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2014 Student Awards

Student Awards Banquet ~ June 13, 2014

Photos by Bill Goloski

Commencement-Speakers

ETM Commencement Speaker:

Hannah Coe

Hannah graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Since transferring in 2012 from her home in Alaska, Hannah Coe has maintained a Dean List academic standing at Oregon Tech and has been involved in numerous campus programs and activities. In addition to writing for and helping manage The Edge newspaper, Hannah has been an active member of several clubs including ASME, Oregon Tech Philosophy Club, and Women's Rugby.

In June of 2013, Hannah was selected to participate in the New Leadership Oregon women's leadership program at PSU where she cultivated an interest in a relationship between technology and public policy. Following the completion of her degree, Hannah will begin an internship at Lawrence National Labs in Livermore, California. In the future, Hannah hopes to pursue a master's degree and continue a career in research and development.

HAS Commencement Speaker:

Joshua Varner

Josh Varner is from Hillsboro, Oregon and is the husband of Barbara Varner and the father of 3 fantastic children named Jackson, Brooklyn and Owen. He graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and a minor in statistics. Josh has been accepted to Oregon Health and Science University master’s degree program in biostatistics, and plans to begin in the fall.

During his time at Oregon Tech, Josh has served as Downtown Business Coordinator for Hootie's Halloo 2013, the Vice President of the Renewable Energy Engineering (REE) club, and as Finance Officer for Associated Students of Oregon Institute of Technology (ASOIT) since 2013. When Josh isn't in class or studying, you'll find him throwing a Frisbee with friends, rock climbing, playing Lacrosse or hanging out and having fun with his wife and 3 kids.


Sarah Courier - Owens Citizenship Award

Owens Citizenship Award:

Sarah Courier

Sarah is from Medford and graduates cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with a minor in psychology and a certificate in dispute resolution.

Sarah worked in Housing and Residence Life throughout her years at Oregon Tech: historian for the Residence Hall Association and three years as a resident advisor. Sarah was also a Student writer for the campus newspaper, The Edge. Sarah was also the chapter president of Lambda Pi Eta National Honor Society and served as an orientation leader for new students for three years.

Last summer Sarah interned at Loyola University Chicago where she worked with 75 international high school students in assisting them transition to a new culture and understanding the value of higher education. Sarah will begin a masters program at the University of Nebraska Kearney in School Counseling and Student Affairs while also working as a graduate assistant hall director.


Most Dedicated Student Award - Lindsey McDonald

Most Dedicated Student Award:

Lindsey McDonald

Lindsey is from Gold Beach, Oregon and will graduate next year with both a bachelor's and master’s degree in Civil Engineering. Lindsey's dedication encompasses activities within her major as well as activities external to her academics.

This year Lindsey was a founding officer for the Omicron Iota Tau Engineering Honor Society and through the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), she coordinated many events for ASCE, including a visit to Merrill Elementary, where the ASCE officers worked with students about the importance of math and science, and engineering as a career. Lindsey is also active in the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and has attended professional conferences the past two years.

Lindsey is a first generation college student and in addition to excelling in her academics, she also works in the Student Success Center where she is an Office Aide and Peer Career Advisor.


Student Achievement Award - Jared Jones

Student Achievement Award: Joint

Jared Jones

Jared is from Klamath Falls and graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at the age of 20, and will begin a graduate program in Civil Engineering in the fall.

In his nomination letter, Dr. CJ Riley wrote, “Jared has demonstrated his ability to produce original work, to think both independently and in concert with his peers, to persevere in the face of compounding problems, and ultimately to demonstrate outstanding academic performance earning him the admiration of his peers, his professors and the top structural engineering graduate programs in the country.”

Jared is involved with the Oregon Tech Steel Bridge Team and was the design co-captain for this year’s team. Jared excelled academically (with a 3.9 gpa) and worked an average of 20 hours per week.


Student Achievement Award - Jessica Porter

Student Achievement Award: Joint

Jessica Porter

Jessica graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and will continue her academic pursuits in the fall at Southern Oregon University in a master’s program.

