The Regina Russo Hammel ’41 Recent Graduate Award honors a recent graduate, not more than 10 years ago, who has exhibited professional achievement and/or contributions to community life and who had demonstrated loyalty to the University.

In 1999, The Regina Hammel ’41 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award was created by Gary and Laura Hammel Dicovitsky in honor of Mrs. Dicovitsky’s mother.

2019 Award Winner

Queenstar Akrong '14 stands next to President Marylou Yam to receive her alumnae award.
Queenstar Akrong '14

Queenstar Akrong graduated from the Women’s College with a degree in political science.  Throughout her four years, Queenstar was a highly active student leader.  She tutored at My Sister’s Academy, received the student government association outstanding student leader award, was the student ambassador keynote speaker, vice president, Phi Sigma Tau Honor Society and student ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the status of women, as well as student representative to the Board of Trustees.

After graduation Queenstar continued in her leadership roles with a passion for education and the empowerment of women and girls. She started in Washington, D.C. working with Running Start to bring young women to politics.  Then worked with the United States House of Representatives preparing materials for office staff which led her to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Since 2015, Queenstar has worked at The College Board.  She currently serves as Associate Director of Partner Mobilization where she connects low-income students to scholarship offerings with the goal of increasing access to college affordability for all students.

Throughout Queenstar’s student years and in five years since graduation, she has exhibited both professional achievement and contributions to community life.  While advancing in her career, Queenstar has continued to volunteer for the National Community Church and Upward Bound.

In Queenstar’s words, “The best thing about Notre Dame is the close-knit community and the common thread of service that holds us together. Stay involved and know that being an active member of this community means you will always have a supportive community propelling you forward.” 

Past Winners
Year Winner
1999 Milda Motekaitis DeVoe ’90
2000 Theresa Giardina Wiseman ’90
2001 Theresa O’Keefe Armiger ’90, M’98
2002 Wendy Tribaldos – DePuy ’92
2003 Marianna Russell C’94
2004 Elizabeth Higgins Frost ’97
2005 Colleen Manley Sisolak ’96
2006 Roxanne Gladden Miller W’99
2007 Michelle Lizardo Kuntz ’97
2008 Veronique Gugliucciello ’98
2009 Julie Kline Rybczynski ’99
2010 Christina Hood Gray ’00, M’01
2011 Pamela Walters ’01, M’03
2012 La Vida Cooper ’03
2013 Lorna K. Hanley M'06
2014 Lauren Ackerman '08
2015 Nicole Kotulak '09 Ph.D.
2016 Monique L. Turner '03, PharmD. '15
2017 Lori Anderson Pollack '08
2018 Erin Smyth Tielsch '09