NAU virtual ceremony honors Gold Axe, President’s Prize, Distinguished Senior recipients for Class of 2020

President's Prize winners

In a virtual ceremony held April 22, Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng honored the recipients of the President’s Prize, the Gold Axe Award and the Distinguished Senior Award, commending these graduating Lumberjacks for all that they accomplished in their NAU careers.

Of the 44 Gold Axe winners, four were announced Wednesday as winners of the President’s Prize, which is the highest honor NAU has for undergraduates. They are:

  • Genevieve Conley, an environmental and sustainability studies and modern languages student who did research and studied in Argentina for a year and created Girls Teaching Girls, working with local elementary schools to encourage women’s empowerment in STEM
  • Adrianna Granillo, a first-generation biomedical science student who was president of the NAU Kayettes, a service organization, participated in the STAR program and was a Presidential Leadership Fellow while working and getting mostly As in her classes
  • Madison Martz, an Honors student majoring in biomedical science who spent her career at NAU doing research in the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute while being a microbiology TA and working with differently abled individuals at Inspire, Inc.
  • Honors student Mia Pique, a first-generation geology and modern languages student who didn’t think she’d succeed in college, then came to NAU, studied abroad for a year in South America, earned a research grant through Harvard and published two research papers

The Distinguished Seniors are: Daniela Rivera (College of Arts and Letters); Tiana Agdeppa (College of Education); Daniel Rivera (College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences); Genevieve Conley (College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences); Chloe Strike (College of Health and Human Services); Wyatt Benson (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences); Krystal Tapao (NAU Online and Statewide); Audra Attaway (NAU-Yuma); and Brooks DeBisschop (The W. A. Franke College of Business).

“The challenges we face today are unique. Even so, alongside the rest of the Lumberjack community, these students have adapted to these challenges and proven their resiliency,” Cheng said. “Their passion and commitment to their education and their university has set them apart.”

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. 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.

Watch the ceremony online.


Gold Axe Winners

Distinguished Seniors