Jessica established an externship site at Cascades East Family Medical Center for psychology students where she created a survey for patients, administered it, tabulated the results and presented the findings to the medical staff, and the survey continues to be used at the medical center. One externship was not sufficient for Jessica so she participated in a second externship at the Klamath Youth Development Center where she worked with children and adolescents.

Jessica is also actively involved in the Psychology Club where she served as president and provided many hours to club to do service projects and fundraisers. Jessica also helped students in the Peer Consulting Center and served as a teaching assistant, while maintaining a 3.94 grade point average.


Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award - Derald Watkins

Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award:

Derald Watkins

Derald is from Bonanza and is married to his wife, Tara, and is the father of three daughters. Derald worked in the construction field for 10 years following high school but found himself out of work as a result of the economic recession.

After completing a business management degree from Klamath Community College, Derald began at Oregon Tech in fall of 2011 and now graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. Although Derald is quite busy with maintaining academic success and family responsibilities, he volunteered time to coach youth sports through the YMCA. Derald is also a member of the Engineering Honors Society and was a founding officer last year.


Hiram M. Hunt Award - Matthew Vinson

Hiram M. Hunt Award:

Matthew Vinson

Matthew graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Biology-Health Sciences and a minor in Chemistry. Prior to studying at Oregon Tech, Matthew served five years in the Navy as a Machinist Mate on the USS LaJolla submarine, where he earned the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Matt’s research project was the cloning of the YafL gene, a previously uncharacterized gene from E. coli bacteria. Matt initiated the project idea and kept trying when experiments did not go as planned. Throughout the project, he displayed many of the qualities of an excellent scientific researcher, and he may publish his results pending his final findings.

Matt shared that he really enjoys learning about health sciences and chemistry, and connecting concepts from anatomy and physiology to pathophysiology, immunology, neuroscience, and the other intriguing classes. Matt also likes to work on motorcycles and is currently working on a Honda CM400 twin that he says “is an awesome ride.”


Outstanding Community Service Award - Robert Elder

Outstanding Community Service Award:

Robert Elder

Robert graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Biology-Health Sciences with a 3.98 GPA and plans to begin medical school in the fall. Robert served five years in the US Army as a cryptological linguist (Korean language) where he received three Army Achievement Awards including one for “saving the lives of numerous soldiers during a fatal accident.” Robert was inducted into the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Corps at the rank of Sergeant (E-5) and into the Military Intelligence Corps.

While at Oregon Tech, Robert was inducted into the first cohort of the Honors Program and was one of two student advisors to the Honors Program Committee. In addition to the Honors Program, Robert’s campus involvement includes: Health Sciences Club (secretary and vice president), Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), and “unofficial tutor” because his peers frequently sought him out for assistance in class and in hallways around campus or professors asked him to assist a particular student. He never turns anyone away in need of assistance.

In 2011, Robert began volunteering with HEART (Horse Enthusiast Adaptive Riding Therapy) and was asked to serve on the board of directors in 2013 where he is currently vice president. Robert’s interests include: astronomy, martial arts, foreign languages, medical advances and statistics, and computer programming.


Outstanding Student Veteran Award - Nigel Bliss

Outstanding Student Veteran Award:

Nigel Bliss

Nigel is working on dual bachelor’s degrees in Renewable Energy and Electrical Engineering.

Nigel is a member of the Oregon Tech Veterans Association (OVA) and was the lead student in coordinating the Veterans Awareness Conference on campus this past fall. The conference was directed towards faculty and staff on campus to increase awareness around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and head trauma that is so prevalent in veterans returning to college. Nigel is also an active member in Phi Delta Theta fraternity on campus and was the Non-Traditional student officer in the Associated Students of Oregon Institute of Technology (ASOIT) in 2010-11.


Oregon Tech Pride Award - Brittany Kenison

Oregon Tech Pride Award:

Brittany Kenison

Brittany graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology (business system analyst option) at the Oregon Tech Wilsonville campus. Brittany was appointed by the Oregon Governor as a Board Member of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education last fall, and in this capacity also serves on two of the three Board subcommittees.

