Student Leadership Awards Spring 2020

This award recognizes individuals who have made meaningful and significant contributions to the University of Iowa or surrounding communities through their vision and action; their sense of responsibility, devotion, and diligence; and through their inspiration, good judgment, and will. Students receive a certificate designating them as a Student Leadership Award recipient.

Click here to go back to the Spring 2020 CDE graduation home page.

Srilekhya Akkina

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Srilekhya Akkina.

Srilekhya Akkina is graduating with a BBA in Management. Srilekhya has promoted diversity, inclusion, and student success in several roles at the Tippie College of Business, including serving as a direct admit peer mentor, a global ambassador, and a member of the Tippie team in the Leeds Diversity and Business Ethics Case Competition, where her team won first place. Srilekhya has also served as vice president of philanthropy and director of social media for the South Asian Student Alliance. Students who met her in these various capacities note that she encouraged them to get involved on campus, connecting them with student orgs that made them feel at home. Srilekhya is currently considering several promising career paths.

Madhuri Belkale

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Madhuri Belkale.

Madhuri Belkale is graduating with a BS in Political Science and Psychology. Madhuri has championed diversity, equity, and inclusion in many roles, including when she served as the undergraduate representative on the Presidential Charter Committee on Diversity at Iowa, as a senator in UISG, as a president and chair of public relations in the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, as the assistant multicultural initiatives director in the Homecoming executive council, and in several leadership positions in the Indian Student Alliance. Madhuri also co-founded Iowa City Red, an organization that promotes inclusion and acceptance of those with HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and educating people about HIV/AIDS. She plans to attend law school.

Anamar Blanes Diaz

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Anamar Blanes Díaz.

Anamar Blanes Diaz is graduating with a BS in Chemistry. As an undergraduate research assistant, Anamar has contributed to several projects associated with the remediation of uranium from the environment, and has been a coauthor on two publications in peer-reviewed journals. She has also made numerous presentations at local, regional, and national meetings. Anamar has mentored new undergraduate researchers in the lab and in the Iowa Biosciences Academy by offering laboratory shadowing, sitting on panels, and talking to students about research. This semester, she is also working with the IBA’s director to develop curriculum on effective undergraduate mentoring based upon evidence-based best practices. Anamar plans to attend graduate school at Georgetown University.

Erick Calma

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Erick James Calma.

Erick Calma is graduating with a BSE in Mechanical Engineering. In his time at UI, Erick has focused his energy on making engineering and STEM more inclusive environments for students. Erick has served as the president and fundraising chair of Theta Tau, has promoted STEM involvement among underrepresented minority students through his work as an inclusion agent, serves as a lead tutor for the MESA tutoring program, and has provided guidance to engineering students as a peer advisor. Erick has also involved himself with several K-12 outreach efforts, including the pen pal program, Noche de Ciencias, and Black Girls Do Science.

Devonte Chism

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Devonte Chism.

Devonte Chism is graduating with a BA in Global Health Studies. His colleagues in the Orientation Services office credit him with playing a key role in making their programming as inclusive of all UI students as possible in a time of significant transition, and describe him as a strong advocate for his fellow students. They also note that he has been heavily involved in researching best practices for serving incoming students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Devonte has also been a leader in Dance Marathon, Homecoming Council, and Alpha Sigma Phi, where he is a founding member and has served as president.

Andrea Courtney

Student Leadership Award Winner
Photo of Andrea Courtney

Andrea Courtney is graduating with an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In her time at the University of Iowa, she has spent several years advocating for moving Student Disability Services (SDS) out of the basement of Burge Residence Hall. The SDS office is now scheduled to relocate to the first floor of the University Capitol Centre. In her role as UISDAA president, Andrea helped carry out a wide variety of disability awareness events, advocated for disabled students in many venues across campus, and has worked with several university departments to plan and fund UI’s first ever disability graduation ceremony for 2020. She has also been a member of the University Counseling Service Student Advisory Board since the fall of 2018. She plans to specialize in providing psychotherapy to people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Shemaa Dafalla

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Sheema Dafalla.

