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Top Ten Scholars Award

2017 Top Ten Scholars Award Ceremony, Alumni Association, Allison Corona photo.

2017 Top Ten Scholars Award Ceremony, Alumni Association, Allison Corona photo.


Presented by the Boise State Alumni Association and Boise State Honors College, the Top Ten Scholar Award is the highest academic honor 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.


2017 Honorees

Jennifer Domanowski, Top Ten Scholar, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla Grover


Degree: Bachelor of Science in materials science and engineering with a certificate in elementary Korean
Future Plans: Work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as an engineer in the Materials Engineering Branch.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Harold Ackler, Clinical Associate Professor, Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering

Read More About Jennifer

Jennifer, a member of the Boise State Honors College, came to Boise State to swim for the women’s swimming and diving team. She has been named a Division I Mountain West Scholar-Athlete and a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American. In addition, she has served as national corresponding secretary for the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and is president of the Boise State chapter.

Jennifer began her relationship with NASA in 2014, holding internships at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in the Failure Analysis & Metallurgy Branch and the NASA Glenn Research Center in the Materials & Structures Division. Shortly thereafter in 2015, she became a Pathways Intern at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the Materials Engineering Branch. Jennifer has worked there every summer since and will continue to work there full-time post-graduation.

Jennifer’s excitement and love of space and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education has sparked her activity in many other communities at Boise State, including the Idaho Space Grant Consortium, the College of Engineering Peer Ambassador program, and the Undergraduate Materials Lab, where she has served as assistant lab manager and as a learning assistant for introductory courses.

Jennifer was also recently recognized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Aviation Week as part of the 20 Twenties, an award that honors twenty STEM students across the globe as the top leaders in the aerospace industry.

Jennifer is from Arlington, Washington.

Cynthia England, Top Ten Scholar, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverCYNTHIA ENGLAND

Degree: Bachelor of Science in anthropology, Bachelor of Business Administration in entrepreneurship management and a minor in Native American studies
Future Plans: Serve as an NGO Advisor with the Peace Corps in Eastern Europe.
Honored Faculty: Dr. John P. Ziker, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology

Read More About Cynthia

Cynthia, finding great value in volunteering, has sought out opportunities to give back while at Boise State. She has traveled to Belize through the Global Citizenship and Social Responsibility class offered through the Boise State Honors College. While in Belize, she taught classes at a primary school and improved school facilities. She has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House.

Cynthia’s altruistic service has also benefited the Boise State campus through her various leadership positions. She has represented the Department of Anthropology as a peer ambassador and is the current president of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. She is also a member of the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society.

In the fall of 2014, Cynthia began her volunteer experience with the Tunnel of Oppression, a 20-30-minute interactive theater where participants walk through different scenes designed to display oppression of marginalized groups. Its inspiration came from the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and is directed, written and performed by Boise State students. Her work on the Tunnel of Oppression motivated her to begin working for Multicultural Student Services as a program assistant.

Cynthia’s role as the director of the Eagle Saturday Market and her research projects in business, anthropology and Native American studies have provided opportunities to apply her education in real-world practice.

Cynthia is from Boise, Idaho.

Katie Hollar, Top Ten Scholar, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverKATHERINE HOLLAR

Degree: Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering
Future Plans: Obtain a Master of Science in mechanical engineering with a research emphasis in biomedical engineering.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Trevor Lujan, Professor, Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering

Read More About Katherine

During her time at Boise State, Katie has been immersed in academics, student organizations and community involvement. For the past two years, Katie has worked as a research assistant for Dr. Trevor Lujan in the Northwest Tissue Mechanics Lab. At this lab, she helped develop an original software, called OrthoRead, to quickly and cost-effectively assess fracture healing in radiographs. Due to her contribution, she became a co-author in a Journal of Orthopaedic Research publication.

Katie has also independently created an imaging technique to measure surface wear in polymer liners of joint prosthesis, which may transform how new implant materials are evaluated. This work was selected as a finalist for the Bachelor of Science student paper competition at a 2016 national conference and she will be the first author on a research publication that details this novel imaging procedure this spring.

In addition to research, Katie serves as an officer in the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the Society of Women Engineers and as a College of Engineering Peer Ambassador. Through these positions, she has worked to inspire female students to explore engineering. She is also a volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, where for the past two years she has helped distribute food to low-income Boise residents.

Because of her commitment to learning and community service, Katie has been the recipient of several scholarships, including the prestigious Boise State Alumni Legacy Scholarship and Idaho Northwest Society of Women Engineers Scholarship.

Katie is from Boise, Idaho.

