Award Winners for 2019-2020 | University of Portland

Award Winners for 2019-2020

Congratulations to all of the award winners! Each student and staff member featured here exemplifies leadership and has significantly contributed towards the University's mission of teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership.

New winners will be announced daily during the week of April 20-24th, 2020. View the award descriptions


The Outstanding Contributor to Core Themes Award

Michael Kranyak

Michael Kranyak | Public Safety Sergeant

The Outstanding Contributor to Core Themes Award exemplifies each of our University Core Themes, teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership. This award honors a Student Affairs professional who has served in our division four or more years and whose efforts have advanced one or more of our core themes.  

A former firefighter and a U.S. Marine, our award winner has been serving the University of Portland since 2002. For 18 plus years, he has modeled dedication and service, forming minds and hearts, one at a time. He takes time to get to know community members. Often encountering students in need, a crisis, or struggling to fulfill our community standards, this Student Affairs professional is known for his empathy and ability to connect with students as well as faculty and staff.  He is always ready to offer a listening ear, needed support and wise advice. A constant, steady and calm presence, he has mentored most of our Campus Safety Officers and is an essential partner to his department to ensure we at the University of Portland are secure. Not unlike his department, when called upon, he has been available and ready to assist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   

The 2020 Outstanding Contributor to Core Themes Award goes to the Office of Campus Safety Sergeant Michael Kranyak. 

The Newcomer in Student Affairs Award

Tshombé Nkrumah Brown

Tshombé Nkrumah Brown | Program Manager for Community Partnerships

When Tshombé Brown came to campus three years ago, he made a splash with his infectious laugh and ability to love and listen generously! Now completing his third year on the Bluff, his involvement goes beyond the Moreau Center for Service and Justice and spans the campus from the Black Student Union to the Filipino American Student Association. His nominators offered the following accolades: Tshombé is an amazing and inspiring staff leader who cares for others; he always puts others above himself, and he strives to make everyone around him feel known. His authentic way of showing interest in others translates wonderfully into being a collaborator on many projects. From his weekly Gratitude Wednesday posts (which invite us to share what we are grateful for and to embrace a joy-filled way of engaging the world) to his co-leadership of the MLK Day-On (which invited students, staff, and faculty to serve, reflect, and learn), the positive effects of Tshombé’s ripples are far and wide among us. Congratulations to Tshombé for winning this year’s Newcommer Award for the Division of Student Affairs.  

His involvement spans across campus from the Black Student Union to the Filipino American Student Association and co-chairing the committee for MLK Day On. 

The Rev. John Van Wolvlear C.S.C. Award For Outstanding Involvement in Student Affairs

Student Diana Salgado Huicochea

Diana Salgado Huicochea | Biology & Theology | Class of 2020

The highest honor a student can received from the Division of Student Affairs is the Reverend John Van Wolvlear Award for Outstanding Involvement in Student Affairs.  It is presented annually to a student who exemplifies Father Van’s cheerful, relentless exuberance and steadfast devotion to service.  

It seems from the first moment Diana came to campus, she desired to connect with others and cherished opportunities she uncovered for faith, service, and leadership.  Diana is a servant leader, humble, positive and encourages others to be their best.  She has been active with the Moreau Center for Service and Justice, Campus Ministry, Diversity and Inclusion Programs, First Gen programs, and serves as a Resident Assistant in Mehling Hall.  Central for her is Diana’s faith, which strengthens her and guides her daily. Diana consistently goes above and beyond, managing all the details while building inclusive and loving communities.  While Diana seems to have touched every corner of life in Student Affairs, she relishes her studies and will continue next year in studies at the University of Notre Dame and provide two years of service in the Echo program.  Join us in congratulating the winner of the 2020 Reverend John Van Wolvlear Award for Outstanding Involvement in Student Affairs: Diana Salgado Huicochea.

