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Boise State Alumni Association Honors Top Ten Scholars April 21

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. Friday, April 21, in the Stueckle Sky Center. The event is free but registration is required because seating is limited. Register by calling 426-1959.

The scholars, joined by their parents and professors, will gather for a reception that recognizes the students’ academic excellence and the tremendous 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 Alumni Association, the awards ceremony features remarks from each student honoree as well as remarks from President Bob Kustra, Honors College Dean Andrew Finstuen and Lisa Gardner, executive director 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 Gardner. “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.”

The 2017 Top Ten Scholar honorees are:

Photo of Jennifer Domanowski
Jennifer Domanowski

Jennifer Domanowski
Degree: Bachelor of science in materials science and engineering with a certificate in elementary Korean
Honored Faculty: Harold Ackler, clinical associate professor, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering

Domanowski, from Arlington, Washington, came to Boise State to compete on the swimming and diving team. She has served as national corresponding secretary for the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, is president of the Boise State chapter and was recently recognized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Aviation Week as part of the 20 Twenties, an award that honors 20 STEM students across the globe as the top leaders in the aerospace industry.

Domanowski began a relationship with NASA in 2014, holding internships at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in the Failure Analysis and Metallurgy Branch and the NASA Glenn Research Center in the Materials and Structures Division. The next year she became a Pathways Intern at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the Materials Engineering Branch. She will continue to work at NASA in a full-time position post-graduation.

Photo of Cynthia England
Cynthia England

Cynthia England
Degree: Bachelor of science in anthropology, bachelor of business administration in entrepreneurship management and a minor in Native American studies.
Honored Faculty: John P. Ziker, professor and chair, Department of Anthropology

From Boise, England finds great value in volunteering and has sought out opportunities to give back while at Boise State. She has traveled to Belize through the Global Citizenship and Social Responsibility class offered through the Boise State Honors College. While in Belize, she taught classes at a primary school and improved school facilities. She also has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House.

Her altruistic service also has benefited the Boise State campus through her various leadership positions. She has represented the Department of Anthropology as a peer ambassador and is the current president of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. She is also a member of the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society.

Photo of Katherine Hollar
Katherine Hollar

Katherine Hollar
Degree: Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering
Honored Faculty: Trevor Lujan, professor, Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering

During her time at Boise State, Hollar has been immersed in academics, student organizations and community involvement. For the past two years, she’s worked as a research assistant for Trevor Lujan in the Northwest Tissue Mechanics Lab. At this lab, she helped develop an original software, called OrthoRead, to quickly and cost-effectively assess fracture healing in radiographs. Due to her contribution, she became a co-author in a Journal of Orthopaedic Research publication.

In addition, she independently created an imaging technique to measure surface wear in polymer liners of joint prosthesis, which may transform how new implant materials are evaluated. This work was selected as a finalist for the bachelor of science student paper competition at a 2016 national conference and she will be the first author on a research publication that details this novel imaging procedure this spring.

Hollar also serves as an officer in the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the Society of Women Engineers and as a College of Engineering Peer Ambassador. Through these positions, she has worked to inspire female students to explore engineering. She is also a volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, where for the past two years she has helped distribute food to low-income Boise residents.

Photo of Lauren Hosek
Lauren Hosek

Lauren L. Hosek
Degree: Bachelor of science in biology with an emphasis in human biology.
Honored Faculty: Don Warner, associate professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Originally from Eagle, Hosek is an active member of the Boise State Honors College, has served as a peer mentor for the past three years and currently sits on the Honors College Advisory Board.

Hosek is the current chapter director of Strive for College, an organization she joined as a freshman that mentors high school students through their college application process. She has helped expand the program from 19 college mentors the first semester to 250 college mentors the following year and has personally mentored four high school students herself. She also has served as the CEO of the American Red Cross Club where she organized blood drives throughout the year.

Hosek began her research in a biochemistry lab, testing the effectiveness of drug candidates on Giardia and Entamoeba enzymes via UV Vis spectroscopy. After completing her organic chemistry classes and receiving the 2015 Organic Chemistry Student of the Year award, she was hired as a summer research assistant where she synthesized anticancer analogs targeting metastatic breast cancer. Since then, Hosek has spent more than 1,300 hours in the lab and will present at seven research conferences, including two national conferences. She is co-authoring a manuscript anticipated to be submitted by June 2017.

Photo of Junlin Huang
Junlin Huang

Junlin Huang
Degree: Bachelor of business administration in accountancy
Honored Faculty: Mark Cowan, professor, Department of Accountancy

An international student, Huang has immersed herself in the College of Business and Economics, serving as an undergraduate learning assistant for the Department of Accountancy, the CFO of Beta Alpha Psi, a mentor of junior accounting students and a tax intern at a local CPA firm. She is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Boise Young Professionals and the American Institute of CPAs. These experiences have provided opportunities for her to give back to Boise State and the Boise community through teaching, networking, mentoring and volunteer services.

In addition to her co-curricular activities, Huang has excelled academically. She was a recipient of the College of Business and Economics Scholarship and Clisby Edlefsen Business School Scholarship and has been on the Dean’s High Honor List each semester. Huang has been recognized as a Signature Student and Outstanding Graduate in the College of Business and Economics.

