Shippensburg University senior Bradley Foreman is the 2018 winner of the Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence from Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.
Foreman, a physics major with minors in biology, chemistry, mathematics, French, Spanish and military science, received a $1,000 cash prize for winning the award. The Board of Governors recognized his accomplishments at a recent meeting. He expects to graduate in May and has a current overall GPA of 3.8, and has made the Dean’s List every semester since his freshman year.
“I was very surprised to find out I had won the award,” Foreman wrote in an email to the media. “I had a little advance warning, because I had to write a personal essay after they notified me I would be Shippensburg’s nominee. Still, a few months passed, and I just assumed I had heard the last of it. When I received the email notification, I was ecstatic.
Although the award recognizes individual academic achievement, I think it’s really more of a reflection on the faculty, staff, administrators, cadre and other students who have been there along the way. Without a community of people all dedicated to mutual success and understanding, opportunities like this wouldn’t exist.”
Failure is not an option
Foreman’s academic journey has not been an easy one, but the Apollo 13 sweatshirt he wears for every major exam and the quote it bears “failure is not an option,” perfectly embodies his journey.
Foreman graduated from high school at the age of 16 and set off to college in Seattle. Unsuccessful at this first attempt at college, he joined the Maryland Army National Guard and served as a Blackhawk helicopter repair specialist.
Eventually convinced by his brother to give college another shot, Foreman applied to Shippensburg University. Knowing his grades from his past attempts would not appeal to Ship, he put great effort into his application essay and soon found a home at Ship.
Foreman interned for two summers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in California. As a research intern during his first summer there, he worked with NASA scientists on experiments relating to the effect of microgravity on biological processes. Last summer, he served as the center’s deputy director of military programs. During that time, he oversaw processing, met administrative needs and provided mentorship for all military program interns. He also spent part of last summer studying in France.
Hoping to land a career in the astronautical industry, he translated “The Astronaut Instruction Manual,” a pre-teen book, into Spanish to help expand the impact of underrepresented communities in the space industry.
Among his other activities, Foreman served as a volunteer coordinator for a candidate for Seattle City Council and worked as a cook, janitor and teacher at El Rancho San Juan Bosco, an orphanage housing 50 boys in Tecate, Mexico.
Foreman started the first Spanish program on the university’s student radio station, WSYC-88.7. He reported current events relating to Latino culture, including politics, sports and entertainment. He also worked as the web editor for the campus newspaper, The Slate. His passion for academics and service at Ship is rivaled only by his commitment to helping raise his daughter.
In May, after four years as an ROTC cadet, Foreman will be commissioned a second lieutenant in the military intelligence branch.
The Ali-Zaidi Award
The Ali-Zaidi Award is presented annually to a graduating senior at one of the 14 State System universities. It recognizes outstanding academic achievement and participation in extra- and co-curricular activities. This is the 18th year for the award, which was established in 2001 by Syed R. Ali-Zaidi, a founding member of the State System’s Board of Governors.
Each of the 14 university presidents recommends a candidate for the award at the conclusion of a campus application and selection process. Selection criteria comprise academic scholarship, including prizes, honors and membership in honorary societies; participation in extra/co-curricular activities; and a two-page essay by the nominee addressing how the university has prepared him or her for the next career step.
“The Ali-Zaidi award gives us the opportunity each year to recognize students who excel in every area of campus life, both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia D. Shapira. “The winners of this award not only are outstanding students, but also are outstanding citizens, contributing to their communities in very meaningful ways. They are – Bradley is – a winner in every sense of the word.”
Finalists for this year’s Ali-Zaidi Award were: Emily Haney of Danville, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Ellen Mari Boyle of Greensburg, California University of Pennsylvania; Anitra Jackson of Boothwyn, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania; Jacob Beckey of New Brighton, Clarion University of Pennsylvania; Leah Morrison of Erie, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania; Carmela Battista of East Stroudsburg, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer Brand of Murrysville, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Sara Wingert of Lehighton, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania; Scott Shreiber of New Cumberland, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania; Richard Pollock of Dalton, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer Houtz of Millersville, Millersville University of Pennsylvania; Grascen Shidemantle of Slippery Rock, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania; and Sara Nyholm of Huntingdon Valley, West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Each of the finalists received a certificate in recognition of his or her accomplishment.
Image caption: Shippensburg University senior Bradley Foreman, third from left, was recently named the winner of the 2018 Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence. Pictured, from left, are: Harold Shields of Edinboro University; Dr. Karen Whitney, interim chancellor of the State System; Foreman; Lt. Col. Chris Morton, military science professor at SU; Dr. Laurie Carter, president of SU; and David Maser of the PASSHE Board.