Five UNM seniors will be awarded top honors tonight at the University’s annual recognition ceremony at the Sheraton in Old Town.
The awards recognize the graduating seniors’ academic achievements and community leadership. Out of 40 applicants, Kanika Chawla, Shanti Frausto, Irvin Harrison, Jennifer Liu and Barbara Tapp were chosen as the recipients of the 2001 Clauve Outstanding Senior Award.
Dean of Students Randy Boeglin said students who are chosen are not only participants in a variety of extracurricular activities and organizations, but are the leaders of those organizations and are strong academically.
“We look at leadership,” he said. “It’s more than participation. They have to be a leader.”
The recipients are either nominated by someone or can nominate themselves and are chosen by a committee comprising representatives of the Dean of Students Office, faculty and undergraduate students.
“As with almost every year, selecting the recipients is very difficult,” Boeglin said.
A few of the award recipients said they were happy to be nominated but never expected to receive the award.
“I turned in the application and forgot about it after that,” Chawla said, who will receive her degree in chemical engineering.
But at the end of March, Chawla and the other recipients each received a letter in the mail telling them they had won the award.
“I was honored that they would consider me for the award and they awarded it to me,” Chawla said. “From what I hear, it’s a very prestigious award, and I couldn’t have done it without the faculty in my department.”
Liu, who is the undergraduate student government president and will receive her degree in biology and business, said the award is a reminder of how much support and help she has had throughout her career at UNM.
“This award is an honor,” Liu said. “It’s incredible to be one of the most outstanding seniors among so many seniors,” Liu said.
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She hopes to go to medical school and said that getting involved in campus activities is a great way to build a successful future.
“There’s probably about 200 student organizations on this campus,” Liu said. “There has to be one somewhere that a student falls into. If I could recommend anything, I would definitely recommend students to get involved in any aspect of UNM.”
Recipient Irvin Harrison will receive his degree in English and professional writing.
“I was very excited, very honored,” Harrisoon said. “I have seen in the past, and I know of students who have received this award. To be in that caliber of a group certainly is an honor for me.”
The other recipients could not be reached for comment. Frausto is from El Paso, Texas, and will receive degrees in biology and Spanish. Tapp will receive her degree in travel and tourism management.
The Clauve Outstanding Senior Award, which is presented annually, is named after former Dean of Students Lena Clauve.