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2013 Student Awards

Student Awards Banquet ~ June 14, 2013

Photos by Bill Goloski

Owens Citizenship Award

Owens Citizenship Award - Ryan Berndt

Ryan Berndt

The Owens Citizenship Award was established by the family of the late Rose and Vern J. Owens. It is intended for the student who, in the opinion of the faculty, has made outstanding contributions to the university. This is exemplified by high moral standards, participation in school activities, interest in the betterment of the student body standards, a cooperative attitude toward the faculty and fellow students, and a spirit of adventure in academic activities. This year’s recipient of the Owens Citizenship Award is Ryan Berndt. Ryan graduates with a dual Bachelor’s of Science in Renewable Energy and Electrical Engineering.

Ryan is actively involved in the Oregon Tech community through the public broadcasting radio team of KTEC, and the campus fraternity, Phi Delta Theta. As part of KTEC, Ryan has held roles of DJ, Program Director, and Station Manager, helping to re-integrate KTEC with campus life.

As a member of Phi Delta Theta, Ryan participated in March for Dimes, United Way Fund distribution, and maintenance on the iconic “O” hill. He has served Phi Delta Theta as Chapter President, Alumni Secretary, and Fundraising Chair. Ryan also served as Success Networking Team Coordinator for the National Society of Leadership and Success, and a Student Manager in the College Union.

“In watching Ryan since he came to Oregon Tech, I have come to appreciate his amazing leadership qualities.” —Christine Frazier, Campus Life Student Programs Coordinator

“I’ve watched him handle conflict with a cool head and success with enthusiasm.” —Janette Stringer, Campus Life


Most Dedicated Student Award

Most Dedicated Student Award - Tessa Simpson

Tessa Simpson

The Most Dedicated Student Award was established in 1967 by alumnus Jessee Barker. The award is presented by the faculty to the student or students whose loyalty to the university, involvement in campus and community activities, and commitment to higher personal and moral standards, form a role model for others. This year, the Most Dedicated Student Award recipient is Tessa Simpson. Tessa graduates with a dual Bachelor’s of Science in Dental Hygiene and Communication Studies.

Tessa has been involved in many roles on campus, serving as ASOIT Student Government Representative, Business Manager for The Edge student newspaper, and a student worker within the Shaw Historical Library. She has also volunteered with Medical Teams International, spending two weeks providing dental hygiene assistance throughout villages in Honduras.

Academically, Tessa has received additional licensures of Anesthesia and Restorative, which are not required in most states, and was awarded the Oregon Dental Hygienists Association Future Leader Award, which is given to a senior student from each educational program in Oregon whose peers feel they have shown potential as a leader.

“During her career at Oregon Tech, Tessa has been a dedicated student and [has] been actively involved in the Oregon Tech community as well as the larger community in many ways.” —Anne Hiller Clark, Shaw Historical Librarian and Associate Professor

“I believe Tessa is and always will be a difference maker.” —Dan Peterson, Communication Associate Professor


Student Achievement Award

Student Achievement Award - Tyler Martin

Tyler Martin

The Student Achievement Award is presented by the faculty. It recognizes an outstanding work, which is judged to have made a significant contribution to the student’s area of academic interest. This year, the Student Achievement Award recipient is Tyler Martin. Tyler graduates with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Embedded Systems Engineering and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Electronics.

As part of the demanding CSET program, Tyler maintained the philosophy that to stay caught up, he needed to stay ahead of his workload. Tyler’s senior project, the RSC-09 Scopedog, was a showcase of his ingenuity and commitment to his field. Working independently, Tyler developed a system for remote viewing via the internet utilizing many different areas of engineering: mechanical, computer, embedded systems, and software engineering. “Tyler’s project, the RSC-09 Scopedog, solves problems associated with transcending locality by offering a way to view an area remotely using a web controlled mobile camera system,” says Professor Calvin Caldwell, “…it offers a true visual first person perspective of a remote area.”

At the end of Fall term Tyler was hired at Garmin AT in Salem, Oregon, where he hopes to improve and advance humanity through Garmin’s avionics technologies.

