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2022 outstanding grads

Posted 10:05 a.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2022

UW-La Crosse graduates from 2021-22 are being recognized for academic excellence during their collegiate studies on campus.

Seven earn academic honors

Seven UW-La Crosse graduates from 2021-22 are being recognized for academic excellence during their collegiate studies on campus. The awards and honorees include:

The Murphy Award for Academic Excellence

Tommy Friday

recognizes the university’s top graduating scholar, as chosen by the Scholarship and Awards Committee. A Murphy Foundation grant created the award in 1980 to recognize outstanding and exceptional scholastic ability.

Tommy Friday graduates with a Bachelor of Science majoring in exercise and sport science - physical education teaching, with a minor in adapted physical education teaching. Friday was on the Dean’s List every semester and holds a 4.0 GPA. He earned numerous scholarships; among them: Charles Ben and Marian Ford Scholarship, Pam Mouchka Family Memorial Scholarship in Physical Education & Health, Leon & Ruth Miller Scholarship in Exercise & Sport Science, Genevieve Carnes Memorial Scholarship, John Castek Sr. Memorial Scholarship, and the Eric and Kristin Jungbluth Scholarship in Education. Friday received the Wisconsin Health and Physical Education Future Professionals Leadership Award and was named 2021 Physical Education Major of the Year. He was involved in numerous campus clubs and volunteered in the community. Along with teaching field experience, he has coached at local high schools. Friday, who plans to teach in K-12, intends to attend graduate school at UWL for a master’s in physical education teaching with an emphasis in adventure education. Friday is from Pine River, Wisconsin.

The Jake and Janet Hoeschler Award for Excellence

Derek Poggemann

recognizes a College of Business Administration graduate for academic accomplishment and leadership on campus and in the community. Janet Hoeschler, a 1940 graduate, established the award in 1992 to signify a business-university partnership.

Derek Poggemann graduates with a Bachelor of Science in information systems. He has made the Dean’s List each semester and holds a 4.0 GPA. In April of 2021, Poggemann was awarded a scholarship from the Ben A. Sylla and James R. Sylla Fund for having high academic standing. On campus, Poggemann has been involved in the Information Systems Association, Collegiates Entrepreneurs' Organization and Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society. He has been involved in intramural men's soccer, co-ed soccer and co-ed volleyball. Poggemann participated in four internships. In spring 2020, he studied abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland. He hopes to work as a software engineer or data analyst and pursue an MBA. He aspires to own his own IT business. Poggemann is from Appleton, Wisconsin.

The Strzelczyk Award in Science and Health

Kaylan Marshall

recognizes an outstanding senior in the College of Science and Health for academic achievement, along with campus and community service. Robert, ’54, and Judy Strzelczyk, who funded many physical therapy projects and scholarships, endowed the award in 1996.

 Kaylan Marshall graduates with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in microbiology and minoring in chemistry. She was on the Dean’s List each semester and earned a 4.0 GPA. Marshall earned an Eagle Apprenticeship when coming to campus, and went on to receive the Charles and Lillian Gay Academic Scholarship, Catholic Order of Foresters Scholarship, Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship, Undergraduate Research and Creativity Grant, Department of Microbiology Scholarship, Drs. Michael H. and Timothy J. Mader Pre-Med Endowment Scholarship, Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Judy Kruckman Scholar Athlete Award, Dr. C. W. Lighthizer Pre-Med Scholarship and Allen C. Nelson Scholarship Endowment Fund in Mycology. She ran with the cross country and track teams, and volunteered and worked at local healthcare facilities. Marshall plans to spend a year with Mercy Volunteer Corps. in Georgia to serve those without health insurance before applying to medical school. She is from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

The John E. Magerus Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

Signe Aspengren

recognizes an outstanding graduate for academic accomplishments, leadership, and campus and community involvement. The award is named for Magerus, who retired in 2004 after 28 years as a professor and administrator in the college.

Signe Aspengren graduates with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in archaeology and minoring in French and biology. She was on the Dean’s List each semester and earned a 3.97 GPA. Aspengren earned an Eagle Apprenticeship when coming to campus, and went on to receive the Soaring Eagle Scholarship, Oren E. Frazee Community Scholarship, the iEngage Study Abroad Scholarship and the Archaeology Scholarship. She was a research assistant with the Archaeology Department throughout college. Aspengren participated in numerous campus internships, and was a teaching assistant for anthropology and archaeology classes. She volunteered as a French conversation partner, as well as with Archaeology Department activities. Aspengren plans to work in the cultural resource management industry before pursuing a doctorate in bioarchaeology. She is from New Richmond, Wisconsin.

The Alice M. Svec Excellence Award

Carlisle Mead

recognizes an outstanding graduate in the School of Education. Svec, ’59, went on to earn a master’s in education media and post-graduate studies. She taught elementary education before becoming a visiting nurse for 51 years.

Carlisle Mead graduates with a bachelor’s in middle childhood through early adolescence education, minoring in social studies. She was on the Dean’s List each semester, attaining a 3.98 GPA. Mead received the Marcie Wycoff-Horn Education Scholarship, the Twyla & Robert McFee Scholarship in Elementary Education, the Darrell S. Larson Endowment Fund, Student Loan Hero Scholarship, the Alice M. Svec Endowed Scholarship in Education, the Charlie Burbach Education Scholarship and the Kristine A. Mason Scholarship. She was involved with Chinese Culture Club, Campus Crusade for Christ, tutoring and local handbell choirs. Mead plans to become a middle school teacher following graduation. She plans to continue learning Mandarin Chinese and hopes to travel to China to teach. She is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The Rosandich Graduate Thesis and Dissertation Award

Mai Chao Duddeck

recognizes the best graduate thesis, based on originality, impact and writing quality. The award is funded by Thomas P. Rosandich, ’54, founding president of the U.S. Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama.

Mai Chao Duddeck graduated with a Doctorate in Education in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership in May 2021. Mai Chao’s dissertation, “Redefining Hmong American Woman Identity in Higher Education: A Scholarly Personal Narrative,” is significant for two reasons. It is one of the few qualitative research studies that focuses on the Hmong American educational experience. And, her study is likely the first higher education/student affairs dissertation grounded in Hmong cultural knowledge and epistemology, merging a specific form of narrative methodology (scholarly personal narrative) with a conceptual framework she created from the tradition of the Hmong Story Cloth. Mai Chao holds three degrees from UWL. Along with the doctorate, she earned a Bachelor of Science in art education in 2006 and a Master of Education-Professional Development in 2008. She currently works with Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.

Shayla (Michel) Victoria

Shayla (Michel) Victoria earned a Master of Science in Biology in May 2021. Her research explored how two fish species — zebrafish and fathead minnows — are being affected by Thiamethoxam, an insecticide often used in agriculture. She compiled a well-organized thesis that could be submitted as a peer-reviewed journal article, and was accepted into “The Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.” Her work was primarily self-directed and original with exceptional integration of primary literature and represents a novel contribution to the field of environmental toxicology. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Mississippi.


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