PO Box 5689 • Flagstaff, AZ 86011 • 928-523-3334 • email@example.com
A MessAge FroM tHe director 2010 Honors student AwArds
Dear Honors students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends,
Congratulations to our largest incoming freshman class to date for surviving the
T his past year, the University Honors Program
graduated over 50 students now formally
(and affectionately) referred to as Honors
first semester of college life! It is spring and hopefully you are now more easily Alumni. Each semester, Northern Arizona
settled into our community, and we hope you have achieved a comfort level University recognizes seniors who have made
with your program, roommates, and NAU. This semester you can begin to think outstanding contributions to the university in
beyond the present, and to start formulating some longer term academic and the areas of academic performance, service,
professional goals. We are here to help you ask and start answering questions and activities with the Gold Axe Award. The
about what you might like to achieve, and how you might go about reaching your goals in future tradition of the Gold Axe Award dates back to
years. 1933, a year after the student body adopted a
Spring is also the time of the year when seniors get a little jittery, and it’s not just because of Starbuck’s copper axe as the symbol for NAU athletics.
coffee! It’s likely that you are both excited and a little anxious about the future -- and in the process of This year, 12 Honors graduates were recognized
applying for jobs, grad school, and scholarships, and moving on to the next stage of your lives. Certainly with the coveted Gold Axe Award:
we wish you all the best, and ask that you stay in touch with us over the years. Spring 2010:
I continue to be grateful for this opportunity to step into Honors as Acting Director during Dr. Lise Tchouta, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Gumerman’s well-earned sabbatical year. It is a delightful job where I am able to spend my days Rachel Biggs, Forestry
surrounded by bright, motivated, and energetic Honors students. I am impressed by their ideals and Katie Brooks, Nursing
commitment to making a difference in the world. I am also impressed by the staff and faculty who are Krystine Haglin, Exercise Science
dedicated to creating an environment in which Honors students can be nurtured and thrive. Constance Mapoles, Civil Engineering and
Just one of many ways that such an environment is evidenced is by our NAU Honors Program receiving
Arron Shiffer, Physics/Astronomy and Philosophy
the 2010 annual Service Learning Award from the Office of Student Life.The award honors outstanding
Sasha Solomonov, Journalism and Advertising
service initiatives or programs that extend students’ academic preparation through meaningful
community service activities. Fall 2010:
Meghan Almaas, Public Relations
According to Art Farmer, Associate Dean of Students, “Over the past several years we have received
Cecile Banks, Exercise Science
many applications that summarize programs and projects that relate to service learning within the
Ryan Carle, Secondary Education, Music
Honors Program…Your continued effort in this area deserves special recognition and for this reason,
Rachel Gardner, Biology
the department – rather than individual courses – is being recognized as this year’s Service Learning
L. Jane Stewart, Environmental Science
Award recipient.” We are very proud of our Program’s efforts to offer students real-world learning
opportunities and that those efforts have been recognized through this award. Students selected for a Gold Axe Award are
then considered for the President’s Prize, the
Our goal continues to be to create transformational experiences tailored to each student’s unique
highest student recognition from the University.
interests and talents. For some students this means working closely with a faculty member on research
Honors students Arron Shiffer and Rachel
or a creative experience or international learning opportunity. For others, it means spending a semester
Gardner were honored with this prestigious
abroad or engaging in service to the community. And for many, it’s all of these things and more. It is
award for their exemplary leadership, academic
a great pleasure to watch Honors students transform themselves from tentative first-year students
excellence, and service to the NAU community.
to supremely confident and competent seniors and know the University Honors Program played a
Congratulations to all Honors graduates! We
significant role in that transformation.
wish you the best in your future pursuits.
Again, I am honored to serve as the Acting Director and look forward to hearing from and meeting
many of you while I am here. I hope you will enjoy the information about the University Honors
Program in this newsletter. We are grateful for your support and together, we are building an Honors In This Issue...
