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Published on April 24, 2019

Eastern Seniors Win Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Awards

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Barnard Scholars Haley Knox ’19 and Jacob Dayton ’19 pose with Eastern President Elsa Nunez. 
Eastern Connecticut State University students Haley Knox ’19 of Bristol and Jacob Dayton ’19 of Bolton have been named recipients of the 2019 Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award. The 31st annual Henry Barnard Awards Banquet, held on April 23 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT, recognized 12 outstanding undergraduates from Connecticut’s four state universities – Central, Eastern, Southern and Western.

The Barnard Awards program is the premier academic recognition event of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System (CSCU) and is sponsored by the CSCU Foundation. To be considered for a Barnard Award, a student must have at least a 3.7 GPA and a record of significant community service. Students are nominated by their university and its president.

Knox, who majors in mathematics, is a notable scholar with a strong leadership presence on campus. She is president of the math club, in addition to tutoring Eastern and high school students. A cross-country and track athlete, Knox holds three university track records and has been recognized as All-Conference and All-New England. Her community service ranges from volunteering at road races to participating in the Eastern Poverty Awareness Marathon.

Knox was one of 10 students to attend a research program at Iowa State University, later presenting her work at an international conference. She is a published poet and is looking forward to the “Creative Writing Abroad” global field course this summer in Florence, Italy. She comes from a large family and loves to run and hike with her mother. She has been successful in her internship at Cigna, where she will begin a full-time position as a big data software engineer after graduation.

Dayton, who majors in biology, has worked alongside Professor Patricia Szczys studying genetics since his freshman year at Eastern. He has earned a number of awards to support his research, which ranges from the evolution of bird populations to the genomics of breast cancer. Dayton has presented at conferences in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and New York. Last year, he was one of 200 students in the country, and the only person from Connecticut, to receive the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship.

Dayton completed an internship at the Jackson Laboratory in summer 2018 and was published in a national journal. Dayton is the youngest of four brothers, and his father is an engineer while his mother teaches middle school science. He recalls his days in elementary school, when he would go to school early to help his mother set up labs, fueling his passion for science. This fall, he will enter the biology PhD program at Tufts University.

Hartford native Henry Barnard was a principal force in creating the American public school system in the 19th century, serving in the Connecticut General Assembly before becoming superintendent of schools in Connecticut and principal of the New Britain Normal School in 1850. He became the first U.S. commissioner of education in 1867.

Written by Jordan Corey

Categories: Mathematics, Biology