LAWRENCE — Ten finalists have been selected for the 29th annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards at the University of Kansas. The finalists, nine seniors and one junior, will participate in the Homecoming parade at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, along Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. Two winners will be announced during halftime of the KU-Texas Tech Homecoming football game Oct. 26 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
The Ex.C.E.L. Award provides an annual $250 scholarship to two students. Nominees were selected on the basis of leadership, effective communication skills, involvement at KU and in the Lawrence community, academic scholarship and ability to work with a variety of students and organizations. The selection committee included representatives from Student Union Activities, the Board of Class Officers, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Homecoming Steering Committee.
The award was first given in 1991 to recognize two students for achievement. Names of winners are listed on a plaque on the fifth level of the Kansas Union. To be eligible, applicants must be full-time undergraduate students with an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Each finalist completed an application and participated in an interview. The finalists and their academic majors are listed below, along with highlights of their campus achievements.
Adrian Cisneros, a junior in sociology and women, gender & sexuality studies with a minor in social justice and leadership studies from Kansas City, Kansas, is vice president of programs for the Student Alumni Leadership Board and fine arts coordinator for Student Union Activities. They are an off-campus student senator and an information specialist for KU Info. They are an orientation coordinator for the Office of First-Year Experience and led orientation for International Support Services. They have coordinated programs for the Association of University Residence Halls, and they were a desk assistant for KU Student Housing.
Tiara Floyd, a senior in African-American studies with minors in German studies and political science from Junction City, is the 2019-’20 KU student body president. She served as chair of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee and director of policy and development for Student Senate, and she was a student representative in University Senate. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority and the Black Student Union, and she served as chair of diversity and inclusion at Douthart Scholarship Hall. She interned at the Kansas Legislature and worked as an administrative assistant at a law firm in Manhattan. She received the KU Black Alumni Network Impact Award in 2019.
Jessica Guardiola, a senior in political science and history with a minor in women, gender & sexuality studies from Hesston, is president of the Student Alumni Leadership Board. She was a student senator and secretary of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee. She interned at the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica for U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran in Washington, D.C., and at Axiom Strategies, a political consulting firm in Kansas City. She is an assistant in immigration law at Treviño Law Office in Lawrence, and she volunteered with the Human Rights Brigade in Panana in 2016.
Abbey Greenberg, a senior in business administration and international business from Oak Park, California, is president of Student Union Activities and serves as an executive committee member of the KU Memorial Unions Corporation Board. She participates in the University Honors Program and the Business Honors Program, and she is a student ambassador in the School of Business. She is an events assistant for the business school’s dean’s office and a student assistant for the Office of the Chancellor. She was a student coordinator in KU Global Business Studies in summer 2019, and she interned at Lean Venture Partners in Shanghai.
Daphne Lin, a senior in humanities and pre-medicine from Coffeyville, is president of Sigma Psi Zeta, a multicultural Greek organization for women. She also served as the sorority’s chair of community service, social media and academics. She is co-coordinator of the Center for Community Outreach’s Concerned, Active and Aware Students Program, and she has been a member of the Asian American Student Union since 2016, during which time she held several leadership roles. She participates in the University Honors Program, and she was a research assistant in the Department of Anthropology. She is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon medical fraternity and volunteers at KU Lutheran Campus Ministry. She received the 2017 SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital Value in Action Award for her volunteer services.
Jasmine Moore, a senior in information systems with a minor in Spanish from Olathe, is a student program assistant for diversity, equity and inclusion at the School of Business and has been a resident assistant for KU Student Housing since 2017. She is president of KU G.E.M.S., a campus organization that encourages female empowerment, and she has also served as the group’s vice president and treasurer. She participates in the Koch Scholars Program and the Multicultural Business Scholars Program, and she is a member of the Black Student Union. She was a business systems analyst intern at Flint Hills Resources in summer 2019, and she has volunteered at Hilltop Child Development Center, KU Campus Cupboard, Special Olympics Kansas and the Big Event at KU.
Kenny Nguyen, a senior in community health and education from Dodge City, is a student ambassador and assists the Office of Admissions with the recruitment of multicultural, first-generation and low-income students. He has been a social justice peer educator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and an orientation assistant for the Office of First-Year Experience. He is building manager for the Kansas Union, and he served as president of the student-led Community Outreach Program. He participates in the Multicultural Education Scholars Program. He is a monitor technician and volunteer at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and he also volunteered at Watkins Memorial Health Center and Skyline Urban Ministry. He was a research assistant in the Department of Health, Sport & Exercise Sciences and a communications and development intern at the Home Nursing Foundation in Singapore.
Taylor Pullen, a senior in marketing from Shawnee, is president of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and also has served as the organization’s secretary and treasurer. She was president and vice president of outreach for the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and she also served as the first president of KU G.E.M.S. She was a student development associate for KU Endowment, and she currently is a leasing professional at The Reserve student apartments. She was named Student Leader of the Year in 2018.
Kasi Ross II, a senior in accounting with a minor in entrepreneurship from Wichita, is a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions and a tutor and Options Program student leader for KU TRIO. He is treasurer of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and also served as the organization’s social media chair. He was president of the Black Student Union and chair of the Big XII Council on Black Student Government. He interned at Ernst & Young in Atlanta in summer 2019, and he has volunteered at Billy Mills Middle School, the Lawrence Community Shelter and Wichita Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.
Jalynn Tann, a senior in business administration with a minor in Spanish from Centennial, Colorado, has been a resident assistant for KU Student Housing since 2017. She is vice president of KU G.E.M.S. and also served as treasurer for the female student organization. She was the freshman action team president and served as treasurer of the KU Resident Hall Government Association. She participated in a study abroad language and cultural immersion program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in summer 2018, and she has worked for the City of Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space in Colorado for several years. She has volunteered for the Big Event at KU and Harvesters’ BackSnack Program in Kansas City.
The theme for KU’s 107th Homecoming is “Far Above the Golden Valley.” The Alumni Association and its Student Alumni Network Homecoming Steering Committee oversee this year’s event, which is sponsored by Best Western Plus West Lawrence; Crown Toyota, Volkswagen; and the KU Bookstore. A complete schedule of Homecoming week activities can be found at kualumni.org/homecoming.
About the KU Alumni Association
Through the support of members and donors, the KU Alumni Association advocates for the University of Kansas, communicates with Jayhawks in all media, recruits students and volunteers, serves the KU community and unites Jayhawks. For more information, visit kualumni.org.