facebook pixel Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

Idaho State University 2019 Outstanding Student Award recipients announced; banquet April 22

April 16, 2019

Poster featuring headshots of all Outstanding Students

POCATELLO – Idaho State University and the ISU Alumni Association proudly announce the 2019 Outstanding Student Award recipients who will be honored at Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 4, in Holt Arena.

The 14 Outstanding Student Awards are presented to recognize outstanding graduating seniors who have excelled in their programs, their extracurricular activities and have epitomized ISU's outstanding student body.  Students receiving these prestigious awards exhibit a readiness to graduate, high academic achievement, above-average dedication to academic and professional goals and involvement in professional societies. Work experience and community service are also considered.

The Outstanding Student Award recipients will be honored at a reception April 22 in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center. A reception will begin at 6 p.m. in the Marshall Rotunda, followed by the presentation of awards at 7 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre. To RSVP, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 208-282-3755 or email alumni@isu.edu.

Outstanding Student Award recipients for 2019 are: Kirby Kinghorn, Idaho Falls, College of Health Professions; Cassandra Smith, Idaho Falls, College of Health Professions – Dental Hygiene; Trager Hintze, Purcell, Oklahoma, College of Pharmacy; Jenna Strop, Boise, College of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences; Whitney Heuer, Idaho Falls, College of Nursing; Eighdi Aung, Yangon, Burma (Myanmar), College of Science and Engineering – Engineering; McKenzie Mangun, Caldwell, College of Science and Engineering – Natural and Physical Science; Brittany Garrett, Riverton, Utah, College of Education; Logan Schmidt, Pocatello, College of Business; Jessica Hamway, Boston, Massachusetts, College of Technology; Rachel Godin, Eagle, College of Arts and Letters – Social and Behavioral Sciences; William Veloso, Meridian and Gold Beach, Oregon, College of Arts and Letters – Fine Arts and Humanities; Alyssa Millard, Merrill, Wisconsin, Graduate School – Masters Recipient; and Omid Heidari, Ghaenshahr, Iran, Graduate School – Doctoral Recipient.

Biographies appear below.

Kirby KinghornKirby Kinghorn, Idaho Falls, Bachelor of Science Degree, Emergency Management, College of Health Professions—Emergency Management – Kinghorn has not let major obstacles in his life stand in his way of pursuing an education.  He has excelled despite many difficulties. The son of a single mother, Kinghorn’s father passed away when he was only 7.  As he began his university experience, Kinghorn faced another major hurdle when his mother fell ill and was no longer able to work. Never giving up, Kinghorn became her primary caregiver.  

He is graduating this spring, with a degree in Emergency Management and an impressive 3.99 GPA.  His near-perfect academic experience has prepared him to face a rigorous career in Emergency Management.  One professor describes Kinghorn as a quiet hero, because he does “what is necessary, what is caring and what is right.”

Kinghorn is the recipient of an ISU Presidential Scholarship and an Idaho Opportunity Scholarship.  He served an internship with the Bonneville County Office of Emergency Management.

Cassandra SmithCassandra Smith, Idaho Falls, Bachelor of Science Degree, Dental Hygiene, College of Health Professions – Dental Hygiene – Smith’s nomination for Outstanding Student in dental hygiene was a result of unanimous support by all full-time faculty in dental hygiene. She consistently carried 18-21 credits a semester, maintained a 3.97 GPA in her program—which would be noteworthy for any student.  However, Smith is also a mother of four and a business owner. In addition, Smith was the recipient of two Idaho Health for Children and Families AmeriCorps Educational Foundation Awards. A unique aspect of these awards is they require their recipients to perform 450 hours of professional service each award year.

Smith has a passion for helping those who cannot afford dental care.  She lists the most exciting experience of her ISU career as her time spent working at the Pocatello Free Clinic. She also participated in the “Give Kids a Smile Day” through the Southeast District Health Department. During her time at ISU, Smith was a member of the Student American Dental Hygienists, where she served as the Chair for the Constitution and By-laws Committee.

