2022 Alumni of Notable Achievement Award and Emerging Alumni Award winners

Recognizing Outstanding Alumni

Alumni of Notable Achievement

Emily Baxter (BA ‘02, English)

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.

W. Anders Folk (BA ‘98, German and political science)

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, Folk serves as senior counsel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, leading with analysis and compassion.

Katie Groh de Aviña (BA ‘06, Chicano studies)

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.

Sandra Larson (BA ‘59, political science)

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. 

Herman Milligan (PhD ‘82, sociology)

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.

Allison Vincent (BA ‘10, English and theatre arts)

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.

Emerging Alumni Award

Chelsea Cervantes de Blois (PhD ‘21, geography)

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.

Alec Fischer (‘16, individualized studies)

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.

Jillian Fish (PhD ‘20, psychology)

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.

Emilia Ndely-Ogundipe (BA ‘11, economics)

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.

Learn more about CLA's Outstanding Alumni Awards

Share on: