Maria Marzullo ’21 received the Dr. Christopher C. Joyner Memorial Award for Academic Excellence while studying with the Lutheran College Washington Semester (LCWS) Program in the fall of 2020.

“The Joyner Award demonstrates how respected Maria was by her faculty and peers,” said James Old, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science and international relations and advisor to LCWS. “We are honored to have a Valpo student demonstrate academic leadership in a program like LCWS.”

The Joyner Award recognizes students who excel academically, demonstrate an inquisitive nature in their studies and are committed to learning in all aspects of their life. Marzullo’s peers and professors noted she was a discussion leader who was always attentive and respectful.

While many aspects of LCWS were moved virtually due to COVID-19, Marzullo was able to make an impression on others in the program.

“This honor was completely unexpected,” Marzullo said. “I am surprised and grateful, but I feel like many of my peers are just as deserving of this recognition. Everyone was so engaged in our courses that it didn’t feel like we were online.”

LCWS connects students at 13 Lutheran colleges and universities to internship opportunities in Washington, D.C. Marzullo worked as a crime reporter with D.C. Witness, an online newspaper that analyzes crime in the D.C. metropolitan area.

LCWS was a leading factor in Marzullo’s decision to attend Valparaiso University. As an international relations major and Chinese minor, Marzullo plans to pursue a career in international politics and believes her internship and LCWS experience will lead to expanded opportunities in D.C.

Each year several Valpo students from various disciplines attend LCWS. Past students have interned at organizations including the National Zoo, Capitol Hill and national laboratories.

Valparaiso University has been a member of the Luther College Washington Consortium since 1992.