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Officials at NEO celebrated accomplished student leaders during the Annual Top Ten Freshmen ceremony on March 10. 

“It is inspiring to see these high-achieving students give passionate evidence of the impact our staff and faculty have in the lives of each student,” said NEO President Dr. Kyle J. Stafford.

First celebrated in 2009, the Top Ten Freshmen ceremony is co-sponsored by NEO’s Presidential Partners and the Center for Academic Success and Advising (CASA). The keynote speaker was Jonas Rabel, Regional President at INTEGRIS. Rabel encouraged students in saying that even when times are tough, we must keep pushing forward if we want to reach our goals.

All honorees are now sophomores and were selected by a committee of faculty, Presidential Partners representatives, and student activities representatives. Students received scholarships as well as the opportunity to participate in leadership development activities. 

This year’s honorees include:

Destiny Bridgeman is a General Studies major from Grove, Oklahoma. Destiny is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, serving as an officer within this organization. She is also the Secretary of NEO’s Student Body Government. Destiny is a dedicated student who repeatedly makes appearances on the President’s Honor Roll. Destiny is an impassioned activist who organized multiple voter registration events throughout Delaware and Ottawa counties this past year.


Carter Christman is a Pre-Veterinary major from Miami, Oklahoma. While at NEO, Carter was active across campus, especially within the Agriculture Department. Carter was a member of the Aggie Society, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Phi Theta Kappa, and served as an Agricultural Ambassador. He was also a member and graduate of the NEO Honors Program. Carter dedicated his time to his studies and also dedicates his time to serving others.


Cole Dixon is a Pre-Engineering major hailing from Wyandotte, Oklahoma. Cole has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his time at NEO and earned recognition on the President’s Honors Roll. He has been active in his community, serving at the Loaves and Fishes food pantry and volunteering at multiple animal shelters. Cole also provides additional support to his peers through his position as a student tutor in the NEO Tutoring Center.


Abby Ishmael is a Pre-Elementary Education major from Miami, Oklahoma. She is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa and the NEO Honors Program. Abby is also on the Lady Norse Softball Team. Her dedication to achieving academic success earned her recognition as a Second Team All-American. Abby strives to lead by example not only for her teammates, but across campus.


Patryk Kulawik is a Business Administration major hailing from Sosnowiec, Poland. Patryk is an active member of the NEO Honors Program and specifically, the first European and non-English native speaker of the program. Through his participation in this program, Patryk has volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club, serving as a positive role model for these children while also helping with their largest annual fundraiser.


Katie Richards is an Agriculture Business major from Adams, Oklahoma. She has earned continual recognition on the President’s Honor Roll and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa last spring. Katie is heavily involved in Collegiate Farm Bureau on campus and through her involvement, served as NEO’s representative at the State Farm Bureau Convention and Farm Bureau Leadership Conference.


Hannah Shasserre is a Pre-Engineering major from St. James, Missouri. Her commitment to academic excellence earned her recognition on the President’s Honor Roll and an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa. Hannah earned the Cream of the Crop Award from the NEO Agriculture Department for her leadership and involvement throughout her freshmen year. She also shines as a leader on NEO’s Horse Judging Team and Equestrian Club.


Holly Silvey is an Agriculture Education major from Bend, Oregon. Holly has been recognized on the President’s Honor Roll and received the Cream of the Crop Award from the NEO Agriculture Department for her commitment to academics and leadership. Holly is an active member of the NEO Honors Program. Holly is the NEO Student Body Government President, and is devoted to serving others, whether with an organization or simply supporting a friend.


Jayden Smith is a Natural Sciences major from El Centro, California. He is a member of the NEO Wrestling Team and has been named an Academic All American. Jayden is supportive of his fellow collegiate athletes; he regularly attends and works at NEO Football Games, serving in multiple capacities. He strives to be a positive role model by exemplifying a work ethic marked by persistence and positivity.


Jacob Wallace is a Business Administration major who currently resides in Grove, Oklahoma with his wife and two children. Jacob was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa his freshman year and has also been active in Phi Beta Lambda, where he served as Vice President. He was a member of the NEO Love’s Cup Entrepreneurship Team and operated as their Chief Financial Officer. Through this organization, he received the Greg Main Distinguished Scholarship Award.

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