Other roles held at UP: Student Representative for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Moreau Center for Service and Justice Immersion Co-Coordinator, Diversity and Inclusion Student Coordinator, Eucharistic Adoration Coordinator, First-Generation Mentor and Ambassador, Sacristan, Chapel Runner, Part of the Servant Leadership Team, Encounter with Christ Team member, Small Group Faith Co-Coordinator, Handbell Chapel Choir, Resident Assistant in Mehling Hall, and Altar Serving

The Holy Cross Award

Photo of Fr. Charlie McCoy and Villa Hall leadership

Rev. Fr. Charlie McCoy, C.S.C.

We are pleased to honor Fr. Charlie McCoy, C.S.C. with the 2019-20 Holy Cross Award for Residential Mission. As Pastoral Resident in Villa Maria Hall, Fr. Charlie makes God known, loved, and served everyday in Villa through his ministry of presence, his active engagement in faith and formation, and his support and guidance for the residents and staff. The Villa community would not be the same without Fr. Charlie!   

Among many other roles, Fr. Charlie also serves the Bluff community through his work as an Associate Professor of Math, chaplain of the women’s tennis team and local superior of the Holy Cross community.

The Pilot Award

Student Isa Siamundo

Isa Siamundo | Organizational Communication | Class of 2021

We are pleased to honor Isa Siamundo with the 2019-20 Residence Life Pilot Award. Isa has been an exceptional RA in Mehling Hall this past year. She has provided great support to her residents and cultivated lasting relationships with them in the meantime. She is a team player who is also always willing to help her colleagues. Congratulations Isa! We are so glad you will be on our team in Mehling again next year!  

Other roles held at UP: Mehling Resident Assistant, First-Year Workshop Leader, Social Media Assistant, Percussionist in Wind Symphony, Pep Band, and Chapel Choir, and club member of FASA, College Ecology Club, and UP Marketing Group

The Residence Life Award for Meritorious Service

Student Darsh Patel

Darsh Patel | Accounting | Class of 2020

We are pleased to honor Darsh Patel with the 2019-20 Director’s Award for Meritorious Service In Residence Life. Darsh has been an outstanding and dedicated RA in Schoenfeldt Hall for the last two years. He has played a major role in building the great Schoenfeldt traditions and strong community that we know today. He has served as a rock that Schoenfeldt residents could lean on no matter what. Congratulations Darsh! We’ll miss you!  

Other roles held at UP:  Resident Assistant, Hall Council President, Intercultural Engagement Ambassador, UP Esports Team Manager

The Outstanding Ambassador Award 

student Taylor Rayray

Taylor Rayray | Biology | Class of 2021

We are pleased to honor Taylor Rayray with the 2019-20 Outstanding Ambassador Award. Taylor is a Faith & Formation Ambassador in Shipstad Hall. An excellent leader, Taylor enthusiastically welcomes students into the faith community in Shipstad and on campus. She has great respect from her peers and fellow residents and works tirelessly to connect them with other offices, partners, events, and services on campus. Congratulations Taylor! We are so glad you will be on our team in Shipstad again next year!  

Other roles held at UP: Faith and Formation Ambassador, FASA Club Treasurer

The Kate Johnson Outstanding Service Award

Student Lear Carr

Leah Carr | Nursing | Class of 2020

Leah stepped into the role of Campus Volunteer Coordinator at St. André Bessette a few months after coming to the Bluff as a freshman, and she served there as the CVC during her sophomore and junior years and has continued to volunteer during her senior year. Over the course of her time at UP she has touched many lives both on and off campus. She graciously offered hospitality to the many clients seeking support at St. André’s and introduced numerous Pilots to this downtown community through her service. She also annually collected meal points at the end of each school year in collaboration with Bon Appetite which translated into valuable food and equipment to support the ministries at St. André’s. Leah is a quiet and steady leader and quickly endeared herself to the other volunteers at St. André’s as well as the many clients they serve. She demonstrated compassion, kindness, and commitment through her leadership and exemplified the values we hold up at the Moreau Center for Service and Justice.  

