Qualifications for this award include personal integrity, initiative, cooperativeness, enthusiasm, humility, well-rounded interests, active participation in student affairs, service to the University, willingness to give more than required, and love of God and country.
Jessala A. Grijalva, of Tucson, Arizona, is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Government and Public Service and a minor in Organizational Leadership. Throughout her academic career, Grijalva has demonstrated grit and determination to further her education and create a positive change in the community. She has accomplished this while juggling the demands of being an involved student and single mother to three young daughters, Isabella, Sofia and Julianna.
As a non-traditional student, Jessala overcame many challenges in her quest to return to the University. This inspired her to become an advocate for non-traditional students and has led to her involvement in several initiatives aimed to increase inclusiveness. In her leadership roles as the Lab Coordinator of the Mentoring and Leadership Collaboratory, a fully online undergraduate research lab; President of Gamma Beta Phi, a hybrid honor society at the UA South; and Vice President for Associated Students of the University of Arizona South, Grijalva has introduced innovative processes that have increased student accessibility and engagement for distance learners.
Through her work in the Mentoring and Leadership Collaboratory with Dr. Brandy A. Brown at UA South, Grijalva discovered her passion for research. Grijalva is currently a fellow of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium (UROC) and the Access, Wellness and Relational Determinants of School Success Program.
Grijalva has also been a force in the community. As an intern in the City of Tucson Mayor’s office, she has worked directly with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild on outreach initiatives. In addition, she volunteers regularly with Junior Achievement of Southern Arizona and is a member of Las Adelitas, an organization that supports Latina involvement in the political process in Arizona.
After graduation, Grijalva will continue her research efforts through UROC, and will work with Dr. Brian Mayer from the School of Sociology to research poverty in Tucson and its effects on the region. Grijalva plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Economics and a Doctoral Degree in Public Policy.
Matthew Wall will graduate with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, majoring in Accounting and minoring in Spanish and Government and Public Policy. A Scottsdale, Arizona native, Matthew fell in love with the University of Arizona at an early age, thanks to a divided ASU-UA household.
Matthew’s involvement on campus started with his participation in student government. He volunteered as an ASUA senate aid his freshman year, followed by two years as a club advocate. This past year, Matthew served as ASUA’s Executive Deputy Chief of Staff, spearheading the Club Awards and assisting with the operations of the first 20-person senate.
Matthew has served on the Daily Wildcat’s sports desk in various capacities for the past four years. He has covered numerous athletics including football, gymnastics, volleyball, tennis, men’s basketball and the Fiesta Bowl. Human-interest stories are the type of sports writing Matthew most enjoys. He has been privileged to interview and write stories on Tucson's biggest names including the Rich Rodriguez family, Sean Miller, Jeff Goodman, Will Parks, and Jay Dobyns. He was a third-place Arizona Press Club Awards winner and a third-place Arizona’s Newspapers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest winner. He also received first place in the McGuire Center Entrepreneurship & Innovation competition with his team’s “Key Tie” idea.
Over one hundred freshmen at the University of Arizona have called Matthew their RA. He served as a resident assistant in Posada San Pedro, Coconino, and most recently as Lead RA in Colonia de la Paz. If you walked out onto the UA mall on a Friday, you most likely saw Matthew giving campus tours and singing Bear Down Arizona as an Arizona Ambassador. His favorite memory was bringing Wilbur and the UA cheer team to visit a sick resident in the hospital.
Making a difference in the community has been a key piece of Matthew's life. Following graduation, Matthew is pursuing several options including the possibility of furthering his education in law school.