Outstanding Graduating Undergraduate:
Olivia Juntila - Outstanding 2012 Undergraduate student
Olivia C. Juntila came to Northern Michigan University as a transfer student from the University of Michigan in 2009 as a Premedical / Physiology Biology major and proved to be one of the most successful scholar-athletes this campus has ever served. While maintaining an impeccable academic record, Olivia was also an integral member of the NMU Women’s Track Team and the Varsity Cross Country, where she served as Captain. Not satisfied with “only” being an accomplished scholastic academic and decorated athlete, Olivia participated in an undergraduate research project and was involved in the organization and maintenance of a transgenic mouse colony used for neuromuscular disease studies. Olivia’s active participation in activities on and off campus seemingly knew no bounds. Olivia was a member of NMU Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the NMU Pre-Medical Club, and she volunteered for Big Brothers /Big Sisters, and for Marquette General Hospital. Olivia’s successes have not gone unnoticed, as she was named All-Academic NCAA Track Athlete, received the Physician Alumni Scholarship, became an Alpha Epsilon Delta Inductee, and was admitted to the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society. Olivia’s drive for perfection and her admirable personality can be summed up in a single incident: Olivia was asked whether, before a race, cross country athletes were supposed to be encouraged to run fast, or run hard. With a confident smile, and without missing a beat, she replied, “I run fast, and I run hard.” There is no doubt that Olivia Juntila will continue to take the world by storm as she pursues her career goal of becoming a Physician.Outstanding Graduate Student:
Vanessa Thibado, Master of Science, Biology, August 2011 Graduation
Faculty Mentor– Robert Winn, Ph.D.
Vanessa Thibado has been named the outstanding Graduating Graduate Student from the Department of Biology. Vanessa’s thesis “Methods to increase temozolomide sensitivity in glioblastoma multiforme manipulating PARP-1 and MGMT” examined how DNA repair contributes to brain tumor resistance to treatment. This work may open the door to new avenues of treatment, particularly treatments that function to damage the tumor DNA. Vanessa presented her work at the international PARP conference in Zurich, Switzerland, won the award for outstanding Graduate Student Poster at the NMU Celebration of Student Research and was awarded nearly $5,000 dollars in awards to support her work. Additionally, Vanessa was active on campus as a member of the Provost’s student leadership team and as a student representative to the academic senate. Currently Vanessa is exploring the role of the immune system in cancer treatment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.