» Return to UAF News and Events

UAF to honor the year's outstanding students

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: 907-474-7902


More than six-dozen students will be honored at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' annual student awards breakfast Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. in the Wood Center Carol Brown Ballroom. Each spring, UAF honors students who have distinguished themselves throughout their academic careers.

Among those to be honored are the winners of the Joel Wiegert Award, the Marion Frances Boswell Memorial Award and the Gray S. Tilly Memorial Award. The awards recognize the accomplishments of three top graduating seniors each year.

Trevor Hyatt will receive the Joel Wiegert Award, which recognizes the outstanding graduating senior man. Hyatt is slated to receive a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at UAF's commencement ceremony May 10. Hyatt has maintained a 4.0 grade point average during his time as a student at UAF and will graduate from the UAF Honors Program. In 2008, he was nominated as a Rhodes Scholar. In addition to his academic achievements, Hyatt is known for his athletic accomplishments as a member of the Alaska Nanooks hockey team. He was named a CCHA Scholar-Athlete for 2006 through 2008, was a Hockey Humanitarian nominee in 2007 and 2008 and was voted to the Lowe's Senior CLASS Second Team All-American. Hyatt is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon and the American Society of Civil Engineers, and he volunteers with a variety of local organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity and Denali Center.

Alice Orlich is this year's recipient of the Marion Frances Boswell Memorial Award, which recognizes the outstanding graduating senior woman. Orlich will receive a bachelor's degree in geography at this year's commencement ceremony. She is known among her professors not only for her academic abilities but also for her leadership among fellow students and her willingness to help her peers understand academic concepts. Orlich has received multiple awards and scholarships during her undergraduate career, in addition to working as a student research assistant. Her fieldwork has included time at a spring ice camp in the Beaufort Sea and two summers aboard an icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean. She is the author of a chapter on field logistics and safety in a book, "Handbook of Sea Ice Field Research Techniques," which will be used in future UAF courses. After graduation, she plans to work as a research assistant and pursue a graduate degree.

Yvette Curtis Towery will receive this year's Gray S. Tilly Memorial Award, which recognizes a graduating senior whose education has been interrupted by family responsibilities. Towery dropped out of high school at age 17, when her son was born. She was able to finish high school after his birth and enrolled in classes at the University of Alaska Anchorage. After two semesters, she could no longer afford to remain in college and went to work. Nearly two decades later, her son was grown and she returned to college at UAF as a full-time student. Towery is receiving a bachelor's degree in psychology at this year's commencement ceremony. Her professors and advisors say she is a natural leader in her classes and the campus community. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Golden Key International Honor Society. This year, she was elected president of the Psi Chi National Honor Society and the UAF Psychology Club. She also volunteers as a mentor and tutor at Effie Kokrine Charter School. After graduation, Towery plans to pursue master's and doctorate degrees.

Two UAF employees will also be recognized Saturday for student advocacy. The Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks will present the outstanding faculty award to biology professor Abel Bult-Ito. Elissa Bratcher, VA coordinator at the UAF financial aid office, is the recipient of this year's outstanding staff member award.

Hyatt and Elisabeth Habermann of the women's ski and cross-country teams will also be recognized for their accomplishments as scholars and athletes.

After the university achievement awards are presented, deans and directors will recognize students by colleges and professional schools. In addition, the university will recognize eight students who are graduating with leadership honors: Mariah Acton, Lucy Boyd, Tess Caswell, Jacob Horazdowsky, Hyatt, Donald "Ricky" Pitts, Kortnie Westfall and Jennifer Williams.

Following is a list of additional student award winners:

College of Liberal Arts
Joel Forbes, Alaska Native languages; Fawn M. Carter, anthropology; James Stugart, art; Gregory R. Merdes, communication; Christopher Low, English; Tricia Leanne Bates, foreign languages; Jamie Hazlett, history; Cassandra Johnson, journalism; Amanda Runyan, justice; Christina Hardman, music; Christopher Low, philosophy and humanities; Matthew Newman, political science; Yvette Curtis Towery, psychology; Susan Samulowitz, social work; Natasha Pomeroy, sociology; Jasmine Johnson, theatre; Amy Wellman, women's studies.
College of Natural Science & Mathematics
Celia Miller, biological sciences; David Wilkinson, chemistry and biochemistry; Ruth Rutter, computer science; Ashley Hinton, earth science; John Sommerfeld, geology; Jason Baggett, mathematics; Linda Morin , general science; Justin Oldham, physics; James Frost, statistics; Cortney Pylant, wildlife biology.
College of Rural and Community Development
Kay Andrews, allied health rural; June Logusak, Bristol Bay Campus; Robert Curtis, Chukchi Campus; Robert Hannum, developmental education; Cassie Carlsen, human services technology rural; Stewart Solomon, Interior-Aleutians Campus - construction trades technology; Carol Shewfelt, Interior-Aleutians Campus - tribal management; Matrona Kozevenikoff, Interior-Aleutians Campus - educator paraprofessional; Gwen Emel, Interior-Aleutians Campus - rural human services; Theresa Springer, Kuskokwim Campus; Nichole Crowe , Northwest Campus; Brent Latham, rural development.
School of Education
Barbara Keller, elementary education; Joanna Phillips, rural elementary education.
School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
Shelley Woods, fisheries
School of Management
Shawn Hatfield, accounting; Brandon Knelsen, business administration; Sean Holden, economics.
School of Natural Resources & Agricultural Sciences
Matthew Sprau, forest sciences; Alice Orlich, geography; Ellen Hatch, high latitude agriculture; Hannah Harrison, resources management.
Tanana Valley Campus
Katie Bellant, allied health dental hygiene; Eva Hollinrake, allied health-medical assisting; Esther Lara, applied accounting; Samantha Beth Lannet, applied business; Shane Yoder, auto technology; Alex Vickroy, aviation maintenance; Joanne Beck, culinary arts; John M. Zuleger, construction management; Jon C. Bergeson, drafting technology; Sandra McVeigh, early childhood education; Garrett LaMay, fire science; Deirdre Shipman, health, safety and environmental; Kathleen J. Smart, human service technology - local; John Lannet, information technology specialist; Shawn Davis, instrumentation; Keith Rueben, paralegal studies; Ryan Cary, paramedic program; Louis Nolin, power generation; Liz F. Melendez-Velazquez, process technology; Desiree L. Andon, professional piloting.
College of Engineering and Mines
Trevor Hyatt, civil and environmental engineering; Jesse Frey, electrical and computer engineering; Tonya Lloyd, geological engineering; Joseph R. Dick, mechanical engineering; Keith R. Clark, mining engineering; Kasper Kowalewski, petroleum engineering.

CONTACT: Lydia Anderson, Wood Center director, at 907-474-7037. UAF public information officer Marmian Grimes at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@uaf.edu.

NOTE TO EDITORS: If a student or department is not listed, it may be that the outstanding student for that department has a confidential hold on his or her academic record.