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President’s Prize winners, from left, Jamie DeKemper, Rachel Williams and Michele Coy, pose with President John Haeger Tuesday night during the Gold Axe Awards Banquet. Photo by Jerry Foreman
Graduating seniors recognized

Three graduating seniors have been awarded the prestigious President's Prize for their exemplary leadership, academic excellence and service to the NAU community.

The awards were announced at the Gold Axe Awards Banquet on Tuesday night at the High Country Conference Center, where the three—Michele Coy, Jamie DeKemper and Rachel Williams—were among 16 students receiving the coveted Gold Axe Award for their achievements.

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 to recognize students’ outstanding achievement 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 John Haeger, who then selects the President's Prize winners.

Also during the ceremony, six students were named as Distinguished Seniors by their college:

College of Arts and Letters
Stephen Sokola
Art Education
  College of Health and Human Services
Ashlynn Antoni
Physical Education and School Health

From left, Kirsten Monahan, Tina Johnson, Mary Cunningham, Stephen Sokola, Ashlynn Antoni and Jillian Urban were named Distinguished Seniors. Photo by Jerry Foreman
College of Education  
Mary Cunningham
Elementary Education/
Early Childhood Education
College of Social and
Behavioral Sciences

Tina Johnson
Sociology and Psychology
College of Engineering, Forestry
and Natural Sciences

Jillian Urban
Mechanical Engineering
The W.A. Franke
College of Business

Kirsten Monahan

Below are this year’s Gold Axe Award winners, along with the NAU faculty or staff member the students named as having the most significant impact on them during their undergraduate career.

Katherine Ashley
Physical Education and School Health
Rhonda Powers
Associate Director
Campus Recreation Services
Rachel Bodamer
Liberal Studies, Biology
Adiam Tesfay

Educational Support
Daniel Brown
Elementary Education
Robert Kelty

College of Education
Michele Coy

Brandon Cruickshank


Jamie DeKemper

Elementary Education
Sigmund Boloz
Senior Lecturer
College of Education
Dana Flower
Electronic Media and Film,
Public Relations

Dale Hoskins

Associate Professor
Electronic Media/Broadcasting
Nitsa Gianakoulias
Chris Lockwood
Associate Professor
Filiberto Gurrola
Public Agency Administration
Jayme Davis
Comparative Cultural Studies
Angelica Hernandez
Speech Communication
Dayle Hardy-Short

Morgan Johnson
Speech-Language Pathology
Tracie Hansen
Office of Public Affairs

Naomi Lajeunesse
Elementary Education
Meredith Hunt
Academic Adviser
The W.A. Franke College
of Business

Nicole Lucero
Community Health Promotion
Betty Brown
Assistant Professor
Health Sciences
Jessica Schwartz
Andrew Gardner
Assistant Professor
Kim Skinner
Physical Education
and School Health

Ellen Larson
Senior Lecturer
Health Sciences
Samantha Stauffer
Political Science
Cyndi Banks
Criminal Justice
Rachel Williams
Speech Communication

Julie Schutten

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Inside NAU is published by the NAU Office of Public Affairs for faculty, staff and friends of Northern Arizona University. We welcome story ideas related to NAU's mission, its employees and its students. Submit story ideas using our online form.

Publisher: John D. Haeger, President; Public Affairs: Tom Bauer,  Julie Bergman, Tracie Hansen, Lisa Nelson, Diane Rechel; Office Manager: Isa Rueda