Gold Axe Awards honor NAU graduates
Every semester, NAU honors outstanding seniors with the Gold Axe Award. The graduates receive gold ax pins provided through funding by ASNAU.
Rick Brandel, dean of students, said the award is one of few longstanding traditions on the campus.
“[The Gold Axe] initiated in 1932 as the emblem of the student body to honor outstanding students related to their academic work and their involvement in activities,” Brandel said. “There aren’t many longstanding traditions, really, like that on this campus or many campuses. So it is a very prestigious honor.”
In the fall, there were more than 30 recipients. This semester, from a pool of 247 applicants, 45 students were received the award at Tuesday’s ceremony.
“This year, we had a lot of outstanding people who were probably deserving of that award; we just don’t have enough awards to hand out to all the people that were deserving,” Brandel said. “It was a very competitive process.”
The Gold Axe application process consists of a simple questionnaire asking students to detail their achievements and involvement at NAU.
“[The application looks at] different types of activities and honors,” Brandel said. “They’ve been recognized for work experience, volunteer experience, student organizations, involvement in colleges and all of those different things.”
Brandel said a wide range of applicants apply, from students involved in a variety of activities to those who are deeply involved in fewer programs.
A panel of 13 faculty members serve as judges who evaluate the applications. They use a matrix as a basis for scoring before trying to reach a consensus.
Brandel explained the panel looks to see if all backgrounds, experience and colleges are represented when choosing the winners.
“We try to make sure and challenge ourselves that we’re not too directed on a certain type of applicant, but that we have a diversity of students that literally represent the type of student experiences that reflect students attending and being involved in campus life,” Brandel said.
Glenn Hansen, assistant director of the NAU Honors Program, received the award when he graduated from NAU in 1993 with degrees in history and business management.
“I was totally thrilled and surprised that I received the award,” Hansen said. “Going into the college student affairs profession as a career, the award also gave me extra motivation and confidence that I made the right career choice.”
During his time as an NAU student, Hansen held several student government staff positions, advised the new student organization and was the president of an Honors service organization. He said the Gold Axe Award was the most significant award he received.
“The Gold Axe Award is an amazing and prestigious recognition, one that I hope every student is proud to receive,” Hansen said. “I certainly was, and I still am.”
Name: Layne Alexander
Minor: Biology and Chemistry
Something interesting about yourself: I can burp really loud.
Why you applied: I applied because of the prestige of the award.
Why you think you were selected: Hopefully because of my service to NAU the last four years.
What you want to do after you graduate: I was just hired as an account executive for IST Management Services.
Name: Arshiya Hoseyni Chime
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Something interesting about yourself: I am from Iran. I came here four years ago to study mechanical engineering and be a student athlete competing in shot put and discus for NAU’s track and field team. Also, meanwhile, I did numerous projects as a research assistant for more than 2.5 years for Dr. Tom Acker at the Sustainability Energy Solution Lab at NAU.
Why you applied: My adviser, Dr. Tom Acker, recommended me to apply for this award since I was already chosen for the Outstanding Senior Award for the Mechanical Engineering Department. He also thought that I would have a good chance to get this award since I was a student athlete competing [on an] international level, and also I was strongly involved with research and community service at NAU.
Why you think you were selected: I think mostly because I scored for NAU in athletics, had [a] high GPA, did lots of projects relating to wind energy for NAU and Arizona Public Service, did lots of community service in Flagstaff and so on.
What you want to do after you graduate: I am going to continue my education at the University of Washington as a master’s in mechanical engineering student. I will be involved in researching hydro energy. At the same time, I will be continuing to throw discus for my country with the hope of going to [the] Olympics.
Name: Brittany Moore
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Speech Language Science and Technology
Something interesting about yourself: I was born and raised in a little town in Southern Arizona, and I have never lived outside of Arizona — until next fall when I move to Indiana for graduate school.
Why you applied: I feel I have made the most of my experience at NAU and really enjoyed my time here, so I thought I’d give it a try.
Why you think you were selected: I worked hard and experienced many opportunities while at NAU.