Lauren Hosek, Biomolecular Research Center, INBRE, Summer Research Fellows, studio portrait, Photo by Priscilla GroverLAUREN L. HOSEK

Degree: Bachelor of Science in biology with an emphasis in human biology.
Future Plans: Attend medical school to pursue a career as a physician.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Don Warner, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Read More About Lauren

As an active member of the Boise State Honors College, Lauren has served as a peer mentor for the past three years and currently sits on the Honors College Advisory Board.

Lauren is the current chapter director of Strive for College, an organization she joined as a freshman that mentors high school students through their college application process. She has helped expand the program from 19 college mentors the first semester to 250 college mentors the following year and has personally mentored four high school students herself. She has also served as the CEO of the American Red Cross Club where she organized blood drives throughout the year.

Lauren began her research in Dr. Cornell’s biochemistry lab, testing the effectiveness of drug candidates on Giardia and Entamoeba enzymes via UV Vis spectroscopy. After completing her organic chemistry classes and receiving the 2015 Organic Chemistry Student of the Year award, she was hired as a summer research assistant in Dr. Warner’s organic chemistry lab where she synthesized anticancer analogs targeting metastatic breast cancer. Since then, Lauren has spent over 1,300 hours in the lab and will present at seven research conferences, including two national conferences. She is co-authoring a manuscript anticipated to be submitted by June 2017.

Lauren spends her time shadowing physicians and volunteering with hospice patients in order to gain experience with patient care.

Lauren is from Eagle, Idaho.

Junlin Huang, Top Ten Scholar, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla Grover


Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration in accountancy
Future Plans: Obtain a Master of Science in accountancy-taxation and sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam.
Honored Faculty: Mark Cowan, Professor, Department of Accountancy

Read More About Junlin

Junlin has immersed herself in the College of Business and Economics, serving as an undergraduate learning assistant for the Department of Accountancy, the CFO of Beta Alpha Psi, a mentor of junior accounting students and a tax intern at a local CPA firm. She is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Boise Young Professionals and the American Institute of CPAs. These experiences have provided opportunities for her to give back to Boise State and the Boise community through teaching, networking, mentoring and volunteer services.

In addition to her co-curricular activities, Junlin has excelled academically. She was a recipient of the College of Business and Economics Scholarship and Clisby Edlefsen Business School Scholarship and has been on the Dean’s High Honor List each semester. As a graduate Junlin has been recognized as a Signature Student and Outstanding Graduate in the College of Business and Economics.

Junlin graduated in the fall of 2016 and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in accountancy-taxation from Boise State University. Starting this fall, she will be a graduate assistant for the College of Business and Economics.

Junlin is from China.

Riley Hunt, Top Ten Scholar, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverRILEY HUNT

Degree: Bachelor of Science in materials science and engineering and a minor in visual arts
Future Plans: Pursue a Master of Science in textile engineering to create sustainable sportswear for the athletic and outdoor industries.
Honored Faculty: Christopher Hyer M.S. Ed., Assistant Director, Honors College

Read More About Riley

Riley is the fourth member of her family to graduate from Boise State University, following in the footsteps of her mother, Jennifer Hunt, a Top Ten Scholar in 1981 and two older sisters.

As an incoming student, she was awarded the highly competitive Thelma and Dean Brown Honors scholarship as well as a Laura Moore Cunningham scholarship.

While at Boise State Riley has been actively involved in undergraduate research for Dr. Claire Xiong, the Honors College and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. In addition, Riley has served as the marketing representative for the Honors Student Association and as a peer mentor for the Honors College.

Riley is a member of the Girl Scout Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Taskforce and served as a facilitator for the Visions Program for the Girl Scouts at Whittier Elementary in Boise. Through these avenues, she hopes to encourage young girls to pursue STEM opportunities and careers.

During her semester abroad in New Zealand, Riley volunteered in Fiji to aid in the conservation of sea turtles and other marine life. This experience deepened her interest in using materials science and engineering to further the sustainability of everyday objects.

Riley is from Eagle, Idaho.

Amanda Lofthus, Top Ten Scholar, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverAMANDA J. LOFTHUS

Degree: Bachelor of Science in biology with an emphasis in ecology
Future Plans: Obtain a Master of Science in biology with a focus on ecology and conservation.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Jesse Barber, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Read More About Amanda

Amanda is a member of the Boise State Honors College. She is also a recipient of the Brown Honors Scholarship, a Boise Cascade Environmental Research Fellowship and an EPSCoR MURI Fellowship. Additionally, she has presented her research at both Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research and Boise State’s Undergraduate Research Conference.

As a sophomore, Amanda joined the Barber Sensory Ecology Lab at Boise State, where she assists with field and laboratory-based projects and conducts her own research. Her current projects include aerial hunting in a species of gleaning bat and how noise affects bat foraging.

