Recognizing the Class of 2022 President’s Prize, Gold Axe Award winners and Distinguished Seniors

Gold Axe winners on a staircase

President José Luis Cruz Rivera presented the President’s Prize, the Gold Axe Award and the Distinguished Senior Award at an awards ceremony April 12, honoring their hard work and accomplishments during their careers at NAU.

Cruz Rivera honored 48 Gold Axe winners, including five President’s Prize winners. The President’s Prize is the highest honor awarded to undergraduate students. Additionally, nine students were honored as Distinguished Seniors of their colleges. The event is one of the highlights of the academic year for the university, Cruz Rivera said.

“These students have shown incredible resilience and determination to arrive at this point in their academic and personal journeys, and they all have achieved a tremendous amount to excel in their studies and give back in such meaningful ways,” he said. “They are committed to serving others, raising awareness and advocating for a future that improves lives and creates possibilities. Their passion is inspiring, and their involvement and leadership has added to the distinctive excellence of our Lumberjack community.”

The President’s Prize winners are:

  • Maylee Acosta, a political science major and president of Associated Students of Northern Arizona University, also was an RA for two years and mentored other college students. She attended the Flinn Foundation Arizona Center for Civic Leadership Institute, did significant community service and was a Presidential Leadership Fellow.
  • Matthew Billings is a political science major and vice president of government affairs for ASNAU. He was in the Residence Hall Association, Blue Key Honor Society and Academic Integrity Board, in addition to participating in the Great Student Debate, the Save Our Schools Town Hall and more.
  • Clarreese Greene is double majoring in civil engineering and modern languages; she participated in NAU’s Interdisciplinary Global Programs, spending a year studying and working in France. She also is a member of the Abaya Yala University Association, National Society of Black Engineers, Black Student Union and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.
  • Ariana Kelley, a women’s and gender studies major, is a member of the Community Engagement Club, Hermanas United for Change and Tri-Alpha Honor Society, in addition to being a peer mentor and part of IMQ’s Diversity and Inclusion Scholars. She participated in research on the third gender, the gender wage gap, suicide prevention, female sexuality in music and more.
  • Rachell Krell is a strategic communications major and a member of the Honors College; she also was a leader in the Residence Hall Association, National Residence Hall Honorary, Hillel at NAU and Chi Sigma Alpha. She served as a peer mentor, was on the Honors College Steering Committee and did significant community service through her various organizations.

President Cruz Rivera and the President's Prize winnersThe Distinguished Seniors are: Katelyn Madrid (College of Health and Human Sciences); Jaime Gonzalez (NAU Yuma); Samantha Barrera (NAU Online and Statewide); James Wallis (College of Arts and Letters); Jasmyn Genchev (College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences); Jenna McCaffrey (College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences); Karli Green (College of Education); Ella Tramp (The W. A. Franke College of Business); and Sarah Frey (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences).

The standard bearers for each college are: Tara Hugueley (NAU Online and Statewide); Katelyn Madrid (College of Health and Human Sciences); James Murphy (College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences); Madison O’Brien (College of Education); Alexandria Vallejo (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences); Kevin Manuel Morales (The W. A. Franke College of Business); Gustavo Pujol (College of Arts and Letters); and Nicholas Muñoz (College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences).

Gold Axe winners

Distinguished Seniors

NAU Communications