CAS Celebration of Students Program

Header image from event programCelebration of Students 

Friday, April 28, 2023 | 3:00 PM | Fine Arts Building, Recital Hall, Room 150

Download the CAS Celebration of Students Program

View 2022 Celebration of Student Recipients

Mark Johns photo

Mark Johns
Alaska Native Studies
Mark Johns is Naltisiine, Sky Clan, and he is the Language Program Director for Native Village of Kluti-Kaah, and currently lives in Tl’aticae’e, (Copper Center). Mark is pursuing his Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Ahtna Language. For seven years, Mark was part of the Ahtna Heritage Dancers, where he learned from and worked with Ahtna elders, and with school aged youth from 6 different Ahtna villages. Mark has also served and provided services to Elders with Copper River Native Association for six years. Mark hopes to become knowledgeable and skillful in the Ahtna Athabascan culture. One day, he hopes to build a log home on his Ahtna land that’s less modern and more traditional.

Rye Hendrickson photo

Rye Hendrickson
Anthropology & Geography
Rye Hendrickson is a "non-traditional" student, a mother, a wife, an artist, and a food-truck co-owner enrolled as an Anthropology major at UAA. Rye is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. Rye’s primary interests include ethnobotany and ecology, marine research, and the conservation of culture and resources. With plans to graduate by the fall of 2025, Rye then hopes to become part of a team that incorporates traditional systems of knowledge and aims to improve the environmental, biological, and cultural narratives of the future.
Maureen Meyer photoMaureen Meyer
Maureen Meyer is a freshman pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Art. Maureen is an outstanding student whose artwork far exceeds expectations. Maureen’s passion for art making is exceptional, and her commitment to community engagement is admirable. This year Maureen created an ambitious mural with community participants for Filipino American History Month. Maureen was also the first participant in the Fine Art building painting/mural wall installation project started this year. Maureen is an exemplary student, participating in student exhibitions and always willing to offer her artwork and time for her community.
Amber Richardson photo
Amber Richardson
Biological Sciences
Amber Richardson first enrolled at the University of Alaska Anchorage in the Fall of 2020 and is currently seeking a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. Born and raised here in Alaska, Amber has grown to love the state and enjoys going out and seeing the natural beauty that it has to offer. During her time at UAA, Amber has greatly appreciated the opportunity to pursue her interest and further her education. She currently is interested in doing research involving ecotoxicology and identifying biochemical mechanisms of environmental contaminants. She plans to work on a research project this summer to gain experience and exposure that will hopefully help to guide her to better identify her own career goals.
Cierra Brassfield photoCierra Brassfield
Cierra Brassfield is a first-generation college student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. After graduation next year, Cierra plans to start her career path as a forensic scientist, specializing in fingerprint analysis, crime scene processing, and firearms and ballistics. A major career goal for Cierra is to be a part of the FBI Evidence Response Team that will allow her to travel to other countries. Cierra has been the treasurer of the American Chemical Society Club and will be the president next semester. She is also a member of the Iceberg Robotics Club. Cierra demonstrates outstanding scholarship in the classroom, is engaged in multiple student-initiated research projects, and is an active member and leader in our UAA community.
Micaiah Anderson-Michaud photoMicaiah Anderson-Michaud
Micaiah Anderson-Michaud is a junior pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Psychology. Micaiah spends his free time reading books, knitting, working on miscellaneous hobbies, or watching movies with his husband. Because of his love of literature, Micaiah decided to pursue a career focusing on that very thing. Following his graduation, Micaiah plans to work in the publishing world. After graduation in Spring 2024, Micaiah plans to obtain a master's degree before entering the publishing industry.
Rachel Shiffer photo
Rachel Shiffer
Geological Sciences
Rachel Shiffer is a senior pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences. Rachel is also a Geology Intern with the State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining, Land, and Water. Rachel’s interest in geology and natural sciences began at a young age, and her fascination for geosciences was further cultivated by her experience volunteering at the Imaginarium Discovery Science Center. Rachel’s passion for environmental and geological sciences was solidified when she circumnavigated the Atlantic Ocean and traveled up the Amazon River while studying abroad in the “Semester at Sea” program. In the future, she looks forward to attending field camp and continuing her education in geological sciences.
Shelby Fuller photoShelby Fuller
Shelby Fuller is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Art. After graduation, Shelby’s goals include becoming a History teacher and writing and illustrating historical children’s books and graphic novels for older readers. This is a skill that she has already put to use in creative approaches to final research projects in several of her history courses at UAA. Shelby is a delight to have in classes due to her engaged participation, sharp intellect, diligence, and creativity. In her free time, Shelby enjoys exploring all that this state has to offer.
Gavin Taylor photoGavin Taylor
International Studies
Gavin Taylor is a junior pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in both International Studies and Political Science with Minors in Spanish and History. Gavin is a current member of the Seawolf debate program and will be helping head the ACLU student action network in the fall. Gavin was a part of the Alaska Middle College School, and has a great love of school and learning. Gavin has proven to be a stand out student through his in-depth knowledge and curiosity of international affairs. Gavin's presence elevates every class that he is in with his intellectual curiosity, generous spirit, and civic-mindedness.
