Tarantino to receive USI President’s Medal



Shelby Tarantino will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree from the University of Southern Indiana, which she completed in three years, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and competing on the USI Women’s Soccer team. During the Commencement ceremony for the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education and Outreach and Engagement at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 2, Tarantino will receive the President’s Medal, the highest honor presented to a graduate in the Class of 2015.

Described as having “quiet awesomeness” by one of her professors, Tarantino “is a quiet young woman, doing great things for others while admiring their courage.” Her goal to become an occupational therapist is representative of her desire to show compassion and integrity to all people.

In her three years at USI, Tarantino was a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the National Honor Society. She was a member of the USI Women’s Soccer team, a peer coach and biology tutor in Academic Skills, and served as an intramural referee.

She completed her 300-hour practicum at Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center and a summer internship with Special Net Resources. The internship introduced Tarantino to a young woman named Holly, age 25, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Tarantino worked with Holly on job interview skills, dressing for success, and transportation responsibilities, which has led her to receive a part-time job. She also planned group activities that included Holly’s circle of friends, all of whom have very diverse special needs.

She demonstrated she has the “compassion and integrity to have others be treated in a way she would want to be treated,” which lent her the opportunity to serve as a travel companion for Holly and her 22-year-old blind friend on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas.

Serving as their travel companion, Tarantino did a lot behind the scenes in order to arrive at locations within the airport and on the boat, updating the young women’s parents daily, and keeping watch for unsafe situations. She also worked with the women in social situations, personal hygiene, taking medications appropriately and overall motivation to try new things.

She also volunteers time with It Takes a Village Canine Rescue, Hearts on Fire Running Series, Varsity Club Fall Festival Booth, USI Women’s Soccer Youth Camps, USI Sodexo Food Services, Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center Swimming Lessons, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Canned Food Drives and SAAC Make A Wish bake sales.

Tarantino is the daughter of Michael and Kelli Tarantino of Loveland, Ohio. She has two siblings, Kylee and Clayton. After graduation, she plans to continue her education at the University of Southern Indiana in the Masters of Occupational Therapy Program while playing her fourth year of USI Women’s Soccer.

Other finalists for the President’s Medal from the Class of 2015 include Alexandrea Wells, Brenden Davidson and Brooke Neuhoff. The Student Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate selects the President’s Medal recipient.