Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Senior Stories

Southwestern students are well on their way to great outcomes as they approach graduation. These exceptional students are recognized each year at the University’s Annual Honors Convocation, where faculty members present their department’s highest honor to a selected senior in each major.

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    Originally from Euless, kinesiology major Briana Felix is the quintessential liberal arts graduate. Between her many accomplishments including winning the Tex Kassen Outstanding Kinesiology Major Award and a national competition in synchronized jump rope, Briana found ways to connect her studies with interests beyond her classes. As such, Briana found time to work as a stunt double for actress Keke Palmer in a Disney movie before joining Texas Physical Therapy Specialists as a technician and applying to Physical Therapy school.

    “Having Briana in class always made my job easier. Not only could I count on having informed discussions, but I also knew that the level of work from the entire class would be better as a result.” - Scott McLean, Professor of Kinesiology
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    Victoria is an extremely gifted artist that made historic strides while studying at Southwestern. Professor of Art Star Varner says she is one of only three students she has selected to do an honors project in her three decades at SU. Victoria lives, breathes, and sleeps art and says if she’s not in the studio painting, then she’s doing artwork elsewhere. Victoria transferred from Southern Methodist University in her junior year, and says she wishes she had made more time to take classes that weren’t just required for her major, but that struck her interest — and encourages others to do just that. Victoria also won a “Lancaster Award in Studio Art”, and is dreaming big to one day open a gallery or art museum.

    “Victoria’s rise as an artist in my classes was nothing short of meteoric. In my thirty years at Southwestern, she’s the third student I’ve selected to do an honors project. She’s one to watch!” - Star Varner, Professor of Art
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    Natural leader Katy Jones, is an out-of-the-box thinker who is very goal-oriented and has a work ethic that is second to none. The Centennial, Colorado native always felt at home at Southwestern and, while achieving her degree in political science, served on both Student Congress and Student Philanthropy Council, among many other student organizations. Two big highlights during her time here include winning “Outstanding Political Science Student of the Year” award and meditating at a Buddhist Monastery in China. Katy is currently in law school at the University of Houston Law Center.

    “Katy was a model liberal arts student because of her capacity for original thinking, her ability to advance valuably counter-intuitive arguments, and her courage to consider the path less taken.” - Shannon Mariotti, Associate Professor of Political Science
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    Joshua’s love for music and desire to face academic challenges in an intimate educational setting brought him to Southwestern University. The banjo and oboe player earned his degree in biology and philosophy, and during his time here he achieved the Vicente D. Villa Student of the Year Award in Ecology. Originally from Dripping Springs, Joshua is now at Washington University in St. Louis working on his M.D. and Ph.D.

    “It was Joshua’s enthusiasm as a first-year student that led me to ask him to do independent studies work with me; he was unquestionably the most enthusiastic student I have ever known.” - Max Taub, Professor of Biology
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    As a student, Ross aimed to fully absorb and understand his material. The physics and computer science major from Round Rock was not only a stand-up student, but could be found playing hard on the Lacrosse field. As a student-athlete leader, Ross always had a laundry list of interests and encouraged students to step out of their comfort zone in the classroom to be the best they can be. Ross won the “Ralph Whitmore Award in Mathematics”, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and participated in the 2013 SCOPE program which allowed him to study hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. He is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Nanoengineering at Rice University.

    “Ross was a great leader and team player in the classroom. He was also a student who definitely wanted to understand the material—not just get a good grade—and he wasn’t afraid to acknowledge his mistakes.” - Barbara Anthony, Associate Professor of Computer Science