President Rita Cheng congratulates President’s Prize recipients during the April 25 ceremony. From left: Benjamin Gouveia, Rogelio Barroga Jr., Shelby Dalgai and Amy Edgerton

Monday night was a golden moment for dozens of graduating seniors as they received honors recognizing them for their contributions to Northern Arizona University.

Forty-three students received the university’s coveted Gold Axe Award for their achievements. Four of the winners—Rogelio Barroga Jr., Shelby Dalgai, Amy Edgerton and Benjamin Gouveia—also received the prestigious President’s Prize for their exemplary leadership, academic excellence and service to the NAU community.

Eight students pictured below also were named Distinguished Seniors by their college. The awards were announced at the Gold Axe and Distinguished Seniors awards banquet in the High Country Conference Center.

Emily Lawhead
Comparative Cultural Studies
College of Arts and Letters

Francis DiFranco
Elementary Education
College of Education

Alexandra Huff
Geology
College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences

Raine Kolman
Fitness and Wellness
College of Health and Human Services

RobinLi Uber
Journalism
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Sarah Nicholas
Accountancy, Computer Information Systems
The W.A. Franke College of Business

Andrew Schaad
Liberal Arts
Extended Campuses

Laura Armstrong
University Studies
University College

The tradition of the Gold Axe Award dates back to 1933, a year after the student body adopted the axe as the symbol for Lumberjack athletics. It was then that NAU adopted the tradition of awarding small gold axe pins to outstanding members of the student body. To this day, the gold axe pin is considered the official emblem of the Associated Students of NAU and is presented each semester to recognize students’ outstanding achievements and distinguished service to the university and the greater community.

Students selected for a Gold Axe Award also are eligible for the President’s Prize, considered the highest student recognition from the university. After reviewing all the Gold Axe nominations, a universitywide committee makes its recommendations to President Rita Cheng, who then selects the President’s Prize winners.

Below are the winners of this semester’s Gold Axe awards, along with the NAU faculty or staff member the students named as having the most significant impact on them during their undergraduate career. View a photo album from the event online.

Rogelio Barroga Jr.

Rogelio Barroga Jr.
Hotel and Restaurant Management
President’s Prize Recipient
Beth Bourget, Alumni Relations

Hannah Bashaw

Hannah Bashaw
Political Science
Deborah Harris, Student Life

Katelyn Bednar

Katelyn Bednar
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Sarah Uminski, Student Success Initiatives

Elizabeth Benitez

Elizabeth Benitez
Business Administration
Elena Del Socorro Arroyo, NAU-Yuma

Vanessa Billegas

Vanessa Billegas
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Rebecca Maniglia, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Cloie Bright

Cloie Bright
Visual Communication
Honors Program
John Gialanella, School of Communication

Alexandria Buchta

Alexandria Buchta
Finance, Political Science
Gretchen Gee, Politics and International Affairs

Olivia Cerna

Olivia Cerna
Social Work
Julie Fritzler, Sociology and Social Work

Shannon Cochran

Shannon Cochran
Music Performance
Edith Copley, School of Music

Ryan Cook

Ryan Cook
Economics, Management, Finance
Craig Van Slyke, The W.A. Franke College of Business

Misha Cothran

Misha Cothran
Creative Media and Film
Kevin Gemoets, Student Life

Ann Custin

Ann Custin
Special and Elementary Education
April Peters, Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Shelby Dalgai

Shelby Dalgai
Biomedical Science
President’s Prize
Hendrik De Heer, Physical Therapy and Athletic Training

Jordan Denesik

Jordan Denesik
Exercise Science
Honors Program
Kim Bruno, Athletics

Taran DePaola

Taran DePaola
Psychological Sciences
Chad Woodruff, Psychological Sciences

Frankie DiFranco

Frankie DiFranco
Elementary Education
Jean Ann Foley, College of Education: Teaching and Learning

Rachel Dineff

Rachel Dineff
Special and Elementary Education
Sigmund Boloz, College of Education: Teaching and Learning

Austin Dulaney

Austin Dulaney
Special and Elementary Education
Claudia Sturgis, College of Education: Educational Specialties

Amy Edgerton

Amy Edgerton
International Hospitality Management
Honors Program
President’s Prize
Frances Hill, School of Hotel Restaurant Management

Noelle Francois

Noelle Francois
Hotel and Restaurant Management
Mark Molinaro, School of Hotel Restaurant Management

Richard Frische

Richard Frische
Strategic Communication
Honors Program
Emily Davalos, Honors Program

Kirsten Gaskell

Kirsten Gaskell
Special and Elementary Education
Brian Stone, College of Education: Teaching and Learning

Benjamin Gouveia

Benjamin Gouveia
Mechanical Engineering
President’s Prize
Brian Mallory, Air Force ROTC

Courtney Haasch

Courtney Haasch
Strategic Communication
Honors Program
Matthew Tantau, CSA Administration

Rachel Harrow

Rachel Harrow
Forestry
Carol Chambers, School of Forestry

Alexander Hayes

Alexander Hayes
Management, Marketing
Margaret Dunfee, The W.A. Franke College of Business

Jennifer Hill

Jennifer Hill
Management
Honors Program
Beverly Amer, The W.A. Franke College of Business

Tyler Hill

Tyler Hill
Chemistry, Secondary Education Chemistry
Megan Proctor, Student Unions and Activities

Alexandra Huff

Alexandra Huff
Geology
Lisa Skinner, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability

Emily Lawhead

Emily Lawhead
Comparative Cultural Studies
Honors Program
Zsuzsanna Gulacsi, Comparative Cultural Studies

Evan Lim

Evan Lim
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Phoebe Morgan, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Bradley Marsh

Bradley Marsh
Chemistry
Honors Program
Cindy Browder, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Connor Meehan

Connor Meehan
Forestry
Kristen Waring, School of Forestry

Michelle Montero

Michelle Montero
Social Work
Wendy Bruun, First-Generation Programs

Gabriella Nunnally

Gabriella Nunnally
Women’s and Gender Studies
Frederick Gooding Jr., Ethnic Studies

Taylor Payne

Taylor Payne
Nursing
Troy Lee Campbell, Mountain View Hall

Hannah Petersen

Hannah Petersen
Strategic Communication
Toni Minter, Calderón Learning Center

Courtney Sarracino

Courtney Sarracino
Strategic Communication
Peter Kosso, Emeritus

Kristy Silva

Kristy Silva
Political Science
Honors Program
Anne Scott, English

Emily Thornton

Emily Thornton
Exercise Science
Benning Tieke, Global Languages and Cultures

RobinLi Uber

RobinLi Uber
Journalism
Honors Program
Martin Sommerness, School of Communication

Janae Vander Ploeg

Janae Vander Ploeg
Elementary Education
Sigmund Boloz, College of Education: Teaching and Learning

Joseph Zodiacal

Joseph Zodiacal
Political Science
Stephen Nuno, Politics and International Affairs