Meet the Recipients of the SBS Graduating Senior Awards

Meet the spring 2015 recipients of the Graduating Senior Awards from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. These students are smart, passionate, motivated, and ready to take on the world!


SBS Excellence in Leadership and Community Engagement Award
Karina Gonsalez
Major: Environmental Studies (School of Geography and Development)

Karina has held several positions aimed at connecting people with environmental issues and toward renewal energy. She is a youth delegate with the UN Commission for Social Development and with the UN Framework Convention on Climate change. She is a board member with SustainUS, a nonprofit that empowers youth to advance sustainable development. She is an intern for the Students for Sustainability's grassroots committee, works with underprivileged youth in Camp Wildcat, and was a canvasser, organizer, and opposition researcher with GreenPeace.

Fun Fact: Karina speaks four languages.
Next Step: Obtain a master’s in forestry from NAU
Dream Job:  Forest Ranger in one of the Redwood Parks
Quote: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. " ~ Henry David Thoreau


SBS Outstanding Senior
Trevor Gervais
Majors: Political Science (School of Government and Public Policy) and Latin American Studies; Honors College

Raised by a father who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and a mother who is a first grade teacher in Arizona, Trevor said he learned early the importance of service to his community and country. In 2013, Trevor was one of 147 students in the U.S. selected to serve in the White House Internship Program. Previously, he was the regional “Get Out the Vote” director for Organizing for America. A peer adviser in the Pathways to Academic Student Success probation program, Gervais mentored students who are struggling academically. Last summer, he worked for an NGO in Lima, Peru, teaching English to impoverished students.

Fun Fact: Trevor was a sponsored triathlete in high school.
Next Step: Work for a nonprofit organization dedicated to social justice
Dream Job:  White House Chief of Staff
Quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Meade


SBS Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award
Michael Flowers
Majors: Philosophy and English

Michael’s undergraduate thesis examined the philosophy of resistance in youth subculture by taking a literary-historical approach, bridging literary scholarship and sociological theory. Michael, who is also pursuing his master’s degree in philosophy, is a National Merit Hispanic Scholar.

Fun Fact: Michael was the vocalist for a small scene band when he was in high school.
Next Step: Complete his master’s degree in philosophy
Dream Job:  Music journalist or professor
Quote:  “I will graciously accept that my life’s work, whether it be in the past, the present, or the future will be overshadowed by those around me with a different definition of “success.” Though I can’t explain the path I’ve chosen, all I know is I’m right where I need to be." ~ lyrics from the Counterparts song "The Constant,” which was the band Michael studied for his thesis


SBS Perseverance Award
Rebecca Renteria
Major: Anthropology

In 2005, Rebecca enrolled at the UA and struggled and failed to do well in class while supporting herself financially. In 2007, Rebecca left the University with a GPA of 1.0. Rebecca enrolled at Pima Community College to try and raise her GPA and was ignited by the idea of a career as an archaeologist. She returned to the UA and now has a 3.9 in her major and has received numerous awards and scholarships. Rebecca is an intern with the UA Community and School Garden Program, as well as a research and field assistant in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. This summer, Rebecca will attend an archaeological field school in Populonia, Italy.

Fun Fact: Rebecca’s favorite childhood pastimes were digging in the dirt and climbing trees. 
Next Step: Obtain her master's in applied archaeology at the UA (she’s starting in August)
Dream Job: Professor of dendroarchaeology
Quote: "And the boy loved the tree... very much. And the tree was happy." ~ Shel Silverstein


SBS Student Success Award (first-generation college student)
Kaelyn Mahar
Majors: Geography (School of Geography and Development) and Spanish and Portuguese; Honors College

Kaelyn interns at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project and at the Victims Services Office of the Arizona Attorney General. She participates in the Arizona Model United Nations and volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson. While at the UA, Kaelyn studied abroad in Cuba and in Guatemala where she interned on a sustainable macadamia nut farm and an after-school youth program.

Fun Fact: When she was little, she wanted to be an astronaut.
Next Step: Apply to law school
Dream Job: To work for the United Nations
Quote: “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?" ~ Frida Kahlo

Published Date: 

05/07/2015 - 3:12pm