Community - where academic excellence, leadership, and service to others are valued, cultivated, and Honors Receives Generous Gifts
encouraged. Honors Student Snapshots
Sincerely, Faculty Focus: Robyn Martin
Honors Alumni Highlight: Isaac Bickford
Honors Alumni Council
Dr. Cynthia Kosso The Director on Sabbatical
Promoting academic excellence throughout the Northern Arizona University community
Honors Receives Generous Gifts
W e are pleased to announce generous gifts from Tommy and Colleen George as well as Wayne and Judi Frerichs to our growing
endowment for our Honors Merit Scholarship fund. The Frerichs’ gift was established through a Charitable Gift Annuity. According
to Dr. Frerichs, “Judi and I believe that a fine University like NAU should have a strong Honors Program. We are delighted to help with
this worthy endeavor.” These gifts bring us closer to endowing this fund that will help support our Honors students who demonstrate
outstanding academic merit. Our faculty and staff also donate to the fund on a regular basis using payroll deduction. We build endowments,
such as the Honors Merit Scholarship fund, to create sustainable program support, particularly in these economic times. Anyone can make
gifts to the fund, knowing they are helping to build a strong base of financial support for the Honors Program. If you would like to know
more about the many ways to support the Honors Program, contact Connie Ott, Development Officer, 928-523-0538.
Scholarships were awarded from the Mitchem Family Scholarship to Honors students Jeremy Becker, Jessica Dimaria, and Michelle Harnden
for their outstanding academic achievement in Accountancy. Congratulations students and thank you to the Mitchem family for their support
of our Honors students in the W.A. Franke College of Business Accountancy Program.
Please help support our students by making a gift to the Honors Program. Our online giving page is a wonderful way to make a gift today.
Go to: https://alumni.nau.edu/giving.aspx?SKIPINTRO=Y At the bottom of the page enter “Honors” in the key word box. If you wish to
mail your gift, please make your check payable to NAU Foundation, P.O. Box 4094, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4094. Thank you for supporting our
students and program.
Honors student snapsHots
M eghan Almaas is a senior Public Relations major with a minor in
Business. Originally from Canada, Meghan graduated from high
school in Gilbert, Arizona before attending NAU.
see how an airport works, from the airfield to
administration, which definitely opened my eyes
to a potential job in the aviation and tourism
For two years, Meghan was a Resident Assistant in Reilly Hall. As an RA,
she was in charge of building community for a floor of 46 women by Film, music, and culture represent three areas
planning programs and being a resource for students. Meghan has also that interest Meghan. She has tried to take at
been involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America least one film class a year since she entered
(PRSSA). She joined during her first semester and was the NAU college. Meghan has been playing the piano since
chapter president for the 2009-2010 academic year. Finally, Meghan has the age of seven and continue to enjoy this hobby. She also has a huge
also been heavily involved in the Honors Program. She was an Honors interest in visiting museums and exhibits, though she says she doesn’t
GURUS mentor and an Honors Ambassador for one year. She most get to do this as often as she would like. Meghan also loves to travel and
recently was an HON 100 Peer Facilitator. see new things, and she says she can’t wait to explore the world when
she gets the chance. She is also an avid hockey fan and loves going to
During her time at NAU, Meghan has completed two internships, Phoenix Coyotes games.
one with the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau and the other
with Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Both internships were Meghan’s immediate future goal is to find a job in Public Relations and
completed during summer breaks. While at the Flagstaff CVB, Meghan get her foot in the door. For the long term, she would like to work in
learned about her local community and how travel and tourism is the sports, entertainment, or travel and tourism industry. She says,
essential to the Flagstaff economy. Most recently, she completed an “My (secret) dream job is to have my own television talk show, but we’ll
internship at Phoenix Sky Harbor where she produced copy for the see how that pans out!”
website and completed various projects. She says, “I was also able to
R achel Gardner is a senior Biology major
from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
While involved in many facets of campus life, Rachel claims that her
two-year experience as a Resident Assistant has been one of the most
meaningful times of her life. In addition to being a Resident Assistant,
Rachel began to get involved on campus right Rachel has held several part-time jobs during her tenure at NAU. She
from the beginning of her time at NAU. During was a Student ambassador and Peer Instructor for the Honors Program
her freshman year, Rachel joined Cowden and Media Assistant for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.
