Mary Kate Stewart received the 2014 Darrin Williams Memorial Scholarship, the highest award offered by the Southwestern Michigan College Math/Science Department.
It was established in memory of a 1988 SMC graduate from Dowagiac who was highly regarded by both faculty and fellow students.
This STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) transfer scholarship recognizes a second-year student who exhibits the qualities of character Darrin exemplified: scholarship, service to the department, integrity, cooperation and a sense of humor.
Williams went on to Michigan Technological University and died in an auto accident coming home for Christmas.
Stewart, of Dowagiac, is an honor graduate transferring to Benedictine University in suburban Chicago to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.
Throughout her two years at SMC, Stewart worked with chemistry instructor Jackie Perry.
“We appreciate you making our jobs fun,” Perry said.
This semester, Stewart helped Chairman Dr. Keith Howell with course preparation, project design and “endless proofreading” in Math 141.
“Those who had her in class already know Mary Kate is an outstanding student who contributed in so many ways to her classes and to her peers,” Howell said.
Howell said each year the department tries to honor two students who achieved, contributed “or just reminded us why we have chosen to make community college teaching our careers. These are individuals who have demonstrated the highest work ethic, a strong commitment to our department and have devoted their time at SMC to the betterment of our community. We have had so many outstanding students involved in STEM Club, our courses and the department that it makes choosing only two difficult. In fact, choosing only two was so difficult that this year three of our students will be honored.”
The Math/Science Department Appreciation Award was established in 2012 to recognize a first-year or high school student who demonstrates a strong work ethic, shows academic promise, plans to pursue a STEM-related career and makes a significant contribution to the department.
The 2014 Math/Science Appreciation Award goes to Kathleen Clark and Will Ryan.
Both Kathleen, an environmental/life science major from Buchanan, and Will, a medical pre-professional major from Constantine, were very involved in STEM Club during their first two semesters at SMC.
They brought their love of science to third and fourth graders during the club’s Nov. 1 visit to Eagle Lake Elementary School in Edwardsburg, actively participated in Pi Day March 14 and attended every STEM Club meeting throughout the year.