The College honors outstanding academic achievement with 2021 Dean's Medals

By

Emily Balli

On Monday, May 3, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will recognize its highest achieving students from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities divisions at the spring 2021 virtual convocation ceremony.

Each department and school within The College has selected an outstanding student who demonstrated a steadfast commitment to academic excellence during their time at ASU. These students will be awarded a prestigious Dean’s Medal in honor of their scholastic achievements.

Meet the outstanding spring 2021 Dean’s Medalist awardees from around The College.

Erin Crust 

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Dean’s Medal: Department of Economics
Majors: Economics, mathematics 
Minor: Civic and economic thought and leadership

Crust is a Barrett, The Honors College student, studying economics, mathematics and civic and economic thought and leadership. Crust's academic accomplishments include serving as an undergraduate research assistant and co-authoring an economic letter with the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Despite her busy schedule, Crust found time to be involved with ASU’s women’s rugby team and participated in a variety of volunteer events where she helped teach a clinic for local youth teams. In addition, Crust worked as an intern with the Arizona Advocacy Network, a nonpartisan organization that works to promote democracy and voting rights.

After graduation, she plans to work as a research associate with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. With a passion for conducting research and mentoring students, she hopes to pursue a PhD and become a professor of economics.

Anabel Figueroa Velasco

 student's portrait

Dean’s Medal: School of Social and Family Dynamics
Major: Family and human development
Minor: Communication

Figueroa Velasco is a first-generation college student studying family and human development and human communication with an interest in advocating for mental health in Hispanic populations.

During her time at ASU, Figueroa Velasco was involved in several extracurricular activities, groups and clubs. She served in multiple leadership roles for Gamma Alpha Omega, a multicultural sorority, and was an active member of the School of Social and Family Dynamics’ Student Leaders Club. She was also an instructional aide and earned a summer research program fellowship along with multiple scholarships from the School of Social and Family Dynamics.

In addition to her extracurricular activities, throughout her time as an undergraduate she worked two jobs to help pay for her education and bills. After graduation, she plans to continue working in order to save money for graduate school and hopes to pursue a career in therapy or counseling.

Kara Gardner

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Dean’s Medal: School of Life Sciences
Major: Biological sciences (biology and society)
Minor: Justice studies

Gardner is a first-generation college student studying biology and society as well as justice studies. With a passion for serving vulnerable communities, Gardner is a volunteer leader with Gathering Humanity, a local nonprofit that provides essential goods to local refugees experiencing resettlement and to other community members in need.

During her time at ASU, she was also selected to participate in ASU’s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, where she worked closely with residents at the Maricopa Reentry Center addressing feminism and issues of toxic masculinity in the community.

After graduation, Gardner is eager to pursue a master’s degree in bioscience ethics, policy and law at ASU. In her master’s degree program, she will research the intersection of bioethics law and regulations and birth control technology, specifically focusing on long-acting reversible contraception and the lack of male birth control on the market. Her research will be supported by a scholarship from The Next Edison Foundation.

Aseel Ibrahim

 

Dean’s Medal: School of Transborder Studies
Majors: Biological sciences (biomedical sciences), transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o studies (transborder community development and health)
Minor: Arabic studies

Ibrahim studies biomedical sciences, transborder community development and health, and Arabic. With a passion for the medical field and merging both her degrees in the natural and social sciences, Ibrahim’s honor’s thesis explores the possible gaps in the cycle of medical education regarding cultural competence to reach a more interdisciplinary and inclusive approach to medicine.

In addition to her thesis, she has experience with other research projects, has vast volunteer experience in and outside ASU and was recently recognized as a student leader in The College.

Ibrahim was also selected for a highly competitive mentoring program, where she has been mentored by the geriatric medicine physician and associate dean of the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine for the past two years. After graduation she plans on attending medical school.

Elisa Jennings

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Dean’s Medal: School of International Letters and Cultures
Majors: English (linguistics), classics (ancient Greek language)
Certificate: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Jennings has a passion for learning and teaching languages. Through her studies of ancient Greek language, she made many contributions to ASU’s classics community.

