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Top Ten Senior Awards

Class of 2017

For more than 80 years, Washington State University has recognized 10 of the top seniors in each graduating class. These five women and five men represent the Pullman campus’ highest standards in specific aspects of the college experience, including academics, athletics, campus involvement, community service, and visual and performing arts.

William (Connor) Wolcott

William (Connor) Wolcott

Campus Involvement

  • College of Education, Honors College
  • Kinesiology, Pre-Med
  • Pullman, WA

Involvement

Class facilitator for Honors College, chairperson and lead organizer for ASWSU Gender and Sexuality Alliance Committee (GSA), resident advisor, WSU Jazz Choir, KZUU Radio, challenge course facilitator for WSU ORC, building manager for the Chinook Student Center, worked in two research labs on campus, volunteered to build houses in Mexico and New Orleans, helped with reconstruction efforts during widespread flooding in western Washington

Favorite WSU experience

I loved being a part of the Honors College and having the opportunity to have small discussion-based classes on transferable topics. I learned so much more than I ever imagined I would.

My favorite parts of my WSU experience were the plethora of opportunities to get involved, the engaged community of student leaders, and the faculty and staff who are all so invested in the success of their students. The people here at WSU are the best around.

The first event I ever got involved in was GSA’s annual Rocky Horror Picture Show showing. I was so nervous and shy, but on the day of the showing I participated in all of the Rocky Horror silliness and was forced out of my shell. I have been involved ever since.

Future plans

I plan to apply to MD/Ph.D. programs on the East Coast. My goal is to develop a prosthetic for children that would grow with them, reducing the need for a new prosthetic after every growth spurt. 

Susie White

Susie White

Athletics

  • College of Education
  • Education with endorsement in Special Education
  • Highlands Ranch, CO

Involvement

WSU women’s soccer, two-time team captain, three NCAA tournaments, named to WSU Athletics All-Academic Team five times, three Pac-12 All-Academic First Team awards, twice named to the Inland Northwest Soccer News Best of the Inland Northwest XI, WSU Reading Buddies, WSU Coug Pals, WSU Senior Buddies

Favorite WSU experience

My favorite academic experience was taking children’s literacy classes. I’m not a strong reader, so the courses were challenging but also very rewarding. I read quality children’s books, developed an appreciation for them, and then created my own book. I will never again underestimate the value of a good book, especially for kids at an early age.

Being a student athlete is a privilege that comes with great responsibility in representing the university. I was honored to live and learn alongside other students, faculty, and staff contributing to the success of WSU. I’ve met countless people here who care about our community and making a difference in our world. I will remember those Cougs long after I graduate!

Future plans

I’m planning to teach English abroad—I’m leaning toward Thailand, but I’m also considering parts of Europe, Africa, and South America—and then eventually teaching at an elementary school in Colorado. I wouldn’t be opposed to coaching soccer down the road also!

Victoria-Pearl Young

Victoria-Pearl Young

Campus Involvement

  • College of Arts and Sciences, Honors College
  • Major: Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • Certificates: Honors College certificate, WSU Global Leadership certificate
  • Pullman, WA

Involvement

Student facilitator for Honors College leadership program, Director of Diversity Affairs and Director of Student Life for ASWSU, team leader for Coug Day at the Capitol, Sigma Kappa resident advisor, Black Student Union, Panhellenic Council “Greek of the Year,” winner of the Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies’ Outstanding Senior award

Favorite WSU experience

I’ve loved taking courses that were consistently smaller, allowing me to build strong relationships with my peers and professors. Additionally, all of my courses have mainly been discussion-based, which has allowed me to listen to other perspectives and participate in controversial conversations with civility.

Getting involved was the best decision I’ve made here at WSU. Whether it was Greek life, student government, leadership development, or interacting with my multicultural community, my involvement has allowed me to become a well-rounded and global student. It pushed the boundaries of my personal development while allowing me to fight for social justice through intersectional activism.

Future plans

My husband and I are moving back to Houston to give birth to our son, Quanah. I plan on pursuing my M.A in Student Development Administration and a Ph.D. in Public Policy. I also plan on running for Congress within the next six years!

Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner

Visual and Performing Arts

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Music Performance
  • Tacoma, WA

Involvement

Performed music in Italian, French, German, English, Russian, and Spanish; placed second and received honorable mention for performance in the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Concerto/Aria competition, selected as Outstanding Senior from the School of Music, placed first the past three years in his division in the Inland Empire National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition, concert choir, Madrigal Chamber Singers, assists with WSU Educational Choral Festival

Favorite WSU experience

My favorite part of my academic experience was being able to develop and apply my skills as a teacher toward the development and growth of my voice. The joy was being able to accomplish these goals alongside with my colleagues.

I loved building relationships within my community at WSU. My community was the most significant factor toward my success as an undergraduate. We all had a great time while conquering life’s obstacles and hurdles together.

One of my favorite memories at WSU was traveling with the concert choir and Madrigal Chamber Singers to South Korea! It was phenomenal. We immersed ourselves in a new culture and gained new perspective and appreciation of the arts. I will never forget it.

Future plans

I will pursue a master’s degree in music performance and literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Devin Marcy

Devin Marcy

Academics

  • Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
  • Civil Engineering
  • Spokane, WA

Involvement

Conducted research on water-air interactions and presented findings at SURCA (Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities), Boeing Scholar, winner of Outstanding Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Awards in Civil Engineering, research mentor for the Office of Undergraduate Research

Favorite WSU experience

My favorite academic experience is being involved in extracurricular activities such as American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Concrete Canoe Club. These activities have allowed me to build lifelong friendships, improve my leadership skills, and ultimately help develop myself as an engineer. I think it is important to mention that my academic standing demonstrates my excitement about what I am learning, not that I am extremely smart (which is the normal association).

