Colorado State University – Pueblo honors Wilkinson with Threlkeld Prize as top senior

Colorado State University – Pueblo honors Wilkinson with Threlkeld Prize as top senior

PUEBLO – An award-winning volleyball player and nursing major from Colorado Springs has been named the 2013 recipient of the Threlkeld Prize for Excellence at Colorado State University-Pueblo. As the Threlkeld recipient, Ashley Wilkinson will receive the first diploma of the ceremony when she graduates with a bachelor’s degree in nursing on Saturday, May 4 at the Colorado State Fair Events Center.

Named for the late Budge Threlkeld, a former administrator and professor, the award is presented to a graduating senior who demonstrates excellence in academic and co-curricular activities as well as in service to the University and to the community. Wilkinson was selected from five finalists for the Prize, and the winner was honored at the Student Leadership and Involvement Awards dinner at CSU-Pueblo on Thursday, April 14 in the Occhiato University Center Ballroom.
AshleyWilkinsonTo be considered for the Threlkeld Prize for Excellence, nominees must be a graduating senior (fall 2012, spring 2013, or summer 2013) who will have completed at least four semesters at CSU-Pueblo; have at least a 3.7 grade point average for the three full-time semesters prior to nomination; and relate, in writing, co-curricular activities as well as service to both the University and the community. A selection committee consisting of representatives from each college, the library, a retiree, and a professional and classified employee review the applications, then select and interview the finalists. The recipient receives a plaque and a substantial cash stipend upon graduation. Wilkinson’s name also will appear on a permanent plaque.

A native of Colorado Springs and a Liberty High School graduate, Wilkinson will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with a 4.0 grade point average. In addition to the traditional nursing coursework, Wilkinson enrolled in extra clinical hours in the emphasis of neonatal care and is seeking a nurse residency program in Neonatal Intensive Care through which she can be a preceptor for nursing students while gaining experience in the field.  She intends to pursue a master’s degree in neonatal nursing to AshleyWilkinsonbecome a neonatal nurse practitioner. She was elected secretary of the Southern Colorado Association of Nursing Students (SCANS), helped organize the 2012 Colorado Association of Student Nurses Conference in Pueblo as well as a bone marrow drive for Genny’s Hope Foundation, and served as site coordinator for the annual KOAA5 Health Fair. For her achievements as a middle blocker for the varsity volleyball team, she was named the Female Athlete of the Year in 2012 and also received the Jessie Banks Award as the University’s top female student-athlete. She traveled to Haiti this March as a participant of the World Wide Village Medical Mission.

“I have a passion for traveling and volunteering, and I want to be able to travel to underdeveloped countries in order to teach neonatal care,” Wilkinson said. “I find it incredible that we can give an opportunity for a full life to a baby born with hardly a chance.”

Four other students were named finalists for the award:

MEGAN CLAYBROOK, a Pueblo native, will earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing next month and hopes to obtain a Doctorate of Family Nurse Practitioner degree to help with demanding health care needs in underprivileged areas in the community and overseas. Among the research studies she has presented include addressing new graduate retention rates with residency programs and the effects of water sanitation in Lavec, Haiti.   Her long-term goal of addressing pressing health care needs stems from her involvement with various missions trips including London (March 2011), Guatemala (August 2011), and Haiti (June-August 2012, November 2012, and March 2013. On campus, she served as a residence hall director and later as a peer mentor for the Nursing ThunderWolf Residential Academic Community in Greenhorn Hall.

Pueblo resident REBECCA GATCHEL will earn a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, health promotion, and recreation and seeks a career as a health promotions professional. She ultimately hopes to gain a master’s degree in counseling and work with women or young people who feel “shattered or damaged.” She has volunteered with both Pueblo hospitals and St. Thomas More in Canon City with a variety of events. With the Pueblo City-County Health Department and the Alliance to License Retail Tobacco,  she worked to implement a city ordinance, which ultimately resulted in her being hired by the Health Department as a research assistant to help on other tobacco projects. She has been a positive force in the implementation of numerous activities on campus to promote good health. She seeks to help people make healthy life choices and reach their full potentials.

Sheridan Lake native VINCENT KOELLER will earn a bachelor’s degree in business management in May and seeks to own his own farming operation in eastern Colorado. He hopes to supplement his farming career by teaching industrial arts at his high school alma mater. As a member of the President’s Leadership Program, he has given back to the University and the surrounding communities through a variety of service projects. He led a group of 50 individuals in building trails for the Ponderosa Retreat Center and was the co-leader of the PLP junior class project to develop a Service Learning component as part of CSU-Pueblo’s curriculum. In the community, he helped St. Leander’s Catholic Church complete its Colorado Historic Register application and also designed and built a new altar, incorporating pieces that were saved from the church from 100 years ago.

Pueblo Centennial graduate JOSH LUNA will graduate in May with a double major in political science and foreign languages (Spanish) and a minor in leadership studies and attend law school in the fall. He spent this spring in Seville, Spain to complete his Spanish major and improve his fluency in the language. In 2011, he earned one of 12 internships at the National Center for Border Security and Immigration in El Paso, Texas, where he furthered his research on developing and applying techniques and schedules of testing to help improve the memory of older adults when taking the U.S. citizenship exam. As a member of the President’s Leadership Program, he took a lead role in the junior class project to develop an alternative spring break program for students who wish to spend their break doing service for others. He also served as a leadership intern for District 3 House candidate Sal Pace.

Other students and organizations honored at the April 14 awards event included:

Diane Blackwell President’s Leadership Award: Alayna Abeyta
Service Award: Shantel Gallegos
Campus Collaborator Award: Vanessa Emerson
Thunderwolf Spirit Award: Rafeal Elliott
Champion for Diversity Award: Elizabeth Woods, Perla Ontiveros
Most Valuable Thunderwolf:  Trevor Grant
Emerging Student Leader of the Year: Nancy Chavarria
Student Employee of the Year: Shane Swearingen
Outstanding Student Organization Advisor: Daniel Iberri-Shea, CSU-Pueblo Forensics Team

Membership Achievement Award: CSU-Pueblo Ballet Folklorico
Emerging Student Organization: CSU-Pueblo Forensics Team
Wolf Pack Spirit Award: Residence Hall Association
Diversity at Work Award: Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MECha)
Educational Event of the Year: Graduate School Meet & Greet, Psi Chi Honor Society
Event of the Year: “Haunted House” Medical Science Society/Biology Club
Student Organizations of the Year: Campus Crusade for Christ and PRIZM

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.