What you want to do after you graduate: I am actually heading to Purdue University to get my master’s in clinical speech pathology, and then I’ll work as a certified speech pathologist somewhere in the United States.
Name: Travis Owen
Major: Political Science
Minor: Criminology/Criminal Justice
Something interesting about yourself: In my four years at NAU, I worked for the Skydome event staff up until this past August, and most recently, this current academic year I had the privilege of working as a senator for the Associated Students of NAU.
Why you applied: Dr. Joel Olson from the Department of Politics and International Affairs suggested I apply for the award. I look on Dr. Olson very highly. After taking three of his classes in my undergrad career at NAU and the amount of time he spent helping [me] achieve my goals, I felt I owed it to him, and as he helped me understand, I owed it to myself.
Why you think you were selected: The past four years I have been taught to believe in others and myself. My goals were realized, and as of May, they will be achieved. My professors, peers, friends and family are why I was selected, because they helped me to realize my full potential.
What you want to do after you graduate: After I graduate this May, I will be moving to Virginia where I will be attending Appalachian School of Law in August, where I plan on spending the next three years obtaining my J.D.
Name: Ryan Bye
Something interesting about yourself: I am fluent in American Sign Language because both of my parents are deaf. I learned sign language before I could speak.
Why you applied:I think I applied because I have been very involved during my time at NAU. This award is such a great honor that I wanted to make sure I left NAU with no regrets, and so that led me to apply. I believe that NAU has helped shape me into the person I will be for the rest of my life.
Why you think you were selected: It has been such an honor to be selected for this award, and I am positive that there are a ton of others who are also worthy of this award. I think I was selected because I have actively participated in Residence Life, Student Life and helped bring Frank Warren here last year.
What you want to do after you graduate: Actually, I will be attending graduate school at Texas Tech University and will be pursuing an M.Ed in Higher Education Leadership and Policy. I would like to work as a university administrator, such as a dean of students. I will be working as a graduate hall coordinator in one of the residence halls at Tech.
Name: Jake Holguin
Major: Choral Music Education
Something interesting about yourself: I love Scooby-Doo.
Why you applied: My friends, Cami and Brianna, encouraged me to.
Why you think you were selected: My active involvement and passion for the students of NAU.
What you want to do after you graduate: Go to graduate school for intellectual property and eventually work for a non-profit performing arts organization.
Name: Patricia “Abbey” Caballero
Major: International Affairs
Minor: Ethnic Studies
Something interesting about yourself: I grew up by the Mexican border in Nogales, Ariz. The most common question I get is if I have ever seen anyone get shot, and the answer is always no.
Why you applied: I kept getting pushed into it; thankfully I have very supportive faculty members who encourage me to do things — and then keep reminding me. Sara Aleman emailed me the link to apply over a month before it was due, and then the day it was due my boss, another Sara, told me I still had an hour to complete it. Thankfully I had everything pre-prepared to just copy and paste into the application.
Why you think you were selected: For the record, I try very hard to make NAU equal for everyone. I tend to get annoying at times; sometimes I’ll be tabling and forcing people to stop on the pedway, [and] other times I’ll spam all my [Facebook] friends with “Stop SB2281.” I think it’s for the better good, though. Sometimes I feel ashamed for getting awards because I know it’s not just me that is getting all this done — there’s Javier Ramos, Nathania Garcia, M.E.Ch.A., Repeal Coalition and countless others that should be recognized.
What do you want to do after you graduate: I am still waiting for my “acceptance” letter from the College of Education, *wink-wink*. I want to do community counseling. In the case of me not getting into grad school, I will go back home and help my community however I can.
Name: Anna Clark
Major: Exercise Science
Something interesting about yourself: I am a relative to William Clark, the explorer.
Why you applied: I applied because I have dedicated my last four years to NAU.
Why you think you were selected: I have committed many hours to my activities and have enjoyed every bit.
What you want to do after you graduate: Personal training, nursing and open a bakery with my dad.
Name: Brittany Halinka
Minor: Social Work
Something interesting about yourself: I love to snowboard. I was only able to learn how by coming to NAU.
