UL Lafayette rewards exceptional graduates of spring 2021
Alex zappi is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Outstanding Graduate.
Zappi is one of the eight finalists who will be honored on Friday and Saturday during the spring 2021 launch ceremonies.
Individual ceremonies for the eight university colleges and the University’s Graduate School will take place Friday and Saturday at the Cajundome and the Cajundome Convention Center.
Each spring and fall semester, the deans of UL Lafayette university colleges nominate a student as an Outstanding Graduate. Nominations are based on leadership, scholarship and service. A committee of the Alumni Association interviews the candidates and chooses one to receive the overall award.
In addition to being the overall winner for the fall semester, Zappi represents the College of Engineering as an outstanding graduate. He specializes in chemical engineering with a 4.0 GPA.
Zappi, who has completed over 1,900 hours of research, is the author of two publications. He has also co-authored two publications.
Zappi has served as president, vice president and secretary of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. He has also served as President of the Louisiana Engineering Society and Treasurer of the Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society.
Zappi volunteered at the University’s science, technology, engineering and math summer camp for underrepresented students. He also volunteered at the University’s Ecology Research Center. The center provides resources for research, education and community activities in ecology and environmental biology.
He plans to go to graduate school. Zappi has been accepted into numerous chemical engineering doctoral programs, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Columbia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Princeton, Penn State, Stanford and Yale universities; and the universities of Florida and Michigan.
He plans to research and develop sustainable systems at a university.
Her parents are Mark and Melinda Zappi of Lafayette, La.
Here’s a look at some of the other outstanding fall 2021 graduates.
Mateo chavez is the outstanding graduate of the College of Liberal Arts. He is a major in psychology with a 3.97 GPA.
Chavez worked as a researcher in three laboratories of the Department of Psychology: the Cognition and Psycholinguistics Laboratory, the Developmental Sciences Laboratory, and the Psychology Music Laboratory.
It belongs to the Southwestern Psychological Association. Chavez received the award for future entrepreneur of the year from the national honorary society Phi Beta Lambda.
He won the award for best community director as a resident assistant for the University’s Office of University Housing and Residential Life.
Among the hundreds of hours of community service, Chavez, a pianist, performed for residents of nursing homes and gave classes to high school students.
Chavez applies to graduate schools. Her plans include starting a practice in applied psychology and becoming a faculty member at a university.
He is the son of Stephanie and Marco Chavez of Castor, La.
Julianne DeBlieux is the outstanding graduate of the College of Education. She is a major in exercise science. His GPA is 3.96.
DeBlieux was the captain of the Louisiana Ragin ‘Cajuns football team. She represented the team as researcher-athlete of the year. DeBlieux was named to the curatorial list of the Sun Belt Conference, which rewards student-athletes for their academic success. She attended the Sun Belt Conference Summit and served as Chair of the University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
DeBlieux was a panelist at the University’s Women’s Leadership Conference earlier this year for the theme “More Than Needs: Perspectives and Experiences in Student-Athlete Leadership”.
She is a member of the University Professional Kinesiology Association and Delta Delta Delta Sorority. DeBlieux was a member of the reunion tribunal in 2020.
She will pursue a doctorate in physiotherapy at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas.
Her parents are John and Monique DeBlieux of Houma, La.
Britney hatfield is the outstanding graduate of BI Moody III College of Business Administration. She has a double specialization in accounting and finance. Hatfield has a 4.0 GPA.
She is a member of the Society of Louisiana CPAs, the Association of Future Alumni at UL Lafayette, and the campus chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Hatfield has served as Treasurer of the Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society and Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority.
She was Marketing Director for The Big Event, which promotes service projects among students at the University. Her other community service job includes tutoring her peers in accounting. She has also volunteered for the Freshman Move-In Day, the DREAMS Foundation of Acadiana, the St. Joseph Diner and the Faith House.
Hatfield interned at local accounting firms for several years. She plans to pursue a full-time career as a Certified Public Accountant and obtain certification as a Certified Financial Planner.
Her parents are Dan and Vicki Hatfield of Luling, La.
Blake Hightower is the outstanding graduate of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. She is a major nurse with a 3.49 GPA.
Hightower has researched the effects of COVID-19 on students who are also parents. She was also involved in a study on preventing dog bites in children.
She was a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the University’s Biology Society, and the campus chapter of the Pre-Professional Society. Hightower was a member of the UL Lafayette Nursing Student Association; she participated in a hurricane Laura relief effort that was coordinated by the association.
Hightower served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Profession.
She plans to work as a registered nurse in the field of behavioral health. She also intends to pursue a master’s degree to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Hightower is the daughter of Kristine and Ben Pontiff of Lafayette, La.
Mina Juneau is the outstanding graduate of the University College. She is majoring in General Studies with a concentration in Behavioral Sciences. Juneau has a GPA of 3.96.
Juneau has received numerous scholarships, including the Jesse and Irma Jewell Endowment Scholarship, the Dr Ben and Clare Roy Thibodeaux Scholarship, and the Dr Ray P. Authement Valedictorian Scholarship.
Juneau was the spiritual president of the campus chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, an international fraternity of women.
As a member of Ragin ‘Cajun Catholics, she has been active with retreats, prayer teams, and Bible study groups. Juneau sang with the choir of the Catholic Church of Notre-Dame de la Sagesse.
In 2019, she volunteered for FOCUS, a Catholic university, in Estes Park, Colorado. She has also been an after-school care teacher for elementary school students.
After graduating, she plans to serve as a Catholic missionary at the Damascus Catholic Mission Campus in Centerburg, Ohio.
Her parents are Charles and Mina Morrison of Lafayette, La.
Maxwell Kane is the outstanding graduate of Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. He specializes in mathematics with a 4.0 GPA.
Kane was among eight college students who took first and second place in 2020 and 2021 respectively in the Mathematical Association of America’s team competitions. Each of those years he placed first in individual competitions for research presentations in biomathematics and game theory.
Kane also presented research at the Louisiana Council on Excellence in Undergraduate Research conference.
He has contributed research in applied mathematics to two articles that will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals. Kane has been chosen twice as a research fellow at the Undergraduate Mathematics Research Center. CURM researchers conduct research in applied mathematics.
He will pursue a master’s degree in economics under the MAPSS program at the University of Chicago. Kane also intends to earn a doctorate. in economy.
Her parents are Michael and Kimberly Kane from Cookeville, Tennessee.
Adam ortego is the outstanding graduate of the College of the Arts. He is a major in architectural studies with a 3.88 GPA.
Ortego was vice president and treasurer of the campus chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students.
He and other students from the School of Architecture and Design collaborated on an interactive sculpture at Parc Sans Souci; Ortego participated in the filming and documentation of the project.
He worked with faculty members as a design assistant for the Atchafalaya Basin Diversion System Interpretive Panel Project. He also volunteered with CREATE Lafayette, a cultural economic development effort.
Ortego received the Fluidity Endowed Award for Architectural Travel. It allows undergraduate students of the School of Architecture and Design to study architecture in Chicago. He also won the school’s undergraduate writing award and its design excellence award.
Ortego will be undertaking a master’s degree in architecture at UL Lafayette this fall.
Her parents are Harvette and Jody Ortego from Lafayette, La.
Learn more about the start of spring 2021 here.
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