Sun Devils shine bright in student contest

Peace Corps ambassador takes top prize in first-ever Students Shine contest

May 5, 2017

As a way to highlight student achievement and inspire future outreach, Arizona State University's ASASU Council of Presidents sponsored the first-ever Students Shine contest this spring. 

The student-run competition honored six areas of excellence — career, culture, engagement, service, spirit/affinity and wellness. Finalists were chosen for each category in late April, and an overall top three were announced on Friday, with senior Lindsay Dusard taking home the top prize.  group photo of students holding peace corps signs Lindsay Dusard (front center), the first-place winner of the Students Shine contest, served as a Peace Corps ambassador. Download Full Image

"This contest gave me the platform to share some of the different opportunities that I have taken advantage of here at ASU," Dusard said. "I hope it can encourage others to do the same." 

The W. P. Carey School of Business student has spent time serving as everything from a Peace Corps student ambassador to a counselor at Camp Kesem, a group that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. But Dusard said her favorite experience was her time as the chair of the Woodside Community Action Grant at ASU's Changemaker Central. The grant is a seed-funding competition for ASU students who are passionate about service.

"Being a recipient of and managing the Woodside Community Action [Grant] has had the greatest impact on me as an individual and my understanding of human engagement," she said. "We all think of things we would like to do to improve our community but never seem to have the resources. This program gives students the opportunity to actually make that vision possible." 


Educational Outreach and Student Services (EOSS) facilitated the contest, and the finalists had to fit a specific set of criteria laid out by EOSS social-media workers Regan Norton and Hailey Mensik. 

"We narrowed them down as they came in, and then the ASASU (Associated Students of ASU) Council of Presidents chose the finalists," said Mensik, a sophomore in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. "We were really looking for creativity, originality and how well they represented the university." 

Norton and Mensik came up with the plan for the contest together, as a way to shine a spotlight on ASU students whose accomplishments and hard work may have gone overlooked. 

Stephanie Christensen, a global health major, took home second place for her work as the community service coordinator for the American Medical Student Association. In addition, Christensen also works at Changemaker Central, selling bags and jewelry made in Ghana to cover high school expenses for Ghanian children. She was also honored for the "engagement" category.


Third place was given to Logan Drda, a senior from Las Vegas. Drda is majoring in mechanical engineering and is an intern at Orbital ATK, an aerospace manufacturer and defense industry company.

Drda was also honored for the "career" category.


EOSS hopes the contest can become an annual tradition, Norton said. 

"It was really cool seeing students from campus show how involved they are," Norton said. "We just want to promote these awesome ASU students and help show off all of their achievements."

The full list of category winners is below. The awards also come with a cash prize of $1,750 for the top three winners and $750 for the remaining three finalists. 

  • Service (and overall first place): Lindsay Dusard, senior, business and marketing
  • Engagement (and overall second place): Stephanie Christensen, sophomore, global health
  • Career (and overall third place): Logan Drda, senior, mechnaical engineering
  • Culture: Radwa Ewaisha, graduate, molecular and cellular biology
  • Spirit/Affinity: Caitlin Hornik, senior, English
  • Wellness: Brittany Kunz, graduate, nursing
Connor Pelton

Communications Writer, ASU Now

Military honor stole ceremony kicks off grad week at ASU

May 5, 2017

An event to honor military veterans that started with just 10 participants in the university club in 2011 has grown to the point that it will be held for the first time in Grady Gammage auditorium here Saturday at 10 a.m.

Over 215 of the more than 650 student veterans graduating this semester are expected to attend the Arizona State University Veterans Honor Stole Ceremony, which will feature keynote remarks from Tempe Vice Mayor and Army veteran Robin Arredondo-Savage. Arizona State University student and Army veteran Timothy Rogers Arizona State University student and Army veteran Timothy Rogers is one of over 650 military affiliated students graduating in the Spring 2017 semester. Rogers served in the Army for eight years as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and crew chief. (Courtesy photo) Download Full Image

“This particular ceremony is unique and stands apart from others because of the specific military theme, allowing us to include elements that are specific to this group,” said Martha Byrd, executive director of operations for the ASU Alumni Association. “Each graduating student receives a stole during the ceremony from one of the alumni who served in the same branch of service.”

There are five different honor stoles with the symbol and colors associated with each of the military branches — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.  The stoles can be worn over academic regalia during graduation ceremonies.  

One of the graduating students attending the stole ceremony is Army veteran Timothy Rogers, who is double majoring in social work and public service and public policy from the College of Public Service and Community Solutions on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

“I am crazy happy to finish my undergrad,” said Rogers, a Gilbert native. “It has been an insane ride. So, I am very happy to graduate and move on to grad school, where my school schedule will slow down a bit.”

Rogers started his academic journey in the Maricopa Community Colleges system and for a time was attending both ASU and Rio Salado College.

“I finished 120 credits in 22 months and was able to maintain a 4.0 in everything,” he said.

A former UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and crew chief, Rogers served in the Army for eight years mostly on active duty. He was based in various places throughout the U.S. and Europe, serving in several major military operations, including Operation Joint Guard, which was a mission to support the Dayton Peace Accords calling for the stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  

The honor stole ceremony represents ASU’s commitment to veterans and national defense, one that has contributed to the growth of a diverse student veteran population of nearly 5,500 women and men who’ve served in all service branches and supported a wide range of military missions on behalf of the nation.  

“I think it is an awesome tradition that ASU and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center honor veterans with this ceremony and I am looking forward to it,” Rogers said. “I think I am just as excited if not more for it as the actual graduation.”

ASU’s veteran community also consists of over 1,000 current and former military family members enrolled in classes throughout all university campuses and ASU Online.

The Veterans Honor Stole Ceremony is a signature event of the ASU Alumni Association in partnership with the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and in coordination with ASU’s University Ceremonies Office.

Jerry Gonzalez

Media Relations Officer, Media Relations and Strategic Communications