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.
Lorene Fisher, from Chino, California, will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the College of Fine Arts, and minors in Business Administration and Africana Studies. Studying at one of the top dance programs in the nation attracted Lorene to the University of Arizona, but the added bonus of attending a university that offered a multitude of top programs, allowing her to pursue the duality and versatility she was looking for academically - dance, business, and Africana studies, sealed her decision. Lorene received a merit scholarship to the UA School of Dance, and an Arizona Excellence Tuition scholarship. She has performed in School of Dance performances, for the university president’s African American Advisory Council events, and was among select dancers honored with performing in a commercial for Hughes Federal Credit Union.
Living on campus her freshman year exposed Lorene to dynamics that both contributed to and inhibited student achievement. This experience ignited a passion in Lorene which led to involvement in student affairs, specifically residence life. Lorene enthusiastically served as Hall Council president her freshman year and as a Resident Assistant the following two years, earning regional and national recognition including RA of the Year. In addition, she received leadership awards, top program commendations, and acknowledgment for winning case studies. Lorene served as the 2015-16 Residence Hall Association’s National Communications Coordinator and has been instrumental in the university’s Residence Hall Association receiving numerous honors, including 2015 School of the Year. Additionally, she serves as an Academic Skills Tutor for the UA Think Tank, mentoring diverse groups of students and promoting academic success and lifelong learning.
Lorene is an inducted member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Elgie M. Batteau Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., wherein she is a National Leadership Fellow and has held the positions of chapter president and Intermountain Region Cluster Coordinator. She also earned Greek Life’s Outstanding Campus Involvement honor, exemplifying, “Service To All Mankind.”
Lorene actively serves the Tucson community, volunteering for organizations such as Tucson Clean and Beautiful, Tucson Unified School District, and Jack and Jill of America, and she attends Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.
After graduation, Lorene will embark on a new journey here at the University of Arizona, pursuing a Master’s degree at the Center for the Study of Higher Education, and serving as a Graduate Community Director for Residence Life.
Travis Sawyer, a Tucson, Arizona native, initially enrolled in college with an interest in astronomy. However, a misdiagnosis of leukemia his freshman year quickly altered Travis’ plans. Following a semester of extensive testing and exposure to medical optics, he realized that his passion was to pursue a career researching and developing optical technology to benefit the lives of others. From this, he chose to pursue optical engineering at the College of Optical Sciences, where he will graduate Summa Cum Laude and Valedictorian with a Bachelor of Science degree in Optical Sciences and Engineering.
As an undergraduate, Travis has participated in a wide range of research activities, earning him a number of scholarships and honors. Working with Dr. Robert Erdmann, formerly of the Materials Science department, Travis conducted image processing research for over three years, analyzing artwork using different wavelengths of light such as infrared, ultraviolet, and x-rays, which led to the authentication of several paintings.
After teaching himself programming, Travis began a software business primarily working with systems administration and algorithm engineering. An avid traveler, he spent a summer in Holland to expand his company, and studied abroad in Stuttgart, Germany, working to design and analyze novel laser illumination systems. Travis received the Goldwater Scholarship and the Astronaut Scholarship for his efforts, which are widely considered to be the most competitive STEM scholarships in the country.
Travis’ passion led him to become involved with the University of Arizona Student Optics Chapter, acting as Outreach Coordinator and an Optics Ambassador. In these roles, he organized and participated in events focused on introducing younger students to career opportunities in STEM. Furthermore, he helped expand undergraduate involvement in research by mentoring students with projects, working with the Honors College to award grants, and providing advice to nationally competitive scholarship applicants.
As a recipient of the Churchill Scholarship, Travis will pursue a Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Cambridge, England, before continuing on to pursue his PhD in optics.