2021 Alumni of Notable Achievement Award and Emerging Alumni Award winners announced

2021 Recipients

Alumni of Notable Achievement

Ahmed Amin (BA ‘08, history and sociology of law, criminology & deviance)

Recognized educational innovator and leader: Ahmed Amin worked as a high school history teacher after graduating from the University of Minnesota. Building an esteemed career in education, in September, Amin became principal at Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis. He also embraces community diversity through his work as a dedicated volunteer coach with Heartland Democracy. 

Read more about Ahmed Amin.

Tony Biel (BIS ‘97)

Catalyst for inspiring LGBTQ community to serve others: Tony Biel founded and is currently a National Board Member for Gay for Good (G4G), a non-profit organization that energizes and mobilizes LGBTQ volunteers to serve their communities, build connections, and change minds. Biel is also currently the Director of Brand Partnerships for Flipboard.

Paul Eaton (BA ‘02, history and English)

Equity-minded scholar, educator, podcaster, and advocate: Paul Eaton, PhD, is an assistant professor of Higher Education Leadership at Sam Houston State University. Eaton has taught 15 different courses, including one he created himself, and served on 21 different committees. As well as having many publications and a podcast of his own, Eaton is a dedicated community member and activist for social justice.

Read more about Paul Eaton.

Brendan Kishketon (MA ‘05, PhD ‘09, linguistics)

Internationally esteemed language expert, language activist: Brendan Kishketon is a professor of Ojibwe in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. Beyond being a dedicated community member and mentor for others, Kishketon is committed to revitalizing the Ojibwe language. He has created the BA in Ojibwe Language at UMN and several extracurricular opportunities for students.

Karen Reed (BA ‘90, music)

Excellence through leadership, music, evangelism: Karen Reed is a dedicated music therapist for offenders with mental health disorders and sexually violent predators. She currently works as a program director for the Department of State Hospitals-Atascadero (DSH-Atascadero). Reed has made major contributions to the field of music therapy and published several works, including her book “Music is the Master Key.”

Read more about Karen Reed.

Elliot Rothenberg (BA ‘61)

Groundbreaking Supreme Court First Amendment case attorney: Elliot Rothenberg is an accomplished attorney with a history as a Minnesota State Representative, a member of the US Mission to the United Nations, and a Fulbright Ambassador. One of Rothenberg’s most outstanding achievements was his victory in the Supreme Court case of Cohen v. Cowles Media, 501 U.S. 663 (1991), a landmark case for First Amendment law.

Read more about Elliot Rothenberg.

Penny Wheeler (BA ‘80, physiology)

Visionary leader, advocate for equitable, quality health care: Dr. Penny Wheeler retired recently as the chief executive officer of Allina Health after having served as an obstetrician/gynecologist for 20 years and in several other leadership roles. Dr. Wheeler helped to create the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, which focuses on helping individuals who have often been neglected by the healthcare system.


Emerging Alumni Award

Guled Ibrahim (BA ‘11, journalism and political science)

Celebrated Somali American leader, attorney, justice advocate: Guled Ibrahim is an attorney at the City of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, where he fights to protect the civil rights of all Minnesotans. A 2021 Bush Foundation Fellow, Ibrahim is also the president of the Somali American Bar Association (SABA) and a mentor in the Somali community in Minnesota.

Read more about Guled Ibrahim.

Lulete Mola (BA ‘14, political science)

Combating anti-Blackness and realizing racial justice: As the Women's Foundation of Minnesota Vice President of Community Impact Lulete Mola served in many different roles and was recently selected as an Aspen Institute SOAR Fellow. She is now co-founding a new movement in Minnesota called the Philanthropic Collective to Combat Anti-Blackness and Realize Racial Justice. She is the first president of this organization who uses the power of philanthropic resources to achieve racial justice. 

Read more about Lulete Mola.

Sarah Super (BA ‘11, American studies and sociology)

Trauma-informed activist breaking the silence of rape culture: After graduating from UMN, Sarah Super founded and is the executive director of Break the Silence, an organization dedicated to creating diverse, inclusive, and equitable change for all survivors of sexual assault. Super organized the creation of the nation's first permanent Memorial to Survivors of Sexual Violence located in Minneapolis. 

Alex West Steinman (BA ‘11, journalism)

Radically remaking how work gets done: After graduation, 2019 Bush Fellow Alex West Steinman co-founded The Coven, a digital and physical workspace for radical changemakers. Recently elected to the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation board, Steinman also helped create the annual FeMNist day, which celebrates the empowerment of women and nonbinary folks.

Read more about Alex West Steinman.


Now accepting nominations for the 2022 Alumni Awards

Learn more about the nomination process for CLA Outstanding Alumni Awards.

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