Two University of Wyoming students have earned the honor of outstanding graduating woman and outstanding graduating man.

Courtesy University of Wyoming
Courtesy University of Wyoming

Kimberly Sanchez, of Cheyenne, received the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award established in 1964 to recognize the qualities leadership, academic integrity and citizenship.

Vikram Singh, of Bangalore, India, is the recipient of the Tobin Award based on academic excellence and achievement, service to the university, participation and leadership in the community and campus activities as well as citizenship qualities.

Singh says Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” has been the guiding principle in his life.

“I came to the United States in spring of 2012 – a skinny Indian kid with a pocketful of dreams,” says Singh. “I pursued every opportunity I could find, always prioritizing the learning experience over grades.”

Sanchez was selected as a McNair Scholar, and spent the fall of 2014 in Khankh, Mongolia, where she taught English to K-12 students and worked on her second research project.

Singh received an Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research grant in 2014 and studied supermassive black holes in the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy. He is in Astronomy Professor Mike Brotherton’s graduate-level cosmology class and collaborates on Brotherton’s research projects.

Courtesy University of Wyoming
Courtesy University of Wyoming

“Vikram is a very special student, one that comes along rarely,” says Brotherton. “He is comparable to the best 3-4 students I’ve worked closely with over the past two decades.”

Sanchez was on the UW honor rolls each semester until she graduated in fall 2015 with a 3.8 GPA and dual majors in anthropology and Russian, as well as a minor in the Honors Program. She served as a GEAR UP peer mentor, a College of Arts and Sciences student ambassador and Central Committee undergraduate representative, an AmeriCorps volunteer, and filled various multicultural roles.

Sanchez also served on the planning committees for the annual Shepard Symposium on Social Justice and Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue.

“She has gone beyond classroom work by seizing every opportunity available to an undergraduate for research training and international experience,” says Lin Poyer, professor in the UW Department of Anthropology.

Sanchez will attend the University of Michigan in the fall to begin fully-funded doctorate work. She was accepted into several doctoral programs at the University of Cambridge, University of Georgia and the University of Michigan.

Singh, an active, accomplished member of many recognized student organizations, interned at one of the world’s leading astrophysics institutes, JIVE, last summer. He used the world’s largest telescope array to study exotic radio galaxies.

“When I was searching for colleges, I didn’t even know that a place called Wyoming existed,” says Singh. “Fast forward four years, and it has become my home.”

“UW endowed me with opportunities to explore the world and empowered me to become the change I wanted to see,” says Singh.

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