Colorado State University – Pueblo honors Mariscal with Threlkeld Prize as top senior

Colorado State University – Pueblo honors Mariscal with Threlkeld Prize as top senior

PUEBLO – A first generation college student from Los Angeles, Calif., whose parents came to America from Mexico to live the American dream has been named the 2010 recipient of the Threlkeld Prize for Excellence. Brenda Mariscal will graduate with a double major in business administration (accounting) and Spanish on Saturday, May 1 with a 3.9 graduate point average.

Named for the late Budge Threlkeld, a former administrator and professor, the award is presented to a graduating senior who demonstrates excellence in academic and co-curricular activities as well as in service to the University and to the community. Mariscal was selected from seven finalists for the Prize, and the winner was honored at the Student Leadership and Involvement Awards dinner at CSU-Pueblo on Monday, April 12 in the Occhiato University Center Ballroom.
To be considered for the Threlkeld Prize for Excellence, nominees must be a graduating senior (fall 2009, spring 2010, or summer 2010) who will have completed at least four semesters at CSU-Pueblo; have at least a 3.7 grade point average for the three full-time semesters prior to nomination; and relate, in writing, co-curricular activities as well as service to both the University and the community. A selection committee consisting of representatives from each college, the library, a retiree, and a classified employee review the applications, then select and interview the finalists. 
Brenda MariscalThe recipient receives a plaque and a substantial cash stipend upon graduation. Mariscal’s name also will appear on a permanent plaque.
When she graduates next month, Mariscal will realize the American dream her parents risked their lives to start. Her parents immigrated to America at ages 12 and 14. Her mother became pregnant at 16 and did not finish high school, while her father earned a high school diploma. The third of four children, Mariscal is the first to attend and graduate from college.

She credits her “innate propensity for organization, attention to detail, and delight in working with numbers” for making accounting an easy career choice. Her love of the Spanish language and her own culture drew her to the second major, which she believes is a great combination in business because it will meet a critical need for her community. After graduation, she will return to Los Angeles, where she was hired by accounting firm Deloitte and Touch, LLP, after completing a summer internship through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. After becoming a Certified Public Accountant and working her way up the administrative ladder, she hopes to help recruit and mentor Hispanics in the company. She eventually hopes to pursue a

graduate degree and to assist the Hispanic community through pro bono accounting services.

Throughout her tenure at CSU-Pueblo she worked part time, and at times held down two jobs (in order to finance a study abroad program to Mexico). While pursuing her degree, she volunteered in the community for a variety of organizations, including Eagles Wings Youth Ranch, Pueblo Child Advocacy Center, the Latino Chamber of Commerce, Midwestern Baptist Seminary, and Tom and Louis’s Cupboard. She is a member of the Pueblo Human Relations Commission and serves as vice president of the Christian Challenge on campus.

Six other students were named finalists for the award:

HEATHER BOULIER (Pueblo, engineering)
Non-traditional student Heather Boulier returned to college to become an elementary school math teacher, but soon found a passion for mechatronics, a relatively new field that combines mechanical and electrical engineering with control systems. On May 1, she will become the first woman at CSU-Pueblo to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering with an emphasis in mechatronics. She has maintained a position as the Program Engineering Intern at Goodrich Corporation since May 2008, while achieving a 3.929 grade point average. She has been involved on campus and in the community as a Rotarian, tutor, and a member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

SARAH DEFFIT (Bremerton, Wash., biology/chemistry)
2009 first-team all-academic Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference soccer play Sarah Deffit has been active in and out of the classroom since she transferred from Olympic College in 1997. A native of Bremerton, Wash., she maintained a 4.0 grade point average while completing course requirements for a double major in biology and chemistry, minor in mathematics, participating in intercollegiate soccer, doing research in a biology/chemistry joint project and tutoring and working the biology stockroom as a work study employee. She will pursue a doctoral degree, having already been accepted to five different programs, and eventually conduct research on autoimmune diseases. She aspires to discover the etiology and develop a remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, because of the presence of the disease within her own family.   

CHERYL HOLLING (Colorado Springs, biology)
Colorado Springs native Cheryl Holling will graduate May 1 with a bachelor’s degree in biology (environmental science). As a certified interpretive guide through NAI, she has worked extensively as a volunteer and employee at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, working with visitors to make Cheyenne Mountain a more ecologically aware and environmentally sound environment. While the drive from Colorado Springs limited becoming a formal tutor on campus, she engaged in significant amounts of research with faculty members and impromptu tutoring, concept clarification, and academic coaching among her peers. She has donated her entire plant taxonomy collection to the University’s herbarium. After graduating in May, she
intends to work as a field research biologist, particularly in the areas of ecology and systems, competition relationships and plants. She also has applied for admission to the University’s graduate program in biology.

JOHN LAMBERSON (Pueblo, English (creative writing))
John Lamberson will graduate in May with a major in English and minors in business administration and professional writing. His academic credentials are remarkable given that he is in the active Air Force Reserves and had to take time in the middle of some semesters to fulfill his Reserves duties. On campus he has served as President of Sigma tau Delta (English honor society), layout editor of Tempered Steel (literary magazine), and vice president of the College Republicans. His mother’s first language is Spanish and neither of his parents are college graduates. He will pursue further education, first in CSU-Pueblo’s graduate program in English and later at law school. Through study of law and English, he hopes to balance his passions for rhetoric, research, civilization, logic, and justice and one day bring respect to human dignity through the practice of law. 

CHERYL MCDOUGALL (Colorado Springs, social work)
By the time she moved to Colorado five years ago, Cheryl already had spent five years overseas, 11 years in the library system, five years as a registered nurse, and 10 years with a managed mental health care corporation, so her decision to become a social worker came as no surprise to her friends or family. A full-time counseling secretary at Palmer High in Colorado Springs, Sarah attended CSU-Pueblo’s Colorado Springs Citadel campus. She will earn a Bachelor of Social Work degree this summer and has been accepted to the Master of Social Work program at Newman University (Kansas). She hopes to remain in the school system with the ultimate goal of opening a practice that combines art with social work to empower children and adolescents to discover their inner strengths and talents. 

JUSTIN SNYDER (Pueblo, business management)
Justin Snyder will graduate in May with a 4.0 grade point average and a bachelor’s degree in business management. As a Pueblo youth wanting to own his own company, Snyder learned early that success in business means more than the bottom line. Besides tutoring other students throughout his tenure at CSU-Pueblo, he has played on the men’s golf teach each year and was elected captain his senior year by teammates and coaches. He will continue work as an agent for New York Life Insurance Company, where he provides clients with products and services to improve their financial well-being. Because of philanthropic role models he admired growing up, he wants to serve as a philanthropist and give back to local schools, programs, and charities with the success from his career. He plans to establish a scholarship fund to allow other students the opportunities at CSU-Pueblo that he has had. 


Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.