At ASU, Jennings served as the head grader and tutor in the classics program. School of International Letters and Cultures faculty and instructors said Jennings not only helped the courses run smoothly but also helped students feel more confident, empowered and ready to tackle the subjects on their own.

As an intern at Global Launch at ASU, Jennings assists in activities and provides conversational practice to students who speak English as a second language. She also leads the student organization Solis Diaboli and revitalized it by holding game and trivia nights that appeal to students outside the classics program.

After graduation, Jennings will pursue a master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She aspires to teach Latin and Greek at the high school level.

Junehyoung Jeon

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Dean’s Medal: School of Earth and Space Exploration
Major: Earth and space exploration (astrophysics)

Jeon is a Barrett student who is from Seongnam, South Korea. He serves as a research assistant in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Jeon is an active participant in Regents Professor Rogier Windhorst’s cosmology research group where he uses the CIGALE program to model the SED of high redshift galaxies to determine their properties. His work done in Windhorst’s lab has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal.

He has served in several extracurricular roles including as a student ambassador for The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In addition, Jeon is the secretary of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space club, where he participates in outreach events to communicate the importance of science education.

After graduation, Jeon will pursue a master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin where he will work with faculty to use the James Webb Space Telescope.

Benjamin Jones

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Dean’s Medal: School of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences
Major: Mathematics

Jones is a National Merit Commended Scholar who has won numerous awards including the U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award, the Arizona Congressional Scholastic Achievement Award and the Rotary Youth Leadership Award.

He enjoys studying mathematics and working on projects that involve a combination of math and computer science. Jones serves as an academic success tutor, as well as a grader in mathematics. During his time at ASU, he completed two internships, one in data science, and one in information technology security. His teachers and adviser commend him as exceptional and enthusiastic.

Outside the classroom, he was on ASU’s roller derby team and was a member of the chess club. After graduation Jones plans to continue his studies toward a PhD in mathematics.

Emily Luffey

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Dean’s Medal: Department of Physics
Major: Biophysics

Luffey is a transfer student who is from a rural area with few science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education opportunities. She is recognized by faculty and her peers as an outstanding member of ASU’s physics community.

During her time at ASU, Luffey participated in research in the Single Molecule Biophysics Lab, where she characterized properties of both cancerous and noncancerous chromatin. In addition, she serves as a Sundial project mentor and the treasurer of ASU’s Society of Physics Students. She is also a member of the Department of Physics’ American Physical Society Inclusion, Diversity, Equality Alliance team, where she helped to teach first-year students about various concepts in physics and biophysics.

She has been recognized with several awards including The College Student Leader Award, the John C. Wheatley Undergraduate Research Award, Arizona/NASA Space Grant and ASU’s Women in Physics Prize.

Nora Martinez

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Dean’s Medal: School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Majors: Anthropology, English literature

Martinez is an honors student with a passion for literature, literacy and publishing studies.

She is the president of ASU’s Undergraduate Anthropology Association where she actively organizes events that unite faculty with students and provides helpful information to undergraduates.

Martinez participated in undergraduate research in Chris Morehart's Los Mogotes Archaeological Laboratory and with Ian Gilby in the Gombe Chimpanzee Research Group. She served as a publishing intern for the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a student assistant for Red Ink: International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, and Humanities. In spring 2019, Martinez studied abroad for a semester at the University of Edinburgh. After graduation, she will pursue a master’s degree in publishing from the University of Exeter. Her goal is to launch a career in publishing dedicated to implementing multiculturalism, decolonization and anti-racism into the industry.

Colin Marvin

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Dean’s Medal: School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Major: Geography
Minor: Mathematics
Certificate: Geographic information science

Marvin is passionate about research and developing his skills in mathematics and geographic theory and methods. During his time at ASU, he participated in many research opportunities in the Earth Surface Processes and Geomorphology Lab.

