Undergraduate Student Awards!

May 3, 2017
photo of awards

(Photo: Patrick McArdle/UANews)


Several SBS students will be honored for their extraordinary accomplishments during the SBS and UA commencement ceremonies! Nominated by faculty and peers, the students were selected because of their notable achievements and positive contributions to their communities.

SBS Outstanding Senior

Sociology major Cissy Morgan exhibits outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and active citizenship in the campus and Tucson community! She was selected as a research assistant on an NSF grant, led by sociologist Jennifer Earl, investigating the rapid changes in policing from the 1960s to the 1980s. In her own independent research project for the Honors College, she explored motivations for marriage among middle class black men. Her thesis is titled “Racial Stereotypes, the Gender Division of Labor, and Black Men’s Selection of Marriage Partners.” Outside of school, Morgan volunteers at underfunded schools in South Tucson, interned in the office of Congressman Raul Grijalva, and co-founded the first Black Lives Matter Tucson chapter.

Sociology Professor Louise M. Roth writes, “Ms. Morgan has an enormous promise for the future, and the School of Sociology is proud of her ongoing accomplishments.”

SBS Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award

Esmé Middaugh, who is graduating with a degree in Information Science and Arts from the School of Information, participated in multiple research projects while at the UA. For the past two years, she served as an undergraduate research assistant on the NSF-funded project “Collaborative Research: University Commitment to Interdisciplinary Research” with Sociology Professor Erin Leahey. She conducted an independent research project into the causes of student debt for her honors thesis. She is also assisting Information Professor Richard Thompson with his work on “Carbon Mineral Evolution: Deep Carbon, Deep Time, and Co-evolution of the Geosphere and Biosphere.”

Leahy writes, “Esmé is the most outstanding undergraduate I’ve encountered at the UA in my almost 15 years here!” Thompson adds, “She is brilliant, hard-working, committed, and extremely responsible.”

SBS Excellence in Leadership & Community Engagement Award

Diego Martinez-Lugo, a student in the School of Geography and Development, was a committee chair of the Energy and Climate Committee in Students for Sustainability and was vice chair of the UA Green Fund, which supports sustainability projects on campus.  As part of the UA Community and School Garden Project, he helped develop a beautification project at Borton Elementary. Tracey Osborne, an assistant professor in the School of Geography and Development, writes “I have been so impressed with him as a scholar and environmental leader, that I recruited him as my graduate student in SGD’s master’s program.”

Robert Logan Nugent Award and SBS Tenacity Award

Albert Alan, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, a Bachelor of Science in health science, and a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience and cognitive science is one of this year's Nugent Award recipients. Alan is also receiving the “Tenacity Award” from the College of SBS.

As an undergraduate, Alan spent three years living on the street and suffering from illnesses exacerbated by his lack of health insurance. Rather than allow homelessness to shame or silence him, he has become a voice for the broken and the historically marginalized.

Alan started a pro-bono tutoring service, which helped more than 500 underserved STEM students. Today, he serves Tucson's underserved populations by volunteering weekly to deliver 2,250 pounds of fresh produce to homeless shelters, and he spends quality time at shelters educating people about diabetes and other chronic diseases that often go untreated among the homeless.

Alan's compassion for the underserved is matched only by his passion for medicine. Alan joined the Minority Health Disparity Research program and completed his EMT training. He also consistently made the Dean's List with Highest Academic Distinction and has received several awards and scholarships, including the UA's Graduate Access Fellowship and the Lauper Scholarship.

After graduation, Alan will continue his education in medicine as one of 12 applicants selected to join the Pre-Medical Admissions Pathway program, which offers a dual M.S. in cellular molecular medicine and M.D. degree.

Provost Award and SBS Student Success Award

Maria Smith, who will graduate Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a minor in information science is this year's recipient of the Provost Award. Smith is also the recipient of the SBS Student Success Award.

Smith is a non-traditional, first-generational transfer student from Rio Salado Community College. Additionally, she served in the U.S. Air Force for four years after her high school graduation.

Professionally, Smith has worked as a paralegal at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tucson, and she currently holds a position with C.A.T.S. Academics, where she tutors student-athletes.

Smith has devoted much of her time to research and analytics within two research labs. She participated in guided research that was used to assist local government and nonprofit agencies to better serve underprivileged households in Tucson.

After graduation, Smith will continue in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium to complete her research project. She plans to apply to graduate school in the fall, and she aspires to earn a doctorate in sociology.

Merrill P. Freeman Medals

Jacob Winkelman, who will graduate from the Honors College with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English literature and political science and a minor in Spanish, is a Freeman honoree.

Civic engagement always has been a passion for Winkelman, a political science major and Arizona native. He joined the Young Democrats and Arizona Model United Nations, or AZMUN, in his first semester on campus and later served as director of recruitment for AZMUN. Winkelman's interest in civic engagement also led him to work as an opinion columnist for the Daily Wildcat and teach English in Mexico through the UA's Vivir Mexico program. He is currently a finalist for the Fulbright Scholarship in Mexico. 

Additionally, Winkelman served as a student director for Pride Alliance with LGBTQ+ Affairs. During his time as director, Pride Alliance was awarded the ASUA Program of the Year. 

After graduation, Winkelman will move to Washington, D.C., to work for a pro-bono legal organization that advocates for the rights of capital defendants.


Some article text excerpted from UA News story