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Every year, the Gwynedd Mercy University Alumni Association and the Office of Alumni Relations acknowledges graduates who exemplify the spirit of GMercyU with the Annual Alumni Association Awards. This year, Maria Ann Hua Sansom and Christine Brown will be awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate and Outstanding Graduate Student Awards, respectively. Congratulations to these two incredible women who will surely continue to embrace the spirit of their alma mater after graduation.
Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award - Maria Ann Hua Sansom, BSN ‘19
The Alumni Association chose Maria Ann Hua Sansom as this year's Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award recipient. Maria will be graduating with her bachelor's degree in nursing and is the type of student for whom service and scholarship go hand in hand. She is someone for whom service is a way of life.
While at GMercyU, Maria was an active member on campus, specifically with Campus Ministry. She also was actively involved in service, which included both the annual Nursing Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic and Alternative Spring Break trips. During her ASB trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, Maria and her group volunteered at Bethany House, an emergency shelter for women and children, where Maria was struck by the plight of the families she encountered.
Upon her return to campus, Maria established Baby Bundles, a program that provides impoverished expectant mothers with items for their newborns. Embracing our core value of Respect for the Dignity of Each Person, Maria ensures that not only are mothers receiving the necessities that so many take for granted, but that the “bundles” are packaged and presented beautifully. She insists that just because someone might be poor, it doesn’t mean that this new life shouldn’t be celebrated with joy and honor.
The amount of Baby Bundles Maria has created and the lives she has touched is impossible to count. She has even transformed a room in her house into a mini-warehouse and has recruited family, friends, and fellow Griffins as volunteers. She has truly followed in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley, who met needs in very practical, yet caring and meaningful, ways.
Outstanding Graduate Student Award - Christine Brown, EdD ‘19
Christine Brown was selected by the Alumni Association as this year’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award recipient and will be graduating with a doctorate in educational leadership with a concentration in PK-12 Schools and School Districts. Better known as Christy, she is a true leader in Mercy and embodies the spirit of Gwynedd Mercy University. She is currently the Deputy Superintendent at The Carol Morgan School in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Christy has been an extraordinary leader in the early language movement in the United States. She was the chair of the National Foreign Language Standards Project, which developed the original national standards for foreign language in 1996. This task force was responsible for the standards being written based on beginning early language study in the lower grades as opposed to secondary level at a time where not everyone believed in the importance of beginning foreign language study at the elementary level.
Christy’s work in Glastonbury, Connecticut has also had a strong impact on the field as the longest running K-12 articulated language program in the United States. She has served on countless task forces, committees, and boards in leadership roles, including the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the National Network for Early Language Learning.
This past February, Christy was awarded the Keith Miller Award for Innovative Leadership from the Association for the Advancement of International Education. Christy’s efforts, along with other members of the International Taskforce on Child Protection, have raised the profile of child protection and challenged accepted practices, making schools safer places for children.