2022 LAS Awards

Outstanding Undergraduate Student

Mark Thorn
Outstanding Student in Sociology
Mark was born in Witchita, Kansas but was raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He moved to Colorado Springs in 2017. Mark has held a variety of jobs and these jobs have taught him that who you are working with is just as important as what you are doing. Mark enjoys playing videogames and watching movies/TV shows in his free time but, to combat this sedentary lifestyle, he recently started working out and going to the gym. Mark is a transfer student from Pikes Peak Community College. He started working on his college degree in 2005, took a pause, and then returned to school in 2019. Mark worked full-time until the fall 2021 semester and when it was financially possible, he resigned from work to take a full course load to accelerate graduation. He has been involved as a volunteer at the Oxford House, a sober living home, throughout his studies at UCCS. Sociology selected Mark partly because of his contributions to the Oxford House, but he was also selected due to his outstanding 4.0 GPA. In selecting Mark, the faculty noted his academic excellence in the classroom and commitment to improving society through community engagement efforts.

Outstanding Graduate Students

S Gwen Chambers
Outstanding Graduate Student in Sociology
Gwen Chambers is an aspiring sociologist whose research focuses on disability and sexuality. This spring, she completes her master’s degree in sociology at UCCS, and she plans to begin her PhD next fall. She aims to use her research to spread awareness and advocate for the disabled community, and she participates in activist work across many spheres. She is very passionate about the fight for equity and justice, be it through work in anti-racist, feminist, queer, disabled, or anti-capitalist spaces. She hopes to teach at local institutions and spread sociological knowledge and passion to the community. In her free time, Gwen plays the cello, teaches music lessons, operates a small jewelry business, dances, and works as a therapist for disabled children. She wishes to express her gratitude to the many key people who have journeyed with her through grad school and countless other challenges over the years. These individuals include the faculty of the sociology department, the other students in the master’s program, and her friends and loved ones, many of whom she met through the university. The time Gwen has spent at UCCS has been deeply influential, and immensely enjoyable.
Nicholas Rich
Outstanding Graduate Student in Sociology
Nick Rich is originally from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and has been an active-duty Army Officer since 2012. He received his bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland, majoring in criminal justice. He met his wife of seven years, Amy, at Mount Saint Mary’s. When not inside studying, you can find him riding mountain bikes, skiing, and playing with his two dogs, Elly and Tucker. Nick will be utilizing his sociology degree as an instructor in the Behavioral Science and Leadership Department at the United States Military Academy at West Point for the next three years.