Matthew Schmitz photoMatthew Schmitz
Journalism and Public Communications
Matthew Schmitz is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Communications from UAA, with a minor in Political Science. Matthew is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. Matthew has been an indispensable factor in the revitalization of The Northern Light, the student newspaper. He currently serves as the executive editor, and when he joined TNL, he embarked on bringing the newspaper back to full staff. Matthew has also had a vital role in the JPC Department with his leadership in the classroom and outside it. His classmates consider him a dedicated, driven peer, and his professors are consistently wowed by his love of learning.
Patrick Wisdom photoPatrick Wisdom
Patrick Wisdom is a German major in the Department of Languages. Patrick works hard to help expand the intercultural horizons of the UAA campus community by co-organizing and participating in events that introduce his peers and community members to new concepts, different peoples and societies. Patrick serves as the German Culture Club's President, and since 2021, Patrick has co-convened UAA's weekly German Conversation Table. In January 2022, Patrick received UAA Chancellor’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Appreciation Honor for being a student who makes a difference on campus. After graduation, Patrick intends to pursue an MA degree in Translation and Interpretation at Kent University in Ohio.
Gretchen Larsen photoGretchen Larsen
Mathematics and Statistics
Gretchen Larsen is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with a planned minor in economics.  Gretchen has been included on the Chancellor's List for multiple semesters. In addition to her academic achievement, mathematics faculty members rate her highly for her curiosity and work ethic. Gretchen is a UA Scholar who has lived in Alaska for nine years. She has volunteered with youth sports and as part of a civic engagement class at UAA she volunteered last spring at Zooniverse, a crowdfunding source for citizen research. Gretchen enjoys reading and gardening.
Apryl Cardwell photoApryl Cardwell
Apryl Cardwell is a freshman pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Performance. Apryl is a vibrant vocalist, and she has been singing for 9 years. Apryl has sung with the Alaska Chamber Singers for over a year and placed second in the NATs regional competition, qualifying her for the national preliminaries. Apryl was a soloist in the Department's Annual Symphony of Sounds competition, and received accolades for her expansive range and purity of tone. Apryl was cast as the Stepsister in a professional production of "Cinderella" with the Anchorage Festival of Music. She looks forward to using music to bring peace to every troubled mind and passion to everyone who feels a little bit lost sometimes.
Linsey Cullen photoLinsey Cullen
Linsey Cullen is pursuing her degree in Philosophy with a minor in legal studies. After graduating from UAA, Linsey plans to attend law school with the goal of becoming an attorney practicing in Alaska. Recently, Linsey wrote a paper using John Rawls’ theory of distributive justice to support the legality of abortion. She has found the study of philosophy to enhance and inform the work she does in legal studies, including an independent legal research paper, examining the impacts of felony convictions on one’s personal and social identity.
Ludek Wojtkowski photoLudek Wojtkowski
Physics and Astronomy
Ludek Wojtkowski is working towards his degree in Electrical Engineering with minors in Physics and Mathematics. Ludek has been conducting computational research in the UAA Plasma Physics Laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Nathaniel Hicks since Fall 2021. Ludek has distinguished himself by receiving recognition for his research through the Alaska Space Grant Program and the UAA Estelle J. Spatz Undergraduate Research Award. Recently, Ludek presented his findings at the American Physical Society - Division of Plasma Physics meeting, the world’s largest annual plasma physics conference.  Following his graduation, Ludek plans to pursue a physics-related graduate degree.
Katie Scoggin photoKatie Scoggin
Political Science
Katie Scoggin is a junior pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with minors in legal studies and Spanish. Katie serves as student body president, working to amplify student voices. Katie is also a Resident Advisor, helping to build a strong, safe, and engaging community on residential campus. She has also served as diversity, equity, and inclusion chairman in her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, and as director of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues with Model UN. After graduation, Katie plans to pursue a JD, aiming to enact change in the immigration system through advocacy, litigation, and legislation that prioritizes the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in search of safety.
Janelle LaPlante photoJanelle LaPlante
Janelle LaPlante is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Janelle previously graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Philosophy and French in 2017. Over the past three years, she has been employed as Medical Staff Coordinator at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute. Janelle has enjoyed serving as a Club Officer of UAA's Psychology Club and Psi Chi Chapter as well as her involvement with psychology and criminal justice research. Janelle’s scholastic interests include the multi-faceted interplay between the field of psychology and the criminal justice and healthcare systems, and how improvements at both individual and systemic levels may more robustly serve individual and community needs.
Albiona Selimi photoAlbiona Selimi
Women's Studies and Gender Studies
Albiona Selimi is a junior pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies and Justice. Albiona is a first-generation college student. Albiona attends classes while working for her family's business in Wasilla. Albiona is a member of the Honors College Leadership Track, part of USUAA, and Model United Nations. She is passionate about climate justice and immigrant rights, and aspires to be a civil rights attorney to help those who need it the most.

