CSU, Chico News

Rawlins Merit Award Reception Will Honor Outstanding Students

Date: 10-08-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Cassandra Jones
Public Affairs

Eighteen California State University, Chico students with major achievements in the classroom and community will be honored Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the 31st annual Rawlins Merit Award Reception at 4 p.m. in Colusa Hall.

Audrey Denney, who received the award in 2005 and now teaches in CSU, Chico’s College of Agriculture, will be this year’s speaker at the event.

Denney, who has served as a lecturer and the outreach coordinator for the College of Agriculture for the past three years, says of the award: “It was an incredible honor to receive that award in college. At the time, I was waiting tables at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company to pay for school, and the scholarship made my life a lot easier financially. It allowed me to finish up my college and really be able to focus on my classes.”

Kelli Wildman is one of this year’s recipients, nominated by mechanical and mechatronic engineering professor Ramesh Varahamurti. She is a mechatronic engineering student and a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and Society of Women Engineers, and has served as president of the American Institute of Mechatronic Engineers at CSU, Chico.

“Kelli is an extremely driven student who is able to manage school, work, and extracurricular club activities while maintaining over a 3.7 GPA,” said Varahamurti.

Cecilia Fernández is another recipient, nominated by history professor Stephen Lewis. She is a double major in health science and Latin American studies. She has a part-time job and an internship, and also works 10 hours per week as a peer advisor in the Study Abroad office.

The Rawlins Merit Award is one of the largest, oldest and most prestigious scholarship programs in the history of the University, and is named in honor of Lt. Robert Merton Rawlins, who died piloting a B-29 over Tokyo Bay during World War II. Mrs. Fern Rawlins had three sons who served in WW II, and one, Robert, who did not return. Wishing to leave a legacy in the name of her son, she established the Lieutenant Robert Merton Rawlins Merit Award endowment in 1981 to honor him.

Including this year’s awards, more than $1 million in scholarships has gone to 923 CSU, Chico students. Each award winner receives $3,000.

Faculty members nominate students. Recipients are selected on the basis of scholarship, involvement in extracurricular activities, and professionally related and academic accomplishments.

This special celebration is part of The Chico Experience Week, Oct. 5–14. For more information on TCEW events, visit http://www.csuchico.edu/chicoexperience/index.shtml.