Nina Gilshteyn - 2020 recipient
"I am so thankful to have received the Tip of the Hat Award because it reminds me that personality and effort really does matter. Sometimes this world seems so goal and task oriented that we lose sight of what really matters...our decorative values, and our character. I typically try to break the illusion among my peers even though I look so weird and "extra,". Even when I'm surrounded by people who don't want to understand me or don't want to be my friend, I volitionally avoid being compelled by these types of limiting societal norms. Reflecting on the past, I was often unwelcomed by various students throughout my academic career. There were students who body shamed me, teased me, excluded me, didn't vote for me for class president, etc… but Mortar Board was a society that really brought forth a new chapter of my life. For the first time I felt like my ideas were valued and I was a cherished person. I encountered such cool people who resonated with my frequency during such an unloving and difficult time during my undergraduate experience; in other words, I felt so alone, and I saw myself as a subordinate bruin until I the met some like minded peers within the Agathai Chapter of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. This award has greatly solidified a new belief of self worth, and incinerated an old belief of self hate. I wouldn't let my personality acclimate and I think that's what helped me succeed in elucidating the reality, ultimately saving the colors and decorative values of some of my closest peers. Thank you to everyone for being you, since that's the best thing you can do."