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Robins Awards: Nutrition Science Major Given Highest Honor

Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013

USU Robins Award ceremony award presentation, Male Athlete of the Year

Football running back Kerwynn Williams accepts a Robins award for Male Athlete of the Year. Samantha Behl photo (from the Utah Statesman Online)

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.

Robins Awards: Nutrition Science Major Given Highest Honor

By Tmera Bradley, staff writer, in The Utah Statesman, Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It was an evening celebrating a 65-year old tradition. The stage in the TSC Ballroom sparkled with formal gowns and the reflective glass of shiny triangular trophies. USU students and faculty were recognized for their achievements at this year’s annual Robins Awards on Friday night.

University President Stan Albrecht awarded the highest honor, the Bill E. Robins Memorial Award, to nutrition science major Matthew Petersen.

“It’s an award that is given to a student who has contributed four years of their time here at Utah State serving others and being involved in leadership positions and getting good grades,” said Traditions Director Sloan Bailey. “So overall, it’s probably the biggest award of the night.”

Petersen has been on the dean’s list for seven semesters. He has been involved in many programs during his time at college including USU Honors, USU Athletics Tutoring, Pre-med Club, Best Buddies and Undergraduate Research Fellows Program.

“My biggest achievement has definitely been being involved in undergraduate research,” Petersen said. “It’s offered me opportunities to represent the university across the nation and in the world as well as bringing research to Utah State.”

Petersen said he is currently researching patient’s views on healthcare and nutrition. His studies include collecting data through interviews and surveys from local medical patients and comparing the results against national data to find out how Cache Valley differs from the rest of the country.

Bill E. Robins was a member of Sigma Nu and USU’s student body president in 1949. He envisioned the plan for what the Taggart Student Center is today. Robins and his wife Geraldine died in a plane crash in 1954, leaving behind their one-year old son. Robin’s fraternity started the fund, dedicating it to the memory and legacy Robins left behind.

Other awards given at the ceremony include Organization of the Year to the Huntsman Scholars, Achievement of the Year to Helicon West and the Val R. Christensen Service Award to Kyle Niedrich.

Woman of the Year was awarded to Kristin Ladd, a graduate student working toward a master of arts degree in American studies, while economics and finance major Steven Gould won Man of the Year. The candidates for these awards are nominated by fellow students.

“I think it’s a really important event at Utah State just because it recognizes faculty, staff students for all of their hard work and dedication to the school,” Bailey said. “Just to become a finalist is such a big deal within itself. It’s just a really great way to recognize everyone for all that they do.”

Along with recognizing students and faculty in academic categories, the ceremony also awarded students in the arts and athletics departments. Vocalist and musician Elizabeth Nelson won Talent of the Year, while Natalie Norris of soccer and Kerwynn Williams of football received awards as Female and Male Athletes of the Year.

“It was a great evening,” Bailey said. “It was really great to see so many faculty and advisors and students and staff come out and support their fellow members in such a great way.”

Peterson said he felt lucky to be a finalist for the top award with his fellow nominees Christian Orr, Trevor Lund and Erik Mikkelsen.

“It was unbelievable,” Petersen said. “It’s an honor to be recognized for four years of accomplishment, four biggest years of my life, and to be recognized for the things I’ve done. I was up with some incredible people, and so I was honored to be in their presence.”

The winners from each category were awarded on stage with a glass trophy as a symbol of their achievement.

“Oh, it is going to have a place of honor on my mantle,” Petersen said. “As soon as I get a mantle.”

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