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Northwestern 2017 Outstanding Seniors, other awards announced

 Alva, Okla. (April 19, 2017) – Twelve Northwestern students will be recognized as Outstanding Seniors at this year’s Spring Alumni Reunion Awards Ceremony, Saturday, April 29, at 5:15 p.m. in the Northwestern Student Center Ranger Room.

A committee selected Walter Allard, Riley Bryant, Brady Lloyd Fields, Cecely Franz, Kaci Hansen, Timothy (Tim) Legg, Abubakar-Sadik Malik, Dlonra (DeeDee) Nolan, Sarah Otto, Thomas Sander, Chandler Steckbeck and Nick Villalobos as this year’s Outstanding Seniors.

This award honors outstanding graduating seniors and is sponsored by the Northwestern Foundation & Alumni Association. Recipients must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5, have completed at least 60 credit hours at Northwestern, never been subject to academic or disciplinary action, be involved in campus and/or community activities and show promise of future achievement.


Outstanding Seniors:

Walter AllardWalter Allard, of Texhoma, Okla., is a senior agriculture major and business minor. He was recently selected as a member of the 2017 Leadership Northwestern class and was an Aggie Club officer during both the 2013 and 2014 academic years. For three years, Allard has gained relevant agricultural industry experience while working at Northwest Feed and Seed, a local animal-feed company. He also completed an industry internship with the Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council during the summer of 2016.




Riley Bryant

Riley Bryant, of Alva, Okla., is a nursing major. While at Northwestern, she was a member of the Ranger cheerleading squad and was co-captain for the 2015-2016 academic year. She also was one of 13 students selected to Northwestern’s President’s Leadership Class (PLC) in 2013 and is a member of the Red and Black Scroll Honor Society as well as the National and Oklahoma Nurses Associations. In November 2016, Bryant won first place at Ranger Research Day for her presentation on “Central Line Infections”. While pursuing her degree, she received her Certified Nursing Assistant license and works at a local nursing home.


Brady FieldsBrady Lloyd Fields, of Seiling, Okla., will graduate in May 2017 as a double major in chemistry and biology. He was selected as a member of the President’s Leadership Class (PLC) his freshman year and as a PLC mentor his sophomore year. Fields has made the Vice President’s Honor Roll for three semesters and was a member and president of the Red and Black Scroll Honor Society for two years. He also was involved in the Chemistry Club, Northwestern Society of Physics Students, Northwestern Scholar Ambassadors and was a student researcher in the department of natural sciences. Fields plans to attend medical school and practice family medicine in a rural environment.


Cecely FranzCecely Franz, of Alva, Okla., is an early childhood and elementary education major. She is currently a member of the Northwestern Scholar Ambassadors, Student Government Association, Red and Black Scroll Honor Society, Student Oklahoma Education Association and the Professional Oklahoma Educators. She was a member of the President’s Leadership Class (PLC) her freshman year and then served as a sophomore PLC mentor. Franz is completing her student teaching at Alva Public Schools and is a student employee in Northwestern’s registry office. She also is a dance instructor for ages three through 18 at Studio Pro Dance and Fitness in Kiowa, Kan.


Kaci HansenKaci Hansen, of Hinton, Okla., is a senior early childhood education major. She currently is employed at Northwestern as a secretary in the office of student services and as a resident assistant for Fryer Hall. She is completing her student teaching at Waynoka Elementary School and has passed the Oklahoma Subject Area Test. Hansen was a member and captain of the Lady Ranger basketball team, earning female scholar athlete of the year (2014-2015) and Great American Conference all-academic team for three years. She was selected as Ranger Queen in 2015 and was a member of the Northwestern Scholar Ambassadors, Red and Black Scroll Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.


Timothy LeggTimothy Legg, of Mutual, Okla., is a senior biology major with a minor in psychology. As a non-traditional student, Legg had a 21-year career with the United States Air Force before coming to Northwestern. He earned nine decorations for meritorious service, was named top senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO) of the year for the 25th Operational Weather Squadron (2008), and was named top SNCO for the Air Force Weather Agency (2009). While deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, Legg led a 12-person team in support of ground and flight operations. At Northwestern, he received both honorable mention (2014) and second place (2015) at the annual Ranger Research Day and has remained on the President’s Honor Roll throughout his college career. He recently has been accepted as a physician assistant student at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in Tulsa, Okla.


