Award-winning 2019 Physiology Graduates

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Meet some of our 2019 Award-winning Graduates:

UA Awards

Tala Shahin, who graduated summa cum laude from the Honors College with dual degrees in physiology and Arabic, received the Robert Logan Nugent Award. Established by the Alumni Association in 1964 to honor former University of Arizona executive vice president Robert Nugent, the award is bestowed on graduating students who epitomize the ideals of service and academic engagement. Shahin starts medical school at UA’s College of Medicine Tucson this fall. Read about Tala in the May 9 issue of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

The Merrill P. Freeman Medal went to Yezan Hassan, a quadruple major honors student graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience and cognitive science, and in molecular and cellular biology; a Bachelor of Science in Health Science in physiology; and a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic, with a minor in biochemistry.

Laura Vargas received the UA’s Pillars of Excellence Award for Outstanding Honors student. Only 10 students from across campus are awarded this honor every year in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments in one or more of the following areas: won national and/or international awards for scholarship, service, and/or research; excelled in the arts or creativity; combined athletic and academic endeavors successfully became a leader in community service; made significant contributions to research or scholarly activity. The recipients have their names added to a plaque on the lower level of the main bookstore in the Student Union Memorial Center, joining more than 130 past honorees.

Department of Physiology Awards

Outstanding Senior Award: Tala Shahin, Shane Carr and Stefan Koester
Considerations for the Outstanding Senior Award are: research activities, previous awards, clubs and other college involvement, volunteer work, clinical experiences, and preceptorships.

Wildcat Senior Award: Nick Knapton
Nominated by fellow physiology students, the Wildcat Senior Award is given to a student who has overcome obstacles or hardships on the road to a successful graduation. The characteristics of perseverance, resiliency, positive attitude, and persistence are more important than the recipient's GPA.



More Exceptional Graduates

Mariajose Franco graduated with honors and with dual degrees in molecular and cellular biology and in physiology. She has won awards, was selected for the highly competitive “Maximizing Access to Research Careers” program, and completed an internship at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Her story was featured on KOLD-TV.

Matt Lujan graduated with the honor of being named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team for the third straight year in men’s swimming and diving. With a 3.65 GPA, majoring in physiology, he graduated with multiple top-three times on the team in both 100 and 200 backstroke. Matt’s accomplishments are included in the May 6 issue of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.