“His project truly demonstrates the incredible things Oregon Tech students are capable of and should be held up as an example of which all students strive for.” —Todd Breedlove, Computer Systems Engineering Professor and SET Program Director

“Tyler belongs to that exceptional breed of leaders who are willing to care and share the gift of intelligence.” —Phong Nguyen, Computer Systems Engineering Associate Professor


Hiram M. Hunt Award

Hiram M. Hunt Award - Adam Burwell

Adam Burwell

The Hiram M. Hunt Award is eponymously named for a former Oregon Tech faculty member and presented to a student or group who, in the opinion of the faculty, has completed a project that is judged to have made a significant contribution to their field. This year’s recipient is Adam Burwell. Adam graduates with a Bachelor’s of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering.

Adam has many academic accolades, including placing as a semifinalist in the University of Washington 2012 Environmental Innovation Challenge, 2012 Clean Tech Open, and Department of Energy First Look West Competition. He also presented at the Social Business Challenge and as a student innovation guest speaker at the Oregon BEST FEST 2012.

Adam has served Oregon Tech and the community as Treasurer of the Renewable Energy Club, Tanzania Travel Team Member with Engineers Without Borders, Kids in the Middle Mentor for Citizens for Safe Schools, Health Mentor for Better Health Partnership Pilot Program, and Committee Member for the Klamath Falls Business Incubator Program. He is CEO and Founder of SolenSphere Renewables, developing a new solar technology and building a commercial-ready product with a brand.

“Adam has consistently shown that he is an innovator to be recognized; his CPV [concentrated photovoltaic] project has a patent because of its originality and creativity in design.” —Casey Coulson, Phi Delta Theta President; Oregon Chapter

“Quite simply, ‘Highly Recommended’ would categorize my recommendation for Adam Burwell for any award, scholarship, employment opportunity, etc.” —Joseph Reid, Mathematics Assistant Professor


Outstanding Community Service

Rebecca Lillie

Outstanding Community Service Award - Rebecca Lillie

The Outstanding Community Service Award is intended for the student or students who have made outstanding contributions to their communities. This is exemplified by high moral standards, a cooperative attitude with community leaders, and demonstrated service to others. This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Community Service Award is Rebecca Lillie. Rebecca graduates with a Bachelor’s of Science in Operations Management.

As part of our dual-enrollment program through Oregon Tech and Portland Community College, Rebecca has maintained a GPA of at least 3.90 and is graduating summa cum laude from Oregon Tech. She serves her community of Vancouver, Washington as a volunteer firefighter and is working on her certification to become an Emergency Medical Technician.

Rebecca currently volunteers in a number of organizations, which include, Felida Neighborhood Association, Advisory Board member for Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Volunteer Rape Victims Advocate for Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, Vancouver School District Foundation’s Operation Fairy Godmother Project, and Benevolent and Protective of Elks (BPOE), which provides food for the hungry, college scholarships, mentoring for youth offenders, and support for homeless veterans.

“The diversity of Becky’s community service volunteerism as well as the positions of responsibility she has undertaken over many years is a noteworthy accomplishment.” —Maureen Sevigny, Management Professor

“Rebecca exhibits dedication to work responsibilities and volunteerism.” —Garry Lucas, Clark County Sherriff’s Office


Outstanding Non-Traditional Student

Robert Murie

Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award - Robert Murie

The Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award was established in 2013 by the Student Awards Commission to recognize a non-traditional student as an exemplary role model and for his/her contributions to Oregon Tech and/or other communities. The first recipient of the Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award is Robert Murie. Robert obtained an Associate’s degree in Science from Klamath Community College in 2011 and is on track to graduate in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology.

After completing five years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a helicopter mechanic, Robert made the decision not to re-enlist when he became a single father. Since moving back to Klamath Falls to pursue his education, Robbie has worked on campus with New Student Orientation and Campus Activities and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. He is currently Team Leader in Training for Klamath County Search and Rescue.

Robbie is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and hopes to use his Oregon Tech degree as the next step to receiving a Doctorate in Forensic Anthropology. His dedication to his education has inspired two of his five children to become doctors.