2022-2023 CAS Scholarship Recipients

Over $100,000 in CAS scholarships were awarded in academic year 22-23 thanks to the generosity of our donors.
Al Bramstedt Jr. Journalism Endowed Scholarship
James Boatman

Audrey Hunt

Ardell French Memorial Endowment

Eljsa Papraniku

Aric Thompson Memorial Endowment

Hezekiah Reeder

Becky Patterson and Murphy Turner Endowed Scholarship
Bridget Cruickshank

Tristan Rude

CAS Crossing the Finish Line Completion Scholarship

Angelica Firmin

Chandler Braley Memorial Dance Scholarship
Stephanie Andrus

Christina Ezell

Clay Body Award
Colton Cherrier
Lukas Easton

Kaitlyn Lee

Edward Rollin Clinton Memorial Endowment

Braedyn Thomas

Elaine Atwood Completion Scholarship
Hailey Barnes
Feng-Ching Chang
Eric Chase
Carlee Christensen
Linnaea Gossard
Jasmine Grant
Emily Hufford
Peter Jackson
Gloria Lord
Annelies Stephens
Ava White
Avery Williamson
Lucas Wright

Mark Zimmerman

Elaine Atwood Excellence Scholarship
Desiree Hagen

Taylor Heckart

Environment and Society Excellence

Kellie Richmond

Excellence in Anthropology and Geography

Aren Rosholt

Excellence in Arts and Sciences
Gator Cagle
Cassandra Cole
Emily De Los Santos
Excellence in Arts and Sciences
Danielle DeHoyos
Mark Johns

Kellie Richmond

Excellence in Ceramics

Amy Schilling

Excellence in Creative Writing and Literary Arts
Rachael Ball
Vicki Crosby
Sara Dennison
Mary George
Sarah Mickey
Karen Nelson

Orin Pierson

Excellence in Psychology
Isis Allen

Khyla Chasse

GCI Scholarship

Eric Chase

John (Wendy) Williamson Memorial Scholarship

Alexander Soboleff

John Russell Gay Memorial Science Scholarship

Eljsa Papraniku

Kay Fanning Memorial Journalism Scholarship

Feng-Ching Chang

Kimura Scholarship

Tressa Wood

Kris Knudson Memorial Scholarship

Lauren Kohntopp

Marguerite Downey Memorial Music Scholarship

Gage Traylor

Max Llanes Behind the Camera Endowed Scholarship

Joseph Barranco

Mickey Belden Vocal Performance Endowed Scholarship

Austen Hardy

Muriel Hannah Scholarship

Sarah Baktuit

Paul G. Landis Art Endowed Scholarship

Sarah Baktuit

Roger DeSmith Creative Art in Ceramics Scholarship

Katherine Schroeder

Saradell Ard Art Endowed Scholarship
Sarah Baktuit

Talia Leauanae

UAA Brian Wick and Hilary Davies Mathematics Scholarship
Morgan Moses

*Other students in CAS received scholarships for athletics, financial aid, community scholarships, performance scholarships, etc., but are not recognized here. The scholarship recipients recognized here are because of philanthropy to CAS. Thank you!

 Special thanks to our event supporter:

Last page photos and sponsors

UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: