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The College recognizes academic excellence with fall 2022 Dean's Medalists


The College 2022 Dean's medal on ASU diploma cover surrounded by sprit gear.
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December 09, 2022

On Dec. 14, 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 at the fall 2022 convocation.

Each semester, departments and schools within The College select outstanding students who have 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 Dean’s Medalist awardees from The College for fall 2022:

 Portrait of Catalina Alvarez Flores

Catalina Alvarez Flores

Dean’s Medal: School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Majors: Anthropology, family and human development

Alvarez is a first-generation Indigenous student from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe with research and career interests in cultural resource management and community involvement.

Through her research, volunteerism and mentorship, Alvarez gave much of her time to not only the Sun Devil community but the local community as well. Serving as a lead chair and committee member for all four campuses, she has led Native American Heritage Month and Indigenous Culture Week for the past three years. Alvarez also held clean-up and educational events around "A" Mountain and its history, served on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, assisted with assembly of the Corsi-Rosenthal Air Filtration Box Project in early 2022, served as a mentor to incoming first-year students through the Student Preparedness Initiative Readiness Inspired by Tradition (SPIRIT) program and currently is both a volunteer and archival assistant at the School of Human Evolutation and Social Change Center for Archaeology and Society.

Catalina has left a lasting impact on ASU with her advocacy through co-founding a student land recognition committee to recognize the land ASU resides on while working with ASU faculty, staff and officials on how we can further support Indigenous students through providing support services, resources and assistance to increase retention for on-ground and online students. 

After graduation, she hopes to utilize the skills obtained through her experiences to pursue her goal of starting a career in her tribe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

 Portrait of Eric Baker

Eric Baker

Dean’s Medal: School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
Majors: Geography, urban planning
Certificate: Geographic information science

Baker represents the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning as an outstanding dual-major student with passion for mapping, planning, land development and real estate. 

While at ASU, he held an internship at McArthur Land Company as a real estate geographic information systems (GIS) mapping intern and was a real estate sales associate who conducted research and used ESRI ArcMap software to create maps and update the land ownership database for the company. Currently, Baker is a GIS analyst for Works Consulting, where he works with many government agencies with GIS-related needs, including data entry and development.

Apart from excelling in his studies, Baker managed to also obtain his real estate license while at ASU. 

 Portrait of Austin Bartunek

Austin Bartunek

Dean’s Medal: Department of Physics
Major: Physics
Minor: Mathematics

In pursuing his degree at ASU, Bartunek appeared six consecutive times on The College’s Dean’s List for outstanding academic performance. 

In his PHY 334: Advanced Laboratory I course, he showed a dedication to learning and improvement by improving his grades on lab reports throughout the semester.

Bartunek has experience in coding with Python, MATLAB and Fortran. He has conducted research on computational nano-optics, including numerically simulating entangled two-level atoms driven within resonant optical cavities.

 Portrait of Sage Binder

Sage Binder

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

Binder came to ASU as a transfer student to further his education in mathematics and philosophy. In addition to mathematics, he has strong career interests in computing.

While pursuing his undergraduate degree at ASU, Binder has taken many graduate-level courses in graph theory and combinatorics, as well as a graduate seminar course on recent results in the theory of sparse graphs. He has blended his interests in computing and philosophy by tackling coursework that includes symbolic logic, analytic philosophy, philosophy of science and epistemology

In collaboration with ASU's President’s Professor Matthias Kawski, he has completed a research project in which he investigated visualizing Ricci flows on surfaces of revolution. Once the research was finished, Binder submitted the results to the refereed journal “The Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology.”

 Portrait of Enzo Carrascal Marquez

Enzo Carrascal Marquez

Dean’s Medal: School of Earth and Space Exploration
Major: Geological sciences

Carrascal came to ASU as a transfer student from the National University of Engineering in Peru. Here he has expanded his deep passion for geology. 

During his time at ASU, Carrascal served as an undergraduate research aide working alongside Professor Dan Shim. He assisted in mineral synthesis of iron-rich silicate samples through multi-anvil press experiments. 

He also worked as a teaching assistant for Assistant Research Professor Duane DeVecchio’s dynamic earth course, where he guided students through concepts in geology, chemistry and planetary sciences.

 Portrait of Rachel Collman

Rachel Collman

Dean’s Medal: T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Major: Family and human development

Collman chose to study family and human development in order to help children and their families overcome obstacles. She received her degree through ASU Online.