Trager HintzeTrager Hintze, Purcell, Oklahoma, Doctor of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy – Hintze’s experience at ISU has included a lot of firsts. He bought his first home and welcomed his first child into the world—both major life-changing events—all while juggling the rigors of pursuing a doctorate in pharmacy.

In addition to his studies, Hintze has served in pharmacy student senate leadership, as a pharmacy student ambassador, and on the Idaho State Health-systems Pharmacists Education Committee.  His drive for personal growth led him to become heavily involved in research. The process of authoring four manuscripts has acted as a catalyst in determining his career path. His love for research sparked a desire to stay in academia and seek a faculty position at a college of pharmacy.

In a highly competitive program, full of high achievers, one professor said, “The continual drive for success is something you see a lot in College of Pharmacy students, Trager is above and beyond the norm.” Next up for Hintze is a residency at the University of Oklahoma.

Jenna StropJenna Strop, Boise, Bachelor of Science Degree, Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences – Strop’s choice of career path took a detour her sophomore year because of an influential class by ISU audiology Associate Professor and Director Jeff Brockett, where she found a “passion for all things ears.” Strop gained valuable career-related experience during 60 hours of job shadowing an audiologist during summer break.

She has attained a near perfect GPA of 3.9, while pursuing a rigorous degree in communication sciences and disorders. The recipient of a four-year Presidential Scholarship, Strop graduates with honors distinction. In addition to being a member of the University Honors Program, she served as a Career Path Intern for the program.

Active in her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, Strop served as philanthropy service chair, chapter president, and new member orientation director. In that capacity, she participated in 100 volunteer hours. She also worked for the university, serving as a New Student Orientation Leader for two years.

This fall, Strop will be attending graduate school to pursue a Doctor of Audiology degree.

Whitney HeuerWhitney Heuer, Idaho Falls, Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, Pre-medicine Minor, College of Nursing – Heuer is graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Science Degree in nursing from ISU-Meridian’s 12-month accelerated program. Despite the rigor of the program, Heuer is graduating with an impressive 4.0 GPA.

She was inspired to pursue a career in the health professions by her stepfather, a neurologist passionate about his specialty. Heuer, who considered various options, chose nursing because of its holistic approach to patient care. She found the Meridian program – the only one of its kind in the state – challenging and rewarding.

A gifted scholar and researcher, Heuer has completed 840 hours of clinical training this year including 120 hours in the Intensive Care Unit at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. Her hard work paid off. This spring, the hospital hired her as a floor nurse in its telemetry cardiac unit. Prior to enrolling at ISU-Meridian, Heuer earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Idaho where she graduated with honors.

Eighdi AungEighdi Aung, Yangon, Burma (Myanmar), Honors Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering and Physics, College of Science and Engineering – Engineering – Although the adjustment to a new country was initially difficult, Aung has excelled both academically and socially. His double major in mechanical engineering and physics, paired with honors distinction, is a challenging combination, but Aung continually exceeds his professors’ expectations. He is graduating with a 3.57 GPA.

Aung has shown great research ability for an undergraduate, conducting independent research, which he has already presented. His work on identifying stall precursors in jet engines has far-reaching practical applications. He has a peer-reviewed full-length manuscript that has been accepted to the ASME Turbo Expo.  His transformative work led to an invitation to submit a feature paper in the Journal Turbomachinery Flow Analysis. 

Aung has not only excelled in the classroom, he has been exceptionally involved in the ISU community. He has made lifelong friendships at ISU that have become like family to him. He has helped other students, volunteering as an Honors Envoy, Honors Mentor, and an ISU Emissary. He is a member of Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honors Society, has served as the treasurer for Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society and as secretary for the ISU American Nuclear Society.

