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

Alumni of Notable Achievement Award

The College of Liberal Arts Alumni of Notable Achievement award (ANA) is one of two Outstanding Alumni Awards that highlight former students who have stood out as great leaders, professionals, and community service-oriented individuals. This award is one of the ways that CLA comes together to celebrate alumni for their achievements in all areas of society—career paths, interests, community involvement, talents, achievements, and more. 

All nominees for this award are selected by fellow CLA faculty, alum, staff, and friends, and the winners are selected by a committee of past honorees. This award was started in 1994 and has since been given each year (with the exception of 2019-20) to only 1 percent of CLA’s graduates. These handpicked individuals are celebrated and honored for their impact on the world around them.

Emerging Alumni Award

The Emerging Alumni Award is one of CLA’s Outstanding Alumni Awards that highlights recent graduates who have been remarkable leaders, creators, and community service-oriented individuals. 
Nominees of this award are chosen each year by members of the CLA Student Board and past honorees of this award. All nominees are new alumni who have graduated from the College of Liberal Arts generally within the past 10 years. These individuals are chosen for their outstanding contributions to their fields and communities while still emerging in their professional careers. 

2021 Recipients

Alumni of Notable Achievement Award

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

Ahmed Amin worked as a high school history teacher after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2008 with a degree in history and sociology of law, criminology & deviance. Amin quickly became the Assistant Principal at Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis, and focuses on embracing diversity in our schools, community, and everyday life. 

Tony Biel (BIS ‘97)

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)

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.

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

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)

Karen Reed is a dedicated music therapist for offenders with a mental health disorder 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.”

Elliot Rothenberg (BA ‘61)

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 as 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.

Penny Wheeler (BA ‘80, physiology)

Dr. Penny Wheeler is currently 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)

Guled Ibrahim is an attorney at the City of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, where he fights to protect the civil rights of all Minnesotans. Ibrahim is also the president of the Somali American Bar Association (SABA) and a mentor in the Somali community in Minnesota.

Lulete Mola (BA ‘14, political science)

Lulete Mola worked at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota for eight years, serving in many different roles, and 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 that uses the power of philanthropic resources to achieve racial justice. 

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

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 Memorial to Survivors of Sexual Violence located in Minneapolis. 

Alex West Steinman (BA ‘11, journalism)

After graduation, Alex West Steinman co-founded The Coven, a digital and physical workspace for radical changemakers. Steinman also helped create the annual FeMNist day, which celebrates empowerment of women and nonbinary folks. She balances her work life with raising her two young children.

Now accepting nominations for the 2022 Alumni Awards

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

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