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2021 Presidential and Distinguished Student Awards Winners

May 04, 2021

  • Top (L-R) Marissa Brezgiel, Byanca Sanchez and Crystal Mendez; Bottom (L-R) Kate Creecy, Caylee Gibson and Clara Aguirre

Phyllis Kate Creecy of Denton has been selected to receive Angelo State University’s 2021 Presidential Award as the top graduate in her class, while five other ASU graduating seniors have been selected for 2021 Distinguished Student Awards from their respective academic colleges.

Creecy will be recognized at ASU’s May 14-15 commencement ceremonies, along with the five Distinguished Student Award honorees. The Distinguished Student Award recipients are:

ASU’s Academic Excellence Committee hosted an awards ceremony May 3 in the Houston Harte University Center to honor all the award recipients and nominees. Each was presented a recognition plaque by ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr.

Kate Creecy Kate CreecyCreecy was nominated by the Department of Communication and Mass Media. A member of the ASU Honors Program, she is a double major in communication and political science with dual minors in Spanish and business administration. She will graduate with Highest University Honors after electing to complete an honors thesis. Creecy received numerous scholarships to support her studies, including the Carr Distinguished Scholarship, Honors Program Scholarship and Alvin New Family Honors Scholarship. Her academic accomplishments merited induction into the Alpha Chi and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies, as well as the Lambda Pi Eta national communication honor society, Pi Gamma Mu national social sciences honor society, and Alpha Mu Gamma national foreign language honor society. She earned the Honors Program Director’s Award after representing the program at several prestigious national conferences, including the U.S. Military Academy Student Conference on U.S. Affairs and the Presidential Fellows Program of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, as well as serving as president of the Honors Student Association, and presenting at several regional and national honors conferences.

Creecy also interned in Washington, D.C., with Congressman Mike Conaway’s Office in summer 2019 and with the Texas Alliance for Life in Austin in summer 2020. She also participated in the McLane Reading Group, was a producer for Ram TV, hosted a weekly political talk show on Ram Radio, and served as a RamsConnect leader for the Admissions Office. She was an active member of Rams for Christ and founded a Press Conference Simulation Program and a Non-Competitive Mock Trial Program for students. After graduation, Creecy will begin law school and plans to pursue a career in law and political advocacy.

Clara Aguirre Clara AguirreClara Aguirre of Refugio was nominated by the Department of Nursing. She is a nursing major with a minor in psychology. She received the Carr Presidential Transfer Scholarship and the Hilcorp Future Leaders of America Scholarship, and she earned induction into the Angelo State University Nursing Honor Society. At ASU, she participated in the Student Nurses Association, served on the Nursing Department Curriculum Committee, and represented the university as a RAMbassador. After graduation, Aguirre will begin her nursing career as a new graduate nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center–Hillcrest in Waco.

Crystal Mendez Crystal MendezCrystal Mendez of San Angelo, a Central High School graduate, was nominated by the Department of English and Modern Languages. She is a Spanish major with all-level teaching certification. She received the ASU Modern Languages Scholarship and the Mildred Caroll Wiseman Scholarship. Her academic performance merited induction into the Alpha Chi and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies, as well as the Alpha Mu Gamma national foreign language honor society. She was a member of the Association of Mexican American Students and the Ram Band Color Guard, and she served as a judge at the ASU Foreign Language Competition. Mendez plans to pursue a career in teaching Spanish at the high school level after graduation.

Byanca Sanchez Byanca SanchezByanca Sanchez of Canadian was nominated by the Department of Teacher Education. She graduated in December 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies degree with teacher certification in early childhood through grade 6. She earned induction into the Alpha Chi and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies, as well as the Kappa Delta Pi international honor society in education and Alpha Mu Gamma national foreign language honor society. Sanchez received multiple scholarships, including the Carr Earn-in Scholarship, Miers Family Education Scholarship and Sandra Deal Memorial Scholarship. She served as vice president for ASU’s chapter of Kappa Delta Pi and president of ASU’s Texas Classroom Teachers Association chapter. Sanchez currently works as a librarian at Glenmore Elementary School in San Angelo, but plans to move into teaching and pursue graduate studies in counseling and educational administration.

Marissa Brezgiel Marissa BrezgielMarissa Brezgiel of Frisco was nominated by the Department of Biology. She is a biology major with dual minors in chemistry and business administration, and she will graduate with High University Honors after completing the Honors Program requirements. She received the Carr Academic Scholarship, Honors Program Scholarship, Krystal Pfluger Scott Scholars Soccer Scholarship, and the Drs. Nusrat and Moulali Shaik Scholarship to support her studies. She also received an ASU Undergraduate Faculty-Mentored Research Grant to pursue advanced research in microbiology. Aside from her academic success, Brezgiel also excelled as a player for the ASU Rambelles soccer team. She was selected to the Lone Star Conference Commissioner’s Honors Roll each of her four years, as well as the LSC All-Academic Team in 2018 and 2021. She also earned second-team LSC All-Conference honors in 2017. She served as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and was active in both the Honors Student Association and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Brezgiel will begin studies at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine this fall.

Caylee Gibson Caylee GibsonCaylee Gibson of San Angelo, a Central High School graduate, was nominated by the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance. She is completing the five-year program to earn Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Professional Accountancy degrees in just four years, while also completing the Honors Program curriculum. She received the Carr Excellence Scholarship, Honors Program Scholarship, Alvin New Family Honors Scholarship, Armstrong Backus Scholarship, and Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of CPAs Scholarship. She earned induction to the Phi Kappa Phi national honor society and also received the Accounting Excellence Award from the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. She interned at the Oliver, Rainey & Wojtek accounting firm in San Angelo and served on ASU’s Norris-Vincent College of Business Student Advisory Board. She actively participated in the Honors Student Association, worked as a student assistant for the Honors Program, served as a student board member for Angelo Civil Theater, and volunteered for the Adult Literacy Council. Gibson currently works in the Accounting Services Department at Oliver, Rainey & Wojtek. She plans to sit for the CPA and CFP exams and eventually pursue a career in financial planning.

Additional Award Nominees

Lauren Brooks of Liberty Hill was nominated by the Department of Psychology and Sociology. A double major in psychology and exercise science, she plans to enter ASU’s Master of Science in Counseling Psychology degree program this fall.

Cheyenne Hibbitts of Brackettville was nominated by the Department of Physics and Geosciences. A geoscience major and member of the ASU Honors Program, she will pursue a Ph.D. in earth and environmental sciences at Michigan State University.

Tyler Kornegay of George West was nominated by the David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (B.S.C.E.) degree in December 2020 and is pursuing a graduate degree in engineering at Texas A&M University.

Taylor Parmer of Iraan was nominated by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. A chemistry major, she will enter the Master of Science in forensic science program at Sam Houston State University this fall.

Taylor Tomlinson of Christoval was nominated by the Department of Management and Marketing. A marketing major, he plans to enter ASU’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program this fall.