Other roles held at UP: Student Nurse, St. Andre Bessette Campus Volunteer Coordinator, Choreographer for Hawaii Club's Annual Luau

The Student Affairs Award for Outstanding Contributions to Diversity and Inclusion 

Student Carolina Cortes

Carolina Cortes | Psychology | Class of 2020

It is no surprise that Carolina Cortes was nominated and selected the recipient of the Student Affairs Award for Outstanding Contributions to Diversity & Inclusion. She is a remarkable young women with work ethic and passion that is rarely seen today. She is known by her peers to be outspoken about issues of diversity and inclusion but also quick to offer solutions to problems. She is a Diversity Collaborator, President of Mesa Redonda, part of ASUP's committee on inclusion, an immigrants rights community organizer in her hometown, and let's not forget a full time student often taken way above 12 credits yet she somehow manages to be at least 10-15 mins before every meeting you schedule with her. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. Carolina is a fearless leader that rarely gets credit for her contributions to this community because she enjoys being behind the scenes and not front and center in the spotlight.  

Other roles held at UP: Vice President of La Mesa Redonda, President of La Mesa Redonda, Freshman Workshop Leader, Diversity Collaborator 

The Rev. Fred Barr C.S.C. Campus Ministry Leadership Award

Student Ryan Helbling

Ryan Helbling | Mechanical Engineering | Class of 2020

Ryan Helbling has been participating in and contributing to the faith life of our campus community since he arrived on campus.  From quickly jumping in to assist with music at his Hall Mass to then leading music there in his hall community to leading the music for the Sunday evening Mass in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher, he has shared his love and gift for music all the way along.  Ryan has also sought out opportunities to reach out to and serve his peers, from FFA in Schoenfeld to leadership with the Encounter retreat to participation in the Servant Leadership team, he has looked for ways to provide quality opportunities for others to engage in the life of faith.  Ryan has done all of this with humor, care, enthusiasm, and authenticity.  His presence and efforts have made a difference in our community and it is appreciated. 

Other roles held at UP: Faith & Formation Ambassador, Service & Justice Coordinator, Night Mass Music Director, Encounter Retreat Coordinator, Servant Leadership Team 

Intern of the Year Award

Student Dan Moldovan

Dan Moldovan | Electrical Engineering | Class of 2020

Shiley School of Engineering Intern of the Year

During his internship at Maxim Integrated, Dan entered a high-level abstract realm of engineering considered by many in this field to be a “black art.” He took on the challenge by asking a lot of questions in order to understand the complexities of semiconductor theory, which led him to eventually work on one of the company’s most complex semiconductor processes to date. Another major project was to create a software tool that helps with reporting efficiency. Dan was undeterred by anything that was presented to him and rose to the occasion every time he was asked.  

With every task, Dan brought energy, curiosity and focus to his work, and proved to be so valuable to Maxim that they offered him two internship extensions in other departments!   

Other roles held at UP: Research position with Dr. Hoffbeck; Research position with Dr. Cenek; TA for CS department 

Student Georgia Paulk

Georgia Paulk | Biology | Class of 2021

College of Arts & Sciences Intern of the Year 

Georgia demonstrated drive, professionalism and deep empathy during her internship at Serendipity Center. She proved to be a gifted teacher, talented educator and natural leader who made a lasting impact on Serendipity’s therapeutic garden programs. Kids were drawn to her genuine and approachable demeanor, continuing to ask about her throughout the school year. Despite the challenges of working with kids with complex needs, she was dedicated and productive throughout the entirety of her internship. Georgia gave 150%, she was always completely present, attentive and proactive.  

Georgia consistently observed a need and seamlessly wove herself into the fabric of the program, benefitting all in the process. The project with the most lasting impact on staff and students’ use of the garden was the creation of beautiful plant markers to identify garden vegetables, which demonstrated a creative and innovative way to bring life and engagement to the space for years to come. 

Other roles held at UP: First Year Workshop Leader and Coordinator, Bluffoons Improv Club Instructor, Organizer of Two Brian Doyle Humor Projects  

Student Natalie Nygren

Natalie Nygren | Marketing | Class of 2020

Pamplin School of Business Intern of the Year 

Interning at Newbridge Marketing Group, Natalie began her role as a social media intern, and quickly took on additional responsibilities as she demonstrated skills in software implementation, creative brainstorming and organizational efficiency. Throughout her internship she contributed many insightful thoughts and her perspective helped the agency make a smart decision. She worked to drive an agency social media influencer program, which ranged from coaching content creation to delivering reports to clients. Additionally, Natalie supported the requisition and implementation of a new platform, providing key insights and findings to her team and to clients throughout the process. As an intern, Natalie blew away the expectations and hopes of NMG.  

