2018 Centennial Achievement Undergraduate Awards

In December 1984, the University of Arizona Division of Student Affairs created the Centennial Achievement Award to be presented annually. This award is given to two seniors graduating during the current academic year.

John Moncure Fritsche, Jr.

John Fritsche, a native of Burke, Virginia, has forged a path from a student struggling with the challenges of addiction to a dedicated leader helping other students. John’s first year at the University of Arizona was overwhelming due to the stress of balancing his studies, social life and recovery. John met a friend associated with Wildcats Anonymous, a group dedicated to helping students get sober and maintain sobriety, and this association kept John on the path to recovery and more. Following the support John received from Wildcats Anonymous, he became an integral member and has devoted himself to creating a program that provides students a path of support as they balance school and sober life. 

John worked with Campus Health to develop and expand a peer mentoring program for students struggling with sobriety and has focused on acquiring on-campus sober housing and sober spaces for students. He is dedicated to ensuring that no student struggling with addiction or having a hard time in recovery feels alone, and that they know where to turn for help.

John’s efforts sparked his interest in studying diseases of the brain and gave him a renewed focus. In May, John will graduate with a major in neuroscience and a minor in psychology. John also completed a research position with a psychology laboratory and was recently hired as a research assistant in a cognitive science lab. He has spent time working in the Tucson community at a local addiction treatment center.

A close friend of John’s noted that one only needs to help one student in order to be successful.  John has dedicated his time at the University to helping many students who suffer from addiction. John has learned through his own struggles how to positively assist others and feels privileged to have the opportunity to help students maintain balance and continue their education. John’s grandfather recently passed away due to Parkinson’s disease, and John remembers his grandfather’s hope that John would study diseases of the brain. After graduation, John plans to apply to both graduate and medical school with the hope of fulfilling this dream. 

Margarita Ruedas

Margarita Ruedas is a first-generation student graduating this May with a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Human Development. Margarita has been honored with the Wildcat Excellence Award, the Yuma Rotary Scholarship, the Jason Terry Scholarship Foundation Award, and the Arizona Earn 2 Learn Award. She is also a UROC Scholar, a McNair Scholar and a member of the University of Arizona Mortar Board Chapter. Margarita is an immigrant from Mexicali, Baja California Mexico, but grew up primarily in Yuma, Arizona.

Since 2015, Margarita has been involved in the University campus and greater Tucson community, serving as a resident assistant, an intern, a research assistant, a facilitator, an author, a researcher, an advocate and a mentor.

Margarita’s paper, “College, Rape Culture, and Brother Dean, Oh My!” was published in the University of Arizona’s Student’s Guide to First-Year Writing – 37th Edition. Further, her involvement with Common Ground Alliance allowed her to co-facilitate the course EDL 297A: Complex Issues in Social Justice, as an undergraduate. Margarita is currently involved in research with Dr. Melissa Delgado, conducting a school climate study on Latinx middle school youth.

Moving into her residence hall freshman year, Margarita became conscious of the disconnect between academia and Latinx culture. She set about to create a cultural theme residence hall community. Working with Housing & Residential Life and the Guerrero Student Center, Casa Ollin, the first Latinx cultural community now stands in Coconino Hall, where Margarita is currently the resident assistant.

Social justice and community work drives Margarita. Her most significant community work is with Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona as a social impact program facilitator. Margarita works with local juvenile detention centers, group homes, prisons and the community justice board to provide programming to girls that are not traditionally recognized as Girl Scouts. Margarita’s work was featured in a documentary by Girl Scouts of America at the National 2017 G.I.R.L. Conference.

After graduation, Margarita will pursue a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies continuing to research academic discrepancies in Latino populations in order to enhance Latino adolescents’ academic outcomes.