In the lab, he served as a research assistant and geography peer mentor. He was awarded a Barrett Global Explorers Grant that enabled him to research a new method of recognizing human-caused pollution and disturbances to coastal dune systems. In addition, Marvin worked as an intern for NASA DEVELOP where he provided the city of San Diego with data to address the impacts of the urban heat island. 

He is a member of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the international honor society in geography. Marvin aspires to become a professor at a research institution.

Sarah Mogytych

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Dean’s Medal: Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Major: Communication
Certificate: Sports, culture and ethics

Mogytych is interested in communication and sports, culture and ethics. Her honors thesis, “Sports Film and the Female Athlete: An examination of the gendered framing of female protagonists,” aims to identify central gendered themes in the female protagonist sport film genre and highlight how these themes perpetuate heteronormative stereotypes.

During her time at ASU she served as an academic tutor for the Office of Student Athlete Development as well as a teaching assistant in The College. She was a member of the 942 Crew executive board, a student-run booster organization in Sun Devil Athletics aimed at enhancing the student experience at all ASU athletic events. 

With a passion for helping students make the best of their college experience and achieve their fullest potential, Mogytych plans on continuing her education journey at ASU by pursuing a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education.

Sofia Murillo

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Dean’s Medal: School of Social Transformation
Majors: Women and gender studies, political science
Minor: French

Murillo is a second-generation Sun Devil who is motivated to tackle issues of women’s health and reproductive justice. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked as a campaign organizer for the ASU chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action, an editor of the website Her Campus at ASU, a features editor for Normal Noise magazine and an intern with QUAD Productions working on social justice documentary projects.

In addition, Murillo is an accomplished musician and has been active in ensembles on campus and in the community. She performed violin with the West Valley Youth Orchestra and Phoenix Youth Symphony and has been involved with the ASU Philharmonia and La Raza Chamber Players, a collection of Latino musicians performing works by Latino composers. She shared her passion for music by teaching grade school students with the ASU String Project and by mentoring students with special needs with United Sound.

After graduation, Murillo plans on applying for internships in the fields of government, advocacy, nonprofit or gender studies as she searches for the career path that interests her most.

Bianca Navia

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Dean’s Medal: School of Politics and Global Studies
Majors: Global studies, political science
Minors: Italian, German

Navia is an honors student who is the first of her four sisters to attend college. She has a deep interest in foreign affairs, particularly issues of international migration and refugees, terrorism and counterterrorism, and the politics of the Middle East.

During her time at ASU, she participated in undergraduate research at the Center on the Future of War, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, and the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies. Outside the classroom, she interned with the Anti-Defamation League and wrote twice-weekly blog posts to promote U.S.-Ukrainian cross-cultural exchange through America House Kyiv. In addition, she tutors Sudanese and Syrian refugees in English, and helps to mentor U.S.-inbound Fulbright Scholars from the Middle East and North Africa.

Navia was awarded various prestigious scholarships and fellowships including the Boren Scholarship and the Killam Fellowship. This summer, she will complete a virtual internship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. She aspires to live, work or study abroad in the Middle East and pursue graduate studies.

Angel Nosie

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Dean’s Medal: American Indian Studies
Majors: Justice studies, American Indian studies

Nosie is a Moeur Award recipient who is passionate about helping Indigenous communities throughout Arizona. She is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe of the Hagosteele Clan. 

She received a full-ride Geronimo scholarship from her tribe, as well as the Fort McDowell Wassaja Scholarship. Outside the classroom she participates in ASU’s Pre-Law Society and serves as the vice president of Alpha Pi Omega, the first Native American sorority at ASU. In addition, she served as a student panel speaker for the Tribal Nations Tour, where she shared her personal experiences in higher education with Native American high school students across the country to encourage them on a path to college.

After graduation, Nosie plans on participating in the Pipeline to Law Initiative, where she will be equipped with the tools to apply to law school. She aspires to attend Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and practice Indian law in the future.

Jasmin Ray

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Dean’s Medal: Department of Psychology
Major: Psychology
Minor: Biological sciences

Ray is a first-generation college student and the firstborn child of Cambodian refugees. She is a Barrett student who studies psychology and biological sciences and is passionate about a future career in pediatrics.

