Anna Piddubna ’11 was sitting in her pajamas working on her senior thesis when her roommate ran in and told her to put on some nice clothes and come to Snidow Chapel.
As Anna slid into a seat expecting to see her friend inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, Jan Sigler leaned over and told her, “You’re the Sommerville Scholar.”
“They got initial reaction,” Anna said with a laugh. “I’m shocked. I’m so honored. It’s such a huge honor. I never thought I would get it.”
The Ukrainian native was named the 2010-11 Sommerville Scholar, the highest academic award given by the college in recognition of the culmination of a distinguished academic record. Anna is the 50th Sommerville Scholar, joining a long line of distinguished LC alumni.
Anna modestly says she has many brilliant classmates, also double majors, who should have received the award. But she is the only one for whom English is a fourth language.
Anna grew up speaking Ukrainian and Russian and playing the violin from age 6. “Violin is like a drug,” she said. “You can’t stay away from it. I really can’t live without it.”
She moved to the Czech Republic at age 13 to live with her mother. When a friend decided to be an exchange student in the United States, Anna liked the idea. She ended up spending her senior year in high school at Jefferson Forest, in nearby Forest, Va.
Her host family knew Dr. Oeida Hatcher, associate professor of music at LC, and after hearing Anna play, Dr. Hatcher urged her to join the University of Lynchburg Orchestra. Anna decided LC was the place she wanted to stay.
Anna will graduate next spring with majors in political science and in music, and she currently carries a 3.87 grade point average. She has participated in five musical theatre productions and in five major performances of the University of Lynchburg Choral Union, as well as in numerous presentations, competitions and performances. She plays in the Ad Astra Trio, the Community Chamber Orchestra, and is in the first violin section of the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra. She also serves as concertmaster for the LC Wind Symphony and the Orchestra.
“She is a serious scholar, as evidenced by the range and depth of the research projects she has undertaken,” said Dr. Julius Sigler, vice president of academic affairs. “She has written major papers on abortion, on the history of stringed instruments, on the war on terrorism, and on the role of religion in politics. She presented a paper titled ‘Bravissima: Virtuosity and the Concert Violinist,’ at last spring’s Student Scholar Showcase.”
Anna’s senior thesis is on how the evangelical movement affects politics. Her decision to add political science to her music major occurred after taking “Quest for Justice,” from Dr. Tim Meinke her freshman year. That class also laid the foundation for her thesis.
Anna has her sights set on law school or graduate school in political science. In the meantime, she just stays busy.
She is a member of Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society, Phi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, the Music Teachers National Association, the LC Paderewski Club, the Residential Student organization, and the Student Judicial Board. She volunteers her musical talent at First Christian Church and has participated in the Alzheimer’s Walk, the Recovery Walk for Virginia Community Services, and educational presentations at local schools.
Anna said her politics and music professors have inspired her with their enthusiasm and knowledge. “I love University of Lynchburg,” she said. “That was one of the best decisions of my life.”