The University of Arizona

Six UA Students to Receive Centennial Awards at Commencement

By University Communications, December 17, 2013

Six outstanding graduating students will be honored during Saturday's commencement ceremony for their integrity, achievements and contributions to their families and community.

Six students will be honored for their tremendous achievements during the University of Arizona's Commencement ceremony on Saturday.

Photo by Patrick McArdle/UANews
Photo by Patrick McArdle/UANews

Each of the students has been named a recipient of the UA's Centennial Achievement Award, which was established in 1984 by Student Affairs

The award recognizes students who have demonstrated integrity and overcome enormous challenges to achieve a college education while making important contributions to their families and community.

The undergraduate Centennial Achievement Award recipients are:

Hussein Issak Magale
Hussein Issak Magale

Hussein Issak Magale

Living 17 years in a Dadaab refugee camp after fleeing Somalia, Magale's family received a resettlement opportunity to come to the U.S. in 2009. Magale attended Catalina Magnet High School in the spring of 2010 and by April was admitted to the UA. He will graduate in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in molecular and cellular biology.

Magale has worked as an undergraduate researcher in the Orthopaedic Research Lab and participated in an international research program in Kenya, funded by the National Institutes of Health and administered by the University of Alabama. He plans to apply to medical school and pursue a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health.

Marianna Yanes
Marianna Yanes

Marianna Yanes

Yanes, who plans to attend graduate school beginning in the fall of 2014, will graduate with a biosystems engineering bachelor's degree. She has completed four research internships in the aerospace, biomedical and biosystems engineering fields. Growing up in Nogales, Mexico, she relocated to Arizona at the age of 17 and, for the first time, attended school where only English was spoken.

A NASA Space Grant intern for two consecutive years, Yanes most recently completed a Space Grant internship at the UA's lunar greenhouse at the University's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. A life goal for Yanes is to own a greenhouse company that feeds the undernourished and provides solutions that help the Earth.

The Graduate Centennial Achievement Award – Masters recipients are:

Deyanira Nevarez Martinez
Deyanira Nevarez Martinez

Deyanira Nevarez Martinez

Martinez is a candidate for a Master of Science in planning from the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. She grew up in a migrant camp in California and a small farming town in southwestern Arizona.

Martinez completed UA undergraduate degree programs in political science and Latin American studies in 2008 and has since worked for the United States Congress and local nonprofits, fulfilling her passion for promoting social justice through civic engagement.

While in the planning program, Martinez focused on learning more about public participation in the government process and alternative transportation. This fall, Martinez became the first UA student to receive the American Planning Association's Judith McManus Price Scholarship for Women and Minorities in Planning.

Kari L. Quiballo
Kari L. Quiballo

Kari L. Quiballo

Quiballo, a UA Knowledge River scholar, is a candidate for a Master of Arts in the School of Information Resources and Library Science, which is housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Quiballo was raised in a military family and spent much of her life in transit, eventually settling in Tucson.

Quiballo earned an Associate of Arts from Pima Community College and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from the UA Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science in interdisciplinary studies. Quiballo is the first in her family to receive both an associate's and bachelor's degree. She now wants to pursue a doctoral degree in American Indian Studies at the UA.

The majority of Quiballo's master's education is on cultural issues facing American Indians, within and outside of tribal nations, and that work manifests in information institutions like libraries, archives and museums.

The Graduate Centennial Achievement Award – Doctorate recipients are:

Joel Biederman
Joel Biederman

Joel Biederman

Biederman will graduate with a doctorate in hydrology, with a minor in watershed management. A native of Oregon, Biederman was trained as an engineer at Montana State University, where he received his undergraduate and master's degrees in civil engineering.  He subsequently pursued research in water and wastewater treatment technologies before becoming a high school science teacher.

During his three years at the UA, Biederman has served as a mentor, teacher and spokesman for the societal benefits of environmental research. A Science Foundation Arizona Fellowship supported Biederman's teaching hydrology lessons in Southern Arizona middle schools with Arizona Project WET.

By pursuing his doctorate at the UA, Biederman is preparing himself for a career that combines his skill sets in research, teaching and mentoring young scientists.

Martina Michelle Dawley
Martina Michelle Dawley

Martina Michelle Dawley

Dawley (Hualapai and Navajo) is graduating from the UA American Indian Studies Program with a focus on museum studies.

Dawley, a first-generation graduate student, earned her master's degree in American Indian studies and an undergraduate degree from the School  of Anthropology – both at the UA. She became interested in museums, particularly conservation, while working at the Arizona State Museum as a McNair Scholar.

Dawley currently serves as an adviser for the Pima Community College West Campus Native American Student Association, working with the American Indian student body and community. Dawley also served on the American Indian Parent Advisory Council as a parent representative and treasurer in the Tucson Unified School District's Native American Student Services program.

Dawley was recently hired at the Arizona State Museum and plans to continue working as the assistant curator for American Indian Relations. Upon completion of her dissertation she will advance to a faculty position at the museum.