Global Medical Brigades on campus and served as the treasurer for the organization his sophomore year. One of the other co-founders was also inducted into the Hall of Fame this year —Hoop.
Hoop, a senior biotechnology major and chemistry minor, was born and raised in Fort Myers and hopes to attend medical school someday.
Hoop was involved in SG by serving as a senator for two years and senate president for one year.
“That was what initiated my leadership journey through school,” Hoop said.
Apart from being an Eagle Ambassador and an Honors Program mentor, Hoop has also done research studies, studied abroad and helped start an organization on campus.
“Co-founding a chapter of Global Medical Brigades on campus is one of my favorite things that I did,” Hoop said.
He also became the president of this organization during the second year the organization was active on campus.
“We have served over 2,000 patients and traveled to three different countries,” Hoop said.
He was also the president of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, during his junior year.
Jordan Nation, a senior double majoring in political science and communication, is also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He was also an orientation leader and a resident assistant, and co-founded a club on campus called Students Interested in Student Affairs.
“The greatest challenge was keeping my grades up, [while] being more involved than an average student is,” Nation said.
Kelsey Carpenter, a senior exercise science major, is a member of the FGCU softball team. Carpenter also finds it challenging to balance college life.
“One of the greatest challenges I have had to overcome is juggling being a student and athlete. I have had to learn how to deal with stress and pressure and to just take one day at a time,” Carpenter said.
“I think my greatest accomplishment was either winning this Hall of Fame award, or being accepted early into the FGCU Physical Therapy program. Although I have achieved many softball awards, winning these scholastic awards will carry me more in my life.” Carpenter said.
Carpenter places a high value on community service.
“I have volunteered more than 300 hours in community service,” Carpenter said.
Heath, a senior communications major and theater and gender studies minors, also believes in the importance of volunteering to help others.
“I love to be involved in things that have a bigger purpose, things that make me feel like I am making an impact,” Heath said.
Heath transferred to FGCU during her junior year.
“I came to FGCU as a community college transfer student and received a full-tuition scholarship for being an All-Florida Academic Team recipient in community college through my Phi Theta Kappa chapter, an international honor society.”
Heath holds many leadership positions on campus including the One Book, One Campus Outreach Coordinator and a Service-Learning Ambassador.
After graduation, Heath will be going to the University of South Florida in Tampa for her Master’s in College Student Affairs and will also be working there as a graduate assistant.
Amundson, senior political science major and a Spanish minor, has had several leadership positions on campus and many fulfilling experiences during her years in FGCU.
“Not only have I enjoyed the academic component of being a college student, but I also went out of my way to do lots of new things like skiing, learning to rock climb and backpacking for a week on the snowy Appalachian Trail during one of my spring breaks with friends,” Amundson said. “I did all of this on FGCU Outdoor Pursuits trips.”
Amundson recalls the most notable experience she will take with her after she graduates as acting out an orientation skit with the fellow orientation staff.
“What made it so memorable and special was the people I worked with, the friends I subsequently made and how proud we will always be to be Eagles,” Amundson said.
“My time at FGCU will always be a ‘happy thought’ as my dad says, and I’m so grateful for it,” Amundson said.