2019 Centennial Achievement Masters Awardee

During the fall of 1987, the Graduate College and the Division of Campus Life established awards to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions of graduate students at the University of Arizona who have shown academic achievement despite facing challenging social, economic, or educational obstacles. In years past, the award was presented to two students at the Master's level and two students at the Doctoral level. In 2018, due to the philanthropic commitment of past Master’s Award recipient, Dr. William Broussard (MA, ‘02, and Ph.D., ‘07—Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of the English Language) we are excited to share that a third Master’s student was selected and awarded the Centennial Award.

Davina Dobbins

A Tucson native, Davina Dobbins has always felt strongly connected to her community. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Physiology with honors from the University of Arizona and as an undergraduate student was extremely active in the campus community. Davina is a second year Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Health student and is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Science Communication. She was awarded “Student of the Semester” by the MBA program in the fall of 2018 and “Best Speaker” at the Gies Case Competition in spring of 2019.

During her first year of graduate school, Davina encountered both financial hardship and a parent’s diagnosis of a serious medical condition. She was instrumental in helping her family cope with this news. These obstacles have only strengthened her commitment to her family, students, peers, and university community.

As a graduate student, Davina wears many hats at the University. She currently serves as president of the MBA Student Association. Davina and her team coordinate student social, philanthropic, and professional development initiatives and events throughout the year. She recently became one of the first MBA Ambassadors, master's students who support the efforts of MBA admissions and connect with potential students providing information about the program. Davina is also the director of the Physiology Alumni Relations Team. The team spent their first year creating a mentor program, working to educate physiology students about campus opportunities, and developing strategies to continue to build their team and expand their network. In addition, she is a senior instructional specialist in the physiology department’s PhysioConnects courses. Under her driving force, the courses have grown in size and effectiveness, helping future healthcare leaders be better self-advocates, professionals, and open to new ideas. She hopes that through her campus involvement she has improved the university experience for future students and alums.

After completing her graduate studies, Davina plans to apply for medical school and continue her professional education.

Michelle Fares Ennabe

The words “Reach Higher” aptly describe Michelle Ennabe’s academic career and life experiences.  As the daughter of first-generation Latino and Arab-Americans and the first in her family to pursue higher education; Michelle understands that where you live not only influences how you live, but also how long you live. For this reason, she has spent years faithfully advocating for vulnerable and underserved members of her community. In 2014, Michelle volunteered for Global Medical Brigade-Panama and became a volunteer EMT in 2016. She also did undergraduate research on the Epigenetics of Type II Diabetes through Insulin Resistance in Arizona’s Hispanic population and turned it into public health engagements in the Phoenix/Mesa metropolitan areas.  

Michelle’s approach to community organizing is one of servant leadership, as she spends time learning the hopes, fears and life stories of those she serves. After two years of volunteering with the non-profit Borderlands Produce Rescue, she led and distributed 2,000 pounds of fresh produce per week from Nogales to Tucson to stock local homeless shelters. In 2017, Michelle co-founded the Produce On Wheels With-Out Waste La Mesa Division site, which distributes 15,000 pounds of fresh produce to 200 disadvantaged families monthly. This program continues to thrive with donations being transferred to an “emergency fund” that provides gas and food money to over 100 University students. Michelle’s work has received several recognitions including the SBS Alumni Spotlight, and the SBS Excellence in Leadership and Community Engagement Award.

Living in Arizona for over eight years, Michelle sees Tucson as her home. In 2017 she responded to a different need in her own backyard which was supporting the growing population of refugee children from Syria and South Sudan. She co-founded Checkmate Disparities with the express goal of educating and acclimating these displaced youth into the broader Tucson community through special events and activities. She will complete her Master of Science in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, but she continues to reach higher with plans to attend medical school on the horizon.  She envisions a career at the front-lines of family medicine, helping to prevent chronic diseases and premature death. 

Genesis Georgina Hernandez

Genesis Hernandez was raised in Glendale, Arizona and holds bachelor’s degrees in Linguistics and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She is currently a second-year master’s student in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences program where she is studying to become a bilingual speech-language pathologist. Recently, she has worked with a variety of clients living with communicative and cognitive disorders including those with aphasia, autism spectrum disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, and traumatic brain injury across the Tucson community.

Genesis has overcome numerous obstacles in her pursuit of a degree. She is a first-generation American, first-generation college student, comes from a low socioeconomic background, and has dealt with mental health issues.

Genesis has been very active within the University and Tucson community. She has conducted research in several laboratories on campus including research on experimental word learning treatments for late-talking toddlers. She is part of the THINK TANK Writing Center administrative team. She has also volunteered at the Tucson Festival of Books Science City for four years. However, Genesis is most proud of founding and acting as president of the Speech, Language and Hearing for Underrepresented Students club.  The club fosters a safe and inclusive community in support of students who are underrepresented in the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology at the University of Arizona.

As an undergraduate, Genesis received multiple awards for her research including the Outstanding Senior for the College of Science and Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Recently, she was the recipient of the Cassandra Davis Memorial Scholarship in recognition of her clinical excellence.

After graduation, Genesis plans to work as a bilingual speech-language pathologist working with students that come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, as well as those of low socioeconomic status.  She plans to advocate for children in public schools who are either learning English as a second language, or who speak a non-standard dialect of English. In the future, she plans to contribute to research on bilingualism, language acquisition, and the assessment and treatments of culturally and linguistically diverse populations within the field of speech-language pathology.