Shemaa Dafalla is graduating with a BS in Global Health Studies on the Pre-Medicine track. Shemaa has served in several positions in the Walk It Out Multicultural Organization, including the president, working to provide a space for students from 7 underrepresented communities to share their talents, fashion, culture, and pride. Shemaa led an organization of more than two hundred students in putting on a show in the fall and spring semesters. For the 2019 show, Shemaa organized to have HIV testing available at the show and helped to raise money for the Johnson County HIV Clinic. Shemaa has also held several other roles on campus, including serving as a Resident Assistant to over 120 first-year students and president of the Hillcrest and Mayflower residence hall councils. 

Alvin Jones

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Alvin Jones.

Alvin Jones is graduating with a BA in African American Studies and Communication Studies. As a member of the Alpha Theta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Alvin coordinated volunteer and mentoring opportunities with Ronald McDonald House and West High, as well as campus events focusing on mental health. As comedy chair for the Campus Activities Board, Alvin helped to organize programming that would interest and serve Black students. He is also the secretary of the UI Black Student Union, and during his time studying abroad in Australia, Alvin helped to found the first black student association at the University of Newcastle. He plans to continue his studies at the University of Central Florida, where he will pursue an MA in Communications.

Ray Khothisen

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Ray Khothisen

Ray Khothisen is graduating with a BA in Interdepartmental Studies - Applied Human Services, with an emphasis in community-based services. His efforts on campus have shown a dedication to supporting incoming students and helping them thrive at UI. He has served as an Iowa Edge peer leader, a resident assistant, and a center programming assistant at the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, as well as holding roles of increasing responsibility in Orientation Services, including, most recently, membership in the executive team, where he has served as a role model for new staff, creating training materials and facilitating sessions including diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. Ray also served as VP of media relations in the Higher Education Student Organization. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs.

Jeremiah Moody

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Jeremiah Moody.

Jeremiah Moody is graduating with a BA in Philosophy and Sport & Recreation Management. In his time at UI, Jeremiah has volunteered both on and off campus, serving at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital and helping to create a haunted house at a local community center, among other efforts. He also represented the wrestling team at the Multicultural Focus Group, promoting campus initiatives, bringing in speakers on social justice topics, and providing networking opportunities for student-athletes. Jeremiah plans to compete for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

Maliya Rattliffe

Student Leadership Award Winner
Photo of Maliya Rattliffe

Maliya Rattliffe is a 2020 JD graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law. She has worked diligently throughout her law school tenure to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College of Law, the campus community, and the legal profession as a whole. Maliya served as 1L representative, Vice President, and treasurer of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). She also served as a facilitator in BSLA’s Street Law program.  Additionally, Maliya was a dedicated member of the law school’s DEI committee. As a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International, Maliya served as two term Vice President.  To culminate her experience at the College of Law, Maliya was elected by her classmates to serve as Graduation Chair of the Iowa Student Bar Association, where she led the planning and execution of commencement activities. Upon graduation, Maliya will relocate to Minneapolis, MN where she will work as a litigation associate at Fox Rothschild, LLP.

Alexia Sanchez

Student Leadership Award Winner
Portrait of Alexia Sanchez.

Alexia Sanchez is graduating with a BA in Political Science and Social Justice, as well as a minor in Philosophy and Latina/o Studies. In her roles as an at-large senator for UI Student Government, as the UISG student life committee chair, and as a residence hall assistant, she has overseen many student life initiatives, including co-chairing the 2019 “I’m the First” First Generation Summit and the creation of the Latinx Living Learning Community, UNIDOS. She also served as the undergraduate representative for the charter committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion; as an Iowa Edge peer leader; and as a regular participant in recruitment and retention programs. Alexia currently serves as the President of the Council 308 of the League of United Latin American Citizens, and interns with the UI Center for Human Rights. She will be working for Schabel Solutions in Des Moines.

 

Recipients for the Student Leadership Awards are chosen through a competitive process. Congratulations to the other nominees!

They are as follows: Jose Duran, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, Ashley Morrow, and Joshua Yem.