College of Social Science Celebrates 2022 Achievement Gala winners

May 2, 2022 - Anna Lionas

Psychology student Sam Barans, Psychology senior Jenny Vu and Psychology junior Belle Hoke have been announced as the 2021 winners of the College of Social Science Achievement Gala. 

The CSS Achievement Gala was founded in 2015 by former students Micaela Procopio and Leigh Rauk for the purpose of recognizing students who might not otherwise be acknowledged. The gala offers three awards: the humanitarian award, the outstanding leadership award, and the undergraduate research award. 

Sam BaransUndergraduate Research Award Winner: Sam Barans

The Undergraduate Research Award acknowledges students whose research demonstrates a drive and passion for furthering research in the social science field.

Sam Barans is from Cincinnati, Ohio. Barans is a senior majoring in Psychology and Mathematics with a minor in Quantitative Data Analytics. Sam is also active in many clubs at MSU including Tower Guard, Social Science Scholars program, MSU Outdoors Club, and Adaptive Recreation Sports.

Barans’ work in the MSU Personality and Well Being Lab focuses on measuring awe to analyze the post popularly used self-report measures in the field of emotions research. His work alongside Dr. Richard Lucas has identified commonly used measurements of awe to identify inconsistencies between studies, evaluate the reliability of each measure, and evaluate the validity of each measure.

Barans plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology after Graduation.

“I am beyond honored to be chosen for the College of Social Sciences Undergraduate Research Award. This academic year has seen a renaissance in Social Sciences research at Michigan State University, and it has been a privilege to not only witness this but be a part of it.”

Belle HokeHumanitarian Award Winner: Belle Hoke

The Humanitarian Award recognizes a student who provides support, aid and action designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain and protect human dignity on a local, national or global level.

Belle Hoke is majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience with a minor in LGBTQ studies. Hoke was a founding member of MSU’s Mental Illness Association as well as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Trans-ilience lab under Dr. Jae Puckett. Hoke is a committed crisis counselor who is making a journey of growth to heal themself and others.

After graduating Hoke plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Sexual Health and Gender Identity. They hope to con conduct research with gender and sexual minority folks improving health interventions and outcomes for the respective communities.

“I am beyond honored and grateful to be recognized among so many passionate students for my work. All I can say is thank you, and I hope to continue to exemplify the humanitarian goals of the College.

Jenny VuOutstanding Leadership Award Winner: Jenny Vu

Students who demonstrate initiative and leadership towards their peers or within the community. This leadership position should make a positive impact on either the student’s personal, professional, or academic environment, or the community as a whole. 

Jenny Vu is majoring in Psychology with minors in Entrepreneurship and Cognitive Science. Vu is the Co-President of the Vietnamese Culture Union, a club which she co-founded.

In her time at Michigan State Vu has been very active as Resident Hall Association’s dorm representative and in the RHA committee of internal affairs. She has also been tutoring at Edgewood Village Center for 4 years. Vu also is active in TRiO where she mentors first generation/low income students. Vu is currently working on a food app called KrumSwap that allows users to connect with each other in person through restaurants.

After graduation Vu plans to get her masters in Human Computer Interaction at DePaul University. She hopes to better understand how we interact with computers so she can design better ideas and programs that fit users needs.

“I am full of joy receiving this award because I love being able to give back to MSU and represent MSU as the best I can and also allow other people around me to grow with me. I love my field and the path that I am going through, so I am definitely very honored to receive this award.”