CBU Lasallian Fellows
Each year, five senior students are selected for the distinction of CBU Lasallian Fellow because they embody the values set forth by CBU’s founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. These awards are presented based upon the reflection of Lasallian values in their scholarship, leadership and service. Students are nominated by CBU faculty and staff because of their commitment to the underserved, their sensitivity to social and community needs, the active nature of their faith, and the difference they make in the world.
The CBU Lasallian Fellowships are made possible through the generosity of CBU Trustee Emerita Joyce A. Mollerup and her husband, Trustee Robert (Bob) Buckman.
CBU Lasallian Fellows Class of 2021
MADISON T. BICKERSTAFF
(English for Corporate Communications ’21)
Maddie Bickerstaff lives out our Lasallian Principles as she creates space for everyone to have a chance, everyone to be seen, and everyone to feel appreciated. She has displayed consistent service to CBU over the course of her collegiate career, including her roles as an RA in Residence Life, chapter president of Alpha Xi Delta, a CARL and a First-Year Leader, a September of Service Leader, and a member of the Honors Program Board of Directors. From the Honors Program, to Greek Life, to the LGBTQ community, and beyond, she has also engaged in building a network of inclusivity. Her service has previously led to being awarded the CBU Spirit Award in 2019 and Greek Woman of the Year in 2020. She also takes a very strong and consistent approach to her academics. As an Honors student, she has gone above and beyond to present research at conferences, volunteer as a leader on the Honors student programing board, and continued to serve as a mentor to younger Honors students who are in need of guidance. This approach will serve her well, as she currently plans a career in higher education. In all that she does, Maddie clings to the promise that she is a work in progress being refined and shaped by God, a perspective that we can all learn from.
RICARDO ROCHA GONZALEZ
Ricardo Rocha Gonzalez is known as a great team player with a strong work ethic. He is incredibly respected by his peers and volunteers much of his time to serve his community — and does so in a manner that everyone around him follows his lead to also serve others. He’s gone so far as teaching himself English so that he could better engage with those around him. It may come as a surprise to many at CBU that English is not his first language, as he has been asked on multiple occasions to represent CBU by speaking with the Board of Trustees, and even on the national news. Ricardo has served on the Student Activities Council and is a member of the Student Government Association Executive Board where he serves as the Vice President of Finance and has created a funding process that is more equitable for all student organizations, especially those organizations that may be new or have fewer members. Humility, empathy, grace, and mercy are all words that have been used to describe this young man. He possesses a great faith in others and in God, understanding that by loving others, he is reminded that he himself is loved by God — a way of living our faith that we can all learn from.
THAO ANH LA
Thao La also has experience being of service in multiple languages, as she serves as the family translator and the voice of her parents who are immigrants and do not speak English. She has brought this spirit of service to campus, serving as an Honors Leader, Philanthropy Chair for Tri-Beta, a CARL and First-Year Leader, a President’s Ambassador, and a September of Service Leader. She began her leadership early when she was selected as a freshman for the Endeavor Program. In her project, she and her team created 24 pop-up flower beds by planting flowers in 5-gallon buckets and planting them around campus to bring attention to the need for sustainable environmental practices. For this year’s SOS programs, Thao planned an educational event titled “Child and Family Services in the Era of COVID-19 Era,” where she developed critical questions related to childhood poverty and access to equitable education that guided the conversation with speakers from Catholic Charities and Whole Child Strategies, ensuring that CBU participants had the opportunity to appreciate the work of these organizations and some of the underlying causes of socioeconomic inequity. Similarly, she has demonstrated the core Lasallian principle of “Concern for the Poor and Social Justice” by co-founding Nerds4Needs, a program giving Honors students an avenue for monthly service. For her many efforts, she was recognized last year as CBU’s Outstanding Community Servant.
(Mathematics, Physics, Engineering Physics ’21)
Donal Newsome has played an integral role in helping promote the Lasallian values of faith, service, and community – simply by how he lives his life. Interestingly, he comes from a background in which he was not familiar with the Lasallian or Catholic identity of CBU, yet he has certainly found a home here and come to exemplify what it means to be Lasallian. As a leader on this campus, Donal interacts with students of “all faiths and backgrounds” to make sure others feel they belong, they are heard, and they are appreciated. He has served as a team director of CBU’s Koinonia retreat, where his leadership skills were clearly displayed, and he helped the retreatants discover and rise above life’s challenges. He is often described as an “includer” – a trait that extends to his academic work where he has thrived. But he hasn’t kept that success to himself as he has served as a mentor and tutor in multiple fields to help as many students as possible. Donal has also been active in the Society of Physics Students, serving as Vice President; the CBU chapter of the Mathematical Association of America, serving as Secretary; and the Library Student Advisory Board — all on top of holding down a part-time job to help pay for his own education!
Caleb Parrish has a heart that follows Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Spending much time in humble service, Caleb takes a genuine interest in others and demonstrates his strong faith in God through his every action. Although he is a Biochemistry major, he will also receive a minor in Religious Studies, because he wanted to deepen his faith intellectually. Although a modest person, he is a leader on campus, serving as a Resident Assistant, the sacristan for Stritch Chapel, a Peer Tutor in Chemistry, an active member of the Honors Program and Tri-Beta. He has served as president of the Student Members of the American Chemical Society (wherein he also served as Earth Day Chair) and the CBU Catholic Student Association. In addition, he is one of the founders of CBU’s Koinonia retreats and has led two of them. In the midst of his academic work and involvement in campus organizations, Caleb has served as a professional caregiver for an individual with cerebral palsy, and on top of that, he is custodian at the Cathedral of St. Andrew. These experiences should serve him well as his future plans are to become a medical doctor for all the right reasons, including a true desire to help others and alleviate some of the pain and suffering in the world. Described as “a person of the highest integrity,” one nominator wrote, “I believe his faith in the presence of God is an intrinsic characteristic of the way he lives his life.”