Ten outstanding Boise State University graduating seniors will be recognized for their exceptional academic success at the annual Top Ten Scholars reception at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21, in the Stueckle Sky Center. The event is free but registration is required.
The scholars, joined by their family members and teachers, will gather for a reception that recognizes the students’ academic excellence and the tremendous influence specific faculty members have had on their success.
Students are nominated by their academic deans and are subject to rigorous review by a selection committee. To qualify for consideration, a student must have a 3.8 or higher grade point average. Nominees are then reviewed based on academic breadth of coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations at professional meetings or conferences, and extracurricular community and campus service.
The Top Ten Scholar Award Ceremony is presented by the Alumni Association in conjunction with the Honors College.
The 2016 Top Ten Scholar Award recipients are as follows:
Alex Belisle has served in numerous campus leadership positions in the Delta Upsilon Fraternity, the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and in the Associated Students of Boise State University. For the past two years, he has been honored to serve nationally on Phi Eta Sigma’s board of directors. Additionally, as Boise State implements its new crowdfunding tool, PonyUp, to raise funds for unique research and student activities on campus, Belisle was an integral component of PonyUp’s first year success — helping connect his classroom experience with real-world impact.
Honored Faculty: Brian Wampler, professor and department chair, Department of Political Science
John Everingham is actively engaged in various student organizations on campus, serving as a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society and starting a mixed martial arts club at Boise State. In addition to acting as president of the club, Everingham led martial arts and fitness classes for students at the Student Recreation Center. He is currently pursuing a master of science in mechanical engineering from Boise State University and is designing an experiment to quantify the effects of soft tissue mobilization on ligament healing, which could help the university secure a $2 million grant.
Honored Faculty: Trevor Lujan, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering
Karla Gonzalez has been the recipient of several scholarships throughout her time at Boise State University including the Kirk and Marsha Smith Scholarship, the Idaho Association of Public Accountants Scholarship, the American Institute of CPA’s Scholarship, the Roger A. Martell Scholarship, and the Hilda D. Elliot Accounting Scholarship. She is also a lifetime member of the honor societies of Beta Gama Sigma and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. As a first-generation student, Gonzalez is a natural leader who loves to help others achieve their goals as she reaches for her own.
Honored Faculty: Kelly Arispe, professor, Department of World Languages and Literature
Timothy Hibbard came to Boise State fall 2012 and immediately found his niche in the Honors College and in undergraduate research. He conducted two separate research projects in the Department of Communication while serving as a research assistant to Laurel Traynowicz. As a McNair Scholar, Hibbard also conducted original research studying gender representation in state legislatures under the mentorship of Ross Burkhart and Jaclyn Kettler. His research will be published in the 2016 McNair Scholars Research Journal. Prior to his arrival at Boise State University, Hibbard served five years on active duty in the United States Navy and a two-year, full-time religious mission. Hibbard is also a first-generation college student, and as such, will be the first in his family to graduate from college.
Honored Faculty: Ross Burkhart, professor of political science
Alaggio Laurino is passionate about the arts in all its many forms. Aspiring to work in museum sciences, he has spent the last four years serving as the student representative on the University Art Collections Committee. In addition, he has held several art-related positions as a student employee, including gallery assistant for the Visual Arts Collective, permanent collections assistant for the Student Union Fine Arts and lead associate for the Bronco Gallery. During his junior year, he spent his summer in Italy studying the preservation of books and paper. Most recently, Laurino joined the research team led by Darryl Butt of the Materials Science and Engineering Department, which seeks to conduct a comparative analysis of purple pigments in order to identify and reverse engineer those used in ancient Graeco-Egyptian encaustic portraiture.
Honored Faculty: Lee Ann Turner, chair, professor, Department of Art
Abigail Lipschultz is highly active in the Honors College, serving as a peer mentor and an Honors Student Association officer. Lipschultz was the founding chapter director of the student organization Strive for College, leading the recruitment of more than 360 mentor volunteer advisors to more than 800 underserved high school students. She is involved with Girl Scouts as a troop leader, adviser and Gold Award committee member. Additionally, she served in the Medical Reserve Corps and volunteered at her church as a youth leader and musician. Lipschultz traveled to Corozal, Belize and Bangalore, India, on service-learning trips.
Honored Faculty: Andrew Finstuen, dean and associate professor, Honors College
Brianna Oswald is a member of the Honors College and also works with Honors students as a peer adviser. She has also served the university as a resident assistant and a peer adviser for Advising and Academic Enhancement. Brianna has performed in the university orchestra, marching band and symphonic winds ensemble. Recently, she has been awarded the David Well’s Living Legacy Award for her excellence in the Blue Thunder Marching Band. Oswald’s research with Cynthia Campbell examines how students’ relationships with their service-learning clients potentially increases their critical thinking capabilities. She presented this research at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association 2015 Research Conference, as well as the Boise State 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference. Her research also was submitted for publication in Teaching of Psychology.
Honored Faculty: Annal Frenz, associate director, Honors College
During her time at Boise State, Lacie Rasley was immersed in athletic, academic and work-related activities. One of her most rewarding experiences was being a part of Boise State Track and Field. Rasley received Academic All-Conference Awards for every semester she competed. Additionally, she scored in her event at three conference championships. In addition to her athletic scholarship, Rasley received Boise State’s GEM Scholarship, the John Jackson Civil Engineering, the Verelynn Hewett Award and also a scholarship from a national essay competition. During her final year at Boise State, she worked with the Department of Civil Engineering and the College of Engineering as a teaching and research assistant and grader. Rasley was president of the Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi, increasing its membership from 12 to nearly 50 members in one academic year.
Honored Faculty: Janet Callahan, associate dean, College of Engineering
Sarah Rehn is the recipient of a 2014 Barry Goldwater Scholarship as well as many others, including the Atkinson scholarship and Idaho Promise scholarship. She is a member of the Boise State Honors College, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Phi Eta Sigma honors society. Starting as a senior in high school, Rehn conducted research in chemistry department at Boise State. She first worked with Henry Charlier trying to improve the efficacy and reduce the harmful side effects of chemotherapeutic medications. She presented this research at the 2012 NORM ACS conference. For the last three years, she has worked under Jeunghoon Lee on several projects with the materials science department.
Honored Faculty: Andrew Finstuen, dean and associate professor, Honors College
First-generation college student Frederick Swanstrum’s proudest accomplishment is his contribution to the Talkin’ Broncos, where he helped the team win two of their past three consecutive national championship titles at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament. He has traveled the nation speaking on political issues such as civil asset forfeiture, the private contracting of intelligence work and presidential war rhetoric. In his four years competing at Boise State, Swanstrum has earned six individual national championship titles in speech and debate, and has won more than 100 awards at tournaments across the country. In addition to speech and debate, he has served in eight different leadership positions across five organizations on campus. During his final year, he also helped to found two new student organizations on campus: Boise State Debate Society and the Boise State Chapter of the ACLU. A passionate, well-versed local organizer, Swanstrum facilitates and participates in a wide variety of Treasure Valley community service projects.
Honored Faculty: Manda Hicks, assistant professor and director of forensics, Department of Communication
You can read full bios of each Top Ten Scholar on the award ceremony website.