In addition to the heavy time commitments of the Board, Brittany completed her senior project (with two other students) on an early intervention system to warn academic advisors and staff about Oregon Tech students who are at risk of not being academically successful. The significant academic demands along with Board were not enough to fill Brittany’s time: she also has a young son and volunteers with Liberty House (a Child Abuse Assessment Center) and in April accepted a position as the Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Kate Brown.

Brittany has dedicated herself to making her community stronger through involvement and she represents herself and Oregon Tech in a very professional and positive manner.


ETM President’s Senior Cup - Michael Converse-Rath

ETM President’s Senior Cup:

Michael Converse-Rath

Michael is from San Diego, California and graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a 3.98 GPA. Michael has treated school like a job by focusing the following attributes: attendance, hard work, and reliability; and he excelled both in and outside the classroom.

Michael is a member of the Engineering Honor Society, the ASME club and worked in the Student Success Center in both testing services and peer consulting. Michael was the manager of his senior project team that set out to construct an unmanned aerial vehicle (also known as a drone) made out of carbon fiber and has a 10ft wingspan, with the capability of both regular and thermal imaging. Michael also plays tennis with the Klamath Falls 4.0 USTA Men’s tennis league and is a tennis coach in the summers. Michael also likes to sail when at home.


HAS President’s Senior Cup - Robert Elder

HAS President’s Senior Cup:

Robert Elder

Robert graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Biology-Health Sciences with a 3.98 GPA and plans to begin medical school in the fall. Robert served five years in the US Army as a cryptological linguist (Korean language) where he received three Army Achievement Awards including one for “saving the lives of numerous soldiers during a fatal accident.” Robert was inducted into the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Corps at the rank of Sergeant (E-5) and into the Military Intelligence Corps.

While at Oregon Tech, Robert was inducted into the first cohort of the Honors Program and was one of two student advisors to the Honors Program Committee. In addition to the Honors Program, Robert’s campus involvement includes: Health Sciences Club (secretary and vice president), Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), and “unofficial tutor” because his peers frequently sought him out for assistance in class and in hallways around campus or professors asked him to assist a particular student. He never turns anyone away in need of assistance.

In 2011, Robert began volunteering with HEART (Horse Enthusiast Adaptive Riding Therapy) and was asked to serve on the board of directors in 2013 where he is currently vice president. Robert’s interests include: astronomy, martial arts, foreign languages, medical advances and statistics, and computer programming.


Outstanding Scholars:

Outstanding Scholars

Applied Psychology: Jessica Porter
Biology: Joseph Meeuwsen
Biology-Health Sciences: Robert Elder
Communication Studies: Chazya Clements
Dental Hygiene: Lindsay Oldham
Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Jennifer Smith
Echocardiography: Heather Caldwell
Environmental Sciences: Joseph Miranda
Nuclear Medicine: Rebekah Hutchings
Radiologic Science: Abbey Petersen
Respiratory Care: Jacqueline Harris

Outstanding-Scholars2

Vascular Technology: Joshua Evarts
Civil Engineering: Jared Jones
Computer Engineering Technology: Timothy Schlueter
Electrical Engineering: Nicholas Kouri
Geomatics: Anthony Kobah
Information Technology: Amber Machin
Management: Marie Baumann
Mechanical Engineering: Michael Converse-Rath
Operations Management: Logan Smith
Renewable Energy Engineering: Aleena Anderson
Software Engineering Technology: Andrew Bowers

Student Award Nominees

Recognition of our Student Award Nominees:

  • Anthony Brooks
  • Megan Cook
  • Corene Elia
  • German Ferrer
  • Peter Hartman
  • Michelle Jacob
  • Bryan Nalder
  • Brenda Odesha
  • Patrick Oswald
  • Tyler Pinson
  • Sana Rahmani
  • Jenn Riley
  • Amy Sale

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