During her time at ASU, she worked as a teaching assistant for Clinical Assistant Professor Stacie Foster. This role helped her gain confidence in her ability to serve others.

Balancing school with everything else in life was difficult at times, but Collman made it through with high grades and increased confidence.

She is in the process of applying to graduate school to continue her education.

Portrait of Annie Cooper 

Annie Cooper

Dean’s Medal: Department of Psychology
Major: Psychology

Annie is a Barrett, The Honors College student with research and career interests in parental involvement in adolescent relationships.

While at ASU, she has immersed herself in serving many times as a research assistant, assisting in studies ranging from cognitive changes following combined hormone replacement therapy at ASU’s Memory and Attention Control Lab to the development and health of romantic relationships in adolescents at the Healthy Experiences and Relationships Across Transitions (HEART) Lab. 

She also worked as a research project interviewer for Schlesinger Group. Cooper is also founder and president of Currents Collective, where she spearheads social media branding across web and digital platforms.

After graduating, Cooper intends on going to graduate school for behavioral neuroscience and hopes to continue conducting research on relationships, mental health and addiction. 

 Portrait of Holly Hemesath

Holly Hemesath

Dean’s Medal: School of Molecular Sciences
Majors: Biochemistry, mathematics

Hemesath is a Barrett student who discovered her passion for coding in her first year at ASU.

She served as a lab aide in the computational biochemistry laboratory of Professor Matthias Heyden. Hemesath worked with programming languages including C, Java, Python and BASH to script, code and examine mathematics and physics of molecular simulations.

After graduation, she hopes to gain experience in biotech labs as a lab technician and later pursue a career in academia and research.

 Portrait of Lane Hiser

Lane Hiser

Dean’s Medal: Department of English, Department of Military Science
Major: English literature
Minor: Military leadership

Hiser sought to continue his education in English literature while serving as an officer in the United States Army. At graduation, he will be receiving the Dean’s Medal for two departments: English and military science.

In the ROTC program, Hiser has served on the color guard team as a first sergeant in the unit’s Charlie company. During Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox in Kentucky, Hiser represented the ASU ROTC unit while ranking fifth in his platoon out of 40 cadets from across the country.

After ASU, Hiser plans to make a career out of the Army as an officer in the Field Artillery Branch. Upon retiring from the military, Hiser hopes to write a novel and teach English to share his love for writing and literature with others.

Portrait of Jake Hunter

Jake Hunter

Dean’s Medal: Department of Naval Science
Major: Engineering management

Hunter is a New Jersey native who served as an enlisted Marine for five years before arriving at ASU.

During his time at ASU, Hunter served as the battalion sergeant major for the spring 2021 semester, overseeing administrative duties and supervising military ceremonies for the 100-member student organization. He also trained and mentored Marine-option midshipmen preparing for Officer Candidate School, a requirement for all prospective U.S. Marine second lieutenants. In addition, Hunter set the standard for midshipmen and enlisted Marines within the Navy ROTC program at ASU.

After graduating, Hunter will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He will be assigned to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, followed by flight training in Pensacola, Florida. 

 Portrait of Amanda Lombard

Amanda Lombard

Dean’s Medal: School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership
Majors: Civic and economic thought and leadership, public service and public policy

Lombard is a Barrett student with career and personal interests in legal studies. In addition to her two majors, she was heavily involved in the ASU community.

Some of her accomplishments include serving as both a justice and chief justice on the ASU Undergraduate Student Government Supreme Court, becoming a member of the Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority where she was chair of marketing and traditions, and receiving an ASU Changemaker Central Civic Engagement Grant. 

Lombard was also an extern for the Arizona Supreme Court, where she completed legal research to prepare for oral arguments and other court proceedings.

 Portrait of Thomas Pozsonyi

Thomas Pozsonyi

Dean’s Medal: Department of Economics, School of International Letters and Cultures
Majors: Russian, economics, mathematics

Pozsonyi is a triple major interested in the applications of economic theory, mathematics and finance.

During his time at ASU, he was an equity analyst intern for investment management firm Alpha Squared Capital, where he utilized company reports and press releases to assess company financial health. He later was a health consulting intern for asset management company Mercer, where he analyzed health care claims, projected health care plan renewal costs, and prepared client deliverables based on data and current economic conditions.

In addition to his internships, Pozsonyi worked as an economics tutor through the W. P. Carey Economics Tutoring Center and conducted research on regulatory impact in cities across the U.S. through ASU's Center for the Study of Economic Liberty.

