College News: KU awards Chambliss Academic Achievement

Kutztown University

Brooke Ann Coco of Topton received the Gold Chambliss Academic Achievement at Kutztown University in the categories of successfully completed research projects and artistic performances of high quality. Coco, an anthropology and music major, graduated in December 2013.

While at KU, she conducted original research for two separate projects, and presented the results at four difference conferences. Most recently, her research on “Beating the Odds: An Ethnography of Women in Percussion,” was presented at the 2013 American Anthropological Association annual meeting in Chicago. Additionally, she is the recipient of the PASSHE Anthropology Undergraduate Research Conference Outstanding Student Paper Award for “Depression: A Disordered Interpretation,” and has presented her research on cross-cultural perspectives regarding depression at the PASSHE Philosophy and Religious Studies Conference and the Undergraduate Conference on Research and Creative Expression. Last year, Brooke Ann was one of two honor students selected to represent KU in PASSHE’s 2013 Summer Study Abroad Honors program. She has performed music compositions around the world, including in Croatia at the invitation-only 2010 International Percussion Ensemble Week. Within the community, Coco has volunteered with the Reading Music Foundation, the Friend, Inc. and worked at the Kutztown Pennsylvania German Folk Festival. On campus, she has worked for KU Housing and Residential Services and the Office of Conference Services, and served in leadership positions ranging from treasurer to president in the student percussion organization. In the future, Coco plans to attend graduate school.

Troy Spier of Fleetwood received the Gold Chambliss Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the categories of successfully completed research projects and original writing in literature or meritorious writing in other fields. Spier is a secondary education-English major graduating this May.

While still in high school, Troy taught himself the grammar of Ekegusii, a Bantu language of Kenya. His love of linguistics carried over into college, where he is currently working with Dr. Christine Saidi on an independent study of Bantu linguistics and the use of historical linguistics. In November 2012, he presented “Final Vowel Elision in Ekegusii: An Experimental Study,” at the Language and Linguistics student conference, and in 2013 presented “Addressing Lynching Historically through African-American Literature” at the 9th Annual Social Research Social Justice Conference at Muhlenberg College. The Social Research Social Justice Journal selected Troy’s paper to appear in their online publication. Troy is a finalist for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and is currently awaiting news on his placement. Along with his academic achievements, he is active on campus and within the community. Troy serves as a tutor at the KU Writing Center, is a member of the Oley Valley School District Strategic Planning Committee and has served as a community volunteer for the Oley Valley Community Library Committee. In the future, Troy plans to attend graduate school in linguistics, and has received a fully-funded admission offer to attend Tulane University’s Ph.D. program.


Chloe Jackson of Mertztown received the Silver Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award at Kutztown University. Jackson is a fine arts major with a minor in art history. She earned her bachelor’s degree in December 2013.

Chloe is receiving a Silver Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award 2014 in the categories of successfully completed research projects, original artwork of high quality and outstanding service to the KU community. In fall 2013, she presented a paper entitled “Church Architecture of the Sixteenth Century Conversion Efforts in News Spain” at the Southeastern College Art Association’s annual conference in Durham, N.C. Chloe was awarded a Neag Undergraduate Research Grant for her travel to the conference, and will be honored with the Art History Award in spring 2014.

As a requirement for her minor in art history, Chloe sought and won a competitive internship at the Allentown Art Museum, where she worked for the museum’s curator, and assisted with the research and writing of didactic panels for the exhibition “Paul Harryn: Essence of Nature.” As a result of the work conducted during her internship, Chloe was hired as a research assistant for an exhibition catalogue the Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery is publishing in honor of KU’s sesquicentennial celebration. Chloe has been featured as an emerging artist by the Red Raven Art Company in Lancaster, and her work has been shown throughout campus, as well as at the Dixon Center in Harrisburg, and on On campus, Chloe has served the KU arts community by working as an assistant for the art gallery. In the future, Chloe plans to pursue a career as a painter or art historian.

Faculty members nominate students after they have met one or more of the six areas of achievement: successfully completed research projects, original artwork of high quality, artistic performances (music, chorus, drama, etc.) of high quality, original writing in literature or meritorious writing in other fields, noteworthy athletics, and outstanding service to the KU community.

The Academic Achievement Award was established through a donation provided by Chambliss, KU faculty member from 1970-2003. The purpose is to recognize the exceptional individual achievements of a select group of KU graduating seniors. Specially designed coin medallions of gold, silver and copper were presented to the students.