division of student life awards


Leadership is the ethical engagement of influence that is expressed through advocacy, vision, drive, and cultivation of shared purpose and is realized  through positive impact that is understood in community and in reciprocal relationships with others.


Pinnacle Society

This leadership distinction has become synonymous with excellence in leadership, service, and community impact. This award is reserved for students who will not be graduating at the conclusion of this academic year.


Leadership in Living the PLU Mission

This award honors a student for their exceptional leadership contributions to the PLU and greater Tacoma communities. As the highest honor presented by the Division of Student Life, this award recognizes student excellence in leadership that embodies the ideals and values expressed through the University Mission: PLU seeks to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care—for other people, for their communities and for the Earth.

Leadership in Social Justice

This award recognizes a student who has served as an agent of change. The individual receiving this award has contributed to increasing the PLU community’s capacity for the awareness and action necessary for justice; prioritized and engaged diversity and inclusion at PLU, local, regional, and/or global communities; and has committed to the personal learning necessary for efficacy in this work. In the spirit of PLU’s ILO, the recipient also has and will continue to engage in both philosophical and practical educational opportunities, which promote greater learning, appreciation and understanding of diverse perspectives.

Leadership in Sustainability

This award honors a student who has demonstrated leadership through education and advocacy for the sustainability of the earth and its inhabitants. The recipient has engaged the interconnection between people, planet, prosperity and incorporated economic, ethical, and environmental concerns into their lives and relationships with others.

Leadership through Collaboration

This award honors a student who, through collaborative leadership and enthusiasm for cross-campus connections, has made a contribution that has improved the PLU student experience in specific ways or as a whole. This individual challenges others and the PLU community to live up to the ideals embedded in the university’s mission.

Leadership through Innovation

This award honors a student who has demonstrated innovation through thought and action, and who has contributed greatly to the improvement of the PLU community or student experience in a transformational and groundbreaking way.

Leadership through Mentoring

This award honors a student who through  the mentorship of other students has recognized their strengths, encouraged them to their cultivate strengths and utilize them for the good of community, and supported them to explore their passions and vocation.

Leadership in Vocation

This award honors a student who is purposeful in exploring, discerning and living their vocation in a way that serves both their purpose and academic pursuits and that contributes to the lives of others by meeting a “world’s greatest need”.  This student has a comprehensive understanding of the reflective process required for discerning vocation and a demonstrated track record in influencing their peers by mentoring them in discerning their vocation and leading and guiding them to contribute to response to world’s greatest need.


There are two categories of awards: outstanding program awards and outstanding individual awards, both of which recognize contributions and achievements of student body.


Social Program of The Year

This award recognizes a program that has contributed to the sense of community on campus by encouraging students to come together and meaningfully engage with one another and/or the Parkland community.

Education Program of The Year

This award recognizes a program that has contributed to the broader mission of PLU and has provided substantial opportunities for learning in a meaningful and applicable way.

Social Justice Program of The Year

This award recognizes a social justice program that allowed a broad range of participants to experience and learn about diversity and social justice. The program has a focus on developing understanding, tolerance, and acceptance.

Community Service Program of The Year

This award recognizes a program that has engaged students in service while encouraging students to serve beyond this one experience.


Quiet Influence

This award recognizes an individual who has contributed to his/her club and campus community in a meaningful yet behind-the-scenes way.

Outstanding Advisor of The Year

This award recognizes an advisor who has excelled in providing support and assistance to a club/organization. The recipient has provided time and services that have played a key role in the organization’s success.

Outstanding Officer of The Year

This award recognizes a student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout their term of office and has enhanced participation and involvement within their organization, the campus, and the community as a whole.


This award recognizes an organization that has advanced the mission of PLU by fostering growth in thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care. Through their programs and services, the recipient of this award has promoted campus spirit and pride. Their contributions have enhanced the student experience not only of their members but of the student body at large. This organization has exemplified the PLU ideals as outlined in the mission statement while providing opportunities for others to become involved and grow as leaders.

Celebration of Leadership

Congratulations to all of our 2019 Distinguished Student Leaders! The Division of Student Life would like to thank you for your contributions to our community.

A list of this year’s honorees can be found below.

