The University of Arizona

Seven Students to be Honored at Commencement

University Relations - Communications | May 7, 2014

Seven outstanding graduating students will be honored at Commencement on May 17.

Erica Bee
Erica Bee
Kurt Mohty
Kurt Mohty
Emily Huang
Emily Huang
Rae Anne Martinez
Rae Anne Martinez
Colton Cray
Colton Cray
Rinku Skaria
Rinku Skaria
Jonathan Yamaguchi
Jonathan Yamaguchi

In recognition as their outstanding achievements, seven graduating students will be honored at Commencement on May 17.

Nominated by faculty and their peers, the students was selected for their notable accomplishments while studying at the University of Arizona as undergraduates.

"We try to capture their stories and share them with campus, because we have a lot of unique students that do a lot of great things, but you don't always hear about them," said Claudia Davila, senior coordinator and adviser for the Associated Students of the UA. "It's always very competitive."

This year's honorees include:

Provost Award

This is the first year the UA has given the Provost Award, which honors an outstanding graduating student who transferred to the UA from an Arizona community college. Criteria for the award include perseverance and commitment to academic studies, contributions to the UA community and above-average scholastic ability, citizenship and leadership.

Erica Bee was raised in Tucson and enrolled at Pima Community College in fall 2010 as a visual arts major. She transferred to the UA in August 2012 and received a scholarship from the Black Alumni Association. Bee spent a year volunteering in a middle school class at Satori Charter School teaching the importance of giving back to the community and exploring opportunities for students to do so. She is graduating magna cum laude with a degree in communication and a minor in marketing.

Robert Logan Nugent Award

Candidates for these awards display a record of accomplishments that exemplify the high ideals of Robert Logan Nugent, who was the UA's executive vice president. Those ideals include active and enthusiastic participation and service in community and University endeavors.

Kurt Mohty is a first-generation American who is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in physiology and applied mathematics, and minors in Spanish and biochemistry. He will be attending the UA College of Medicine next year. During his time as an undergrad, Mohty has engaged in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, volunteer positions and internships. He also worked in a cardiomyopathy research lab, focusing biophysical analysis of mutations in cardiac muscle tissue with the hopes his research will help find solutions to diseases such as cardiomyopathy, heart failure and sudden cardiac death.

Emily Huang is from Chengdu, China. She was offered a full scholarship to study at the UA and is graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in finance with honors and a Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics. In her freshman year, Huang joined the Take Charge America Institute, where she presented over 300 workshops in personal finance, directly impacting more than 1,700 Tucson-area high school students. During her junior year, Huang founded the Eller College of Management Chinese Student Council to help international students integrate into U.S culture and become future leaders. After graduation, Huang will attend graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to pursue a master's in finance.

Robie Gold Medal Award

Qualifications for this award include personal integrity, initiative, cooperativeness, enthusiasm, humility, well-rounded interests, active participation in student affairs, service to the University, willingness to give more than required and a love of God and country.

Rae Anne Martinez is a Flinn Scholar who has participated in study abroad programs to Hungary, Serbia and China. She is a founding member of the UA Derby Cats, the first collegiate roller derby team. She has served as co-editor and executive editor of the Arizona Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, a student-led journal focusing on interdisciplinary research in the humanities, arts and sciences. In 2013, she was awarded a position as Helios Scholar Intern at the Translational Genomics Research Institute and currently works as a research assistant at the Arizona Cancer Center. Martinez is graduating magna cum laude from the Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in molecular and cellular biology, a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a minor in Chinese.

Colton Cray is graduating magna cum laude with majors in management information systems, finance, entrepreneurship and operations management, and a minor in global business. In 2013, Cray represented the Eller College of Management as part of a four-person team at the University of Washington's Foster Global Case Competition. The team earned second place among 16 international schools. In addition, Cray has volunteered at Young Life Ministries and participated in several college startup businesses. After graduation, Cray will continue his education at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where he has been selected as the 12th Frank Rothman Scholar. Cray plans to use his law education to help entrepreneurs navigate the early business formation stages.

Merrill P. Freeman Medal

Merrill Freeman served the UA as a regent and as a chancellor, and his will provided for two medals to be awarded annually to students selected by the UA administration. Qualifications include outstanding qualities of moral force of character. Additional factors that may be considered include popularity, receipt of athletic awards, membership in organizations, and service on committees and as officers.

Rinku Skaria is graduating with degrees in physiology and business management and plans to pursue a profession in the medical field. She has been involved with the American Medical Student Association for the past four years. As president of the association, she worked alongside a team offering clinical, philanthropic and social events to over 160 chapter members and coordinated events for the UA Pre-Health Professions Expo Week. Skaria also initiated a mentoring and tutoring program through the Mary Belle McCorkle Academy of Excellence K-8 School. Partnering with UA-AMSA to work with middle school students from educationally disadvantaged populations, she tutored students with learning disabilities in reading and math, and promoted higher education and team values.

Jonathan Yamaguchi will graduate from the Honors College with degrees in biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology and a minor in Japanese. He hopes to become a physician scientist after attending medical school, performing clinical duties and leading a research lab. In addition, he hopes to serve as a disaster relief physician. When a tsunami and earthquake struck northeastern Japan in 2011, Yamaguchi led a small team of relief volunteers to the desolated area during winter break. Teaming up with local missionaries and a local church, the group sought to bring relief and food to victims. Also while an undergrad, he served on the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs board of directors and as co-president of the Asian American Cultural Association.

For more information about all of the awardees, visit the Dean of Students website.