Why you applied: I applied because of the great experiences I’ve had here at NAU. The classes I took, the jobs I had, and the people I’ve met have all made a significant impact on me. All of these experiences have taught me things about myself and made me into the person I am today.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected because of all the different organizations I was involved with throughout my four-year experience here at NAU. Not only did I learn a lot about myself, [but] I also gained valuable experience and knowlege that I will use the rest of my life. I also hope I made an impact on other people’s lives through the different programs I worked with, such as orientation, The Edge, and by being a resident assistant.
What you want to do after you graduate: I’m going to grad school for student affairs in higher education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I want to work with students in the university setting after I graduate.
Name: Lanette M. Christensen
Major: Biomedical Microbiology
Something interesting about yourself: The love of my life is my dog, Java, and I was a diver for NAU for four years.
Why you applied: My professor, Dr. Leid, recommended that I apply.
Why you think you were selected: I have put an exceptional amount of time into this school through honor societies, athletics and my college.
What you want to do after you graduate: I am attending graduate school at Texas A&M to get a Ph.D. in microbial pathogenesis. I would also like to get certified in skydiving so that I can become a sky-glider.
Name: Ashli Maria Benally
Major: Psychology & Criminology/Criminal Justice
Something interesting about yourself: I want to have my own practice for psychotherapy on the Navajo Nation, and also provide psychotherapy for the incarcerated population.
Why you applied: I applied to for the Gold Axe because of my involvement on and off campus and to demonstrate the importance of giving back to my community and beyond.
Why you think you were selected: I believe that I was selected because of my academic achievement and continued dedication of my service to NAU Native students and Native students throughout the United States, as well as my volunteer and employment opportunities.
What you want to do after you graduate: I am fulfilling my life-long dream of moving to New York City this coming Fall, preparing for graduate school, and then on to my doctorate degree. I am also getting married fall 2012 to Joseph Lee Bintz.
Name: Jessica Hennessy
Major: Theatre Performance
Minor: Studio Art
Something interesting about yourself:I have dual citizenship in Ireland.
Why you applied: My tenure at NAU has been very meaningful to me, and I feel that I have definitely pursued many opportunities to grow and learn throughout my undergraduate career. This is definitely a great honor on our campus, and I thought I was well-qualified to be considered.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected because I have given a lot back to the university in terms of service to students. I have been very involved in orientation, Residence Life and within my major. I really took it upon myself to be active and involved on campus, and I think that is what made me stand out as a candidate.
What you want to do after you graduate: I will be attending graduate school at Michigan State University, pursuing a degree in student affairs administration in higher education.
Name: Kathleen Templin
Major: Criminal Justice
Minor: Political Science
Something interesting about yourself: I’m a vegetarian and have a six-month-old baby sister named Lauren that I absolutely adore.
Why you applied: I applied because I feel like I have given this campus so much of myself, and it has given me just as much in return. I feel that I have truly had the Lumberjack experience.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected for my involvement in ASNAU, Gamma Phi Beta and around campus. I feel that I have loved this university, and that shined through in my application. After graduation I plan to move to Washington, D.C. this coming summer, take a job working on Capitol Hill, get my feet planted and attend law school as a part-time student in fall 2011.
Name: Darryl Jacobsen
Major: Electronic Media and Film
Something interesting about yourself:I have been slimed on Nickelodeon.
Why you applied:I applied for the award because one of my professors strongly urged me to. He knows that I have been very involved on campus and thought I would be a good candidate. Apparently, he was right.
Why you think you were selected:I think I was selected as a Gold Axe recipient because of all the ways I’ve tried to get involved with NAU in my short three years here. I wanted to make my experience at college truly unforgettable by leaving the biggest impact I could. I went out of my way to meet new people and try to make a difference in people’s lives around me. My goal was to make NAU a place to call home rather than some school that I studied at for three years.
What you want to do after you graduate: After I graduate, I plan on moving back home to Seattle and getting a full-time job doing what I love. Working for Microsoft is definitely looking better and better as graduation lurks closer.