McKenzie MangunMcKenzie Mangun, Caldwell, Honors Bachelor of Science Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering – Natural and Physical Sciences – Mangun has been described by one professor as a “truly exceptional student who comes around once in a lifetime.” The local American Chemical Society named her Organic Chemistry Student of the Year, the Inorganic Chemistry Student of the Year, and the Physical Chemistry Student of the Year—all three separate awards. Mangun has a 3.98 GPA.

Her research experiences have had great breadth and depth.  She stands out from other undergraduate students for her commitment to creating new knowledge in chemistry and sharing it with others. She made significant contributions to a project that resulted in a peer reviewed paper.  Her hard work in another research project has had noteworthy results, which has led to two papers in the writing process, with several forthcoming national conference presentations.

She is the recipient of 10 scholarships, including the Idaho Governor’s Cup, the ISU Presidential Scholarship and the National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholarship. She is also a violinist with the Idaho State Civic Symphony and was awarded the Idaho State Civic Symphony Scholarship (2015-2017).

An especially rewarding part of her ISU career has been organizing and participating in chemistry outreach activities to local grade school students, in which she was able to motivate young students to be curious and excited about science.

 Brittany Garrett Brittany Garrett, Riverton, Utah, Bachelor of Science Physical Education-Exercise Science, College of Education – Garrett’s academic goals were born during her senior year in high school, while taking a medical assistant course at the Jordan Applied Technology College. That class led to a job with the Intermountain Spine Institute in Utah, where her love for the medical field grew into a desire to become a physician’s assistant. She graduates this spring one step closer to her goal, with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.

Garrett has enhanced her academic goals by doing practicum hours with ISU’s athletic trainers, helping athletes during their rehabilitation process. She has also volunteered at Caring Hearts Assisted Living Center.  Continuing to prepare for her eventual PA goal, she is currently working in the Heart and Lung Surgeons Clinic at Portneuf Medical Center.

Garrett has been able to maintain a 3.89 GPA, while participating in intercollegiate athletics on Idaho State University’s Women’s Soccer team, earning her Big Sky Academic Honors. She is the recipient of the WUE Academic Scholarship and an Idaho State Women’s Soccer Scholarship

Garrett plans to apply to physician assistant school this summer.

Logan SchmidtLogan Schmidt—Pocatello, Bachelor of Business Administration Accounting Degree, College of Business – Schmidt has used his university experience to serve the students of ISU. In addition to working as an Ambassador, giving campus tours to prospective students, he has been active in student government, serving as finance officer and ultimately Associated Students of ISU president.

During his time as the ASISU president, Schmidt assisted in budget allocation, fiscal planning, policy analysis, and is the key liaison for students with faculty, staff, and the administration. This experience led to unique opportunities, such as speaking in front of the Idaho Legislature. One of Schmidt’s treasured opportunities from time spent at Idaho State University is the satisfaction of seeing new Bengals on campus after recruiting them a year earlier.

Schmidt is a member of Kappa Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi.  He received career-related experience through an accounting internship with Jordan & Company Chartered and three and a half years working in ISU’s Marketing and Communications Office. He is the recipient of multiple scholarships, including the Rodney L. Lind Scholarship and the Association of Governmental Accountants Scholarship.

Jessica HamwayJessica Hamway, Boston, Massachusetts, Associate of Applied Science Degree, Instrumentation Engineering Technology, College of Technology –  At ISU, Hamway found the resources she needed to succeed in a non-traditional career.  She listed the support system that the College of Technology’s Energy Systems Technology and Education Center provides for women as her favorite thing about ISU. Studying to be a part of the power industry has afforded her the opportunity to attend POWERGEN in Las Vegas, where she was able to meet industry leaders in her field. She also traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 2018 Advanced Technology Education Conference.

Hamway is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Systems Scholarships, the Greg and Lisa Smith Technical Scholarship and the RJ Moss Memorial Scholarship. She has participated in the Technical Advisory Committee Student Panel and received a National Science Foundation Certificate of Achievement. Hamway is graduating with a near-perfect 3.96 GPA.