Residence Hall’s Hall Council. She was also
involved with the Habitat for Humanity chapter Rachel has volunteered consistently at Flagstaff Family Food Center.
at NAU during her freshman year, an experience which she claims She also had various volunteer experiences with the Emergency
opened her eyes to a world of need in her surrounding community Department at Flagstaff Medical Center and on-campus events through
and inspired her interest in service. clubs, organizations, and residence halls. During summers in Texas,
she volunteered at Central Texas Medical Center and a rehabilitation
Rachel’s largest commitment on campus is with Golden Key center.
International Honor Society, which she joined her sophomore year and
currently serves as chapter president. Finally, Rachel is also an active Though science is a huge interest for Rachel, she thoroughly enjoys
member of Tri Beta Honor Society within the Biology Department, many other things. Catching up with friends, trying new baking recipes,
which gives her the opportunity to work with faculty and students and exploring the outdoors when the weather is nice are just a few
within her field of study. fun activities for her. She hopes to improve her skills in cooking and
snowboarding in the future.
FaCulty FoCus: robyn martin
R obyn S. Martin is a fourth-generation Flagstaff native, a
University lecturer, writer, former river guide and avid
outdoor adventurer who passionately shares her knowledge
the Colorado River for the
first time at age 12, and has
been hiking and exploring
of the Grand Canyon and its surrounding regions with others. all over the Coconino
and Colorado Plateaus
Her NAU roots run deep: her grandmother earned her teaching since she was a child.
certificate from NAU (then the Arizona Normal School) in 1922;
her parents earned their education degrees from NAU (then Robyn has taught several
Arizona State College) in the 1950s. Robyn earned both her B.A. outdoor, environmentally-
degree in English where she also minored in History and her M.A. themed classes at NAU,
Degree in English (Rhetoric and Professional Writing) from NAU. including one course
on the San Juan River,
Robyn’s research and publications include ecological oral another on the Verde
histories; some of that work was included in the recent River, and a Colorado
text What Has Passed and What Remains, published by Plateau restoration workshop. She hopes to continue to
the University of Arizona Press. She was also featured in bring the Canyon and Colorado Plateau closer to her
Writers on the Range, a series included in High Country News. students through meaningful, hands-on academic experiences.
Robyn loves to teach in Honors; her specialties include argument, When she’s not hiking a trail on the Peaks, the high desert,
Southwestern and environmental issues and American studies, or stretching in a bikram yoga studio, Robyn can most likely
including seminars taught about the Vietnam War, the iconic be found running a river somewhere on the Colorado
1950s series The Twilight Zone and its relationship to 1950s issues, Plateau, honing her skills as an amateur watercolorist, or
and more recently a seminar exploring the decade of the 1980s. teaching herself how to bake the perfect loaf of rye bread.
A life member of the Grand Canyon River Guides Association, she’s For other facutly profiles, see www.nau.edu/honors.
lived and worked in and around the Grand Canyon, where she ran
Honors AluMni HigHligHt: isAAc BickFord Calling all
Isaac Bickford, a 2010 Honors Program graduate and Forestry Honors program
major, chose NAU’s Forestry Program over those offered at alumni!
