Six University of Arizona graduates will receive outstanding achievement awards at the school’s 154th commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11th:
Cynthia Burr will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Applied Science in human services and a minor in cultural awareness and communications in business and society, and will receive the Provost Award.
Burr first attended the UA in 1996, but after a disappointing first year left to complete her general education requirements at Maricopa Community College. Her education stalled when her sons were born — all three were born prematurely. Her family has since been active in the March of Dimes. In 2016, she earned her associate degree, then transferred to UA South where she developed tools and participated in programs that enable students to continue their education. Burr plans on obtaining her master’s degree and working in higher education.
Lindsey Chew will graduate summa cum laude from the Honors College with a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience and cognitive science, with minors in Spanish and business administration, and is receiving the Robert Logan Nugent Award.
Chew has contributed to drug-discovery efforts, identifying novel non-opioid pain therapeutics. She has presented research at international conferences and has been published as first or co-author eight times. Chew has also participated in an array of clinical experiences, such as enrolling patients for studies, participating in programs that support patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia and more. Chew plans to attend the Medical Scientist Training Program at Duke University’s School of Medicine, where she will work for dual M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.
Namrah Habib will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree, with majors in aerospace engineering and chemical engineering, and will receive the Robie Gold Award Medal.
Habib secured internships across the country, including one with the image-processing team on the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission and led the UA in a competition hosted by SpaceX. As part of the engineering honors society, Tau Beta Pi, Habib worked to engage women in STEM. Habib will spend next year pursuing a Masters of Philosophy in astronomy at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. as a 2018 Churchill Scholar, then plans to return to the U.S. to pursue a doctorate.
Leah Kaplan will graduate summa cum laude from the Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and a minor in communication, and will receive Merrill P. Freeman Medal.
Kaplan showed her leadership skills as a resident assistant in Gila Hall, president of the engineering honors society Tau Beta Pi, treasurer of the Arizona Model United Nations club and as a UA representative at conferences and competitions around the country. Kaplan plans to pursue a graduate degree in engineering and work in Washington, D.C,. at an organization focused on science policy issues.
Jose Rios-Monterrosa will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree, with majors in biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology, and will receive the Robie Gold Award Medal.
While growing up in Los Angeles, many of Rios-Monterrosa’s family members did not have health insurance and relied on free medical clinics. Witnessing the impact of the programs inspired him to pursue a medical career. He volunteered in medical clinics and hospitals in Mexico and Peru and worked full time on research projects. Rios-Monterrosa presented and has been a guest speaker at several conferences. He plans to attend medical school at the University of Iowa.
Kendra Yoffie, a sixth-generation UA graduate, will graduate magna cum laude from the Eller College of Management with a Bachelor of Science degree, with majors in finance and management-information systems, and will receive Merrill P. Freeman Medal.
Yoffie’s passion for finance drove her to create opportunities for other students to discover if they had a similar interests by connecting them with UA alumni on Wall Street. She has earned a slew of awards as an undergraduate and was twice named one of Eller’s Top 50 Women of the Year. Yoffie plans to return to New York to join Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where she was an intern, to join the consumer and retail-investment banking team.