“Not only does Robbie work in Campus Activities while studying biology, he is also a volunteer for the Klamath County Search and Rescue, a father, and fiancé, and Vice President of the Biology Club. I’ve always been amazed by his ability to keep calm under pressure, and balance so many different responsibilities in his work, school and personal life.” — Christine Frazier, Campus Life Student Programs Coordinator

“I asked a number of students what they thought of Robbie. They quickly said: He is courteous, punctual, a great team player, and an extremely hard worker.” —Janette Stringer, Campus Life


Outstanding Student Veteran Award

Outstanding Student Veteran Award - Joseph Miranda

Joseph Miranda

The Outstanding Student Veteran Award was established in 2010 by the Student Awards Commission to recognize a student veteran who has been involved on campus or in the local community, and has helped make a positive difference for students who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Oregon Tech student to receive the award isJoseph Miranda. Joseph graduates with a dual Bachelor’s of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering and Environmental Sciences.

Joe completed five years of service in the United States Marine Corps with an Honorable discharge as an E-6, Staff Sergeant, with two completed overseas deployments, one of which was a combat tour. He has received two Iraq Campaign Medals, one Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, and one Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Within his double major studies at Oregon Tech, Joe has maintained seven terms on the President’s List, two terms on the Dean’s List, and was nominated for the Hiram M. Hunt Award the past two years. He is also a founding member of the Oregon Tech Veterans Association and served as Executive Director, helping to gain Oregon Tech’s current status as a veteran-friendly school and implement the Iron Owl Challenge.

After graduation, Joe intends to use his degrees to promote and engineer geothermal technologies within the Klamath Basin.

“Joe is one of those individuals who exhibits natural leadership and has earned the respect of other students. His life is guided by the same principles of duty, honor, country which he practiced while on active duty with the Marine Corps.” —Irving “Bud” Hart III, Mathematics Emeritus Professor

“Whenever there is an activity sponsored by the Oregon Tech Veterans Association, Joe seems to be out in front leading the charge and interacting with the community.” —Michael Hughes, Natural Science Program Director


Oregon Tech Pride Award

Oregon Tech Pride Award - Jesse Ginestar

Jesse Ginestar

The Oregon Tech Pride Award, introduced in 2003, is bestowed upon the student or students whose academic excellence, scholarship, service, or other creative endeavors bring outstanding recognition and pride to Oregon Tech. The award is given upon the recommendation of the Student Awards Commission. This year’s recipient is Jesse Ginestar. Jesse graduates with a Bachelor’s of Science in Small Business Management.

Graduating magna cum laude and as a member of the Alpha Chi and Phi Theta Kappa National Honors Societies, Jesse has been enrolled in Oregon Tech since Fall of 2001. He exemplifies the honor with which this award is given by working on his degree for the past 12 years while receiving four different deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and domestic missions such as Operation Katrina in Louisiana. His numerous awards and accolades cannot be listed, but among them are the Bronze Star Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor.

After spending half of the last decade in deployment, Jesse began continuing his education through Distance Education in 2011 while working in a security detail at the U.S. Consulate in Irbil, Iraq. As a first-generation American citizen Jesse put his education on hold many times to serve our country and is currently at training for another deployment but completed his degree in March with a cumulative GPA of 3.75.

“[Jesse] never complained, never asked for special favors, never expected anything more than a chance for a quality education that would help him become a better leader and more successful business person. He has given Oregon Tech, the State of Oregon, and the nation much more than we have been able to give him.” —Maureen Sevigny, Management Professor

“Any organization that calls Jesse Ginestar a member can’t help but become more competent, professional and capable.” —Brunk Conley, CSM, Arngus, 10thCommand Sergeant Major of the Army National Guard

“Jesse is the embodiment of Oregon Tech Pride; an “A” student, in service to his country, and a truly outstanding person. We, as individuals and as an institution, can be proud of the type of person Jesse is and his representation to the world as an Oregon Tech graduate.” —Marla Miller, Management Department Chair

Due to Military obligations, Jesse Ginestar was unable to attend the banquet.  He is training in Idaho for an overseas deployment.  His mother, Martine Ginestar-Vieira accepted the award on his behalf.


President’s Senior Cup

Rebecca Merriam-Stelfox, Sean Hinchcliffe, and Alan Freeman-Scott

President’s Senior Cup

The President’s Senior Cup is chosen from the list of Outstanding Scholars nominated by their academic department who have demonstrated superior academic excellence as evidenced by very high cumulative grade-point averages, impressive senior projects, published work or acceptance into graduate school, and other criteria such as dependability, willingness to help others, or involvement in activities and organizations. The 2012-13 academic year consisted of 2 Boeing, 9 Wilsonville, and 25 Klamath Falls Outstanding Scholars, of which 6 students were nominated for the President's Senior Cup. This year’s recipients are Sean Hinchcliffe from the College of Engineering, Technology, and Management (ETM); Rebecca Merriam-Stelfox from the College of Health, Arts, and Sciences (HAS); and Alan Freeman-Scott from both ETM and HAS.