Name: Feng Wang
Something interesting about yourself: I started playing piano when I was 9. I began to write songs with my piano when I was 17. Before I decided to study business, I always wanted to go to [a] school of music and become a composer. My most idealistic life is to have my own music production studio one day.
Why you applied: My tenure at NAU has been a fulfilling, inspirational and life-changing experience. As a transfer student from China, I started my college life at NAU in 2008. Over the past three years, I have not only achieved great academic records, but [I have] also been involved in many extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. I applied for the Gold Axe Award because I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to NAU, a great university that has offered me so many resources and support during my undergraduate years. The unique experience I have gained from attending NAU will enhance both my future career and personal development.
Why you think you were selected: First, I have achieved great academic records during my years at NAU. I have a GPA of 3.83 and a major GPA (finance) of 4.0. I’ve also been chosen as the Outstanding Senior of Finance at The W.A. Franke College of Business (FCB) for my academic accomplishment to the finance department. Second, I have been involved in many extracurricular activities. I have served as the president of Chinese Student and Scholar Association. I have worked for the Center for International Education and the Career Development Office of FCB. I have also worked as a student mentor in the College of Business and represented NAU to visit Mr. Warren Buffett in 2009. Third, as a transfer student from China, I’ve provided diversity not only to the teams I’ve worked with, but also to the whole campus by organizing cultural showcases during diversity awareness weeks.
What you want to do after you graduate: My short-term goal is to find a job in the United States ([I'm] still job hunting) and work for several years before I apply for an MBA program. I would like to gain some work experiences to better enhance my future development. In the long run, I would like to be involved in international businesses and assist in establishing the connection between China and the United States.
Name: Hayley Langen
Major: Exercise Science
Something interesting about yourself: This might just be weird instead of interesting, [but] when I scratch my throat, I sound like Chewbacca.
Why you applied: My research adviser encouraged me to apply.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected because I have been actively involved during my four years at NAU. Although academics are my main priority, I also made sure to give back to the community through volunteer work and support myself with a job. These activities helped me realize my passion in life and prepared me for my future. As my time at NAU draws to a close, I realize how much the teachers and students have impacted my life. Although I was only here for four short years, NAU was a stepping stone to my future and will always be a part of me.
What you want to do after you graduate: This June I am starting a physician assistant master’s program at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Ill. In the future, I hope to work as a physician’s assistant in the realm of global health where I can serve those in need.
Name: Amanda Bollard
Major: Speech Language Pathology
Something interesting about yourself: I love to travel and have been to many different places and hope to continue traveling. I am also the current student body vice president of student affairs for ASNAU.
Why you applied: I feel as though I have given a lot to NAU in my four years, and this prestigious award would mean a lot to me and my accomplishments.
Why you think you were selected: I believe I was selected because of my involvement with Residence Life and ASNAU, and because of all the work I have done to benefit the students at NAU.
What you want to do after you graduate: I want to continue on to graduate school in higher and post-secondary education to then use my education to continually help students in a university setting.
Name: Brittany Renee Tabor
Major: Journalism with an emphasis in Print Editorial
Minor: Native American Studies
Something interesting about yourself: I was voted Miss Congeniality during the 2009 Miss Indian NAU Pageant.
Why you applied: I applied for the Gold Axe Award because of the level of prestige and recognition associated with the award. Seniors who are awarded the Gold Axe have spent their undergrad [careers] contributing to the NAU community, and I find it admirable to be among such dedicated and hardworking individuals. I am blessed to be a part of this exclusive group.
Why you think you were selected: I believe I was selected based on my activeness within the NAU/Flagstaff/Navajo reservation communities through service work and my active role as a peer adviser/mentor to first generation and Pell Grant-eligible first- and second-year students.
What you want to do after you graduate: I am in the process of applying to various graduate programs where I will study public administration, community planning [and] tribal governance. I wish to continue my education and receive my doctoral degree. I would like to initiate a cultural revitalization program focusing on language, traditions, oral stories and traditional lifeways for my Navajo tribe, specifically Navajo youth. I would like to become an active participant with the Navajo government.
