The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Taj-Aya Barnes, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate, was selected by the IUP Department of Criminology for the 2019 Gregory W. Spinelli Memorial Award.
Barnes earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology with a minor in psychology from IUP one semester early, in December 2018.
Barnes, daughter of Erika Kurzawa and Chris Kurzawa, is a 2015 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School. She was a dean’s list student, Promising Scholar and Dean’s Merit Scholarship recipient. She is a member of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority Inc., the NAACP and was a Welcome Weekend Leader and Peer Advisor.
The Spinelli award is presented annually to a graduating senior in the criminology department who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.
The award was established at IUP in memory of the late Gregory W. Spinelli, a 1970 graduate of IUP. Spinelli was killed in 1973 while working as a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent. The IUP criminology department has been presenting the Spinelli scholarship since 1974.
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This article originally appeared in the New Pittsburgh Courier.