She has worked at Phoenix Children's Hospital since 2018 as a volunteer and a patient care technician. In addition, she interned as a neurorehabilitation technician at Neurohealth Solution, a care facility for patients who suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Ray also served as a teaching assistant with the Department of Psychology, where she helped fellow undergraduate students learn about various mental illnesses in adults.

She worked closely with Associate Professor Leah Doane to complete her honors thesis on objective stress measures of child diurnal cortisol rhythms. After graduation, Ray hopes to work in the health care industry and integrate her knowledge of people and biology.

Alexandra Rios

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Dean’s Medal: Department of English
Major: English literature
Minors: Italian, Spanish

Rios started her journey at ASU as a biology minor, but eventually found her passion studying English literature, Italian and Spanish. As a first-generation American who grew up in a bilingual home, she quickly gravitated toward studying languages and literature.

For three years, she has worked at Hayden Library in Collections Care Preservation, helping visiting researchers navigate the special collections. In addition, she co-hosted, co-wrote, co-produced and co-broadcast an ASU radio show called Buongiorno Italian, a program focused on Italian news, culture and music. She was a research assistant for Professor George Justice, researching the use of the word “heroine” in 18th-century online collections. She also worked as a communications intern on a political campaign.

After graduation, Rios plans to pursue an advanced degree in comparative literature, where she can further immerse herself in language, literature and research. 

Joshua Robinaugh

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Dean’s Medal: School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Major: History

Robinaugh is the vice president of Eta Sigma Phi and an undergraduate representative for Phi Alpha Theta. He studies history and is especially interested in medieval history.

In his undergraduate honor’s thesis, “Race, Color and Enslaveability: An Analysis of Slave Buying Manuals in the Medieval Islamic World,” he examined ideas of race and enslaveability in the Islamic world, shedding new light on the relationship between colorism and racism in medieval Islamic frameworks of enslaveability. 

He served as a research assistant in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies where he helped compile a wide range of both primary and secondary sources from across the globe and from a wide range of time in the premodern period, translating previously untranslated content from Latin into English. He is a member of the National Honor Society and ASU’s chess club. He also served as a university housing assistant and a course grader for ASU’s Global Launch program.

After graduation, Robinaugh will decide between pursuing work as a certified nursing assistant or continuing his education at ASU this fall. 

Ellen Streitwieser

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Dean’s Medal: School of Molecular Sciences
Major: Biochemistry
Minor: Psychology

Streitwieser is an ASU Online student interested in the field of neuroscience and advocating for women in science. She is the founder and president of the Inclusion, Diversity, Education, Advocacy in Science (IDEAS) Student Society, one of the largest student organizations at ASU with over 600 active members.

She also founded and is the vice president of BeYouASU (LGBTQIA Sun Devils and Allies), a group that offers peer support and advocates for LGBTQ students in the ASU community. Streitwieser serves as a lead teacher’s assistant in the School of Molecular Sciences Online Chemistry Learning Resource Center, providing tutoring and peer support for general and organic chemistry courses.

After graduation, Streitwieser plans to pursue a PhD in computational biophysical chemistry and has been accepted into several prestigious graduate programs including at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University and University of California, Berkeley.

Cameron Vega

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Dean’s Medal: School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership
Majors: Civic and economic thought and leadership, political science
Minor: History
Certificates: Human rights, political economy, religion and conflict, Russian and East European studies

Vega is double majoring in civic and economic thought and leadership and political science with a minor in history and certificates in human rights, political economy, religion and conflict, and Russian and East European studies.

During his time at ASU, Vega served as president of the Alexander Hamilton Society and a participant in Model United Nations. He participated in undergraduate research at the Center on the Future of War and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.

He was selected for a competitive State Department internship and received a George Washington Scholarship, the school’s most prestigious academic merit scholarship. Earlier this year he was also awarded a Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship.

After graduation Vega will attend Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies to pursue a master’s degree in international relations with a focus on security, strategy and statecraft. Afterwards he will join the U.S. foreign service through his Pickering Fellowship.