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Salem Announces Oesterlein Award

Salem College Senior Samantha Cortez Selman received the Elisabeth Oesterlein Award the schools highest honor for a member of the graduating class during recent Founders Day ceremonies held on Friday, April 17. The Oesterlein Award is named in honor of Salems first teacher when it was founded as a school...

Salem College Senior Samantha Cortez Selman received the Elisabeth Oesterlein Award — the school’s highest honor for a member of the graduating class — during recent Founders Day ceremonies held on Friday, April 17.

The Oesterlein Award is named in honor of Salem’s first teacher when it was founded as a school for girls in 1772. Candidates are nominated by members of the entire Salem community – faculty, staff and fellow students – and each nominee must compete against other truly outstanding seniors. Among the criteria are: attend Salem all four years of college; make a notable contribution to the quality of life at Salem and exemplify quality leadership; and be conscientious and diligent in the pursuit of academic excellence, attaining at least a 3.0 average overall.

Selman, who is majoring in English and creative writing, has a GPA of 3.771. While at Salem she has been active in numerous campus projects and organizations. During her freshman year she was named to Alpha Lambda Delta, the first-year honor society and was an active member of Open Up. During her sophomore years she was on the staff of The Salemite and Incunabula, the College publications; was a member of the international, German and HOLA clubs; and received the Jess Byrd Merit Scholarship, awarded to one rising junior who demonstrates excellence in the field of English.

During her junior year she became editor of Incunabula, the literary magazine; was president of SAM (Student Activist Movement); served as vice president of Salem’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society; was metro editor of The Salemite; received the Junior Spirit Award; and was selected to present her paper on the Honors panel during the College’s first annual Celebration of Academic Excellence.

During all four years, Selman was active in the College’s annual performance of the Vagina Monologues, becoming the co-organizer during her senior year. Also while a senior, she was editor-in-chief of Incunabula; represented Salem College at the Sigma Tau Delta International convention; was a member of House Council representing Bitting Dorm; and was named to both Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, and Mortar Board, the national honor society for seniors.

Selman has been known on the Salem campus for organizing and leading innovative student projects, including organizing and hosting “Speak Out!” a night of spoken word, performance and slam poetry. The evening’s performances will be included as a CD and given with the first 100 copies this spring of the College literary magazine, Incunabula.