other universities because of NAU’s strong emphasis on ecology
and restoration rather than timber production. Isaac knew he’d
made the right choice when Dr. Pete Fule, Associate Professor
of Forestry and Managing Director of the Ecological Research
I f you’re looking for an
opportunity to give back to
the NAU Honor’s Community,
Institute, invited him to travel to Northern Mexico to assist two
graduate students in data collection. While in Mexico, Dr. Fule join the NAU Honors Alumni
suggested that Isaac also collect data for a research project that Council. This dynamic group
would be his own; they discussed several ideas, and together will work on building the
developed and refined the scientific question they wanted to Honors Alumni Network
address, and how they would go about answering it. “I was as well as host events and
surprised at the amount of independence I was allowed in this scholarship opportunities for
project.” NAU Honors Students. This
exciting Council will keep
The goal of Isaac’s project was to determine if two pine species in Northern Mexico differed
you connected to the Honors
in their sensitivity to drought, and to see if this drought sensitivity varied across the range of
Program and help keep
elevations in which they grow.The results of this research can be used to better understand how
these species of pine trees will respond to droughts predicted by climate change models.
Honors Alumni connected to
“At the beginning of my research project, I wanted to double check everything with my mentors,
but towards the end, I was more comfortable presenting my own ideas. About half way through, If you are interested in
I realized that no one knew more about my project than I did, and that I was the person who learning more, or this sounds
needed to start making the decisions. This realization helped give me confidence.” like a Council you’d like
Isaac has learned a lot about science in general from studying the very specific questions to be part of, please email
addressed by his research project. Isaac’s advice to incoming freshmen: talk with their professors firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1.
and express their interests. “Most of these professors are involved in research of their own,”
he says, “or they have colleagues working on just about anything that might interest someone...
NAU is great about employing undergraduates to assist professors.”
Northern Arizona University
University Honors Program Non-Profit Org.
PO Box 5689 U.S. Postage Paid
Flagstaff, AZ 86011 Northern Arizona
N riZONA Nive
The DirecTor on SabbaTical
I n case you haven’t noticed, I’m missing from the halls of Cowden. I am on
sabbatical—one of those awesome perks of being a professor! Sabbaticals
give us dedicated time to do research. During my sabbatical I’m focusing on
our Hopi cultural preservation project that brings together Hopi elders,
Hopi high school youth, and archaeologists at archaeological sites across the
Southwest. Learning activities at places like Mesa Verde and the San Juan River
focus on particular themes such as community, sustainability, health, food,
and environment. The Hopi youth share their learning by producing “Digital
Hopi Youth Guides” in the form of DVDs, websites, and a museum exhibit
(see www4.nau.edu/footprints). Working with the youth and elders, we’ve
produced four films on Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Homolovi, and Navajo
National Monument. I’m also working on a fifth film that illustrates Hopi core
values and how these values are maintained in today’s modern world.
Because of the success of our Hopi Footprints of the Ancestors Project, we have been writing grants that will expand the
project to include other southwestern Native Nations (Hopi, Zuni, Diné, Yavapai-Apache, and Hualapai) and a new format of
digital storytelling. The Intergenerational Native Digital Storytelling Project centers around youth meeting and interacting with
elders while visiting places with special cultural meaning, examining objects pertinent to their tribal histories, and listening to
and telling meaningful stories. These visits will result in the creation of short digital stories (two to five minute films) about the
historical and cultural significance of a traditional object or artifact. The project culminates with a nation-wide Native Digital
Storytelling Summit that includes a digital storytelling festival (showing of gathered stories), presentations and discussions,
alternative storytelling methods, and training sessions in digital storytelling production.
For me, this type of applied research is incredibly rewarding. It is really something special to see Native youth connect with
their elders and their ancestral past. If you are interested in helping with the project please contact me.
Of course, I love Honors so much I cannot totally step away! Besides helping with some of our Honors events, I’ve been
working with the National Collegiate Honors Council to bring back the Grand Canyon Semester for Fall 2012. I’m also excited
about my work with the National Park service to help create an internship program that serves federal agencies, universities,
and colleges located on the Colorado Plateau. There will definitely be some wonderful opportunities for our students. Stay