Name: Riin Allikmaa
Minor: Computer Information Systems
Something interesting about me: I grew up on a small island in the Baltic Sea called Saaremaa. It is the biggest island in my home country Estonia.
Why I applied: I applied because somebody I look up to here at NAU thought that I would be a good candidate and encouraged me to send in my application.
Why I think I was selected: I think I was selected because I have been involved here on campus, as well as in the Flagstaff community, since my sophomore year. I am a member of several student organizations, and I also volunteer through United Way. Although it has been hard at times managing my time between my studies, my job at the Office of Student Life and the extracurricular activities, I have maintained my academic focus and a high GPA. I feel honored to be selected as a recipient of the Gold Axe Award.
What I want to do after I graduate: I will be a graduate student here at NAU next fall pursuing a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting. In the future, I would like to become a CPA (certified public accountant) and work in a public accounting firm as an auditor.
Name: Jacob Sajinya
Major: Electrical Engineering
Something interesting about myself: I am an international student from Nigeria. I am also a tutor at the Student Learning Center.
Why I applied: I applied for this award because I felt like I did deserve to win an award for my contribution to the NAU community as a tutor. Being a tutor, I am able to help students in need and help them improve in their classes, thereby making the learning experience that much more interesting and bearable. I also applied because I wanted to win an award before I graduated.
Why I think I was selected: I think I was selected because of my good academic standing, and also for the fact that my contribution to the NAU community was related to academics. I think I was also selected because of my status as an international student. I mean, it always looks good on a school with a diverse community. Being an international student in an American university and still being able to contribute significantly to the university community is also a good thing.
What I want to do after I graduate: I want to go to graduate school after I graduate.
Name: Hannah Grace Kwiatkowski
Major: Public Health
Something interesting about yourself: I love rubber ducks. I have a collection of around 40 and am still on the hunt for more.
Why you applied: I applied for the Gold Axe Award because when I received the application, I thought it was an amazing honor. I didn’t think that I was going to apply at first, but after taking some time to contemplate, I figured I’ve worked hard throughout my college career and might as well go out with a bang.
Why you think you were selected: It was an honor being selected. I think I was selected because of my work with my major and job with the Student Education Team. I have loved my time here at NAU, and I think that came through in my application.
What you want to do after you graduate: After I graduate, I plan on taking some time off and job hunting for the summer and the following year. I am looking into graduate school and have my eye on a school in San Diego. We’ll see what happens!
Name: Amber McMahon
Minor: Communication Studies
Something interesting about yourself: I’m afraid of snakes.
Why you applied: I have been involved on campus during all of my four years at NAU.
Why you think you were selected: Each section of my application was very lengthy.
What you want to do after you graduate: Live on the East Coast and have a career in investor relations.
Name: Michelle Wong
Major: Biology (Pre-health) and Spanish
Something interesting about yourself: N/A
Why you applied: I applied for this award [because] not only is this a prestigous award, but also because a past recipient and friend of mine strongly encouraged it.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected due to [my] contributions to this campus. I have dedicated a lot of my time and energy into my extracurriculars and schoolwork.
What you want to do after you graduate: I plan to attend graduate school.
Name: Jenna Christine Galloway
Major: Electronic Media and Film
Minor: Journalism with an emphasis in News Editorial
Something interesting about yourself: I played four years of collegiate basketball for NAU, [and I] love to quilt and sew.
Why you applied: I wanted to be part of a great tradition here at NAU. I knew it was a great honor to earn this award, and I wanted the chance have that honor. I am very thankful that I was chosen to be a part of this distinguished group of seniors.
Why you think you were selected: I believe that I was selected due to my high GPA, the contributions I have made to the Communications Department through my work with The Lumberjack and NAZ Today, and the fact that I was able to perform well on the basketball court in addition to all of my extracurriculars. I believe I was chosen because the committee believed that I demonstrated what being an NAU Lumberjack was all about: hard work and dedication.
What you want to do after you graduate: My ultimate goal is to become a sideline sports reporter at both the collegiate and professional levels. However, until I reach that goal, I plan to go to graduate school and work for several different television organizations, learning the business and building contacts.
