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CU Nominates Patricia Bell for 2014 Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence

January 18, 2014

Keystone Senior Patricia Bell has been named as Cheyney University’s nominee for the 2014 Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence

Keystone Senior Patricia Bell has been named as Cheyney University’s nominee for the 2014 Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence

Congratulations to Keystone Honors Academy (KHA) Senior Patricia Bell on her selection as Cheyney University’s nominee for the 2014 Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence. The highly coveted Ali-Zaidi award, presented annually to a graduating senior at one of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, recognizes exceptional achievements in academics and participation in extra- and co-curricular activities. It was established by Syed R. Ali-Zaidi, a founding member of the PASSHE Board of Governors.

Bell, a Trevose, PA native, Neshaminy High School graduate and first-generation college student, applied to Cheyney University because she wanted to attend one of the HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). She was accepted and offered a prestigious KHA scholarship and she's been excelling ever since, carrying a psychology-social relations dual major with a concentration in sociology. The 21-year-old has accrued an impressive set of academic and pre-professional credentials during her tenure at Cheyney University, earning her several honors and distinctions.

"She is a brilliant young woman who has never had the favor of excessive privileges, said Cheyney University President Michelle R. Howard-Vital. "She has achieved by relying on her own talents, drive and abilities, and she has done so with tremendous grace."

An industrious student, Bell has conducted research during the summer under the direction of Dr. Vincent Miles and presented her work at socological and HTA (Humanities and Technology Association) national technology conferences. She and CU senior Julienne Lewis have also collaborated on research projects and are currently working on research entitled Racial Identity and Sense of Belonging Among African Americans Attending HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) which they expect to present sometime this spring. The pair administered surveys to Cheyney University students last semester as part of their research.

To enrich her college experience, Bell applied for an internship with THIS (The Harrisburg Internship Semester) and was accepted for a Spring 2014 internship position in the office of Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Hughes. She will earn 15 credits by working in the senator's office full-time for the entire spring semester and participating in weekly seminars. As a result, she will spend her final sememster working and living in the state capital.

"I'm really excited and nervous," she admits. "I have an apartment there and it's the first time I'll actually be living by myself. The internship is an amazing opportunity." She expects the internship to be a productive experience and can even envision herself going into a career focused on advocacy or policy.

Cited by professors and peers as possessing exceptional analytical ability and professional drive, Bell has pursued leadership development experiences through participation in workshops and conferences and is even certified in conflict resolution.

On Cheyney's campus, Bell serves as the President of Psi Chi, the national honorary society in psychology. She has also served as treasurer and vice president of her class, and is a student ambassador to the Cheyney University Middle States Steering Committee. In addition, she has helped plan campus-wide community service projects for Keystone.

Recipients of the Ali-Zaidi Award receive a medallion and $1,000. The winner will be announced in the spring.