Mission Day 2020
This year, Saint Xavier University will celebrate Mission Day on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
The day provides an opportunity to celebrate the year's winners of the University's Mission Day Awards.
Mission Day highlights the University's educational mission and focuses on one of the key goals of a Saint Xavier education -- "to educate men and women ... to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good."
Mission Day is coordinated by the Office for Mission and Heritage.
Congratulations to the Mission Day Award Winners of 2020!
Alyssa Aurelio is a senior II nursing student within the honors program and the acting president of the Student Nurses Association (SNA). Soon, she will be inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing for both her leadership and academic excellence.
As the president of SNA, Aurelio has led multiple fundraisers to support women and children as well as the environment, which are part of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy. Her latest organizational activity was working with local area shelters.
Aurelio also led the charge of getting the Red Cross on Campus to better serve the SXU and surrounding communities. She has gone above and beyond, assisting when called upon as a simulation lab ambassador for open house days as well as for the Nursing Boot Camps. She selflessly assisted the whole day to ensure that the camps remained on time and assisted with clean up and set up for the following day.
Aurelio demonstrates servant leadership and has been an active participant in many of the service projects on campus, from volunteering at the health fairs, blood drives and committing time to be a board member for the SNA. She has participated in blanket-making for kids in the hospital and participated in donation drives. She has assisted at homeless shelters and on-campus activities such as student visit days in which she represented both the SONHS and SNA.
Aurelio has been a pivotal role model for her peers and newer nursing students. Beyond SXU, she participates with her family and friends at her own church in various activities that benefit her local community. She is an inspiration and will excel as a nurse and leader.
Bindhu Alappat, Ph.D.
Dr. Bindhu Alappat, associate professor and chair of the Chemistry Department, also serves as vice president of Faculty Senate and co-chair of the Strive 2025 strategic plan.
As chair of the Chemistry Department, Dr. Alappat works with her colleagues to ensure that their curriculum is not only current, but is also free from obstacles that would otherwise prevent students from pursuing a Chemistry major.
When Dr. Alappat arrived at SXU, Chemistry 111, which is required for Chemistry majors, had a pass rate of only 67 percent. After reviewing how the course was taught, Dr. Alappat and her colleague's efforts to embed tutors and offer hands-on remediation resulted in an increased pass rate of 83 percent. Rather than having students view Chemistry 111 as a gateway course that closes the door to learning, Dr. Alappat and her colleagues redesigned it so that it will put into practice its value as a foundational course to the major.
In 2018, Dr. Alappat was part of securing a National Science Foundation grant of $1.46 million to support underserved students pursuing a career in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Her commitment to fairness and integrity shines in her University leadership, finding ways to be inclusive and focus on the importance of creating an environment that serves our students well.
Lisa Lyons is the founder of the Emerging Scholars Mentoring Program, the co-chair of the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative (ILEA) and the coordinator of the Rebound Academic Recovery Program. She has also served on Staff Council and participates in many University events, always with boundless energy and a smile.
Currently serving as an advisor to the Black Student Union, and one of the organizers of this year's Black History Month's events, Lyons is also one of the founders and coordinators of the African-American Achievement Awards. Her continuous support to enhancing SXU's appreciation for the rich heritage of African-American culture has expanded.
Lyon's research and changes to academic recovery programs have made a positive effect on first-year retention. The Emerging Scholars Mentoring Program extends the vision of the S.T.R.O.N.G. Program to bring together African-American students with mentors focusing on community, professional, educational, and social leadership and service. Bringing together staff and faculty from across campus, they have recruited over 60 students who meet weekly with their mentors, as well
as with the full group, to outline ways that might contribute to the greater good of the SXU community. After one semester of work, the students have thrived academically with three earning a 4.0 GPA, 30 between a 3.0 and 3.9 GPA, and 25 between a 2.0 and 2.9 GPA.
As a highly respected staff member and alum, Lyons has recruited mentors and advisory board members from faculty, staff, alumni and the community. She has also recruited peer mentors and instructors for the Rebound Program, encouraging others to be involved in making SXU a better place to work and study.
Lyons is also a wonderful role model for service. She is active in her church, her sorority, the Illinois Elementary School Association, the Illinois High School Association, the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Chicago and the Black Star Mentoring Project. In addition, she has engaged many staff members to support the
many programs in which she serves. Examples include a food drive, a back-to-school event collecting backpacks and school supplies, a toy drive and sponsorship of a student-in-need to attend prom. Due to her service record, Lyons was the recipient of the 40 Under 40 Young Women's Professional Award.
What is most telling throughout each example is the extent to which Lisa gives from and with her heart. When students have encountered financial difficulties impacting their transportation to and from campus, she steps in, reaching into her own wallet to help them. When students believe that college is not for them, she intervenes and helps them re-imagine this false self-image. When students need an academic advisor who encourages and pushes, they always ask for Lisa Lyons.