Emerging Alumni Award

The CLA Emerging Alumni Award honors alumni who recently graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts who demonstrate leadership, creative excellence, community-mindedness, and who mirror the community at large.

Nominees must be alumni of the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus who graduated within the past 10 years. They are selected each year by a committee consisting of CLA Alumni Society Board and CLA Student Board members.

2016 Honorees

Portrait: Aeriel A. Ashlee

Aeriel A. Ashlee

BA '07, journalism

Aeriel is a scholar who is passionate about racial justice and leadership opportunities for women of color. She and her husband, Kyle, founded a consulting group that trains people in matters of inclusion. She is currently a doctoral student at Miami University in Ohio studying student affairs in higher education.



Portrait: Avital S. Barnea

Avital S. Barnea

BA '08, geography; MA 2011, urban & regional planning

Avital is a policy analyst with the US Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. As a presidential management fellow, she worked on legislation—the “MAP-21” Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act—providing over $105 billion to fund transformative surface transportation investments. She also works to advance careers for women in transportation policy management.


Portrait: Megan M. Halloran

Megan (Halloran) Gooden

BA '13, English

Megan is a brain injury specialist, program director, and human resources specialist at Alliance Health Care where she’s in charge of staffing, programming, management, recruitment, and day-to-day operations of programs for adults needing rehabilitative assistance with brain injury, mental illness, and substance abuse. She also volunteers as an early childhood pastor at her church, volunteers with four different community theater companies, and tutors kids in the southern metropolitan area.

Portrait: Jasmine Omorogbe

Jasmine Omorogbe

BA '10, summa cum laude, communication studies

Jasmine is an associate director of intercultural initiatives at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. She’s passionate about student success and has built a career in student development—within admissions, diversity and inclusion, and student affairs. She earned a master’s degree in higher education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013.


To learn more about the award and the nomination process, contact Erica Giorgi, director of alumni relations