President’s Senior Cup - Rebecca Merriam-Stelfox

Rebecca Merriam-Stelfox graduates with a degree in Biology-Health Sciences. She has spent 9 terms on the President’s List during her three years at Oregon Tech. In 2012, Rebecca took the Medical College Admission’s test and scored in the 96th percentile of the nearly 90,000 test takers nationwide, leading her on her way to attend the Fletcher Allen School of Cytotechnology in Burlington, Vermont. It is her hope to be accepted for matriculation to medical school for Fall of 2014 and go on to practice medicine as a family doctor in a rural setting.

Through her involvement in the Health Sciences Club, Rebecca has spent time volunteering with Mathcounts, H.E.A.R.T. (a riding therapy program for children with disabilities), prospective student days, and various fundraising activities. She has also traveled to Hanga, Tanzania along with Engineers Without Borders to help collect and culture water samples to test for the presence of E. Coli and fecal coliform bacteria in the village water supply, as well as assist in the medical clinic.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Rebecca will achieve her dream of becoming a physician. She possesses the intelligence, integrity, discipline, determination, and compassion that will make her a wonderful asset to the medical profession.” —Rosalind McClure, Natural Sciences Assistant Professor

President’s Senior Cup - Sean Hinchcliffe

Sean Hinchcliffe graduates with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is an Oregon Tech Civil Engineering Cooperative Program participant and received several merit-based civil engineering scholarships, including Oregon Tech Gold and Engineering Honors, Structural Engineers Association of Oregon, and American Public Works Association scholarships, along with graduating summa cum laude, acceptance into four graduate schools, and obtaining a full-time engineering position at Smith Monroe Gray Engineers, Inc.

As the structural design lead for his seven-member senior project team, Sean designed a new bridge for their plan for expansion of a multi-mile section of Highway 97. This involved significant self-teaching and research on bridge build, which was integrated into the team’s project and presented to real-world clients from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“Sean is a quiet and humble person who does not boast of or revel in his accomplishments, yet he is an exceptional student and a truly superior professional who is definitely worthy of this distinguished honor.” —Sean St. Clair, Civil Engineering Associate Professor and Department Chair

President’s Senior Cup - Alan Freeman-Scott

Alan Freeman-Scott graduates with a dual degree in Renewable Energy Engineering and Applied Mathematics. He has been on the President’s or Dean’s List every term of his time at Oregon Tech. In addition, Alan was accepted into the Graduate program in Applied Mathematics at Southern Oregon University and later hopes to pursue a Graduate degree in Electrical Engineering, which will enable him to teach math and engineering.

As a dual major student, Alan has maintained a high GPA with an average of 18.6 credits taken per term, while also working part-time jobs at OREC and CFLAT, and remaining happily married. Alan’s senior project allowed him the opportunity to convert a 2000 VW Beetle into a fully-functioning electric car with a team that consisted of two renewable energy engineering students, one electrical engineering student also majoring in renewable energy engineering, two mechanical engineering students, and one CSET student. Alan is the first student to ever be chosen as an Outstanding Scholar nomination from two majors and also be nominated for the ETM and HAS President's Senior Cup.

“Alan is definitely one of those students Oregon Tech will be sorry to lose, but very, very proud to send into the world as a professional, as an alumnus of Oregon Tech, and as a well-rounded, thoughtful, inspirational citizen.” —Linda Riley, OREC


Graduating Speakers

Luke Ovgard, Operations Management and Marketing
Tessa Simpson, Dental Hygiene and Communication Studies
Mary DaSaro, Communication Studies

Graduating Speakers

Luke Ovgard, Operations Management and Marketing
Luke Ovgard graduates magna cum laude with concurrent degrees in Operations Management and Marketing. He has served the Associated Students of Oregon Institute of Technology (ASOIT) as Student Body President since 2013.