Pozsonyi has secured a full-time position at Mercer, where he will continue to work as a health consulting analyst.

 Portrait of Gabrielle Romero

Gabrielle Romero

Dean’s Medal: School of Social Transformation
Majors: Justice studies,  Asian Pacific American studies

Romero, a double major in justice studies and Asian Pacific American studies, is passionate about public policy, community outreach, civic engagement, public service and nonprofit organizations.

She served as president of the Hawaii and Pacific Islander Club at ASU, where she collaborated with AAPI organizations and advocated for diversity. She also performed research for the Asian Pacific American Studies program, where she documented 25 years of the program at ASU and collected oral histories of community members, students and faculty. Finally, she served as a fellow for the Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander organization, where she developed and facilitated workshops on identity, bias, climate justice and more. 

She hopes to one day work for a nonprofit organization that serves the AAPI community as well as the undocumented population in Arizona. 

 Portrait of Nathaniel Ross

Nathaniel Ross

Dean’s Medal: School of Life Sciences, School of Politics and Global Studies
Majors: Applied quantitative science, biological sciences, political sciences, history
Minor: Dance

Ross is a Barrett student and fourth-generation Arizonan with interests in biology, politics and law.

Since arriving at ASU, he has worked in a genetics lab, managed social media outreach for the Luminosity Lab, assisted in research for a book project on the history of autism, supported the ASU Biodesign Institute Clinical Testing Laboratory in its transition into a COVID-19 clinical testing lab and served as a supreme court justice for ASU’s Undergraduate Student Government.

Ross served as a campaign staffer for a local candidate, interned as a policy analyst at Creosote Partners, analyzed data for the Chicago Justice Project, was a disabilities intern for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, served as a Human Rights Fellow for the Republic of Armenia and even ran for a seat on the Mesa City Council.

 Portrait of Nichole Smallcanyon

Nichole Smallcanyon

Dean’s Medal: American Indian Studies
Major: American Indian Studies

Smallcanyon transferred to ASU after receiving an associate degree in arts from the Maricopa County Community College system. 

In her coursework at ASU, she demonstrated a sincere concern for Indigenous social justice, a dedication to her studies and growth, and a passion for helping youth in her community. She is currently learning the Navajo language.

Smallcanyon is focused on continuing to find ways to support American Indian communities. Her goal is to obtain a position that allows her to use her knowledge and passion for American Indian studies to assist in tribal community development. 

 Portrait of Nicole Webb

Nicole Webb

Dean’s Medal: Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Majors: Communication, justice studies
Minor: Family and human development
Certificate: Cross-sector leadership

Webb has combined her interests and training in communication and social justice to support her community during her time at ASU.

She worked with several ASU clubs and organizations, such as the Movement for Violence Prevention, All Walks Project and Changemaker Central Days of Service. 

Webb is a long-standing member of the Association of Human Communication in the Hugh Downs School. There she organized and hosted several events, including the annual Human Communication Career Day, and she currently serves as the association’s president. 

 Portrait of Mayumi Webb

Mayumi Webb

Dean’s Medal: Department of Aerospace Studies
Major: Computer science
Minor: Military leadership

Webb is an Air Force ROTC cadet who has applied her education to support her roles in the military.

She was recently promoted to the national advisory consultant role for the Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings, where she maintains technical oversight of various processes and builds relationships with members, alumni and service communities. She previously served as the national webmaster for the society.

Webb was the Spring 2022 Cadet Wing Vice Commander. In this role and in others, her leadership has been key to developing and mentoring other cadets.

 Portrait of Rachel Welshans

Rachel Welshans

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

Welshans transferred to ASU after receiving an associate degree in liberal arts at Pima Community College. A Tucson, Arizona, resident, she completed her bachelor’s degree through ASU Online.

As an online student, she participated in the Online Undergraduate Research Scholars program, which allowed her to perform archival research at the Arizona Historical Society and at ASU’s Hayden Library. There she fell in love with public history and specifically her research on the Bisbee Deportation of 1917, which forced roughly 1,200 striking miners of mostly Mexican descent or who were immigrants to leave on a train to New Mexico at gunpoint.

Welshans currently works as an administrative assistant at the Tucson Police Department. She looks forward to taking a break from her studies before applying to graduate school and hopefully expanding her research for future publication – her experience at ASU has proven she has the passion and writing ability to do so.

Lauren Whitby contributed to this story.

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