My favorite overall WSU experience is being a Coug. The level of support, resources, and camaraderie that is associated with being a Coug is unheard of at most universities. I can’t imagine attending any other university. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of faculty, advisors, and my peers.

Future plans

Community philanthropy is the main reason I am studying engineering. My goal is to either work for a nonprofit or start my own nonprofit centered on helping communities in developing countries.

River Cracraft

River Cracraft

Athletics

  • College of Education
  • Sport Management
  • Santa Margarita, CA

Involvement

WSU football, contributed to 26 victories and three bowl game appearances, career total 218 receptions (second on the WSU all-time list, and 19th on the Pac-12 career list), total of 2,701 receiving yards and 20 touchdown receptions (sixth all-time at WSU), twice named to WSU All-Pac-12 team, Pac-12 All-Academic honoree

Favorite WSU experience

I really enjoyed learning from professors who had real-world experience with sport management.

Overall, my favorite WSU experience was getting to know my teammates and spending time with them on and off the field. I discovered my home away from home here at WSU.

Future plans

I hope to continue my football career and play in the NFL. Go Cougs!

Angela Rocchi

Angela Rocchi

Academics

  • College of Veterinary Medicine, Honors College
  • Major: Neuroscience
  • Minors: Biology, Chemistry
  • Certificates: Mathematics Honors certificate
  • Elk, WA

Involvement

Research intern in a University of Cambridge neuroscience lab, summer research intern at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, lead author or co-author on at least six neuroscience publications, recipient of two Barry M. Goldwater Honorable Mentions for Undergraduate Achievement in STEM Research, UREC group fitness instructor

Favorite WSU experience

Attending WSU was the best decision I ever made. Thanks to WSU I have been published in scientific journals, won national awards, presented in professional conferences, and worked for a wide range of leading laboratories, including M3 Biotechnology (Pullman), the Allen Institute (Seattle), and even the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, England).

Beyond the opportunities WSU provided, I met the love of my life in Pullman, made lifelong friends, and became a part of the worldwide crimson and gray community. It is incredible how much WSU improved my life in only four years. Of all my achievements as an undergraduate, I feel the most pride in saying “I am a Coug!”

Future plans

I hope to pursue an MD/Ph.D. at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at WSU Spokane.

Kevin Schilling

Kevin Schilling

Community Service

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • History
  • Highline, WA

Involvement

Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service intern, volunteer with Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, Advisory Board Member of Grassroots Education Nepal, ASWSU senator, KZUU student radio host

Favorite WSU experience

As soon as I transferred to WSU, I knew I wanted to get involved with public service. I ran for ASWSU Senate and won a seat representing the College of Arts and Sciences for the 2016-2017 term. I could not think of a better group of individuals I would rather spend time with. In the office, we challenge each other to think deeper and harder, constantly pushing one another toward greater accomplishments.

One of my proudest collaborations was when Senator Josue Zuniga and I wrote a resolution calling for the student body and administration to protect undocumented students on campus. It was the first time ASWSU Senate had a large contingent of students show up for public testimony. That day, we made a difference.

Future plans

I plan to study for an M.A. degree in international history at Columbia University, followed by a year at the London School of Economics for a M.S. in international history. I hope to eventually earn my Ph.D. in England and begin a career of public service in the United States.

Fadumo Ali

Fadumo Ali

Visual and Performing Arts

  • Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Majors: Communication, Political Science
  • Minor: Film Studies
  • Bellevue, WA

Involvement

Part-time writer for the Huffington Post, USA Today, and LA Times, assistant producer of Video Underground at Cable 8, producer of Inside Out at Cable 8, host of Global Scope at KUGR, social media intern in 2016 for Somaliland’s national broadcast news outlet, worked on a documentary film about women’s health concerns in Somalia, winner of 2017 WSU Undergraduate Women of Distinction award

Favorite WSU experience

My favorite part of my academic experience has been pursuing a dual degree and a minor. It’s been quite the journey, but I’m fortunate to have gained a wide range of knowledge and experience through my studies in communications, political science, and film.

WSU has provided so many opportunities to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to the real world. For example, I write for the Huffington Post, LA Times, and USA Today. On campus, I helped create and produce Cable 8’s first documentary show, Inside Out. I then used my Cable 8 skills to produce and direct my own documentary in Somaliland over the summer of 2016.

Future plans

I plan to be a professional storyteller, either in journalism or film, and give a voice to those who are underrepresented in our community.

Gloria Barker

Gloria Barker

Community Service

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Majors: Anthropology, Social Sciences
  • Minor: Psychology
  • Genesee, ID

Involvement

Special Olympics volunteer, awarded for regular involvement in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, awarded for long-term leadership in Girl and Boy Scouts, involved in the Community Clothing Exchange in Genesee for eight years, volunteer for campus conferences at WSU, works regularly with students in Student Financial Services and formerly in the office of pre-health advising

Favorite WSU experience

Every class was a gift: a new instructor and new knowledge to gain. I was always excited at the possibility of what would come next!

I made so many new friends of all ages and walks of life. The support of my current office made graduation attainable while also allowing me to have a life outside of work and school. The best gift I received was from former President Elson Floyd. He looked at me and said, “Sometimes we must change our situation to ensure our own success.” His encouragement gave me the opportunity to expand my view and find my own way to success.

Future plans

I will continue to assist students in finding their way to reach their goals. I feel all of us have a duty to turn around and lift the next person up.

On a personal level, I look forward to spending more time with my husband and my dogs. I will celebrate my graduation with a cruise with my daughters this summer from Vienna to Croatia, Montenegro, and the Greek Islands!