Natalie has many strengths including leadership, productivity and dedication.  She consistently has a positive and optimistic attitude and now provides insight and intelligence to Newbridge as a full-time member of the team! 

Other roles held at UP: Community Engagement Editor for The Beacon, Student Office Worker for Pilot Men’s Basketball, Social Media Manager for Pilot Hoops

The Brian Doyle Student Media Award

Student Dora Totoian

Dora Totoian | Spanish & Political Science | Class of 2020

The recipient of this year's Brian Doyle Award is a four-year staff member at The Beacon, an excellent leader, meticulous editor, interviewer, and kind, empathic human being.  If you look at her award-winning body of work, you will see that she is a diligent and reflective reporter.  She brings her highly ethical, emotionally intelligent, and culturally competent perspective to each staff meeting and she takes the time to meet individually with reporters who are struggling with their articles to offer support and advice.    

Currently, serving as the Opinions Editors, she has been on The Beacon staff since her freshman year, and has played an instrumental role in telling diverse, important and poignant stories about UP students, faculty and staff.  

This year's Brian Doyle award goes to Dora Totoian, and he would be proud. 

Other roles held at UP: Reporter; Senior Reporter; Copy Editor; Opinion Editor  

The Community Care Award

Student Elizabeth Tripp

Elizabeth Della Tripp | Biology | Class of 2020

From her first days on campus, Elizabeth has been an exuberant contributor to the communal life at UP.  She is one who knows people all about campus and through this is aware of the needs of the campus community.  She has served the wellbeing of the campus community through several leadership positions from a Faith and Formation Ambassador to an Immersion Coordinator, as a member of Campus Ministry's Servant Leader Team to a Senator with ASUP.  In this her senior year she worked to continue to shed light on the mental health needs of the community and has sought to draw together several people from around campus to help bolster the support and awareness that is offered. Her care for others is at the heart of her efforts, and she leads with her joy-filled spirit. 

Other roles held at UP: Sustainability and Innovation Ambassador, Servant Leadership Team Member, Biology Lab TA, Faith and Formation Ambassador, Encounter with Christ Team Member, Senior Class Senator, North Portland Civil Rights Immersion Co-coordinator, Events Student Worker

The Rev. John B. Delaunay, C.S.C. Peer Health Advocacy Award

Student Aubrey Labonte-Clark

Aubrey LaBonte-Clark | Nursing | Class of 2020

Other roles held at UP:  Tour Guide, Peer Health Educator
Student Ellie Jacobs

Ellie Jacobs | Nursing | Class of 2020

Other roles held at UP: Peer Health Educator for the Health and Counseling Center, Student Ambassador for the Presidential Advisory Committee on Health and Safety, President of Student Nurses Association, Transfer Student Coordinator, Student Suicide Prevention Committee, Giving Tuesday Student Ambassador for President’s Hope Fund for Students in Crisis, Nursing Mentor

This year’s Fr. John B. Delaunay Peer Health Advocacy Award goes to two individuals who have dedicated their work and care to helping improve the health and well-being of their fellow students. Aubrey Labonte-Clark and Ellie Jacobs have worked diligently in their roles as UP Peer Health Educators to assist fellow students in accessing and understanding health services and finding new ways for the Health & Counseling Center to engage in wellness focused programs with the UP community.  

Aubrey and Ellie consistently go beyond expectations. Bringing forth new ideas and fresh perspectives, communicating the health needs and interests of their fellow students, taking the initiative to bring in new collaborative partners, volunteering their time at orientation, late night and weekend programs, and showcasing continued motivation for their work – always asking what else can I help with or looking outside the box for inspiration.  

We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and care you both have displayed for the well-being of the campus community. Your accomplishments will continue to influence the role of Peer Health Educators for many years to come. The staff of the Health & Counseling Center and the UP community are greatly appreciative for all your hard work in the name of student health and well-being.