Congratulations to four students in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences who have received a 2021 Centennial Achievement Award.
This year’s SBS honorees are Josué Ángel Chávez, a law major who aspires to work in immigration and criminal law; Zachary Stout, a public policy master’s student advancing criminal justice reform; Sophie Alves, a Ph.D. student in Mexican American Studies who researches the impact of immigration on women and children; and Michelle Rascón-Canales, an anthropology Ph.D. student who studies the separation of migrant children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.
Centennial Achievement Awards are presented to undergraduate students who demonstrate integrity, persistence, and contribute to their community. The awards are also given to graduate students in recognition of their outstanding achievements and perseverance in overcoming obstacles. The awards are presented by the Division of Student Affairs and the Graduate College.
Below are student profiles from the Dean of Students Office:
2021 Centennial Achievement Undergraduate Awardee
Josué Ángel Chávez Gallegos is a senior at the University of Arizona pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in law, offered by the School of Government and Public Policy and the James E. Rogers College of Law. Born in the border city of El Paso, Texas, Josué spent his infancy in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
During this time, his mother taught ethics at a local school and his father studied to become an engineer. Although he may have had a humble upbringing, living in this vivacious city allowed Josué to see and meet people from all walks of life, ultimately offering him a unique set of life experiences that would go on to influence his passion for the legal field.
Upon enrollment at the University of Arizona, Josué showed great interest in law and its intersectionalities with other areas of life. Working at Chicanos Por La Causa’s Tucson offices, he helped provide immigration-related assistance to Latinx members of the community. In addition, through the College of Education, he worked before and during the COVID-19 pandemic as an academic mentor at Mansfeld Middle School.
Since 2019, Josué has been on the dean’s list and was a Wildcat Recognition recipient and awarded honors from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He is also a proud member of the Dean of Students Office Hearing Board and a student with the James E. Rogers College of Law Diplomado Program, which works in conjunction with La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, to study Mexican constitutionalism through comparative analysis.
This fall, Josué began an internship with the law college's Workers’ Rights Clinic as an interpreter and translator between limited English-proficient clients and Juris Doctorate candidates. Josué credits the endless support of his family for making this all possible.
After graduation, Josué aspires to teach English abroad, helping others reach their higher education goals. He then plans to return to the United States and earn a law degree specializing in immigration and criminal law.
2021 Centennial Achievement Masters Awardee
Zachary Stout, who is earning a Master of Public Policy and Master of Legal Studies, was born and raised in Allen, Texas, moving to Arizona after high school. He is the first in his family to attend college, earning a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in philosophy, politics, economics and law (PPEL), philosophy, and economics. Zach overcame several obstacles to get to where he is today, enduring homelessness and an opiate addiction. In 2013, Zach’s addiction ultimately led to his incarceration, and after a 2 1/2-year prison sentence and felony conviction, experienced difficulties reentering society.
Today, Zach harnesses these experiences working as an advocate, speaking to legislators at the local, state and national levels in his pursuit to create a better justice system. His involvement with the Wildcat community includes being recognized as an endorsed leader and assisting the College of Social and Behavioral Science’s first Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion summer workshop addressing mass incarceration. In the community, Zach is both a scholar and ambassador with From Prison Cells to Ph.D. and serves on the board of directors for Just Communities Arizona.
Zach’s research focuses on the impacts of reform initiatives, identifying both their strengths and weaknesses. His ultimate focus is on how we, as a society, can better reform our justice system in a way that rectifies the disparate impacts felt by the poor and communities of color while maintaining public safety.
Zach has received several awards and recognitions, including the Kathryn Anne Governal Perseverance Award and the Richard Kissling Spirit of Inquiry Award. He received a fellowship from the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom and currently serves as a graduate assistant, teaching SBS 200: Introduction to Statistics for Social Sciences.
After earning his MPP and MLS, Zach will attend the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science, studying computer information technology. He seeks to synthesize his knowledge of policy analysis with data analytics to advance reform initiatives. Zach hopes to eventually earn a dual law degree and doctorate, engaging in research that helps create a fairer and more just society.
2021 Centennial Achievement Doctorate Degree Awardees
As a first-generation student and the daughter of immigrants, navigating the educational system has been a challenge. Sophie was raised in an impoverished neighborhood, with limited access to health care, and exposure to violence, abuse, xenophobia, discrimination, harassment and more. Those experiences shaped her into the person she is today and turn her into an advocate for diversity, equity, justice, inclusion and human rights.
Sophie has actively participated in marginalized students’ success, outreach, mentoring and retention in her different positions and volunteer work. She has presented at several conferences, led workshops, helped implement tutoring services within University of Arizona cultural centers, raised money for undocumented students, and worked on projects aimed at reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. Additionally, she has held positions on several committees, such as the Articulation Task Force Application Committee, which created a seamless pipeline from community college to university for Latinx students.
Sophie’s commitment has been recognized through several honors, such as the Arizona Blue Chip Program Appreciation Certificate for Serving as a Mentor, the Outstanding Service to Arizona Students and Ethnic Studies award from Pima Community College, the Association for Ethnic Studies President’s Award for Exceptional Commitment in Recognition and Appreciation of Outstanding Leadership as Graduate Student Representative and Awards Co-Chair, and the Peter W. Likins Inclusive Excellence Award.
Her dissertation, "A Wall of Silence: Denaturalizing Anti-Immigrant Discourses about Mexican Immigrant Women and their Babies," examines the role played by immigration on Mexican immigrant women’s decision-making regarding family planning as well as investigates the ways in which their U.S.-born children “carry the border with them” and the lasting impacts immigration has on their identity formation.
After graduation, Sophie plans on dedicating her life to human rights at local, national and international levels.
Michelle Rascón-Canales is pursuing her doctorate in sociocultural anthropology. Michelle received a Bachelor of Arts in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Arizona School of Anthropology in 2011, a Master of Social Work from Arizona State University in 2014, and a Master of Science in family studies and human development from the University of Arizona in 2019. Michelle practiced social work for seven years with undocumented children and specifically with survivors of human trafficking before returning to school to pursue her doctorate.
Michelle is an applied and sociocultural anthropologist whose research agenda centers on childhood migration. Her dissertation research investigates the separation of migrant children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. As a master's student, Michelle focused her research on the ecological contexts of immigration policy on the trajectories of young people. Her qualitative study examined the lives of young people who are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Since 2009, she has also worked in various research labs on behavior coping studies, mixed-method civic engagement studies, and Youth Participatory Action Research, centering the hope and resiliency of the community of South Tucson.
Michelle was born and raised on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in Tucson, Arizona, and Caborca, Sonora, respectively. Raised in a multi-status family, the borderlands largely inform her experiential knowledge and scholarship. Michelle worked as an anthropology instructor over the summers for several years and now holds an appointment as a social work instructor at ASU.