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Ten outstanding Boise State University graduating seniors will be recognized for their exceptional academic success at the annual Top Ten Scholars reception at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, in the Stueckle Sky Center. The event is free but registration is required due to limited seating.

The scholars, joined by their families and professors, will gather for a reception that recognizes the students’ academic excellence and the influence specific faculty members have had on their success. It is a unique opportunity each year to bring together many of Boise State’s best and brightest students and teachers.

Presented by the Boise State Alumni Association, the awards ceremony features remarks from each student honoree as well as remarks from Kevin Satterlee, chief operating officer, vice president and special counsel, and Jim Kerns, vice president of the Boise State Alumni Association and Office of Alumni Relations.

Students are nominated by their academic deans and are subject to rigorous review by a selection committee. To qualify for consideration, a student must have a 3.8 or higher grade point average. Nominees are then reviewed based on academic breadth of coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations at professional meetings or conferences, and extracurricular community and campus service.

“Student recipients should feel extremely proud knowing that they are deemed the top of their graduating class,” said Lisa Gardner, executive director of the Boise State University Alumni Association. “They have had extraordinary experiences through their undergraduate studies with Boise State University and we hope that they continue to share their wisdom and energy with their colleagues and with their alma mater as they move through their life and career paths as Boise State alumni and continue to represent the university’s highest standards.”

To attend the event, register online at or call (208) 426-1959.

The 2018 Top Ten Scholar Award Recipients are:

Micah Buckmiller

Micah Buckmiller
Degree: Bachelor of science in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry
Future Plans: Become a practicing physician in his hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho.
Honored Faculty: Andrew Finstuen, dean of the Boise State University Honors College and interim vice provost for undergraduate studies

From Sandpoint, Idaho, Buckmiller first found his home on campus in the Honors College, where his involvement led to serving as a peer mentor, president of Honors Community House Osprey, and a member on the Honors College Advisory Board. He also joined the fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, during his junior year which presented him with additional leadership roles.

Buckmiller has been involved in research with Matthew Ferguson on the expression of a genome, with an anticipated submission for publication in May 2018. In addition to serving on the Boise State University Conduct Board, Buckmiller has studied abroad at Oxford University, volunteers at both the Friendship Clinic and Heart n’ Home Hospice, and spoke at the Boise State Capital Scholars Dinner.

Andres Correa Hernandez

Andres Correa Hernandez 
Degree: Bachelor of science in materials science and engineering with minors in physics, mathematics and applied mathematics
Future Plans: Obtain a doctorate of philosophy in electrical engineering at Princeton University, applying and developing theoretical and computational techniques in the area of nanophotonics.
Honored Faculty: Lan Li, assistant professor, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering

From Nampa, Idaho, Hernandez is a member of the Materials Theory and Modeling Group, which he joined during his first year at Boise State and that led to an internship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland for two summers. He has co-authored three publications and as a McNair Scholar he has conducted research funded by the National Science Foundation, advancing knowledge in quantum computing by helping design chromophore-DNA scaffolding networks and presenting at multiple conferences.

Boise State’s TRIO Upward Bound program helped Hernandez get into college, which led him to the TRIO Rising Scholars (TRS) program. He was a peer mentor for low-income, first-generation college students, like himself, which allowed him to assist their transition to college. Through TRIO, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Pacification, Hernandez has advocated for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students pursuing STEM degrees, particularly in engineering.

A recipient of numerous prestigious scholarships at Boise State, he has also received the NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2015 and 2016, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Summer Institute Research Fellowship in 2017 and a 2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellowship. He is part of the Finish in Four program and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Sienna George

Sienna George
Degree: Bachelor of arts in communication with an emphasis in digital media and journalism and a minor in sociology
Future Plans: Become a Title IX lawyer to advocate for underrepresented and unheard voices.
Honored Faculty: Kelly Myers, assistant professor, Department of English, and project director for Boise State’s Beyond the Major initiative

George is from Boise, Idaho, and is known throughout Boise State as a catalyst for change. During her junior year, she directed notsilentbecause, a public service announcement that aired during the final Boise State football game of the 2016 season to raise awareness about the importance of consent and to advocate for sexual assault survivors. Following its airing, Sienna spent time at Duke University to learn more about bystander intervention and Title IX proceedings. Selected as a Stanford University Innovation Fellow, Sienna joined a global network of students to institute change in higher education.

George was elected student body president in spring 2017. As president, George raised more than $25,000 to create the first-ever, on-campus food pantry and food cupboard network. With the help of the Inclusive Excellence Student Council, George helped to pass constitutional amendments to create the inaugural vice president of inclusive excellence position in order to advocate on behalf of marginalized students in policy-making. George also led the creation of an advisory council of statewide student body presidents to advise and advocate for the student voice at the Idaho State Board of Education.