Amanda has also worked on conservation projects internationally; in 2015 she was a volunteer scuba diver for the organization Conservation Cambodia, helping to conduct reef cleanup dives, construct an artificial coral reef, and teach English at the local school. During her first year, she participated in a Fort Worth Zoo conservation expedition in the British Virgin Islands focused on the critically endangered Anegada iguana. Locally, she volunteers at the Aquarium of Boise, assisting with animal husbandry and talking with guests about the exhibits and the importance of marine conservation.

Through Boise State-sponsored classes, Amanda has had the opportunity to participate in a dive service trip to Roátan, Honduras and a service learning experience at Chan Chen Elementary School in Belize.

Amanda is from Nampa, Idaho.

Chantal Martinez portraitCHANTAL MARTINEZ

Degree: Bachelor of Science in psychology
Future Plans: Obtain a Doctor of Philosophy degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Florida International University
Honored Faculty: Cynthia G. Campbell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Science

Read More About Chantal

Chantal’s primary focus in her undergraduate career has been her research, having worked in Dr. Campbell’s Family Research Lab and Dr. Honts Eye-Detection Deception Lab. Additionally, as a McNair scholar, her independent research under the mentorship of Dr. Hardy and Dr. Honts, focuses on how unique personal characteristics influence social networking site preferences. Chantal has presented her research at multiple undergraduate and professional conferences across the United States and is publishing her work in the 2017 McNair Scholars Research Journal.

Beyond research, Chantal has been a teaching assistant for three different psychology courses, a student mentor at a local elementary school and a volunteer at a local nonprofit that provides job training for people facing employment barriers.

Chantal is the recipient of the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship, the Boise State Department of Psychology Scholarship and the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Summer Fellowship.

Chantal has competed in multiple National Physique Committee (NPC) shows on both the local and national level, having placed first on two occasions.

Chantal is from Boise, Idaho

Oceane Pelloille, Top Ten Scholars, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverOCÉANE PELLOILLE

Degree: Bachelor of Science in political science and minors in nonprofit management and American Sign Language
Future Plans: Create a nonprofit organization aimed at creating schools in less-developed countries.
Honored Faculty: Nicole Bird, Head Coach of Women’s Golf

Read More About Océane

Océane came to Boise State from France after receiving a four-year scholarship to play on the Women’s Golf Team. An Academic All-American athlete, she currently serves as part of the leadership team for the Student Athlete Association Committee (SAAC). As part of SAAC, she led the community event committee with the goal of engaging fellow athletes in community service. She also co-led the creation of a personal development program for children in Title I schools.

Océane participated in the Boise State Student Involvement and Leadership Center’s Partnership Jamaica, serving on a team of students who built and reconstructed parts of schools in Jamaica. She has also volunteered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and has interned at Make-A-Wish Idaho. From that experience, she created the “Wish Makers on Campus” club to increase awareness about Make-A-Wish Idaho on campus by organizing fundraising events. She currently serves as president.

Through the School of Public Service Océane has pursued an independent study seeking to explain the variables that impact the low education level and high inequality in Chile, Brazil and Mexico. She used comparative analysis to explore the success and challenges within each country. In addition, her capstone project involved researching and analyzing variables that influence access to primary education in Guatemala.

Océane is fluent in three languages: English, French and American Sign Language with intermediate fluency in Spanish.

Océane is from Orléans, France.

Samantha Wicks portraitSAMANTHA WICKS

Degree: Bachelor of Science in health sciences, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a minor in psychology
Future Plans: Pursue a Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of Minnesota and work as a physical therapist in Central and South America.
Honored Faculty: Dr. Scott Conger, Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Read More About Samanta

Read more about SamanthaSam competed as a member of the Boise State Swimming and Diving team for four years and was a team captain for her final season. During three of those years, she represented Boise State at the NCAA championship meet. Sam received All-Mountain West honors for each semester she participated, is a three-time Mountain West Scholar-Athlete and was named the 2016 Mountain West Swimmer of the Year. Sam is a three-time Scholastic All-American and was named to the 2016 Academic All-American Third Team. She finished her swimming career at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Sam now works with the Boise State Swimming team as a volunteer.

Sam spent the fall 2016 semester studying in Costa Rica where she advanced her fluency in Spanish. The time spent living in Costa Rica has influenced her plans for the future. Sam is currently in a program off-campus to become a certified Spanish medical interpreter so she can work with Spanish-speaking people.

Sam has been a part of her church’s nursery staff for the past four years, working with children from the local area each Sunday. She has been a lead in the nursery since returning from Costa Rica. Sam has also worked as a swim instructor for a local swim team, as a technique mentor at the swim camps sponsored by the Boise State Swim Team and has filled in as a coach for the Master’s Team. She was a research assistant for a National Science Foundation-funded project in the Department of Educational Technology.

Sam is from Anchorage, Alaska.