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Presidential Innovation Awards announced

Boise State encourages and celebrates a culture of innovation. The Presidential Innovation Awards recognize contributions of students, faculty and staff across campus who have demonstrated outstanding innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.

The 2024 winners are assistant director of Academic Initiatives Kristin Olson, public policy and administration lecturer Ashley Nichols, associate dean and professor in the School of Public Service Andy Giacomazzi, assistant professor Jared Talley and College of Health Science student Makena Chase.

Faculty winner – Jared Talley

Photo portrait of Jared Talley

Talley’s research focuses on community collaboration in the environmental governance of the American West. He received a Resource Nexus for Sustainability Grand Challenge award this year. This interdisciplinary initiative elevates societally relevant questions around finite and critical resources, sustainability and community needs. He led the team that focused on regenerative ranching and carbon project potential in Idaho, seeking to better understand how diverse communities relate to the land and how this relationship poses both obstacles and opportunities for collaboration and governance.

Student winner – Makena Chase

Photo portrait of Chase holding award plaques

Chase single-handedly founded the Special Olympics Club at Boise State. She pioneered this path for student involvement by reaching out to deans, publishers, student clubs, faculty organizations and other groups to inform students of the opportunity. She also raised almost $500 for the initiative during Bronco Giving Day. This is just the beginning of the positive impact this organization will have.

Staff winner – Kristin Olson, Ashley Nichols, Andy Giacomazzi

This staff-faculty trio created Conflict Support Services, an impactful experiential learning opportunity that helps students learn to solve problems. Through this program, Boise State students, primarily those who live in student housing, connect with peers trained in the Conflict Management Program who provide conflict coaching, facilitate conversations and mediate disputes. Students receiving the services are introduced to a field of study and opportunities for earning a certificate, if they are interested.

Kristin Olson in a hammock
Kristin Olson
Photo portrait of Ashley Nichols
Ashley Nichols
Andy Giacomazzi stands in front of Spirit of the Broncos stattue
Andy Giacomazzi