2020 LAS Awards

Outstanding Overall Anthropology Undergraduate
Alex Blanco-Castaño graduates Magna cum laude with a double degree in Anthropology and Geography and Environmental Studies, a minor in German, and a certificate in GIS. He is a member of the University Honors Program and has served as an LAS Peak Ambassador, a volunteer at the UCCS Urban Farm, a reviewer for the UCCS Undergraduate Research Journal, a Spanish-English interpreter for El Paso County, and an analyst and technician for the UCCS IT department. He has conducted original research in both GES and Anthropology, has presented at a national conference, and has completed an honors thesis in anthropology. Upon graduation, he will be attending UC Denver to pursue a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Congratulations, Alex!
Outstanding Undergraduate in Cultural Anthropology
Jacenta O’Halloran-Maynor is graduating Magna cum laude, focusing on cultural and linguistic anthropology with a minor in Interdepartmental Linguistics. She began learning languages in high school, where she first met and was inspired by Languages and Cultures instructor Mary France. Since joining the department, Jacenta has worked with faculty in both linguistic and cultural anthropology. More recently, she began to engage in public outreach courses, creating virtual museum exhibits on Colorado Springs cultural and environmental history. This work has led her to pursue opportunities in museum and archival fields in New Jersey, where she plans to move after graduation. We are excited to see where she goes with this. Congratulations, Jacenta!
Outstanding Undergraduate in Archaeology

Victoria Rick is graduating Magna cum laude with a focus on archaeology, environmental anthropology, and sustainability. Victoria stood out as an exceptionally inquisitive student in all her courses. She did her field practicum course with the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project, where she so impressed the ASU professor and field directors in charge that they asked her to come back as a Research Student, and told her she was more than welcome to apply to ASU for graduate work whenever she was ready. Currently, she works as a Park Guide for North Cheyenne Canon where she has assisted our Lead City Archaeologist in survey work, written and led school interpretive programs, and earned certification as an Interpretive Guide from the National Association for Interpretation. She is already a stellar UCCS representative building positive relationships in the community. Congratulations, Tori!

Outstanding Undergraduate in Applied Anthropology
Cum laude graduate Pazquale Vigil has focused on community outreach and applied work as well as academics since their time at Cheyenne Mountain High School, where they worked as a teacher’s assistant and as a volunteer in the Marian House. At UCCS, they have done community-based research in several anthropology courses and joined One Nation Walking Together as a volunteer who helped organize intertribal powwows and food drives. In their free time, they practice Taekwondo as a Black Belt Club Member and volunteer for US Taekwondo Center charity events for the Children’s Hospital. Their drive to work to improve our community shines through in all their work. Congratulations, Paz!