Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

Top Ten Scholar Award

2018 Top Ten Scholar Award Recipients, photo by Allison Corona

2018 Top Ten Scholar Award Honorees

Presented by the Boise State Alumni Association and Boise State Honors College, the Top Ten Scholar Award is one of the highest academic honors granted to a Boise State University undergraduate student. Each spring the recipients are recognized, along with their honored faculty, at the annual Top Ten Scholars Award Ceremony.

Top Ten Scholars are the best of the best and serve as inspirations for their fellow students. To qualify for consideration, the student must have a 3.8 or higher grade point average and be nominated by their respective deans. Each student is then rigorously reviewed based on academic breadth of coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations at professional meetings or conferences, and community and campus service.

Fast Facts About the 2018 Honorees

  • Represent five of Boise State University’s colleges, including three double majors
  • An all-academic track and field athlete
  • Speak Spanish, French
  • Published in academic journals
  • Served as Student Body President
  • Have been accepted into a top medical school
  • Have worked in student organizations such as The Bee Team, The Boise State Refugee Alliance, Honors College Student Association, Fraternities and sororities, Boise State Student Media, The Economics Association, Space Broncos
  • Studied Abroad in Costa Rica, Spain, England, Iceland
  • Founded a student program about sexual assault and consent training to better the Boise State community
  • Have taught debate to Idaho inmates to improve their communication and advocacy skills
  • Have volunteered at many organizations throughout the Boise Community


2018 Honorees

Micah Buckmiller, Top Ten Scholars, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla Grover


Degree: Bachelor of science in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry
Future Plans: Become a practicing physician in his hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Andrew Finstuen, Dean of the Boise State University Honors College and Interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies

Read More About Micah

Micah’s first home on campus was the Honors College, where his involvement led to serving as a peer mentor, president of Honors Community House Osprey, and a member on the Honors College Advisory Board. These responsibilities gave Micah the experience, knowledge, and opportunity to grow, while the Honors faculty and staff provided the mentorship, connections, and support to succeed.

Micah’s second home on campus came when he was a junior in the fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi. The fraternity presented him with the opportunity for additional leadership roles, and a strong community of friends and mentors to guide him as he transitions to post-graduate life.

Micah has also been involved in research with Dr. Matthew Ferguson on the expression of a genome, with an anticipated submission for publication in May 2018. He also serves on the Boise State University Conduct Board, studied abroad at Oxford University, volunteers at both the Friendship Clinic and Heart n’ Home Hospice, and spoke at the Boise State Capital Scholars Dinner.

Micah is from Sandpoint, Idaho.

Andres Correa, McNair, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla Grover


Degree: Bachelor of science in materials science and engineering with minors in physics, mathematics and applied mathematics
Future Plans: Obtain a doctorate of philosophy in electrical engineering at Princeton University, applying and developing theoretical and computational techniques in the area of nanophotonics.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Lan Li, Assistant Professor, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering

Read More About Andres

During his first year at Boise State, Andres joined the Materials Theory and Modeling Group which led to an internship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland for two summers. Andres has co-authored three publications and as a McNair Scholar he has conducted research funded by the National Science Foundation, advancing knowledge in quantum computing by helping design chromophore-DNA scaffolding networks and presenting at multiple conferences.

Boise State’s TRIO Upward Bound program helped Andres get into college, which led him to the TRIO Rising Scholars (TRS) program. He was a TRS peer mentor for low-income, first-generation college students, like himself, which allowed him to assist their transition to college.Through TRIO, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Pacification, Andres has advocated for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students pursuing STEM degrees, particularly in engineering.

A recipient of numerous prestigious scholarships at Boise State, he has also received the NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2015 and 2016, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Summer Institute Research Fellowship in 2017 and a 2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Fellowship. He is part of the Finish in Four program and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Andres is from Nampa, Idaho.

Micah Buckmiller, Top Ten Scholars, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla Grover


Degree: Bachelor of arts in communication with an emphasis in digital media and journalism and a minor in sociology
Future Plans: Become a Title IX lawyer to advocate for underrepresented and unheard voices.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Kelly Myers, Assistant Professor, Department of English and Project Director, Boise State Beyond the Major Initiative

Read More About Sienna

Sienna is known as a leader and catalyst for institutional change. During her junior year, she directed notsilentbecause, a public service announcement that aired during the final Boise State football game of the 2016 season to raise awareness about the importance of consent and to advocate for sexual assault survivors. Following its airing, Sienna spent time at Duke University to learn more about bystander intervention and Title IX proceedings. Selected as a Stanford University Innovation Fellow, Sienna joined a global network of students to institute change in higher education.

Sienna was elected student body president in spring 2017 on her ability to create institutional change and her platform, “Students are our greatest asset.” As president, Sienna raised more than $25,000 to create the first-ever, on-campus food pantry and food cupboard network, prioritizing nutrition to combat food insecurity. With her team and The Inclusive Excellence Student Council, Sienna helped to pass constitutional amendments to create the inaugural vice president of inclusive excellence position in order to advocate on behalf of marginalized students in policy-making. Sienna also led the creation of an advisory council of statewide student body presidents to advise and advocate for the student voice at the Idaho State Board of Education.

