Congratulations to these 2013 CALS Outstanding Senior Award recipients

Congratulations to Amy Davis, Laura Dean, Robert Freidel, Sheila Opelt, Joy Pehler and Alec Walker, the 2013 recipients of the CALS Outstanding Senior Award.

The awards recognize students for their scholastic performance, leadership, and service. Students who are nominated by their department or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher can apply. Applications are reviewed by the CALS Recruitment and Scholarships Committee, which includes Tom Browne, Guilherme Rosa, Ted Halbach, Allen Laughon, Karen Martin, Bernie O’Rourke, Jessie Potterton, Dave Stoltenberg, Leann Tigges and Monica Theis. Each of this year’s winners maintains a GPA of at least 3.9 grade point average. These students also have remarkable records of both leadership and service.

2013 Outstanding Senior Award Winners

Alec Walker (Biology) – Alec distinguished himself from other high ability students through a variety of co-curricular and leadership activities. Alec actively lived the Wisconsin Idea by participating in educational and outreach activities targeting students and community members. He was an undergraduate instructor for the classes Food, Fungus, and Fermentation and Community Gardens in Southwest Madison. He also taught in a program called Engage Children in Science. In this program, Alec designed and implemented a hands-on science curriculum for elementary students in Ecuador. He presented his work on this project at the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers Conference. Alec also produced cooking videos and wrote for the “What’s in the Fridge” column of the Daily Cardinal. Even with all of these activities, Alec found time to serve as a BIOCORE Board member and peer advisor. Alec won a Hilldale Fellowship for his mentored research on immune cell migration. Alec is multitalented with wide ranging interests.

Joy Pehler (Biology and Life Sciences Communication) – Joy had an extremely productive undergraduate career at UW-Madison. While earning Dean’s List recognition every semester on campus, Joy was active in student organizations and service. She held three important leadership positions for CFFA including serving as Chair of the Hockey Extravaganza Committee, this event brings over 1000 high school students to campus. In addition to her leadership in student organizations, Joy led a significant initiative for Haiti. Following a service trip to Haiti, she used an internship with 4H to start a nationwide program to make dresses for Haitian girls. Joy is an excellent student with a strong record of leadership and service.

Robert Freidel (Biochemistry and Certificate in Business Leadership) – Bob engaged in significant leadership activities while on campus. He completed the campus Leadership Certificate which requires over 100 hours of work. A few significant experiences include serving as a House Fellow, volunteering in the American Family Insurance Children’s Hospital, and leading communication and teambuilding trainings for the Adventure Leadership Program. Bob also started the Wisconsin Spirit Initiative which raised $2500 to support programs in student life and university affairs. He not only learned about and practiced leadership, but also helped others develop their own leadership skills. Bob’s accomplishments make him an outstanding senior and his influence on campus will be missed.

Sheila Opelt (Dietetics) – Before coming to UW-Madison Sheila was a two sport athlete at UW-Lacrosse, playing basketball and participating in track and field. She came UW-Madison and made a big impact by getting involved in student organizations, service, and undergraduate research. While maintaining a 4.0, she served on the Health Occupations Students of America’s Civic Engagement Committee, mentored younger students in the Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences Club, and participated in the UW Running Club. Sheila was also active in service. She volunteered in several hospital units, a community nutrition program, and in a homeless shelter. Sheila also became a certified nursing assistant during her time as an undergraduate and in this role learned many valuable skills she will apply as she pursues a healthcare career.  Her large accomplishments in a short time are truly remarkable.

Amy Davis (Biochemistry and Violin Performance) — Amy had a very impressive undergraduate career. While maintaining a 3.975 grade point average, she will earn credentials in a rigorous science curriculum and in the arts. Amy has a strong record of leadership and service. She was an academic mentor for the Center for Academic Excellence, served as Secretary for the Health Professions Society, and volunteered in a cardiac unit. As impressive as this is, she separated herself from other high ability students though her research accomplishments. Amy participated in mentored research in the Raines lab where she won a Hilldale Fellowship and received the Outstanding Plenary Presentation award from the Harvard Collegiate Research Association. Amy’s desire to pursue advanced study and her research aptitude allowed her to secure and complete a research internship at Oxford. Any’s outstanding academic performance and engagement in professional pursuits provides an excellent model for future students.

Laura Dean (Biology) – Laura has contributed greatly to the campus and community. On campus she was a leader serving as captain and fundraising chair of the UW Club Volleyball team. In the community, s he was the lead organizer for a charity run that raised money for breast cancer. Laura also served as a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight Guardian where she escorted World War II veterans on a trip to Washington D.C. Laura also served as a hospital volunteer and a high school basketball coach. In preparation for a career in physical therapy, Laura worked at Balance where she was a caregiver for developmentally disabled adults. It was in this role that she identified a purpose for her career. Laura’s outstanding academic performance and consistent record of concern for others make her an outstanding senior.