Carlos Alarez

Sade Aset

Carson Bergstrom

Ashley Carreno-Millan

Katya Cervantes

Jackson Curtin

Joy Ghigleri

Rachel Heinselman

Rayna LaFave-Clark

Isabel Larue

AJ Moore

Alissa Ouanesisouk

Valeria Pinedo Chipana

Alanna Rathkopf

Kyle Siemers

Christa Slater

Gina Snyder

Ivory Turner

David Walter

Colton J. Walter
Mast Media | Photo Editor
Mast Newspaper/Media | Graphics Editor
Impact Advertising Solutions | Digital media Director

Stephanie A. Dent
Study Abroad Coordinator
Adulting 101 Staff Advisory Board
Active Minds Mental Health Club | VP
JED Foundation | Advisory Board Member
Healthy Lutes Wellness Program | Founder & Director

Morgan E. Meyers
Hinderlie Hall | PLU Resident Assistant
PLU Student Activities Board | Student Programmer
PLU Residential Hall Council | Activities and Outreach Director & President
Phi Kappa Member
Campus Ministry Board | Secretary
PLU Board of Regents | Student Representative 

Natalie R. Mooney
PLU Student Activities Board | Director
PLU New Student Orientation| Student Orientation Coordinator
PLU Late Knight | Public Relations Director & Producer

Zuleyka Lopez-Cruz
PLU ROTC | Cadet Activities Council President
PLU Telalutes
FISH Foodbank Volunteer Coordinator

Elle R. Campbell
Alpha Psi Omega | President
PLU Theatre and Design | Technical Director & Lighting Crew

Grace E. Meno
PLU | Resident Assistant
Phi Alpha Theta, American History Honor Society | Secretary
PLU Young Life/InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Kent Prairie Elementary School & North Thurston High School | Classroom Volunteer

Kristin A. Ringstad
PLU Diversity Advocate
Mary Bridge | Physical Therapy Intern
PLU Leadership Fellow
Indigenous People’s Club | President
Morgan Family YMCA | Assistant Director for Swim for Exceptional Children

Meagan M. Gaskill
PLU Residential Hall Association | VP
PLU Writing Center | Consultant
Campus Ministry Council | Chair
Keithley Middle School | Classroom Volunteer
Tacoma Young Chamber Players | Volunteer

Kara G. Barkman
PLU University Congregation | Leadership Team
PLU Interfaith Workshop Group
PLU Office of Admission | Admission Ambassador & Tour Guide Student Coordinator
PLU New Student Orientation | New Student Orientation Guide/Academic Coordinator

Oni A. Mayer
ASPLU | Vice President
University Faculty Committees | Student Representative
PLU | Student Representative

Aziza Ahmed
PLU Center for Student Success | Peer Learning Specialist
PLU Campus Ministry | Interfaith Coordinator
Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Green River College | Women’s Action Commissioner 

Eduardo M. Torres
PLU Office of Admissions | Admission Ambassador
PLU Residential Life | Resident Assistant with Additional Duties
PLU Office of the President | Gonyea Fellow
Latinx Unidos | President

Nayonni A. Watts
PLU Residential Life | Resident Assistant with Additional Duties 
PLU Marketing and Communications/Archives | Black History Researcher
Pinnacle Society Member
PLU Black Student Union | Treasurer/Event Coordinator
PLU Showrunners | Production Assistant, Writer & Editor

Riley L. Dolan
ASPLU | Civic Engagement Director
PLU Hispanic Studies Department | Kelmer Roe Research Fellow
Independent Colleges of Washington | Student Liason
United States Department of State | U.S. Embassy Human Resources Intern
PLU Wild Hope Center for Vocation | Vocation Programs Intern
POLU Residence Hall Association | Leadership & Development Director

Madeline S. Titelbaum
PLU Center for Gender Equity | Peer Advocacy and Community Education Team Coordinator
PLU Residential Life | Resident Assistant
PLU Feminist Student Union | Co-President & Co-Founder
ASPLU | Class of 2019 Senator
Citizens for a Healthy Bay |Marketing, Communications & Development Intern
PLU Interfaith Council | Student Representative
PLU Center for Gender Equity | SAPET/PACE Presenter

Marleisha B. Cox
PLU Diversity Center | Diversity Advocate
PLU Sounds of Solidarity | Student Facilitator
PLU | Assistant Researcher
Pierce County Juvenile Court | Field Practicum Diversion Intern
PLU | Women’s Basketball Team
Keithley Girls Basketball | Volunteer Coach
Matt Griffin YMCA | Camp Counselor

Sam W. Couch
PLU Residential Life | Resident Assitant
PLU Department of Geosciences/Psychology | Research Assistant
PLU Department of Geosciences/Department of Psychology | Teaching Assistant
PLU Office of Admission | Admission Ambassador

Haedon C. Brunelle
ASPLU | President
PLU Student Life | Third Space Research Assistant
ASPLU | Executive Senator 
PLU Career Connections | Program Assistant & Data Analyst
PLU LuteVote | Data Manager