SAN ANGELO, Texas — Morgan Preston of Vicksburg, Michigan, will receive Angelo State University's 2022 Presidential Award as the top graduate of her class, while five other ASU graduating seniors have been selected for 2021-2022 Distinguished Student Awards from their respective academic colleges.
Preston will be recognized at ASU's May 13-14 commencement ceremonies, along with the five Distinguished Student Award honorees.
The Distinguished Student Award recipients are:
- Krystyn Irby of Odessa - Archer College of Health and Human Services
- Price Tarbet of Big Spring - College of Arts and Humanities
- Caroline Huseman of Amarillo - College of Education
- Mia van Rheede van Oudtshoorn of Kroonstad, South Africa - College of Science and Engineering
- Connor Blake of Boerne - Norris-Vincent College of Business.
ASU's Academic Excellence Committee hosted an awards ceremony May 2 at the Houston Harte University Center to honor all the award recipients and nominees. Each recipient was presented with a plaque by ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr.
Preston was nominated by both the Department of English and Modern Languages and the Department of Political Science and Philosophy. She is a double-major in English and philosophy and a varsity Belles volleyball player. She will graduate with highest university honors after completing the honors program curriculum with thesis option. She received numerous scholarships at ASU including the Women's Athletic Scholarship for Volleyball, Honors Program Scholarship, Berchman T. Carville and LP Gragg English Scholarships and Dr. E. James Hindman Scholarship for political science. Her academic performance earned her induction into the Alpha Chi and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies and Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. Additionally, she was named to the 2021 Lone Star Conference All-Academic Volleyball Team.
Preston served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, participated in the Honors Student Association and Sigma Tau Delta, joined the ASU Free Market Institute's McLane Teammates Reading Program and attended the Free Citizens, Free Souls Conference on Education, Social Justice and Great Books. She also excelled in undergraduate research, earning one of only 10 Alfred H. Nolle Scholarships from Alpha Chi in 2021 and one of only three 2022 Dennis Boe Awards for outstanding undergraduate research from the Great Plains Honors Council.
After graduation, Preston will attend law school at Ohio State University with the goal of becoming a civil rights litigator.
Irby was nominated by the Department of Health Science Professions. She is a health science professions major who received the Nicholas Fowler Scholarship. She has been a leader in the Health Science Society, holding office as both treasurer and secretary, and has served the Health Science Professions Department as a teaching assistant. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and an active participant in intramural athletics, advancing to the national level twice with her co-rec flag football team. Additionally, she works as a yoga instructor and fitness supervisor for ASU University Recreation and as a therapy technician at the Shannon Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital. Irby will pursue a doctorate in physical therapy and hopes to work in an outpatient facility in either orthopedics or pediatrics.
Tarbet was nominated by the Dr. Arnoldo De Leon Department of History. A history major, he received the Susan Miles History Scholarship, Elmer E. Eddington Scholarship, G. Jeanette Williams Russian Enrichment Scholarship and two national Phi Theta Kappa Scholarships. He was inducted into the Alpha Chi national honor society, Phi Alpha Theta history honor society and Alpha Mu Gamma foreign language honor society. He received the 2022 U.S. Department of State Critical Languages Scholarship to study Russian language and culture in Kyrgyzstan this summer. He presented research at the Alpha Chi, Phi Alpha Theta and Southwestern Social Science Association conferences. Additionally, he served as president of both the ASU History Society and the Russian Club and as a student editor of The Santa Angela Review. He was active in the Student Government Association and served as a volunteer and assistant curator at the Mayer Museum, as well as a Russian education volunteer.
Tarbet plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Soviet history and a career in university teaching and research or in diplomacy.
Huseman was nominated by the Department of Teacher Education. She graduated summa cum laude in December 2021, with an interdisciplinary studies major and teacher certification in early childhood through grade six. She received high university honors by completing the non-thesis honors program curriculum. She also was inducted into the Alpha Chi national honor society and Kappa Delta Pi international education honor society. She received multiple scholarships including the Honors Program Scholarship, Sister Marie Malachy Griffin Scholarship and Sandra Deal Memorial Scholarship. She served as a student member of the Adult Literacy Council, helped organize a Read Across America event and assisted with service projects for the San Angelo Early Childhood Center. She also actively participated in the Honors Student Association and the Catholic Newman Center and presented research at the ASU Undergraduate Research Symposium.
After graduating in December, Huseman accepted a position as a kindergarten teacher at San Angelo's Fannin Elementary School, but plans to return home to Amarillo to pursue her dream of teaching upper-grade elementary students.
van Oudtshoorn was nominated by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemisty. Also a member of the ASU Rambelles track and field team, specializing in the shot put and discus, she is a chemistry major with a biochemistry emphasis. She earned the EAH Alexander Scholarship, as well as the Women's Track and Field Scholarship. She also received a Welch Chemistry Research Grant to fund a study that was recently presented at the regional American Chemical Society Meeting in Austin. She has been a consistent contributor on the track and field team and earned Lone Star Conference All-Academic Team honors in 2021. She has also worked as a math tutor and supplemental instruction leader for general chemistry classes.
After graduation, van Oudtshoorn will relocate to Idaho to enroll in Boise State University's Ph.D. program in biomolecular sciences.
Blake was nominated by the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance. A member of the ASU Honors Program, he will graduate with his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Professional Accountancy degree after completing the integrated professional accounting program. He received the Honors Program and New Family Honors Enhancement scholarships and was selected to the Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Chi national honor societies. He completed a tax internship with the Armstrong Backus accounting firm and an audit internship with Hamby & Hengeli LLC. He also served on the Norris-Vincent College of Business Student Advisory Board, participated in the Housley Leadership Course, and sat as an Honors Program representative on the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Board. He was accepted into the Summer Study Internship Program at Boston University for summer 2020 and participated in undergraduate research opportunities. He was an active member of the Honors Student Association, worked as a mentor for first-year honors students, served as treasurer for ASU Rams Ultimate Frisbee and was a member of the Financial Investments Organization and the San Angelo Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Professional Accountants.
Upon graduation with his B.B.A. and M.P.Ac., Blake will join the Hamby & Hengeli LLC audit firm. He plans to sit for the CPA exams and work toward becoming a partner in the firm.
Additional award nominees:
Brady Floyd, nominated by the Department of Communication and Mass Media, is a communication major from San Angelo who plans to pursue a master's degree in communication at Angelo State and a career in higher education.
Shannon Dennis, nominated by the Department of Management and Marketing, is an economics and marketing major from May who plans a career as an economic analyst for a criminal justice agency or security firm.
Camilla Warden, nominated by the Department of Physics and Geosciences, is a geoscience major from Frisco who will enter a master's degree program at Colorado State University with a focus on hydrogeophysics.
Mikaelyn Williams, nominated by the David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering, is a civil engineering major from San Antonio. She plans to acquire her engineer in training certification and work toward professional engineering status.