Centennial Award Criterion and Nomination Forms
Centennial Undergraduate Awardees
Centennial Masters Degree Awardees
Centennial Doctorate Degree Awardees
Undergraduate Centennial Achievement Awards
In December 1984, the University of Arizona Division of Student Affairs created the Centennial Achievement Award to be presented annually at the December Commencement. This award is given to two students who are graduating seniors during the current academic year.
2012 Centennial Undergraduate Awardees:
Aleksey Chernobelskiy a native of Moscow who immigrated to Tucson with no English skills in 2000, graduated with a 3.95 cumulative GPA and double honors in August 2012. He completed a rare quadruple major in finance, mathematics, business economics and accounting, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.
Aleksey was the recipient of the Pillars of Excellence and DaVinci awards and was selected as the Outstanding Senior by the Department of Mathematics.
Aleksey’s family immigrated to Tucson to escape anti-Semitism in Russia and four months after arriving founded the Tucson Lego Club, a non-profit venture aimed at jump-starting the imaginations of Tucson’s children. They also instituted the Southern Arizona Table Tennis Association. Aleksey is a professional table tennis player who has been to play in world competitions. During his freshman year, Aleksey started the UA Table Tennis Club.
In 2010, Aleksey was the first student from the University of Arizona to be selected for the Harvard Business School's Summer Venture in Management Program in the program's 20-year history. Spending time at Harvard Business School in 2010 inspired Aleksey to contribute to the world through the lens of finance after he obtains his Ph.D.
Gresa Sylejmani will graduate with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and minors in chemistry, Turkish, and Spanish.
Gresa and her family immigrated to the United States as war refugees from Kosovo when she was eight years old. Fearful for their lives, she and her family spent weeks at a refugee camp in neighboring Macedonia before being sent to a U.S. military refugee camp in New Jersey. They were eventually relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they established their new home.
A 2009 National Merit Finalist Scholar, Gresa has marked achievements and awards including the E. Ray Cowden Scholarship, the Jim and Mary Faul Scholarship, the Phi Beta Kappa/Murphey Foundation Scholarship, the Honors College Undergraduate Research Grant Award, and the Jody Winn-Oden Memorial Scholarship. Gresa is very interested in the study of infectious diseases and their effect on public health.
She has served as a mentor and tutor for college and high school students in the Tucson community and the University of Arizona Think Tank. She dedicates much of her time to volunteer with local non-profit organizations, teaches English reading and writing classes for refugees through the International Rescue Committee, and provides grief support to young children as a group facilitator at Tu Nidito Children and Family Services.
Upon graduation, Gresa hopes to attend medical school and become a physician.
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Graduate Centennial Achievement Awards
During the fall of 1987, the Graduate College and the Division of Campus Life established awards to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions of minority graduate students at the University of Arizona. Awards are given to two students working in a master's degree program and two students working at the doctoral level during the current academic year.
2012 Centennial Masters Degree Awardees:
Emily Hamblin is a candidate for a Master's of Arts in Hispanic Linguistics and plans to graduate May 2013.
Emily Hamblin was born the youngest of five children in a family that struggled financially, but has seen abundant blessings through all her difficulties in life, including parents who loved and encouraged her to work hard towards her future.
Emily completed her Bachelor's degree in Spanish Education from Brigham Young University – Idaho, receiving academic scholarships all four years. She graduated Suma Cum Laude and is the first member of her family to receive a bachelor’s degree.
In 2010 she and her husband moved to begin graduate school at the UA and in 2011, after the birth of her son, received a College Humanities and a Graduate Access Fellowship, and began her appointment as a Graduate Assistant of Teaching in Spanish at the UA. This past January she initiated and began development of a Spanish 101-Hybrid course which she has been piloting this semester.
Emily has maintained a 4.0 GPA at the UA despite sharing her time between her many responsibilities with her family, studies, teaching, and volunteering. Upon graduation, Emily plans to teach online so that she can continue to guide and inspire students without losing her focusing of being a mother.
