Inaugural Harrison Leadership Award Presented to CSUN Softball Player

President Harrison with award winner and finalists

President Dianne F. Harrison (left) with, from left to right, Harrison Leadership Award winner Madalyne Handy, finalist Karla Montenegro and finalist Ashley Kritzer. Photo by Lee Choo.

This year’s California State University, Northridge Freshman Convocation included a new element: the presentation of the first annual Dianne F. Harrison Leadership Award to sophomore Madalyne Handy.

Created upon the occasion of President Harrison’s investiture as CSUN’s president last spring, the $5,000 award recognizes a student who has completed the freshman year for his or her leadership, as demonstrated by involvement in student government, a campus club or a student organization. Awardees must have a GPA of at least 3.0. To be presented each fall, this scholarship supports the university’s emerging student leaders, furthering a culture of leadership on campus while also building the community’s next generation of leading voices.

Handy, a kinesiology major, completed 57 units by her third semester at CSUN with a GPA of 3.96. In addition to excelling in the classroom, Handy is also a member of the Matador softball team. As President Harrison shared during the award presentation, Handy’s coach, Tairia Flowers, wrote that that Handy “pushes herself and everyone around her to be better, work harder and to become mentally tougher.” Handy also serves as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for statistics, working with a class of about 20 statistics students.

During the ceremony, President Harrison also recognized the two finalists for the award: Ashley Kritzer, a deaf studies major, and Karla Montenegro, a management major. President Harrison thanked all three students for the “inspiring work that [they] have undertaken thus far as students who are truly models of success for all of our students and our new freshman class.”

Handy, who hopes to become a teacher, said the award will spur her to continue her focus on peer leadership at CSUN. “Being recognized as a leader on campus through this scholarship has already began to pave the way for my future involvement with our amazing institution,” she said. “These next three years, I commit to being the best leader I can be in the classroom, on the field and in the community.”

Handy, who said she strives to “lead by example through hard work, passion and dedication,” is grateful to the donors to the Harrison Leadership Award Fund, whose gifts fund the scholarship. “I want to thank the supporters for this scholarship,” she said. “Their help creates a stronger Northridge that is able to stay connected with its alumni and community. Donations like this and help from outside supporters truly makes CSUN the heartbeat of the Valley.”

For more: You can help other students by contributing to CSUN student scholarships.

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