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Two College of Health Sciences Students Named Top Ten Scholars

Ten outstanding Boise State University graduating seniors, including two from the College of Health Sciences, were recognized for their exceptional academic success at the annual Top Ten Scholars reception on Monday, April 16 in the Stueckle Sky Center.

The scholars, joined by their families and professors, gathered 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 featured 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.”

Mackenzie Moss Portrait

Mackenzie Ross

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

With two Boise State graduates as parents, Ross was destined to attend Boise State University.

As a member of the Boise State Talkin’ Broncos Speech and Debate Team, Ross has helped the program claim two of four consecutive national championship titles and has obtained three individual national titles of her own. These awards include public forum debate titles and an extemporaneous speaking title. She placed first out of hundreds of student speakers from more than 80 schools.

Ross 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. She was celebrated at the congress with an award for leading compromise in political conversations.

Ross’ background as a member of the Talkin’ Broncos extends beyond the university through her service work. She 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.

Ross is from Boise, Idaho.

Jake Robertson Portrait

Jake Robertson

Degree: Bachelor of science in biology with a human emphasis and a bachelor of science in premedical studies with an emphasis in biology

Future Plans: Attend a top medical school in the fall to become a physician.

Honored Faculty: Julia Thom Oxford, distinguished professor, Department of Biological Sciences, director, Biomolecular Research Center

Robertson’s passion for service began long before his arrival at Boise State University, spending 1,500 plus hours volunteering at food banks, homeless shelters and hospitals, serving meals at the Boise Rescue Mission and working as a pediatric-preop volunteer at St. Luke’s Health System.

Karyn Levin Portrait

During his time at Boise State, Robertson has worked with Boise’s refugee population, tutoring junior high refugees, helping older refugees with job applications, and collaborating with campus organizations to share volunteer opportunities with students. Additionally, he is a contributor and launch-team member for an upcoming book detailing the bipartisan movement in communities across the country to aid refugees.

After completing an Urban Apiary internship, Robertson helped found the Boise State Bee Team. In 2015, he became the vice president of community service for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, where he coordinated volunteer projects for hundreds of students.

As a founding member of the Plasma Medicine Vertically Integrated Project in the College of Innovation and Design, Robertson collaborated with a diverse group of scientists to determine novel applications of a unique medical device. Recently, Robertson led his own project to compile all known and properly documented germline-mutations of DICER1 Syndrome, a rare cancer-predisposition disorder affecting a close family member.

In his free time, he is, an award-winning pianist and guitarist, playing with local churches and campus bands, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Robertson is from Fort Worth, Texas.

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

Although not currently a College of Health Sciences student, Levin will be pursuing her master of social work degree starting this fall at Boise State and will be completing her first-year field placement with Planned Parenthood.

Levin has been a member of the Boise State Honors College since her first year. She has held two internships, one with Boise neuropsychologist 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. Levin has held a role as a research assistant with R. Eric Landrum, working to start an education-based nonprofit organization.

Levin is from Portland, Oregon.