Sienna is from Boise, Idaho.

Anna Holdiman, Top Ten Scholars, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverANNA HOLDIMAN MCDONALD

Degree: Bachelor of science in psychological science with a certificate in elementary Spanish
Future Plans: Attend graduate school and become a bilingual speech pathologist.
Honored Faculty: Patrick McCurry, Assistant Track & Field and Cross Country Coach

Read More About Anna

Anna’s primary focus in her undergraduate career has been her research, working in Dr. Mary Pritchard’s Healthy Psychology Laboratory and Dr. April Masarik’s Human Development and Ecology Laboratory. Anna has presented her research at numerous psychology and linguistics research conferences. She also submitted a paper for publication to the international scholarly journal The Journal of Eating and Weight Disorders — Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, as first author. Participating in twenty-four credits of directed research, independent study, and completing a senior thesis class has made research the cornerstone of her degree.

Outside of research, Anna has been a teaching assistant for Dr. Kimberly Henderson. She has volunteered more than 220 hours for local nonprofit agencies that work with newly-settled refugees and English-language learners. These experiences deepened her desire to attend graduate school in speech-language pathology.

One of her most rewarding experiences has been her time as a student-athlete on Boise State University’s Cross Country and Track teams. She has earned Academic All-Mountain West honors each semester she participated. Additionally, she earned United States Track and Field Cross Country Association All-Academic honors in spring of 2017. Anna has competed on all three of Boise State’s national qualifying cross-country teams, and participated in the 2017 Outdoor Track and Field West Regionals in the steeplechase.

Anna is from Waverly, Iowa.

Karyn Levin, Top Ten Scholars, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverKARYN LEVIN

Degree: Bachelor of science in psychology and bachelor of science in criminal justice
Future Plans: Pursue a master of social work at Boise State and later advocate for victims’ rights in a clinical and legislative capacity.
Honored Faculty: Dr. R. Eric Landrum, Professor, Department of Psychological Science

Read More About Karyn

Karyn has been a member of the Boise State Honors College since her first year. She has held two internships, one with Boise neuropsychologist Dr. Craig Beaver, by whom she is now employed, and one with the Faces of Hope Victim Center. She has worked for Boise State both as an academic advisor and for the Educational Access Center. Karyn has held a role as a research assistant with Dr. R. Eric Landrum, working to start an education-based nonprofit organization.

Karyn has been greatly influenced by her service and her time spent abroad, namely with GIVE Volunteers where she spent a summer building water tanks in rural Thai and Laotian villages. She is a weekly volunteer at both Faces of Hope Victim Center and the Boise Rescue Mission. Karyn spent a spring break as a volunteer in Zion National Park with the Boise State Alternative Spring Break program.

Karyn was recently named Boise State’s 2017 Sorority Woman of the Year and held a position on the Panhellenic Executive Council. She was awarded second place at the President’s Writing Awards and has received several scholarships, including the Thelma Brown Honors College scholarship. Karyn was recently offered membership into Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s most selective honor society.

Karyn will be pursuing her master of social work degree starting this fall at Boise State and will be completing her first-year field placement with Planned Parenthood.

Karyn is from Portland, Oregon.


Degree: Bachelor of arts in social work and a minor in Spanish
Future Plans: To attend a post-baccalaureate institution to participate in earning a master of social work with a clinical concentration and a law degree.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Manda Hicks, Associate Professor, Director of Forensics, Department of Communication

Read More About Mackenzie

With two Boise State graduates as parents, Mackenzie was destined to attend Boise State University.

As a member of the Boise State Talkin’ Broncos Speech and Debate Team, she has helped the program claim two of four consecutive national championship titles and has obtained three individual national titles of her own. These awards include public forum debate titles and an extemporaneous speaking title. She placed first out of hundreds of student speakers from more than 80 schools.

Mackenzie has held several leadership positions during her time at Boise State, including the president and vice president of the Speech and Debate Team. Off campus, she was nominated by Idaho Senator Jim Risch to represent Idaho at the Henry Clay Collegiate Student Congress where she engaged in conversations of policy and humanitarianism. She was celebrated at the congress with an award for leading compromise in political conversations.

Mackenzie’s background as a member of the Talkin’ Broncos extends beyond the university through her service work. She works as a student interpreter with Project Laura, an immigration clinic focused on serving undocumented minors. She also developed the Prison Debate Initiative, which provides educational experiences and life skills to incarcerated individuals. Additionally, she serves as an intern for the Hunger Relief Task Force.

Mackenzie is from Boise, Idaho.

Makenize Peake, Signature Student, Econ, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla Grover


Degree: Bachelor of arts in quantitative economics and a minor in applied mathematics
Future Plans: Work as a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and later enter a Ph.D. program in economics.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Christine Loucks, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Economics

Read More About MaKenzie

During her undergraduate career at Boise State, MaKenzie has garnered a fair amount of academic and leadership skills through her participation in the Boise State Honors College as a peer mentor and academic assistant. She has been heavily involved with the College of Business and Economics, in particular as a mentor in the Department of Economics, and president and treasurer of the Boise State Economics Association.

