Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Education

President’s Award

Undergraduate students receive President’s Award for Leadership

By Kyla Emme

At the 2017 LEAD Ceremony, three College of Education undergraduate students received President’s awards. The WSU Center for Civic Engagement had received over 175 nominations, but only 42 undergraduate students were chosen.

Mark Figueroa
Secondary Education, History teaching – Senior

• Nominated by mentor/counselor/friend, Rafael Pruneda, who is also the guidance counselor for the Chicano/Latino Multicultural Center
• “I feel fortunate to be able to receive this award along with other outstanding students who have done a lot to impact the community and strive to make the WSU community better than how we found it when we came into it.”
• “Leadership comes in many ways, shapes and sizes. Leadership does not mean, recognition, and it is not a position. Leadership is a way of living the day to day. Being a leader does not mean you must be at the helm of an organization leading others. Being a leader on campus means having a selfless will to serve others in any way, shape or form.”

Kelsey Jones
Sport Management & Journalism and Media Production – Junior

• Nominated by Murrow College advisor, Amber Denman
• “I think it is enough to just see the growth in those I have had the pleasure of working with, but I was extremely humbled and appreciative of those who took the time to recognize me.”
• “I would say that the best way to be a leader is to listen. As a leader, it is rarely your job to be the loudest in the room. Instead, you should be lifting those around you up, making sure they are heard and can grow.”

Alyssa Griffin
Kinesiology, Pre-Occupational Therapy – Junior

• Self-nominated
• “I am very grateful to have received a President’s Award for leadership. This award will stay with me in my heart to remind me and encourage me to keep pushing forward and motivating fellow students to be the best they can be.”
• “If you want to be a leader on campus, I would say you gotta start somewhere! Even if you just join a club as a member, or volunteer somewhere, or apply for an entry level job, there is always a ladder to climb up in the process of becoming a leader. Bottom line is, take a step out and talk to people and ask what they’re involved in and how they got to be in their position; find an activity that interests you, invest in it, and take chances while you watch yourself grow and inspire others!”

Health and fitness majors bask in academic spotlight

From left: Chase Rhodes with brothers Taylor and Zac

It’s been a pleasure this spring to get acquainted with two WSU Pullman seniors who aspire to be teacher/coaches:  Kyle McKeeman, whose volunteer activities won him a Distinguished Service Learning Award and the goodwill of his College Hill neighbors; and scholar-athlete Daven Harmeling, whose accomplishments will be highlighted at the May 9 commencement.  A third health and fitness major, Chase Rhodes, will be noted at commencement as part of a threesome. He and his brothers, Taylor and Zac, are the first triplets to graduate from WSU since 2001. Chase plans to finish his special education teaching endorsement in the next year.

Not to be outshone is health and fitness student junior Richard Swihart III, a President’s Award winner and inaugural recipient of the Virginia E. Thomas Endowed Scholarship for $1,000. The scholarship is presented to a WSU undergraduate who has excelled in leading other students and coaching others to become better leaders themselves. As reported in the Daily Evergreen, Richard came by some of his acumen during 10 years in the military, including two tours in Iraq. He’s attending WSU to become a naval officer.

President’s Award winners

In addition to Richard Swihart, the College of Education boasts six other students among this year’s 44 President’s Award winners. They are: Patricia Celaya, counseling psychology, Ph.D. candidate; Janine Darragh, language and literacy education, Ph.D.; Richard Goranflo III, higher education administration, Ed.M.; Christian Granlund, sport management, B.A.; Ladan Maleki, counseling psychology Ph.D.; joan o’sa oviawe, cultural studies, Ph.D.

Reading matter
End the University as we know it
.  Writer argues that graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning.
Tight Times Call for Trustees Who Push Back, Presidents Say Economists do not know when the recession will end, the presidents said, and boards need to play a significant role in helping colleges restructure.

Question of the day
Who was the only U.S. president to have a Ph.D.? Find out here.