April 28, 2021

On May 11 in Arizona Stadium the Honors College will be celebrating the accomplishments of Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021 graduates.

Cassandra Watters
Outstanding Senior, Fall 2020

Cassandra Watters embodies the spirit of inquiry and discovery. Nominated by her thesis advisor, Rebecca Gomez, she has been a valued member of the Gomez lab, collaborating with other researchers, and designing and implementing her own Honors research study. In Summer 2019 she won funding from the Honors College to gain experience training a cohort of undergraduate research assistants. In Fall 2019, she won a grant from the Honors College to pay for transportation to and from participants’ homes and to pay participants. This past summer she won a prestigious Undergraduate Biology Research Program fellowship. Throughout her time at UArizona, Cassandra pursued professional outreach experiences including participating in the Lifestep program in psychology working one-on-one with at-risk youth. She is an active member of PsyChi and was an Honors Student Council member. Cassandra served as tutor to 3rd and 4th grader students in math, writing and reading comprehension, and also tutored on campus, working closely with peer tutors from other units with student athletes in statistics, chemistry, writing, and Japanese. Cassandra is a double major and graduated with honors with a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in east Asian studies with an emphasis in Japanese. This December she completed Honors theses for both majors.


Nathon Smith
Outstanding Senior, Spring 2021

Nathon Smith will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science with minors in Computer Science and Biochemistry. Nathon was instrumental in starting a new lab and has focused on understanding how bats coordinate their sophisticated echolocation behaviors to achieve finer sensory acuity. Nathon has also contributed outside of the classroom. His leadership includes being a Resident Assistant and Co-President of Honors College Ambassadors. Nathon also served as a trip leader for Honors Alternative Spring Break and has been committed to service throughout the community at Z Mansion, Casa Maria, Feed My Starving Children, and as a leader with Baha’i Junior Youth Class, Ruhi Institute and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center. Nathon was previously awarded the Outstanding Junior Award.


Jenna Inman
Dean’s Award of Excellence, Fall 2020

Jenna Inman worked in the Thorne lab taking on a challenging yet impactful drug discovery project to identify novel small molecules that can block cancer growth. In collaboration and with graduate student oversight, Jenna performed extensive cancer cell culture and microscopy to develop a high-throughput assay for testing small molecules in a quantitative and rigorous way. She successfully presented her studies in weekly lab meetings attended by four professors and approximately fifteen postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. Jenna combines perseverance and focus with great enthusiasm for research and discovery. Beyond academic and research excellence, Jenna is a true servant leader. With humility and inspiration, she meshes easily with other people and can meet them on their level to work together toward a good outcome. This is evident in her endeavors as a babysitter, teen mom mentor, undergrad tutor, or conducting cancer research. She was on the Dean’s List every semester and graduated a semester early, completing her undergraduate degree in just three and a half years. As a Physiology major and Biochemistry minor, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA and will graduate summa cum laude.


Brenna McClellan
Dean’s Award of Excellence, Fall 2020

Brenna McClellan is self-directed and motivated. Nominated by her thesis advisor, Denis Provencher, she has conducted a cross-cultural analysis of how US Americans and the French talk about climate change, using the media's framing of these discussions. She is a double major in Global Studies and in French and participated in the AZ in Paris 2019 summer program, returning virtually to Paris in summer 2020 during COVID-19 to complete a three-credit internship with a French company working on environmental issues.  All of this has contributed to the level of language proficiency and real-world knowledge that Brenna has so astutely applied to her Honors Thesis on climate change discourse. She has acquired strong methodological skills in critical discourse analysis, allowing the method to lead her to ask the right questions and come to more robust conclusions.



Henry Gorton
Dean’s Award of Excellence, Spring 2021

Henry Gorton will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Religious Studies and a minor in Spanish. His thesis explores the changes to the American Indian category on the 2020 United States Census, using interviews and experts and archival research. Henry has also presented on this topic at the Society for Applied Anthropology’s Norfolk 2021 annual meeting. Henry thrives on what he learns from and gives back through his life experiences as well as in his academic studies. In addition to joining the local food co-op and participating in events such as Tucson Meet Yourself and the AIDS Walk Tucson, Henry has volunteered at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona’s Las Milpitas Community Farm, the Inn Project of Tucson which provides temporary housing for migrant families who have been released by Customs and Border Patrol, and the Iskashitaa Refugee Network. Henry has also served as a Mindfulness Ambassador and Facilitator for Big Ideas, Grand Challenges discussions.


Kaylah Scharf
Dean’s Award of Excellence, Spring 2021

Kaylah Scharf exhibits an enduring spirit of inquiry. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and minor in Spanish. Kaylah’s Honors thesis is titled, University of Arizona E-cigarette Cessation Policy and Recommendations. Kaylah has been committed to her academic success through research and clinical experience. She also served as Student Chair for the American College Health Association, where she engaged in advocacy, research and education for college health. Her activism led her to advocate to Congress on behalf of health education and research focused on LGBT+ and veteran’s health. Kaylah is also committed to addressing issues of diversity, inclusion and social justice by encouraging her peers to think critically and problem-solve together. She looks forward to serving as an inclusive medical professional.


Enrique Olivares-Pelayo 
Outstanding Transfer Student, Spring 2021

Enrique Olivares-Pelayo is a student-scholar, writer, poet, and activist. In addition to his studies, Enrique is the lead organizer for the Reframing Justice Project at American Friends Service Committee-AZ, where he dedicates himself to advocacy through the empowerment and elevation of voices from marginalized communities. Enrique’s experiences surviving addiction and four years as a prisoner in the Arizona Department of Corrections inform his research interests in creative nonfiction, cultural geography, carceral landscapes, and autoethnography. As a scholar in the Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program, Enrique focused his research on qualitative methods to explore race inside of Arizona’s prisons. His work as a McNair Scholar culminated in a piece entitled “Carceral Geographies from Inside Prison Gates: The Micro-Politics of Everyday Racialization” co-authored with Dr. Stefano Bloch, published in Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography. Enrique is graduating summa cum laude with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Creative Writing.