 Rachel GodinRachel Godin, Eagle, Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, College of Arts and Letters—Social and Behavioral Sciences – Godin began her ISU career early, graduating with an associate degree from the university the same year she graduated from high school.  

That same drive and hard work is leading to her graduating again, four years later, with a double major in history and biology. As one professor described, Godin “strikes a rare balance between the humanities and sciences in ways I have not seen in other students.”

She has sought out research opportunities through multiple Career Path Internships, as well as working as a certified nursing assistant at Portneuf Medical Center and Copper Summit Assisted Living Center. Godin has participated in many extracurricular activities, including the University Honors Program where she served as treasurer. She was also active in her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and as the vice president of the Panhellenic Council.

Godin is graduating magna cum laude with honors distinction and plans to pursue a master’s degree in History.

An especially rewarding part of her ISU career has been organizing and participating in chemistry outreach activities to local grade school students, in which she was able to motivate young students to be curious and excited about science.

William VelosoWilliam Veloso, Meridian and Gold Beach, Oregon, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish for the Health Professions with Microbiology Minor, College of Arts and Sciences – Fine Arts and Humanities –  Veloso took a non-traditional route to his pre-med educational experience, choosing to major in the humanities, pursuing a degree in Spanish for the Health Professions.  He has followed this path with great success, as he graduates with a 4.0 GPA and acceptance into the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he will join the rural and underserved populations track.

Taking full advantage of the opportunities surrounding him, in 2017 Veloso traveled to Cusco, Peru to participate in the Idaho Condor medical mission where he worked triage and interpreted for health providers. He also spent time perfecting his understanding of the Spanish language and culture, through a semester abroad in Valencia, Spain in 2018.  He returned to Spain in 2019 for another semester abroad at the University of Almeria.

While at ISU, Velosa worked to promote the use of the HPV vaccine among Spanish-speaking students. His group worked to identify contributing factors to low vaccination rates among Hispanic populations, then created a promotional video and presented information to at-risk populations.

Veloso was the recipient of 15 scholarships while at ISU, including the Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship and the Kasiska 4-Year Scholarship.

Alyssa MillardAlyssa Millard, Master of Science Degree Biology, Graduate School – Masters Recipient – A true biologist at heart, Millard has successfully combined ecological and sociological research in a way that impressed her professors – but Millard writes her favorite thing about ISU is that her visits to “field sites monthly usually included seeing a moose or two.”

Her research brought together two very different fields—instream ecosystem functioning and the sociological effects on surrounding populations. The ecological research involved monthly field work and intensive lab work. Her social research involved identifying and interviewing approximately 30 landowners, contractors, scientists and watershed organizations about their perspectives on the success of stream restoration. The complexity of combining this kind of research into one project is something that even senior faculty can have a difficult time doing.

In addition to her research, Millard was active in the Biology Graduate Student Association and was a Bengal STEM participant.

 Omar HeidariOmid Heidari, Ghaenshahr, Iran, Doctorate Degree (Ph.D.) Mechanical Engineering, Graduate School – Doctoral Student – Heidari has had to make large sacrifices to obtain his doctoral degree at ISU. An international student from Iran, Heidari hasn’t seen his parents in more than four years. Luckily, with his drive to succeed, coupled with support from his wife, Andrea, Heidari is graduating with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He has attained a 3.95 GPA.

Heidari listed the “peaceful, supportive and motivating environment for students” as his favorite thing about his ISU experience.

He worked under a National Science Foundation project for virtual reality rehabilitation. Under this project, he successfully created efficient models of the human upper extremity using motion capture; he analyzed the motion synergies of the arm, and he developed virtual reality programs to train stroke patients.  In his project he collaborated with the Department of Physical Therapy.

He is currently working on augmented reality for industrial robots.











College of Arts and LettersCollege of BusinessCollege of EducationCollege of Health ProfessionsCollege of NursingCollege of PharmacyCollege of Rehabilitation and Communication SciencesCollege of Science and EngineeringCollege of TechnologyEventsStudent LifeUniversity News