Name: David A. Watts
Major: Social Work
Something interesting about yourself: I dropped out of high school in 1991 while in the 11th grade. I worked construction until turning 19 years [old], when I earned a GED and joined the Marine Corps. While in the Marine Corps, I serves as an infantry man, aviation mechanic and drill instructor. I got out of the Marines in 2005 and started a trucking company. In 2009 I sold the company and returned to the classroom. I went from a high school dropout to a [college student] in two years and four months.
Why you applied: I was asked to by a professor.
Why you think you were selected: [My] GPA, community involvement and involvement with school programs.
What you want to do after you graduate: I will begin attending USC on May 18 to earn my master’s of social work degree.
Name: Erika Wiebener
Minor: N/A S
omething interesting about yourself: I am the second generation of Wiebener family [member] to join the Air Force and the first generation nurse.
Why you applied: I had been told by several faculty members I would be highly competitive for this award, and felt I fit all of the criteria.
Why you think you were selected: High academic achievement and involvement within Air Force ROTC.
What you want to do after you graduate: I will be joining the Air Force as a nurse and moving up to Anchorage, Alaska.
Name: Maryrose Bisagna
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Something interesting about yourself: I LOVE Flagstaff!
Why you applied: It was a good way for me to reflect back on my experience at NAU, plus I was curious to see if I would get it.
Why you think you were selected: I stayed pretty busy throughout college and got to see a lot of the inner workings of the campus, plus I am a diehard Lumberjack.
What you want to do after you graduate: I will be attending the University of Denver to get my master’s in bioengineering.
Name: Danika Matthews
Major: Business Management
Minor: Certificate in Marketing- Customer Service
Something interesting about yourself: I was born and raised in Flagstaff, Ariz. and have loved giving back to my community. In 2007, I started the Blue Ribbon Project, which is a project to raise money for natural disasters. We can’t support every disaster that happens, but we do our best for the ones we can support. I am passionate about NAU and every opportunity that it has offered me. Without NAU, I would not be the person that I am today.
Why you applied: I applied for the Gold Axe Award because everywhere I went, people were telling me that I should. When I looked into what the award was, I felt like I was qualified and that it would be worth a try to receive such a prestigious honor.
Why do you think you were selected: I think that I was selected for the Gold Axe Award because I have continuously tried to give back to NAU in the ways that I am capable of. I have been blessed with many opportunities at NAU and have been fortunate to meet a lot of amazing people. Without these opportunities and people, I would not have been able to have done all that I have.
What you want to do after you graduate: After I graduate, I am planning to move to Tucson, Ariz. and start a career in student affairs. I hope to continue impacting students’ lives and helping them become more successful in their education, careers and goals.
Name: Meghan Cox
Major: Political Science
Minor: Women’s & Gender Studies
Something interesting about yourself: I volunteer with the Taala Hooghan Infoshop on the East Side, and I can make delicious vegan cakes!
Why you applied: I applied for the Gold Axe because I wanted to demonstrate that community service isn’t, and shouldn’t be, limited to campus clubs; also, success doesn’t have a “look” or manifest in only one way.
Why you think you were selected: Because I have been active both on campus and in the wider community, and [I] used my time here to do more than earn a high GPA.
What you want to do after you graduate: I plan to volunteer with the Black Mesa resistance against Peabody Coal, travel with friends and train to become a doula.
Name: Jenny Baca
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minors: Spanish and Math
Something interesting about yourself: I can clog.
Why you applied: The adviser for Kayettes (a community service organization that I am a part of) strongly urged me to apply.
Why you think you were selected: All the community service I do and my involvement within my college.
What you want to do after you graduate: I plan on finding a job and moving out of the state (ideally [to the] northwest area).
Name: Paige Cooper
Something interesting about yourself: I don’t have many interesting facts about myself, but if I were to choose one aspect of my life that I thought was interesting or cool, it would have to be the fact that I worked my own way through college, and I am coming out of my undergraduate career debt-free.
Why you applied: I applied because I feel that I have given a lot to NAU by my involvement with many different facets of NAU’s campus. I was a part of Greek Life and held a variety of positions within that system, as well as being involved with ASNAU for multiple years and even being a student worker on campus.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected because of what I stated above: I had many involvements that stretched across different parts of NAU.