Whitney Mohr will graduate in May with a Master’s of Art in Higher Education Administration from the University of Arizona’s College of Education.
Originally from Coralville, Iowa, Whitney was drawn to the University so that she could participate in the Pride of Arizona Marching Band. She began her undergraduate education in 2007 in the Religious Studies program at the University of Arizona, receiving the Rombach and Ora Brettall Scholarship.
Whitney developed a love for Student Affairs after being hired as a resident assistant for Residence Life in 2009 and decided to pursue a master’s in Higher Education. After acceptance into the Higher Education Leadership program she was hired as a Graduate Community Director for Residence Life. and began running Pueblo de la Cienega residence hall.
In the spring of 2012, Whitney was selected to participate in the Association of College and University Housing Officers International Summer Internship Program. This fall, Whitney became the Title IX intern within the Office of Intuitional Equity. Additionally, she was selected to receive a UAPD Partners With Our Community Award and was nominated for the Student Affairs Impact Award Graduate Student of the Year honor.
After she graduates, Whitney plans to begin her search for a job that allows her to continue her career in student affairs.
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2012 Centennial Doctorate Degree Awardees:
Jenna Vinson will graduate with a doctorate in rhetoric, composition, and the teaching of English, with a minor in gender and women’s studies, in May. Her dissertation focuses on the implications of the negative rhetoric about “teenage pregnancy” and the strategies young mothers use to resist pathologizing discourses. Jenna’s dissertation is informed by her academic research into rhetoric, motherhood, and gender inequality as well as her life experiences as a 17-year-old single mother.
A native Tucsonan, Jenna is a first-generation college student, she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing at the University of Arizona. With the support of the Richard A. Harvill Fellowship, Jenna pursued a Master of Arts in rhetoric, composition, and the teaching of English, which she received in 2008.
Drawing from her research and experiences as a pregnant and parenting student, Jenna co-founded the Family Advocacy Coalition for English Students (FACES), a coalition of parenting graduate students who support and advocate for pregnant and parenting students in the English department and wider campus community. She also is a founding member of a coalition of scholars and activists of public rhetoric called Feminist Action Research in Rhetoric (FARR).
Jenna has been a dedicated teacher of rhetoric, writing, and gender and women’s studies at the UA and for two years Jenna coordinated the English department's Writing Program service-learning initiative called Wildcat Writers –a semester-long writing exchange between
UA composition courses and local high schools designated as "underserved" by the University.
After graduation, Jenna’s plans to pursue an assistant professorship so she can continue her research on pathologizing representations of women while bringing attention to the need to support parenting students through higher education.
Casey C. Kahn-Thornbrugh
Casey C. Kahn-Thornbrugh will graduate with a doctorate in geography and a minor in American Indian studies in May. His dissertation focuses on three themes: (1) examining climate and North American Monsoon in southern Arizona, (2) developing a culturally responsive climate science curriculum for Tohono O’odham students, and (3) a narrative on ethical considerations for academic research working with Native and Indigenous communities.
Casey is a Mashpee Wampanoag tribal member, from Massachusetts. He received his bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2004. While at UNM, he served as an officer in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and the KIVA club. Casey came to the University of Arizona in 2004 and received his Masters of Arts from the University of Arizona in geography in 2006. At UA he continued to be active in AISES and became the 2005-2006 student regional representative for the Southwest.
During his Ph.D. program, Casey went to work as an adjunct geography instructor at Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC) on the Tohono O’odham Nation. While being an Alfred P. Sloan Indigenous Graduate Fellow and a NASA Space Grant Graduate Fellow, he has spent much of his time mentoring Tohono O’odham college students at TOCC.
Casey’s goal is to continue working with Native communities to develop geography and environmental science curricula that is reflective of tribal/community values and culture, and prepares students for working in their communities, nationally, or internationally.
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