UNI’s 2023 Student Leadership Awards recipients


NI Staff

The Northern Iowan 2022-23 staff. From left to right, back row: Lanie Weber, David Warrington, Diamond Roundtree, Nixson Benitez. Front row: Mallory Schmitz, Sophie Hoffmeier, Emma Koehler, Karina Ortiz.

Editor’s Note

On April 11, 2023 University of Northern Iowa Student Involvement hosted the Student Leadership awards.

Panther Pantry Awards:

Student Organizations:

National Residence Hall Honorary  

UNI Supports of the Army UNI ROTC

Student Volunteers:

Sierra Mathison

Northern Iowa Student Government Above and Beyond Awards:

These awards are given by students to recognize faculty and staff for their commitment to student development and success. Two awards were given out, one focusing on student learning and the other on student success.

Student Learning Award: 

Sarina Chen

Student Success Award: 

Lisa Jepsen

UNI C.A.R.E. Award

Awards are intended for UNI students, faculty, staff, organizations or programs that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to create a positive impact through sustainability at UNI or in the local community.

Brittany Costello

Raquel Zehr

Geography Club

Dr. Sue Follon Scholarship

This scholarship recognizes students for their leadership contributions during their tenure at UNI and potential to model leadership for women.

Savanna Jemilo

Boots to Books Scholarship

Boots to Books is a program designed to help veterans transition to civilian life and the college environment. Although many military and veteran students are eligible for G.I. benefits, more than half of them are still in need of financial assistance. In an effort to support the educational endeavors of our military and veteran students, the Boots to Books scholarship was created by Military and Veterans Student Services.

‌Michael Linde

Madison Pleggenkuhle

Caroline Linde

Hannah Kendall

Drake Martin Gold Star Award

The Drake Martin Gold Star Award is the highest individual student honor in the residence system at the University of Northern Iowa. It is named in memory of Drake Martin. Martin worked at the University of Northern Iowa for 31 years. He brought creativity, compassion and enthusiasm to projects and initiatives that had a positive impact on students. His greatest influence over time was through individual interactions that challenged, affirmed and encouraged others. In all he did, Martin exemplified the qualities of those who are recognized with the Gold Star Award.

‌Megan Carlson

AJ Hudspeth

Bailey Leitner

Kylie Rink

Desirae Shelton

Tienna Trettin

Lanie Weber

Newman Civic Fellow Award

The Newman Civic Fellowship is awarded to an inspiring group of community-committed students who are already making an impact in communities where they live, learn and serve. One University of Northern Iowa student was selected to represent the institution among the 290 community-committed students representing Campus Compact member colleges and universities.

Lexi Gause

Mental Health Ally Award

The UNI Counseling Center, with the support of the Northern Iowa Student Government, is seeking nominations for the first annual Mental Health Ally Award. Individuals, programs, organizations or departments that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to mental health advocacy were nominated.

Active Minds

Krista Zimmer

Emerging Philanthropist

The Emerging Philanthropist Award recognizes a student who is dedicated to giving their time, talent, and treasure to the university, their community or cause(s) of their choice and shows promise as a future philanthropic leader.

Emily Clouser

Promising Young Alumni Award

The Promising Young Alumni Award recognizes one or more seniors who demonstrate qualities desired of engaged alumni. A Promising Young Alumnus demonstrates their potential as a future alumni leader for the UNI community through their commitment to service, leadership, and pride while enrolled.

Caleb Gehle

Hanna Kendall

Rising Global Star Leader Award

The Rising Global Star Leader Award is for students in any stage of their education and has made significant contributions to their department, unit, institution, organization, community, and the field of international education. The Rising Star will have demonstrated a commitment to internationalization and ingenuity of thought that has the potential to have a substantial and lasting influence on global education. 

Gracie Touvelle

Ava Deitrich

Award for Excellence in International Engagement

This can be awarded to UNI students, faculty, staff or Cedar Valley community members. The nominees should be committed to promoting global understanding, research and advocating for international exchange locally and globally. They should be an active participant with international students/scholars/dependents in the UNI community. 

David Glenn-Burns

Christine Schrage

Student Organization Advisor of the Year Award

This award is designed to recognize a student organization advisor who has excelled and exemplified outstanding service, dedication and leadership to the organization they advise.

Olivia Umbaugh

Paul Lee

Most Promising New Leader in a Student Organization Award

This award is designed to recognize a member in a student organization that has demonstrated emerging leadership in the organization, a commitment to developing their leadership ability, and has exceeded the expectations of the membership of the organization.

Ayanna Reckman

Ryan Connolly

Greek 360 Award

This award is intended to recognize a member of the UNI Fraternity & Sorority Life community who also is an outstanding member of other student organizations on campus.

Cassie Williams

Emma Pellegrino

Outstanding Officer in a Student Organization Award

This award recognizes a student organization officer who provides exemplary service, commitment and strong leadership to their student organization and UNI.

Samantha Hilbert

Lizbeth Garcia

Payton Ahrenstorff

Outstanding President in a Student Organization Award

This award recognizes a student organization president who has played a major role in the development and execution of their student organization.

Heidi Bantz

JuanDaniel Lopez

Student Organization Program of Distinction Award

This award is designed to recognize significant achievements by student organizations in the planning and implementation of programs, either a one-time event or a series of events marketed as a single program.

Dragaganza 2022

Student Organization of the Year Award

This award is designed to recognize a student organization that has exemplified excellence among its peers by contributing to the UNI community and fulfilling the mission of the organization.

Transfer Advocacy and Involvement Group

The Northern Iowan

Diversity Matters Award

The Diversity Matters Award is presented in recognition of dedication and service to the University of Northern Iowa in advancement of its diversity-related goals.

African Student Union

Azra Papakee

Dr. Charlotte West Scholar-Athlete Award

The Missouri Valley Conference will present the Dr. Charlotte West Award annually, to one female and one male student-athlete who have completed intercollegiate eligibility in their primary sport, to recognize outstanding achievement in academics, athletics, service and leadership. Nominees from UNI will be recognized at the Student Leadership Awards.

Carly Spies

Kyle Biscoglia

Outstanding Student Leader Award

The Outstanding Student Leader Award is designed to recognize students who have demonstrated dedication and leadership through their involvement in one or more campus activities.

‌Jeremy Charles

Parker Daniels

Luigi Lopez

Trevor Meyers

Abby Riley

Yessenia Rodriguez

Servant Leadership Award

The Servant Leadership Award recognizes those who have worked for the common good while putting the needs of others first.

‌Samantha Adams

Maria Gamon

Marisa Jepsen

Lexi Gause

Mackenzie Kielty

Juandaniel Lopez

Samantha Robinson

Anna Stevens

Lux Service Award

The Lux Service Award is the most prestigious award given to graduating senior students each academic year to acknowledge the culmination of their overall involvement. Recipients consistently go above and beyond, leaving a lasting legacy upon graduation.

Nixson Benitez

Esha Jayswal

Leila Masinovic