Skip to main content

University Honors Program

Danny’s Legacy on Campus

By Kaitlin Lewis

The Danny Arnold Memorial Scholarship was created in remembrance of Danny Arnold, a UD student who exemplified servant leadership on campus. Danny, who had a passion for conducting research as a student while he prepared himself for his future goal of being a physician, suddenly passed away during his time at Dayton. The scholarship is awarded each year to a student who exemplifies Danny’s characteristics and is also conducting research on campus. In addition to the scholarship, the Honors program also hosts the Danny Arnold 5k run/walk every spring. Due to the pandemic, this event was moved to a virtual event  for 2021 during the week of April 18 to the 25. 

Recipients of the Danny Arnold scholarship, both past and present, spoke with the Honors program about how the scholarship impacted their time conducting research while at UD, as well as what the scholarship represents as they move forward with their career paths. 


Maxwell Roeske, 2016

2016 graduate Maxwell Roeske studied biology and psychology while at UD. Between his sophomore and junior year, Roeske spent time conducting research as a cohort member in the Berry Summer Thesis Institute. Roeske also ran cross country for the Dayton Flyers team, and participated in the Danny Arnold 5k during his time at UD. He said that with the help of the Danny Arnold Scholarship, he was able to spend more time in the lab without worrying about as much financial support, which played a large role in post-graduate life. Roeske now is studying for his MD and PhD at Vanderbilt University.

“Without the depth of research experience I got at UD, I don’t think this route would have ever been possible for me,” Roeske said. 

Roeske said that beyond supporting his research financially, receiving this scholarship also encouraged him to continue in his studies and boosted his self-confidence.

“Anytime that you are recognized for your work, especially at the undergraduate level, it is a huge boost to what you can do,” Roeske said. “It tells you ‘ok, I can do this, I’m cut out for this.’”


Kelsey Clayback, 2017 

Kelsey Clayback graduated from UD in 2017 with a major in psychology and minor in marketing and family development. While at UD, her research involved studying children’s functioning development, and she completed an honors thesis based on her research. Clayback was also heavily involved with service at UD, including leading Real Dayton her senior year, attending Breakout Trips to East St. Louis and Tijuana, and was a Dayton Civic Scholar. Now, Clayback is finishing her second year working on her PhD at the University of Virginia in Educational Psychology. Clayback said that her research and receiving the Danny Arnold Scholarship put her on a path to continue research now on early childhood development.

“I think it kind of validated my identity as a researcher and a scholar and with service,” Clayback said.

Clayback believes that the Danny Arnold Scholarship goes beyond recognizing research, but that service is also very representative of who Danny was and the mission of UD.

“To have a scholarship that embodies these values shows the UD community is invested in actually maintaining and cultivating these values.”


Maria LaBello, 2019

2019 graduate Maria LaBello was a pre-medicine major at UD with a minor in sociology. LaBello was involved extensively at UD, including being the vice president Alpha Epsilon Delta, the healthcare honors society that Danny was also a part of on campus. LaBellow was also an executive member of Beta Beta Beta, a teacher assistant for first-year students, and an orientation leader. LaBello also volunteered at Miami Valley Hospital with their Elder Life Program. 

On top of this involvement, LaBello also conducted research in molecular biology and physiology. Today, LaBello is a first-year student at the Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine. While studying, she has continued her passion for research at Boonshoft by assisting on two different research projects with her professors. 

LaBello said she first heard about Danny’s story through Alpha Epsilon Delta, and was touched by his life here at UD.

“As I started to learn more about Danny, I realized that we really do have a lot in common,” LaBello said. “It really was the connection that I felt I had to Danny’s story that was really special in my eyes.”

LaBello said that it was an honor for her to even be considered for the Danny Arnold Scholarship, and thinks that Danny was a great model for any student interested in the medical field, including herself.

“I think he represents that spirit of what it means to carry on being a UD student and moving forward,” LaBello said. “Having the scholarship and moving forward with it, I think that you are representing something bigger than yourself.” 


Samuel Ripley, 2021 

This year’s recipient of the Danny Arnold Scholarship is Samuel Ripley. Ripley will be graduating in May of 2021 with a major in pre-medicine and minors in biology and music. On campus, Ripley has been conducting biology-focused research and is currently finishing up his honors thesis. Ripley is also the president of Alpha Epsilon Delta. 

Ripley said that receiving the Danny Arnold Scholarship does not go “overlooked” by him and was an honor to receive. Ripley echoed other recipients by saying that the scholarship encouraged him to continue in his studies, even if he faces hardships.

“It’s a really nice feeling to get some external recognition,” Ripley said. “Personally, I’m a very intrinsically motivated person, so I don’t really rely on praise from others to keep up on my work. In circumstances like this, it’s still nice to hear from someone else.”

Ripley said he has been inspired by Danny’s story and the scholarship, and hopes that one day he can be in the position himself to fund a scholarship at UD as well. Next year, Ripley will take a gap-year while he applies for medical schools for the fall of 2022. Ripley said as he carries on with his studies, he also carries Danny’s legacy with him.

“I think I have a bit of responsibility to accomplish what Danny was never able to,” Ripley said. “He always dreamed of being a physician himself and finding ways to give back to UD and eventually starting this scholarship. I feel like I have a bit of responsibility to carry that forward, and it’s a little bit of extra motivation to do the best I can in my further education and my future career as a physician.”


Previous Post

Art Exhibition Highlights

Participants of the 2021 Honors Art Exhibition share their inspiration for their pieces. 

Read More
Next Post

What's it like being in a community of community leaders?

Senior UD student shares what he is most excited for as a member of the Newman Civic Fellowship this school year. 

Read More