Sadik MalikAbubakar-Sadik Malik, a student from Ghana, is a senior biology major, minoring in both chemistry and Spanish. He will graduate in May 2017 with magna cum laude honors. While at Northwestern, Malik has been involved in numerous clubs and organizations, including the University Singers. He has received several honors and awards including, “Who’s Who Among Students In American Universities & Colleges” (2016), President’s and Vice-President’s Honor Rolls, Sigma Delta Pi honors and the Red and Black Scroll Honor Society. He worked as a Certified Nurse Aid at Share Medical Center and is currently a Spanish tutor for the department of English, Foreign Languages and Humanities.


Dlonra NolanDlonra (DeeDee) Nolan, of Enid, Okla., is a senior social work major and veteran of the United States Navy. She is a recipient of the Geraldine Burns English Award (2014) and “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges”. During her tenure in the Navy, she was awarded three Navy Achievement Medals and Sailor of the Year. In 2015, Nolan served on the board of directors for the Enid YMCA and the National Association of Social Workers in 2016. Nolan was recently named as the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers’ Undergraduate Student of the Year for 2017.


Sara OttoSarah Otto, of Enid, Okla., graduated magna cum laude in December 2016 with a degree in mass communications. She was selected as an Oklahoma Academic Scholar and was involved in Northwestern’s NWTV7 news channel where she created and hosted the television segment, “The Bull Pen”. She also worked as a student journalist for Northwestern News, where she wrote weekly rodeo reports and feature stories. While working on her bachelor’s degree, Otto created her own clothing line, The Coyote Cowgirl, and used marketing and advertising to expand her business. She currently is working on her master’s in adult education administration at Northwestern.


Thomas SanderThomas Sander, of Seiling, Okla., is a senior biology major and psychology minor. He has received several awards and scholarships including the Master Mason of Masonic Lodge, Marvin Clayton Memorial Scholar, Duke-ConocoPhillips Midstream Scholarship and the Academic Achievement Award. At Northwestern he was a four-year member of the President’s Honor Roll and was involved in the Athletic Advisory Board, Medical Sciences Club, Ranger baseball team, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Baptist Collegiate Ministry and President’s Leadership Class. With more than 100 hours of shadowing experience, Sander plans to further his studies to become a practicing physician associate.



Chandler SteckbeckChandler Steckbeck, of Enid, Okla., is a senior English major and Spanish minor. She was selected in 2015 as a Brad Henry Scholar where she studied for a semester at Swansea University in Wales. She also was selected as a Nigh Leadership Academy Scholar in 2017. While at Northwestern, Steckbeck was a member of Leadership Northwestern, Red and Black Scroll Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, Lambda Iota Tau, Sigma Delta Pi, Northwestern Scholar Ambassadors and the Honors Program. She won first place at Ranger Research Day in 2016 and has remained on the President’s Honor Roll all semesters. Steckbeck plans to pursue a master’s in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette this fall.


Nick VillalobosNick Villalobos, of Oologah, Okla., will graduate in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. He is the current Editor-in-Chief of the campus newspaper, Northwestern News, as well as the president of the Student Government Association and vice-president of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has been a member of the President’s and Vice President’s Honor Rolls, the Northwestern Scholar Ambassadors and the Red and Black Scroll Honor Society, and has received the Larry Hammer Mass Communication Scholarship and Ranger Connection Peer Leader Scholarship. An active member of the community, Villalobos also is a member of the First Baptist Church and Baptist Collegiate Ministries of Alva.


Other Award Recipients

Haylee Bates, Cecely Franz, Kaci Hansen, Cori Hoffman, Kandi Hughart and Chandler Steckbeck will be awarded the T.C. Carter Award, presented to the graduating seniors with the highest grade point average.

Other Northwestern students and faculty to be recognized include:  Jack Nickelson, receiving the Newman Civic Fellow Award; Abbie Kate Haskins and Codi Harding, receiving the Psychology Student of the Year Award; Franz, receiving the Dr. Joe Dollins Merit Award; Codey Yandell, receiving the John Ted Meier Student Teaching Award; Steckbeck, receiving the John F. Kennedy Award; Connor McGee, receiving the Sabin and Pearl Percefull Scholarship Award; Codi Harding, receiving the deSERVING Ranger Award; and Dr. Cornelia Mihai, receiving the John Sheffield Teacher of the Year Award.



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