Outside of Boise State, MaKenzie serves the Boise community as a youth leader at Foothills Christian Church, as a volunteer in bilingual classrooms at Whittier Elementary School and assisting local refugees with transportation needs. This past July, MaKenzie began employment as a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. This marks another step toward her goal of becoming a professional economist.

Throughout her academic career, MaKenzie has sought out research opportunities. She has been employed as a research assistant by three professors in the department of economics investigating the effects of student performance in online versus face-to-face classes. She also served as a research assistant for a project investigating the economic feasibility of building a nursing home in Council, Idaho.

Another valuable research experience came from MaKenzie’s internship with ECONorthwest, the largest consulting company in the northwest. She utilized her educational background in applied microeconomics, public policy and law, and economics to research and report on company projects.

MaKenzie is from Boise, Idaho.

Timothy Phero, Top Ten Scholars, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla Grover


Degree: Bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering
Future Plans: Pursue a master of science in materials science and engineering.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Krishna Pakala, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering

Read More About Timothy

During his time at Boise State University, Timothy, a first-generation college student, has served as an outreach leader for Space Broncos and volunteers with The Reuseum Educational Inc. to inspire, teach and support STEM education to Idaho’s children.

Timothy has also utilized engineering to help improve the quality of life of individuals with physical disabilities. He has designed and fabricated an assistive chairlift for a patient with muscular dystrophy and an arm orthosis for a patient with a joint disorder through his work with the Integrated Engineering Solutions Club and his senior design capstone project.

Beyond his community service, Timothy has had opportunities to experience research in various departments on campus. In his second year, he began his research career at the Boise Center Aerospace Laboratory in the Department of Geosciences. The following year, he worked at the High Performance Simulation Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering.

He is currently working at the Advance Materials Laboratory in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering where he is using finite element analysis to enable the development of a high-temperature heat exchanger, which will allow for higher efficiency power generation systems. His research will help with global efforts for increasing sustainability in energy production and consumption; an interest that was cultivated when he studied abroad in Iceland in the summer of 2017.

Timothy is from Boise, Idaho.

Jake Robertson, Top Ten Scholars, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverJAKE ROBERTSON

Degree: Bachelor of science in biology with a human emphasis and a bachelor of science in premedical studies with an emphasis in biology
Future Plans: Attend a top medical school in the fall to become a physician.
Honored Faculty: Julia Thom Oxford, Distinguished Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Director, Biomolecular Research Center

Read More About Jake

Jake’s passion for service began long before his arrival at Boise State University, spending 1,500 plus hours volunteering at foodbanks, homeless shelters and hospitals, serving meals at the Boise Rescue Mission and working as a pediatric-preop volunteer at St. Luke’s Health System.

During his time at Boise State, Jake has worked with Boise’s refugee population, tutoring junior high refugees, helping older refugees with job applications, and collaborating with campus organizations to share volunteer opportunities with students. Additionally, he is a contributor and launch-team member for an upcoming book detailing the bipartisan movement in communities across the country to aid refugees.

After completing an Urban Apiary internship, Jake helped found the Boise State Bee Team. In 2015, he became the vice president of community service for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, where he coordinated volunteer projects for hundreds of students.

As a founding member of the Plasma Medicine Vertically Integrated Project in the College of Innovation and Design, Jake collaborated with a diverse group of scientists to determine novel applications of a unique medical device. Recently, Jake led his own project to compile all known and properly documented germline-mutations of DICER1 Syndrome, a rare cancer-predisposition disorder affecting a close family member.

In his free time, he is, an award-winning pianist and guitarist, playing with local churches and campus bands, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Jake is from Fort Worth, Texas.

Jessica Rohm, Top Ten Scholars, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla Grover


Degree: Bachelor of business administration with an emphasis in international business and a bachelor of arts in Spanish
Future Plans: Work in international market development utilizing her second language, Spanish, as well as focus on continuing education.
Honored Faculty: Dr. John Bieter, Professor, Department of History

Read More About Jessica

Jessica has found great passion in business, culture and language over the course of her four years at Boise State. This passion first started when she studied abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica in the spring of 2016 where she lived with a host family and worked at a local elementary school teaching English.

Since returning from Costa Rica, Jessica has been working in the Center for Global Education where she is able to share her passion for studying abroad. During her last semester at Boise State, she was a Spanish conversation lab assistant in the World Language Resource Center facilitating language labs for lower-division Spanish students. Jessica also focused on applying her coursework to real-life situations during her internship in San Sebastian, Spain in the economics and marketing departments of the city’s Department of Culture.

The Boise State University Honors College colloquium reinforced her value of obtaining a diversified education. Jessica’s dedication to her coursework reflects in the honors she has received, including a College of Business and Economics Signature Student, a College of Arts and Sciences Peer Ambassador and a Dean’s List honoree for multiple semesters with highest honors.

Jessica has been involved on campus as the membership vice president for Alpha Xi Delta in 2017, attended the Alpha Xi Delta National Convention in Boston in 2015 and attended a recruitment training workshop in College Park, Maryland while at Boise State.

Jessica is from Phoenix, Arizona.