Minerva Awards Highlight Student Achievement

A total of 25 seniors graduating with honors were recognized during the 2009-10 Minerva Awards at USAO in the spring. The Minerva Awards provides public recognition for outstanding students at USAO.

Minerva Awards Highlight Student Achievement



Students at the University of Science and Arts were honored in the spring for a variety of achievements during the annual Minerva Awards Ceremony at the USAO Ballroom April 6.


The Minerva Awards provide public recognition for outstanding students at USAO. Students are honored for excellence in academics, community service, athletics, campus involvement and other areas.


In addition to individual honors, the ceremony recognizes honor society members, recipients of Who's Who, seniors graduating with honors, Presidential Leadership Council and Student Government members.


Six graduating seniors were recognized by the college’s four academic divisions as Distinguished Graduates for spring 2010.


Wetumka English major Kasey Sams received distinction from the Division of Arts and Humanities. Yukon psychology major Cori Marsala-Quintero was named the outstanding graduate for the Division of Business and Social Science. Jessika Saltos, a speech language major from Moore, and Kelly Shewmaker, an elementary education major from Newcastle, were distinguished by the Division of Education and Speech Language Pathology. J.C. Benda, a biology/pre-med major from Union City, and Corey Coles, a biology major from Oklahoma City, were named the outstanding graduates for the Division of Science and Physical Education.


Nine students received the NAIA Scholar Athlete Award. Honorees included Kim Alford, Michelle Bauer, N'Faly Berete, Hillary Brown, Caitlyn Crotty, Danielle Cota, John Gardner, Sarah Jamison and Kristi Stout.


The annual Bill Smith Scholar-Athlete Award was presented to Destini Wilson and Aiden Ashmore.


The George Austin Award for Campus Leadership was presented to J.C. Benda of Union City and Taylor Smithwick of Chickasha. Chickasha resident Laron Short received the Te Ata Award for Creative Expression. The Emerging Leaders Award went to Anthony Klipp of Chickasha and the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Award went to J.J. William Francais of Chickasha.


Works of Distinction Awards went to Wetumka English major Kasey Sams and Zach McGrew of Lawton. Corey Coles of Oklahoma City and Joshua Miller of Oklahoma City received the Commitment to Diversity Award.


Drover Pride Awards were presented to Mason Dobbins of Tuttle and Nina Lawrence of Chickasha. The Student National Education Association was named the Outstanding Student Organization of the Year.


Stuart Meltzer, emeriti professor of English and foreignlanguage, presented the Stuart Meltzer English Scholarship to Sandra Wilmoth of Chickasha. Helen Shafer of Oklahoma City received the Derald Swineford Art Scholarship from Kent Lamar, professor of art.


Six students received graduation cords for their involvement in the President’s Leadership Council. They include J.C. Benda of Union City, Jillian Caldwell of Elmore City, Devlin Lamb of Wanette, Cori Marsala-Quintero of Yukon, Ryan Romasz of Mustang and Lacey Shook of Chickasha.


Graduation cords also were given to nine students for their roles in the Student Government Association. These students included Tialyn White of Woodward, Nina Lawrence of Chickasha, Jillian Caldwell of Elmore City, Sarah Castor of Woodward, Robert Heidlage of Claremore, Cori Marsala-Quintero from Yukon, Tiffany Hile from Shawnee, Trey Moss of Vinita and Laci Deskin of Oklahoma City.


Three students were honored as Student Government Senators of the Year. Rebekah Ervin of El Reno, Emily Kirk of Oklahoma City and Nicole Oldham of Pryor received the award.


Twenty-two students across multiple studies and classifications were recognized for their inclusion in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities:

Ardmore -- Joshua Freeman

Broken Arrow -- Sarah Brewer, Margaret Ann Wright

Chickasha -- Lacey Shook, Bled N'Guessan

Collinsville -- Hillary Brown

Comanche -- Matthew Pitts, Scott Pitts

Del City -- Quentin Pongratz

El Reno -- Rebekah Ervin

Harrah -- Nicole Garland

Moore -- John Fitzgerald

Mountain View -- Lindsey Bagley

Mustang -- Christina Wilson

Oklahoma City -- Corey Coles, Rebekah Murphy, Jorden Wiggins

Shawnee -- Tiffany Hile

Woodward -- Sarah Castor

Yukon -- Cori Marsala-Quintero


Out of State:

Exeter, California -- Kelly Cosart


Out of Country:

Canada -- Michelle Bauer