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College of Arts, Letters & Education
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Cheney, WA 99004
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2017-2018 Frances B. Huston Award Winners

Each student awarded a Frances B. Huston medallion is a leader in service at Eastern and/or in the community and has achieved academic excellence by maintaining at least a 3.75 GPA in the previous four quarters. These are the nominations, written by a faculty member, for the Huston Award recipients from CALE for 2017-18:

Art: Joel Gaytan

Joel Gaytan has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the Art Department at EWU as well as in the arts community of Spokane. At EWU Joel has been a steady presence in the art building for three years always offering his assistance wherever needed. He impressively has taken the time to learn all the skills of an art preparator. This includes gallery wall preparation, hanging and installing work as well as lighting. Not only has he put in a considerable effort to keep our student exhibition spaces in the Art building looking great but he has put in countless hours of volunteer work with Terrain one of Spokane's most well known art organizations. Joel has been assisting in hanging exhibitions for Terrain for two years. In addition to this Joel has made tremendous progress with his own work, creating a series of drawings that demonstrate both craft and intriguing narratives. He has been willing to take risks and push himself, always eager for feedback and criticism - and most of all, never afraid to ask questions. Joel Gaytan is most deserving of the Frances B. Huston award. 

Education: Kelsey McCune

I have the privilege of teaching nearly every student graduating from Eastern with a degree in elementary education. Coming to work each day is a true joy because of the personal and professional quality of these students. You can appreciate how very special Kelsey McCune is then when I tell you that amongst all the excellent candidates she was an easy choice for this honor. The Huston Award is about the invaluable combination of academic excellence and outstanding leadership. Kelsey consistently demonstrates both. Two of the four classes she took from me are incredibly challenging and occur during the most stressful and taxing quarter in the program. Many students struggle. Through it all Kelsey remained joyful, caring, dedicated, and confident. And as always, received a much deserved 4.0. Many times, I observe very bright students floundering in the midst of challenging group projects. They have the intelligence needed to succeed but no one in the group possesses the essential leadership skills to make the magic happen. That was never true in Kelsey's groups. Through patience, careful listening, and thoughtful ideas Kelsey was always able to guide her peers with success. She didn't lead by taking over, she led by encouraging and inspiring her peers to great heights. This is what teachers are called to do, and I know that Kelsey is going to be a natural! Kelsey it has been immensely rewarding to play a role in your journey and is now a great honor to recognize you as the Department of Education's recipient of the Frances B. Huston Award.

English: Tania Nunez-Guzman

Tania Nunez-Guzman is one of the top prose writers coming out of the undergraduate program right now. She also works with Willow Springs Books and is one of their strongest designers, a position generally held by graduate students. Tania is a self-motivated learner. She responds positively to feedback and is conscious of the needs of others. She is subtle and gracious and well respected among her peers. Tania's stories and essays are quiet, authentic, and moving. Her control over the language is precise and graceful. Structurally, she leans toward the experimental-that is, traditional fiction narratives don't often fit her subjects, which revolve around family and community and focus less on high drama and more on nuance and detail. Tania is concerned with community, connectedness, and justice. This, too, is evident in her work. Underlying her stories and essays, and inherent in her voice as a writer, is a deep sense of love and respect. Tania's voice is necessary in the world today. We all expect to see her work out there playing a part in making us more thoughtful and compassionate people. 

Modern Languages & Literatures: Jeremiah Serrell

Mr. Serrell is an incredibly self-motivated student who is committed to continuing his education in Asian philosophies and religions at the PhD level. His impressive activity as a researcher and his dedication to learning the Chinese language are two qualities that will undoubtedly serve him well toward that end. He has presented his work at several undergraduate conferences and attended many more professional meetings regionally. In every instance, Mr. Serrell's research has been scholarly and perceptive.  As the faculty sponsor of EWU's student operated philosophy club, in which he has been an officer for two years, I have had the opportunity to work with Jeremiah in a less formal environment outside of the classroom. I have witnessed maturity and even-handedness in the way he interacts with his peers. His quick wit and friendly demeanor afford him a natural confidence which sets those around him at ease. His sincerity and dependability demonstrate to others he is someone who can be trusted. Jeremiah is currently finishing out his term as treasurer and worked tirelessly in that role to secure funding for this year's undergraduate philosophy conference. Given all of this, I strongly believe Jeremiah deserves this recognition. 

Music: Wyatt Wireman

I am very pleased to write this letter on behalf of Wyatt Wireman.  Since coming to EWU, Wyatt has displayed consistent leadership and focus as a developing musician.  He has performed with many different ensembles during his tenure, including the Orchestras, Jazz Ensembles, Chamber Music Ensembles, and Contemporary Ensemble.  While his main instrument is acoustic bass, he has also performed on his secondary instruments, which include electric bass, viola, and violin.   Often when I arrive at the Music Building in the mornings, Wyatt has already put in several hours in the practice room.  This is the type of dedication and tenacity that is required of a musician, and traits that Wyatt has demonstrated from his first days at EWU.   The result of this steady improvement is Wyatt's winning of the EWU Concerto Competition, and his acceptance into the Cleveland Institute of Music (one of the top rated music schools in the country) as a Graduate student.  We will miss Wyatt's enthusiasm and leadership in our Music Building, but look forward to seeing his continued development as a musician.   

Physical Education, Health & Recreation: Erin Locke

Erin Locke has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities at all levels, from EWU's Health & Fitness program and other university organizations, to health and fitness advocacy at local, state, and national levels.  At EWU, Erin has facilitated successful fundraising efforts for the Health & Fitness majors club, presented at the EWU Research Symposium, and been a community advisor in multiple EWU halls.  She has also been an EWU Cru student leader, as well as the founder, president and coach of the EWU Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club. Erin is also a leader in advocacy from Spokane County to our national physical education organization.  Locally she facilitated a hygiene supply drive for Communities in Schools of Spokane, piloted the "Take Root" program at a local middle school, and organized activities for local before and after school programs.  For Washington state, Erin presented a health session at a state health education conference for teachers and attended SHAPE WA Speak Out day in Olympia, where she met with WA state legislators to advocate for quality K-12 PE and health.  At the national level, Erin presented two sessions, on after-school programs and advocacy for K-12 PE, at the national PE conference in March 2018.

Theatre & Film: Mica Pointer

Mica Pointer is the epitome of what has been traditionally referred to as a Renaissance Man: A person with many talents and areas of knowledge. Mica is a Theatre Major, but also minored in screenwriting, film studies, history and philosophy. He is uniformly respected by students and faculty across the university. Mica's intellectual curiosity and capacity is deep and sincere. He is a phenomenal collaborator and strong advocate for building and strengthening interdisciplinary relationships across campus. He is a shining example of a student tirelessly dedicated to using the arts as a vehicle for social change, and improved community relations. Mica has contributed spectacularly to the Department of Theatre and Film as a costume designer, director, actor, screenwriter, dramaturge and published scholar. The Western States Theatre Review (special student edition) published his paper, "The God behind the Mask: The Evolution of Greek Theatre from Proto-Attic Shamanism." He acted in productions of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Tempest." He designed costumes for "The Bear" and "Wild Dust." He constructed costumes for nearly all of our productions over the past four years. He has studied abroad in London and competed as a theatre critic in our regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. His accomplishments are vast and we consider ourselves fortunate that he chose us as his theatre and film family.

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