A local of Klamath Falls and graduate of Triad High School, Luke has helped ASOIT to establish new traditions, reinforce old ones, and work to create a better college experience for Oregon Tech students. He takes his academic pursuits just as seriously and has obtained a Dispute Resolution Certificate and also received the highest score in Klamath Falls campus history on the management major pre-graduation test.

Luke participates around campus in intramural basketball, football, and softball, serving as Captain on the intramural basketball and football teams.

Tessa Simpson, Dental Hygiene and Communication Studies
Tessa Simpson graduates with a dual degree in Dental Hygiene and Communication Studies and is winner of our Most Dedicated Student award for her loyalty to the university, involvement in campus and community activities, and commitment to high personal and moral standards.

As an active member of the Alpha Lambda Nu (ALN) club, Tessa participated in activities on campus and community service within Klamath Falls. After being elected President of the club, Tessa began looking to expand the club into a national sorority. In the summer of 2011, the process began and the first national sorority on Oregon Tech’s campus was established. Since then, Alpha Sigma Alpha (ASA) has been involved in a variety of philanthropic and higher education causes.

Tessa enjoys snowboarding with the Oregon Tech Outdoor Program, participating in the American Dental Hygiene Association, and volunteering in rehabilitation and long-term service at the Plum Ridge Care Center in Klamath Falls.

Mary DaSaro, Communication Studies
Mary DaSaro graduates with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Studies and a 3.9 GPA. Mary is mother of three sons, one of whom is a Special Forces soldier, and wife to Don DaSaro, Oregon Tech Management Department Assistant Professor.

Mary is a certified legal assistant, member of the ADL Law Committee, and a member of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society for National Communication Association. Among her many volunteer activities, Mary was an usher for Washington D.C.’s Folger Shakespeare Theatre, an English teacher at NGO slum school in Banalore, India, worked on W.H.O. breast cancer database at Bangalore Baptist Hospital, a volunteer with Riding for the Disabled in Michigan and Singapore, and is a S.M.A.R.T. reader at Pelican and Mills Elementary schools. Mary also volunteers for the Klamath Animal Shelter, taking photographs of abandoned pets to help them find new homes.

As godmother to Lobsang-Lhundup, a Tibetan refugee, and a donor to Bangalore’s Manipal Hospital Children’s Hearth Unit for Tibetans, Mary was rewarded with a meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2005. Her current hobbies include photography, hiking, horseback riding, and Facebooking far-flung family and friends.


Outstanding Scholars Award

The Outstanding Scholars Award honors those students appointed by their respective department chairpersons or program directors who, in the opinion of the faculty, have demonstrated academic excellence in their majors. Only one Outstanding Scholar is awarded per major.

Outstanding Scholars Award

Alan Freeman-Scott, Applied Mathematics
Amanda Collins, Applied Psychology
Rebecca Merriam-Stelfox, Biology
Colleen Withers, Communication Studies
Brenna Southwick, Dental Hygiene
Tiffany Goddard, Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Kimberly Davis, Echocardiography
Mike Nguyen, Nuclear Medicine
Valerie Fischer, Radiologic Science
Hannah Dinsmore, Respiratory Care
Mary Hadden, Vascular Technology
Amy Upton, Allied Health Management
Sean Hinchcliffe, Civil Engineering

Outstanding Scholars Award

Jeffrey Morgan, Computer Engineering Technology
Ian McNee, Electrical Engineering
Tyler Martin, Embedded Systems Engineering Technology
Austin Amort, Geomatics
Daniel Magana, Information Technology
Lisa Johnson, Management
Jared Murphy, Manufacturing Engineering Technology
Derek Pallett, Mechanical Engineering
Luke Hazel, Mechanical Engineering Technology
Luke Ovgard, Operations Management
Alan Freeman-Scott, Renewable Energy Engineering
Arthur Johnston, Software Engineering Technology

Recognition of our Student Award Nominees

Student Award Nominees

Adam Burwell
Amanda Collins
Allison Cook
Vanessa Franklin
Jesse Ginestar
Daniel Helmricks
Davis Hernandez
Sean Hinchcliffe
Michael House
Zachary Hudspeth
Jordan Hunter
Jessica Jordan
Ian McNee
Matthew Nicholson
Luke Ovgard
Beau Plummer
Patsy Sandoval
Colleen Withers
Kristi Woods