Frances B. Huston Award Recipients Announced

June 13, 2024

The Frances B. Huston Medallion Award recognizes 20 graduating seniors for excellence in academics, leadership, and service.

Frances Breitweg Huston was a professor at EWU for over twenty years, teaching English and English as a second language. A Washington native, Huston was known for her enduring generosity to students and lifelong commitment to education.

This award was established in 1998 by a gift from Mary Ann Nelson, EWU professor of English emerita, as a tribute to Huston. The medallion award program recognizes outstanding graduates and reflects Huston’s compassion and respect for what education can do for an individual and a community.

To apply for this award, students must:

  1. Be a graduating senior
  2. Have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement with a minimum of a 3.75 GPA in their previous four quarters
  3. Qualify for the award in one or more of the following areas: leadership, service to the university and/or service to the community.

The winners of the 2023-2024 Frances B. Huston Medallion Award are:

Brooke Allen, a Spokane local, majored in social work while at EWU. In the future, she plans to continue working with Family Centered Services for her advanced master’s of social work at Eastern. Her ultimate goal is to work with individuals facing challenges from substance use disorders and mental health disorders.
Heather Anderson earned her degree in healthcare administration and hopes to work with underserved populations. She plans to make an impact working with a healthcare organization in the Spokane area. Anderson is from Clarkston, Washington.
Irie Browning is from Spokane and obtained her degree in philosophy, with a minor in English literature. Starting in September, she will begin her PhD program in philosophy at the University of Oregon. She would like to become a professor.
Miranda Carmona majored in economics with a minor in mathematics. Carmona is from Spokane, Washington and plans to pursue a career as a data analyst.
Sendy Castañeda Zambrano majored in early childhood education with a SPED endorsement. Her future plans are to continue teaching. She is from Royal City, Washington.
Kiera Ann Condon, from Davenport, Washington, obtained degrees in political science and gender and women’s sexuality. Condon plans to continue fighting for reproductive rights, either lobbying with Planned Parenthood or with Dr. Bank in Washington D.C.
Angelica Cortes majored in data analytics with a minor in Spanish. After graduation, she will be working for AgWest Farm Credit in their enterprise risk management department. She is from Zillah, Washington.
Carson Desimone, from Spokane, obtained degrees in environmental science and geosciences. His future plans include working in his field of study performing geochemistry related research.
Alexander W. Dodson majored in psychology with minors in sexuality and queer studies and anthropology. This summer, Dodson plans to move to Chicago to pursue graduate school and further research social psychology. Dodson is from Chehalis, Washington.
Sofie Harris tripled majored in communication studies, Spanish, and teaching English as a second language (ESL). In the future, she plans to teach ESL to refugees and possibly teach abroad. Harris is from Spokane, Washington.
Siya Jahn, of Spokane, earned her degree in visual communication design with a user experience certificate. Jahn plans to collaborate to develop design solutions emphasizing organization, aesthetic appeal, and practical functionality, while tailoring to diverse audiences.
Brenden Johnson, from Spokane Valley, Washington, obtained his degree in mechanical engineering. He is currently pursuing a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Afterwards, Johnson plans to work in composite engineering.
Kaleigh Lafser obtained her elementary education degree with a track in literacy reading and writing, while minoring in communication studies. She plans to teach elementary school in the future and is from Royal City, Washington.
Simona Mateas earned her degree in dental hygiene. She plans to work in Tacoma, Washington, continuing to volunteer for nonprofits. Eventually, she plans to apply to the University of Washington’s school of dentistry. Mateas is from Issaquah, Washington.
Jacob Michaels is an exercise science major with a pre-physical therapy track, and a minor in communications. He hopes pursue graduate studies in physical therapy at Eastern in the future. Michaels is from Maple Valley, Washington.
Finnegan H. Syrie, from Cheney, majored in finance and minored in both economics and communications studies. This fall, Syrie will be attending the University of Washington to begin the master of science in real estate program. Once finished, he will work as an analyst in the commercial real estate industry with the goal of eventually starting his own commercial real estate company.
Laura Thomas obtained her degree in mathematics with a minor in sociology. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school and participate in educational outreach and service opportunities. Thomas is from Spokane, Washington.
Elizabeth “Ellie” Wagner majored in psychology with a minor in applied developmental psychology. She plans to take a gap year after graduation to gain hands-on professional experience. After which, she plans to attend graduate school and become a licensed school psychologist. Wagner is from Federal Way, Washington.
Thomas Walters majored in film and digital media and minored in queer studies. He was especially drawn to telling queer narratives through film. He plans to work in film productions, edit, and explore journalism through video essays, and would like to move to California and explore options for graduate school.
Tim Harrington is a nontraditional student originally from New Orleans. He graduated with a bachelor’s in history and political science. Harrington, who valued his courses in political philosophy and 20th Century history, is employed with Tyler Technologies, supporting government agencies by helping them better their constituent services.