What you want to do after you graduate: After graduation, I plan to move to Denver, Colo. and hopefully find a job as an EMT in the hospital for a year while I get residency and save up some money. I then plan to apply to PA school and hopefully continue my education in the medical field.
Name: Liliane Palm
Major: Hotel and Restaurant Management, extended major
Something interesting about yourself: People get confused when they meet me and try to guess where I am from. I am mixture of European and Asian culture, seasoned with a touch of American culture. Born and raised in Switzerland with Chinese and Cambodian cultural origins, I migrated to the U.S. over two years ago.
Why you applied: A friend pointed the application out to me, so I submitted an application. I did not expect much, since there are many excellent students on campus. However, I am very dedicated to my program at the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, as well as NAU, and [I] appreciate the experience I have gained during my studies here. It has been an amazing honor to be selected for the award.
Why you think you were selected: I have shown hard work to maintain my scholastic achievements. Combined with my involvement on campus through the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) and other events, I have shown a sincere connection to my major and the university. I am looking forward to give back to the school once I start my career.
What you want to do after you graduate: I have been offered a position as management trainee at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale.
Name: Kristin Pollock
Major: Business Management
Something interesting about yourself: Last October, I flew to Omaha, Neb. with other business students to meet Warren Buffett, tour his businesses, and attend a question and answer question with him. It was an amazing experience.
Why you applied: I applied because the Gold Axe Award is another way in which I can be involved in this university and its rich history. I am honored to be recognized for this award.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected because I have committed to making NAU my home for the past four years by becoming involved in as many campus events, service projects, and leadership opportunities and meeting as many people as possible.
What you want to do after you graduate: After I graduate, I’m moving to California, where I will work in a management position for Target. Eventually, I’d like to pursue a career in business analysis/consulting.
Name: Zoey DeWolf
Major: Communication Studies
Something interesting about yourself: I truly believe that people ought to live, love and learn where they please. Life is too short to squabble over arbitrary boundaries and lines.
Why you applied: I have always known that the Gold Axe Award is given to really amazing members of the graduating class, and even though I wasn’t sure that I would get it, I thought I might as well give it a try and hope for the best.
Why do you think you were selected: I believe that self-improvement and community development go hand in hand. During my time at NAU, I was committed to both, especially in the context of the campus. I hope that was the reason that I was selected.
What you want to do after you graduate: I am currently working for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, so I plan to continue to serve her office after I graduate. Then I am off to Pakistan to visit family and work tutoring young girls in English, then possibly I’ll be off to South Korea to teach debate.
Name: Nicole Greenough
Majors: Psychology and Criminal Justice
Something interesting about yourself: I like the color magenta because my mom thought I made that color up in elementary school.
Why you applied: A professor emailed the form to me, telling me that I should be recognized for my hard work. I appreciated the thoughtfulness and decided that I should apply.
Why do you think you were selected: I feel that I have done a lot of work for the NAU and Flagstaff community in the four years that I have been here because I believe in what I am doing. I am very passionate and motivated to work for a cause that I believe in, namely LGBT issues. By bringing visibility to these issues and working for inclusivity, I feel that I can leave my mark during my time at NAU.
What you want to do after you graduate: Immediately, I will be entering a master’s program in forensic psychology, the field in which I plan to pursue. I hope to eventually work for the Department of Justice or a similar organization to help evaluate criminal behavior.
Name: Chrystal Silva
Major: Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood
Something interesting about yourself: I interned in Walt Disney World as a leap of faith my freshman year to see if my major was right for me, in turn learning a lot about myself and what I am truly capable of, coming to the realization that my passion is for children.
Why you applied: To see if I could achieve this honor.
Why you think you were selected: I’ve worked hard to be involved and help pay it forward to those who pushed me to get involved by spreading my involvement in a wide variety of clubs but at the same time to committing strongly to the clubs I selected.
What you want to do after you graduate: Student teach in Italy or Germany, then work in an orphanage in Africa.