Anna Holdiman McDonald

Anna Holdiman McDonald
Degree: Bachelor of science in psychological science with a certificate in elementary Spanish
Future Plans: Attend graduate school and become a bilingual speech pathologist
Honored Faculty: Patrick McCurry, assistant track and field and cross country coach

Originally from Waverly, Iowa, McDonald’s primary focus in her undergraduate career has been her research, working in Mary Pritchard’s Healthy Psychology Laboratory and April Masarik’s Human Development and Ecology Laboratory. She has presented her research at numerous psychology and linguistics research conferences. She also submitted a paper for publication to the international scholarly journal The Journal of Eating and Weight Disorders — Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, as first author. Participating in 24 credits of directed research, independent study, and completing a senior thesis class has made research the cornerstone of her degree.

Outside of her research, McDonald has been a teaching assistant, volunteered over 220 hours for local nonprofit agencies that work with newly settled refugees and English-language learners and been a art of Boise State’s cross country and track teams.

Karyn Levin

Karyn Levin 
Degree: Bachelor of science in psychology and bachelor of science in criminal justice
Future Plans: Pursue a master of social work at Boise State and later advocate for victims’ rights in a clinical and legislative capacity.
Honored Faculty: R. Eric Landrum, professor, Department of Psychological Science

Levin, from Portland, Oregon, has been part of the Honors College since her first year at Boise State.  She has held two internships, one with Boise neuropsychologist Dr. Craig Beaver, by whom she is now employed, and one with the Faces of Hope Victim Center. She has worked for Boise State both as an academic advisor and for the Educational Access Center. Karyn has held a role as a research assistant with R. Eric Landrum, working to start an education-based nonprofit organization.

Levin has been greatly influenced by her service and time spent abroad, namely with GIVE Volunteers in rural Thai and Laotian villages, as well regularly volunteering at Faces of Hope Victim Center and Boise Rescue Mission.

Levin was recently was named Boise State’s 2017 Sorority Woman of the Year and held a position on the Panhellenic Executive Council. She was awarded second place at the President’s Writing Awards and has received several scholarships, including the Thelma Brown Honors College scholarship. Levin was recently offered membership into Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s most selective honor society.

Mackenzie Moss

Mackenzie Moss
Degree: Bachelor of arts in social work and a minor in Spanish
Future Plans: To attend a post-baccalaureate institution to participate in earning a master of social work with a clinical concentration and a law degree.
Honored Faculty: Manda Hicks, associate professor, Director of Forensics, Department of Communication

A native of Boise, Idaho, Moss is a member of the Boise State Talkin’ Broncos Speech and Debate Team, whom she has helped the program claim two of four consecutive national championship titles and has obtained three individual national titles of her own. She placed first out of hundreds of student speakers from more than 80 schools.

Moss has held several leadership positions during her time at Boise State, including the president and vice president of the Speech and Debate Team. Off campus, she was nominated by Idaho Senator Jim Risch to represent Idaho at the Henry Clay Collegiate Student Congress where she engaged in conversations of policy and humanitarianism.

Moss works as a student interpreter with Project Laura, an immigration clinic focused on serving undocumented minors. She also developed the Prison Debate Initiative, which provides educational experiences and life skills to incarcerated individuals. Additionally, she serves as an intern for the Hunger Relief Task Force.

Makenzie Peake

Makenzie Peake 
Degree: Bachelor of arts in quantitative economics and a minor in applied mathematics
Future Plans: Work as a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and later enter a Ph.D. program in economics.
Honored Faculty: Christine Loucks, department chair and professor, Department of Economics

During her undergraduate career at Boise State, Peake has garnered a fair amount of academic and leadership skills through her participation in the Boise State Honors College as a peer mentor and academic assistant. She has been heavily involved with the College of Business and Economics, in particular as a mentor in the Department of Economics, and president and treasurer of the Boise State Economics Association.

From Boise, Idaho, Peake serves the Boise community as a youth leader at Foothills Christian Church, as a volunteer in bilingual classrooms at Whittier Elementary School and in assisting local refugees with transportation needs. Last July, Peake began employment as a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Throughout her academic career, Peake has sought out research opportunities, being employed as a research assistant by three professors in the department of economics investigating the effects of student performance in online versus face-to-face classes. She also served as a research assistant for a project investigating the economic feasibility of building a nursing home in Council, Idaho. Another valuable research experience came from Peake’s internship with ECONorthwest, the largest consulting company in the Northwest.

Timothy Le Phero

Timothy Le Phero
Degree: Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering
Future Plans: Pursue a master of science in materials science and engineering.
Honored Faculty: Krishna Pakala, clinical assistant professor, Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering

During his time at Boise State University, Le Phero, a first-generation college student from Boise, Idaho, has served as an outreach leader for Space Broncos and volunteers with The Reuseum Educational Inc. to inspire, teach and support STEM education to Idaho’s children.

Le Phero has also utilized engineering to help improve the quality of life of individuals with physical disabilities. He has designed and fabricated an assistive chairlift for a patient with muscular dystrophy and an arm orthosis for a patient with a joint disorder through his work with the Integrated Engineering Solutions Club and his senior design capstone project.