2022 Alumni of Notable Achievement Award and Emerging Alumni Award winners
Innovators, artists, advocates, storytellers, educators, and global citizens. CLA is excited to present this year's Alumni of Notable Achievement Award and Emerging Alumni Award winners.
A relentless and creative disruptor of the status quo: Emily Baxter uses her storytelling skills to amplify the voices and stories of people most impacted by America’s criminal legal system. As founding director of We Are All Criminals, her work is altering national narratives around race and criminality – a push for justice and healing. Read more about Emily.
Served his country, continues to serve his community: W. Anders Folk earned undergraduate degrees and his JD at the University of Minnesota while also serving as a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps. Considered one of the highest-ranking lawyers in the federal government, he serves as senior counsel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, leading with analysis and compassion. Read more about Anders.
Committed to educational equity and advocacy: Katie Groh de Aviña has devoted her life to educating Latina/o/x students, empowering their families, and working to further policy at the State level. She is the executive director of El Colegio High School in South Minneapolis, where her leadership efforts helped support students' and families’ basic needs at the height of the pandemic. Read more about Katie.
A visionary leader in social justice: Sandra Larson transformed the Management Assistance Project for Nonprofits into one of the largest management support organizations in the country. Her impressive body of work, which “mirrors the community at large,” has spanned nearly four decades in the nonprofit, volunteer, corporate and public sectors. Read more about Sandra.
Driven to improve the human condition: Dr. Herman Milligan is considered one of the most active advocates for the arts in the Twin Cities. At The Fulton Group, he founded the REFINEDr website and a curatorial platform, Art4Good, as a means to support non-profit arts programming and artists. His co-curated exhibition A Picture Gallery of the Soul is currently on display at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery. Read more about Herman.
Universally admired actor, teacher, and collaborator: Allison Vincent works at South High School in Minneapolis, empowering her students to see value in their stories, perspectives, and ideas. In addition to her teaching career, she is a gifted performer, sharing her brilliance onstage with the Transatlantic Love Affair theater ensemble. Read more about Allison.
A “citizen of the world”: Dr. Chelsea Cervantes De Blois investigates the impacts of climate change on human-environmental systems through intensive, in-country fieldwork and a commitment to cultural engagement. Her work as a climate change analyst for the U.S. Department of State centers a domestic and international commitment to improving communities affected by environmental changes. Read more about Chelsea.
Uses storytelling as a vehicle for change and healing: Alec Fischer’s work has garnered international attention and awards recognition. His independent media company, Fischr Media, is dedicated to authentically representing Midwest-based stories, allowing broad audiences to learn more about the communities and individuals who call this region home. Read more about Alec.
Honoring Indigenous truths through decolonization: Dr. Fish has quickly gained recognition in the field of counseling psychology for her innovative brilliance and decolonial approach to research. A founder of OrigiNatives, a public, digital archive of original stories from Native America, her research is founded upon non-hierarchical relationships to community members and communities at large. Read more about Jillian.
Bright technologist and builder of bridges: Since graduation, Emilia Ndely-Ogundipe has continued to engage with her alma mater, helping to found the Black Alumni Network and participating in the Maroon and Gold Network. Today, her role as a Presidential Innovation Fellow allows her to continue serving the needs of others by developing and optimizing products and services with a focus on equity. Read more about Emilia.
About the Alumni Awards
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.
The College of Liberal Arts Alumni of Notable Achievement award 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). These handpicked individuals are celebrated and honored for their impact on the world around them.