Name: Diona Rogers
Major: Public Relations & Advertising
Something interesting about yourself: I was born and raised in Chicago, I studied abroad in Alicante, Spain for a semester, I was an NAU cheerleader for three years, [and] I plan to go to law school after graduating.
Why you applied: I applied because I knew it was one of the highest honors you can receive as a student at NAU. Being chosen to receive this prestigious award is a great honor. I’ve worked very hard over my four years here at NAU and felt that the Gold Axe Award would be a nice way to finalize and acknowledge my hard work.
Why you think you were selected: I feel that the Gold Axe Award is an award that acknowledges not only the academic accomplishments of NAU students, but also the efforts made outside of the classroom. Within the past four years, I have found many ways to contribute greatly [to] the NAU community and spirit. I have actively participated in various NAU events and have done extensive volunteer work within the local Flagstaff community. I have also managed to uphold an exceptional academic performance throughout my college career.
What you want to do after you graduate: I plan on going to law school in the fall. I am currently still in the process of choosing what school to attend.
Name: Laurie Urban
Major: Physics and Astronomy
Something Interesting About Yourself: I enjoy scrapbooking and eating Chipotle.
Why you applied: I applied because I know the Gold Axe Award is a prestigious award, and I felt I had done a lot during my studies at NAU that I might be a good candidate, and it would be really amazing to be a part of such an elite group of graduates from NAU.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected because I have not only done really well in academics and taken many opportunities to participate in events, but I also have participated in outreach to the community and held leadership positions in different clubs.
What you want to do after you graduate: I plan to move to Hawaii to continue doing astronomy research and enter a Ph.D. program in astronomy next year. In a couple years, I am also getting married to the love of my life.
Name: Shawn Munck
Major: Visual Communication: Dual Emphasis in Graphic Design and Computer Imaging
Minor: Public Relations
Something interesting about yourself: When I was born, my parents named me Chip as a joke, but my name wasn’t changed for quite a while. To this day, I don’t think it was funny.
Why you applied: I wanted to be recognized for all of the work that I have accomplished for this university.
Why you think you were selected: Over the past 3.5 years, I have worked as an advertiser for the university through SUN Entertainment and Unions and Student Activities. I have spent four years of my life focusing on my studies but also getting involved with as [many] activities as I could both on and off campus. It’s great to stay busy and get the adrenaline going. … I guess the selection committee recognized all of the time and effort that I have dedicated to NAU and the Flagstaff community, both as a student and employee.
What you want to do after you graduate: First I want to take a backpacking trip through northern Canada and Alaska, then find a career as a graphic designer for a firm, business, company or studio in a large city in the United States or another country.
Name: Alexandria Campos
Major: BAILS Degree with Emphasis in Learning and Pedagogy
Something interesting about yourself: N/A
Why you applied: I applied for this award because I have been involved in many organizations, and I have dedicated my time and service to this campus. It wasn’t a guarantee that I would receive the Gold Axe, but it was a chance that I took. I also know others who have received this award in the past and whom have encouraged me to apply my senior year.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected for the Golden Axe Award because since I have been involved in many things at my time at NAU, I feel that I have contributed a lot to the campus and the community. I believe you get what you put in, and I have enjoyed my time here, and I am just honored to be selected for this prestigious award.
What you want to do after you graduate: I want to work at a higher education institution to help college students, as faculty and staff did for me. I also am going to attend graduate school for my master’s in business.
Name: John Scaggs
Major: International Affairs (extended)
Something interesting about you: I have played cello for 12 years now.
Why you applied: I applied really because one of my professors told me about it and said I would be a good candidate.
Why you think you were selected: I think I was selected because of my commitment to the activities I am involved with outside of class — both the time I put into them and their being somewhat unique. Not so many non-music majors can say they have performed in the NAU symphony orchestra, and there are only a dozen or so of us in the NAU Conservatives Club. I showed that I have made my time here at NAU matter.
What you want to do after you graduate: After graduation, I am planning on eventually earning a master’s in international policy or intelligence. For now, I am looking for jobs and/or internships to gain more work experience.