Cal Poly Humboldt's Outstanding Students of 2023-24

Outstanding Students of 2023-24
These 2023-24 Outstanding Students Awards recognize the academics and co-curricular excellence and achievements of our students. Congratulations to this year’s winners and nominees!  
Outstanding Students of the Year Aerin Monroe (left), Environmental Studies, and Karina Juarez (Fine Arts & Art Education)
Aerin Monroe (left), Environmental Studies, and Karina Juarez, Fine Arts & Art Education, are this year's Overall Outstanding Students of the Year.

Overall Outstanding Students of the Year for Academic and Co-curricular Contributions

Karina Juarez , Fine Arts & Art Education
Karina Juarez passionately preserves and celebrates her heritage through visual art. As a ceramist, Juarez embraces the land through her Zapotec ancestry, tenderly connecting historical customs and symbols into clay through a contemporary lens rooted in colonial resistance. As both an artist and student, she is dedicated to sharing knowledge and expanding space for underrepresented artists in the field of ceramics. She also contributes to the community as a College Corps Fellow at the Potawot Community Food Garden, where her responsibilities include providing 450 hours of service related to recruitment, food sovereignty, and garden tech upkeep. Additionally, Juarez volunteers at Centro del Pueblo, extending her support to the Latinx community of Humboldt County. In the spring of 2023, Juarez was featured in the bilingual Cal Poly Humboldt student publication, El Leñador, where she discussed her artistic process and aspirations for a socially engaged practice in ceramics. Juarez strongly believes in the power of representation and aspires for her work to inspire other brown artists.

Aerin Monroe, Environmental Studies
For the last two years of his academic career in Humboldt County, Aerin Monroe, a student member of the INRSEP+ (Indian Natural Resources, Science & Engineering Program + Diversity in STEM) and an indigenous person of the Americas and beyond, has been working to braid ancestors' wisdom with modern Western science techniques and cutting-edge technologies to produce well-balanced leaders and professionals poised to be stewards of our world's resources. Monroe is mindfully stewarding the landscapes he inhabits through his daily activities as a student, parent, grassroots holistic farmer, and entrepreneurial nonprofit developer. 

Monroe is the co-founder and co-director, alongside his wife, Susanne Sarley, of a local nonprofit called Pathways of Purpose. Pathways of Purpose seeks to empower youth and the community to dream big for their lives and the world by providing asset-based STEAM educational and vocational programs. The organization will address the growing risks of climate change and social and economic inequities with movement-building toward sustainable systems. The program fosters equity, opportunity, accessibility, safety, and sovereignty for underserved communities.


Academic Awards  

Excellence in an Academic Discipline for the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Ruby Cayenne Gustafson, Journalism

Excellence in an Academic Discipline for the College of Professional Studies
Olivia Ortiz,  Psychology

Excellence in an Academic Discipline for the College of Natural Resources & Sciences
Madison Richardson, Fisheries Biology


Patricia O. McConkey Outstanding Graduate Student Awards

Mark Taylor, Social Work 

Ali Pickering, Social Work 

Sydney Sawyer, School Psychology 

Emmett McMahon, Kinesiology

Sophia Effa, Counseling Psychology

Nathan Boone, Psychology

Josefina Barrantes, Social Science—Environment & Community

Arianna Nova, Public Sociology

Jae Smith, Public Sociology

Crystal McKinney, Kinesiology 

Emily Lavrador, English 

Romel Robinson, Engineering & Community Practice


Outstanding Student Research Awards 

Abigail Penland, Computer Science 

Cheyenne Ty, Computer Science

Emmanuel Mezzulo, Mathematics

Amanda Case, Mathematics

Nicholas Woronchuk, Biology

Sahil Barot, Kinesiology 

Abraham Castrejon, Kinesiology


Co Curricular Awards 

Excellence in Student Employment
India Eichelbaugh-Goss, Rangeland Resource Science

Excellence in Community Service
Autumn Cry-Mark, Social Work

Excellence in Sustainability
Harrison Chubb, Environmental Studies

Excellence in Intercollegiate Athletics
Cassidy Hollenbeck, Environmental Studies, B.A. and Environment & Community, M.A.

Excellence in Sports Clubs
Justin Juarez Criminology & Justice Studies

Outstanding Contribution to a Campus Club, Program, or Organization
Tatiana Gamboa, Environmental Resources Engineering

Al Elpusan Award for Student Activism
Brad Butterfield, Journalism