May 4, 2021

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Honors Daniela Escalona With Annie Powe Hopper Award, Outstanding Student in Business Award


VALDOSTA — Daniela Reyes Escalona of Moultrie, Georgia, is the recipient of the 2021 Annie Powe Hopper Award and Outstanding Student in Business Award at Valdosta State University.

“Winning these awards has been my biggest pride during my VSU experience,” she said. “I was beyond thrilled to share the news with my family, friends, and professors and grateful I had the opportunity to make them proud. These awards are very meaningful to me because they give me the opportunity to represent my family and friends, as well as the Latin community here at VSU.”

Known as the highest honor bestowed upon a VSU student, the Annie Powe Hopper Award is presented annually to a senior who represents the university’s high academic standards and exemplifies its traditions of excellence. It was first presented on May 2, 1962, and is named in honor of the institution’s first dean of women, who arrived at what was then known as South Georgia State Normal College in 1920 as a teacher.

South Georgia State Normal College became a four-year institution in 1922 and the name was changed to Georgia State Womans College. In the role of dean of women, Hopper insisted on proper etiquette in all areas from behavior to dress. She believed that a college education afforded students the opportunity to engage in a higher level of knowledge and the pursuit of an advanced critical thinking process, and she guided her female students to make choices that were noble and worthwhile in their lives. She retired in 1943, seven years before the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia declared the institution a coeducational one and changed the name to Valdosta State College.

The Outstanding Student in Business Award is presented to a Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration student with a record of academic excellence and distinguished service inside and outside the classroom.

Reyes will graduate magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics, and an Honors College Certificate during VSU’s 231st Commencement at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 7, at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium. She will spend the summer interning with Cummins Inc. and then she will pursue her certified management accountant credentials and advanced education.

As a student at VSU, Reyes served as director of the university’s chapter of Institute of Management Accountants. She was also a member of the Latin American Student Association, where she held the position of parliamentarian. She enjoyed volunteering her time to help keep the campus clean and make facemasks for those in need during the COVID-19 global health crisis.

Reyes took full advantage of research and experiential learning opportunities offered by faculty at VSU. She was part of a two-student research team that worked for a year on a project titled “The Burden of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia” under the direction of Dr. Attila Cseh, professor of economics, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, professor of accounting. That research was presented at the 2020 Blazer Summer Research Institute, the 2020 VSU Undergraduate Research Symposium, and the 2020 Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference.  

Her commitment to academic, leadership, research, and service excellence resulted in her earning repeated Dean’s List honors, the 2019-2020 Outstanding Economics Senior Award, and the 2020-2021 Outstanding Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration Senior Award.

Reyes said she is thankful for the love and support she has received from her family, including mom Yuriam Escalona and dad Rafael Reyes, “who have sacrificed so much for me to be here today,” as well as sister Emily Reyes, brother Emilio Reyes, and best friend Alisa Wilson, “who have always been there and supported me no matter what.”

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