Huang graduated in the fall of 2016 and is currently pursuing a master of science in accountancy-taxation from Boise State. Starting this fall, she will be a graduate assistant for the College of Business and Economics.

Photo of Riley Hunt
Riley Hunt

Riley Hunt
Degree: Bachelor of science in materials science and engineering and a minor in visual arts
Honored Faculty: Christopher Hyer, assistant director, Honors College

Hunt is the fourth member of her family to graduate from Boise State, following in the footsteps of her mother, Jennifer Hunt, a Top Ten Scholar in 1981, and two older sisters.

While at Boise State, Hunt has been actively involved in undergraduate research and served as the marketing representative for the Honors Student Association and as a peer mentor for the Honors College.

She is a member of the Girl Scout Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Taskforce and served as a facilitator for the Visions Program for the Girl Scouts at Whittier Elementary in Boise. Through these avenues, she hopes to encourage young girls to pursue STEM opportunities and careers.

During her semester abroad in New Zealand, she volunteered in Fiji to aid in the conservation of sea turtles and other marine life. This experience deepened her interest in using materials science and engineering to further the sustainability of everyday objects.

Photo of Amanda Lofthus
Amanda Lofthus

Amanda J. Lofthus
Degree: Bachelor of science in biology with an emphasis in ecology
Honored Faculty: Jesse Barber, associate professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Lofthus is a member of the Boise State Honors College, a recipient of the Brown Honors Scholarship, a Boise Cascade Environmental Research Fellowship and an EPSCoR MURI Fellowship. Additionally, she has presented her research at both the Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research and Boise State’s Undergraduate Research Conference.

As a sophomore, Lofthus joined the Barber Sensory Ecology Lab at Boise State, where she assists with field and laboratory-based projects and conducts her own research. Her current projects include aerial hunting in a species of gleaning bat and how noise affects bat foraging.

Lofthus also has worked on conservation projects internationally; in 2015 she was a volunteer scuba diver for the organization Conservation Cambodia, helping to conduct reef cleanup dives, construct an artificial coral reef and teach English at the local school. During her first year, she participated in a Fort Worth Zoo conservation expedition in the British Virgin Islands focused on the critically endangered Anegada iguana. Locally, she volunteers at the Aquarium of Boise, assisting with animal husbandry and talking with guests about the exhibits and the importance of marine conservation.

Photo of Chantal Martinez
Chantal Martinez

Chantal Martinez
Degree: Bachelor of science in psychology
Honored Faculty: Cynthia G. Campbell, assistant professor, Department of Psychological Science

Martinez’s primary focus in her undergraduate career has been her research, having worked in multiple labs. Additionally, as a McNair scholar her independent research focuses on how unique personal characteristics influence social networking site preferences. Martinez has presented her research at multiple undergraduate and professional conferences across the United States and is publishing her work in the 2017 McNair Scholars Research Journal.

Beyond research, Martinez has been a teaching assistant for three different psychology courses, a student mentor at a local elementary school and a volunteer at a local nonprofit that provides job training for people facing employment barriers.

She is the recipient of the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship, the Boise State Department of Psychology Scholarship and the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Summer Fellowship.

Photo of Océane Pelloille
Océane Pelloille

Océane Pelloille
Degree: Bachelor of science in political science and minors in nonprofit management and American Sign Language
Honored Faculty: Nicole Bird, head coach of women’s golf

An international student from France, Pelloille came to Boise State after receiving a four-year scholarship to play on the golf team. An Academic All-American athlete, she currently serves as part of the leadership team for the Student Athlete Association Committee (SAAC). As part of SAAC, she led the community event committee with the goal of engaging fellow athletes in community service. She also co-led the creation of a personal development program for children in Title I schools.

Pelloille participated in the Boise State Student Involvement and Leadership Center’s Partnership Jamaica, serving on a team of students who built and reconstructed parts of schools in Jamaica. She has also volunteered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and has interned at Make-A-Wish Idaho. From that experience, she created the “Wish Makers on Campus” club to increase awareness about Make-A-Wish Idaho on campus by organizing fundraising events. She currently serves as president.

Pelloille is fluent in three languages: English, French and American Sign Language with intermediate fluency in Spanish.

Samantha Wicks
Samantha Wicks

Samantha Wicks
Degree: Bachelor of science in health sciences, bachelor of arts in Spanish and a minor in psychology
Honored Faculty: Scott Conger, assistant professor, Department of Kinesiology

Coming to Boise State from Anchorage, Alaska, Wicks competed as a member of the Boise State swimming and diving team for four years and was a team captain for her final season. During three of those years, she represented Boise State at the NCAA championship meet. Wicks received All-Mountain West honors for each semester she participated, is a three-time Mountain West Scholar-Athlete and was named the 2016 Mountain West Swimmer of the Year. In addition, she is a three-time Scholastic All-American and was named to the 2016 Academic All-American Third Team. She finished her swimming career at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Wicks now works with the Boise State swimming team as a volunteer.

Wicks spent the fall 2016 semester studying in Costa Rica where she advanced her fluency in Spanish. The time spent living in Costa Rica has influenced her plans for the future. Wicks is currently in a program off-campus to become a certified Spanish medical interpreter so she can work with Spanish-speaking people.