Tenacity Puts English/Creative Writing Major on the Path to Literary Life: Callene Ross, '22

May 9, 2022

Callene Ross, who is graduating with a 4.0 GPA and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing is the recipient of the SBS Tenacity Award for spring 2022. This award recognizes a graduating senior in the College of SBS who has persevered in the face of significant adversity to earn their university degree.  

“In exceptional ways, Callene made connections between the concepts she learned in the classroom and the world she inhabits,” one award judge noted. “Callene exemplifies how higher education can transform a life.”

Callene completed her associate’s degree from Pima County Community College where she won second place in the “Speak Out” writing contest.

Callene then received the All-Arizona Academic Team Scholarship for merit and volunteer-based accomplishments and was admitted into the University of Arizona’s competitive English Honors Program. She sought out opportunities to get industry experience, taking two sections of the Intro to Publishing course, one of which served as a pop-up editorial literary agency where she provided feedback on manuscripts and worked with established literary agents.

For Callene's Honor thesis, she worked on a supernatural genre manuscript that explores themes of consent and surviving trauma.

Callene experienced significant personal challenges on the road to completing her degree but she persevered.

“Callene said that her classes have been her lifeline during this incredibly turbulent time and was unwavering in her dedication to her education,” said academic advisor Lauren Duley Kelly. “Callene’s grace and resilience have been incredibly inspiring.”

“I owe a debt of gratitude to the professors and academic advisors at the UA English Department who have worked tirelessly to see their students succeed in the middle of a pandemic,” Callene said. “Thank you for making a student's dream come true by allowing me to work on projects that made the difference between life and death. The degree was a bonus.”