Eight to Receive UA’s Top Honors, the Premier Awards 2020

  • February 17th, 2020

The University established the Premier Awards to recognize UA students, faculty and staff who exemplify the highest standards of scholarship, service, leadership and character.

UA will honor eight individuals with the 2020 awards at a private banquet and reception Feb. 20.

In addition to the banquet, recipients receive a framed certificate, a monetary gift and will be recognized during the Tapping on the Mound Ceremony during Honors Week in the spring.

WILLIAM P. AND ESTAN J. BLOOM SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
This award honors a junior who has improved intergroup relations within the University community.

Annabeth Mellon, Premier Awards recipient
Annabeth Mellon

Annabeth Mellon
Annabeth Mellon came to the Capstone believing she was not the UA type, seeing herself as more of a problem than a problem solver. However, it didn’t take her long to find her chapter in the greater UA story.

By transforming her own experiences with sexual violence into a powerful movement, she brought together students from all walks of life.

Mellon is a co-founder of the Walk of Shame, an annual protest calling attention to sexual assault and victim blaming on campus. The event is a unique space in that it is primarily survivor-focused and survivor-led. At the event, survivors of sexual violence come for healing and community, while also calling for change.

Originally from Talladega County, Alabama, Mellon is double majoring in creative media and gender and media studies.

She has served as vice president and social coordinator, and serves as president, of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity UA. She is a member of the Blackburn Institute’s New Student Class of 2019 and sits on Student Government Association’s newly formed SAFE Center Committee.

Alongside her work in sexual assault advocacy, she works with New College to provide media literacy and production education to local youth.

Her mother is Bethany Mellon.

THE JUDY BONNER PRESIDENTIAL MEDALLION PRIZE

This award recognizes a member of the UA community who has gone above and beyond normal expectations to change the culture or implement new initiatives designed to advance the Alabama experience for all undergraduate students or a segment of the undergraduate population.

Quoc Hoang, Premier Awards recipient
Quoc Hoang

Quoc Hoang
Born in a refugee camp in Malaysia after his parents, Thao and Anh Hoang, fled Vietnam as boat people after the end of the Vietnam War, Quoc Hoang didn’t waste his opportunities and the sacrifice his parents made to give him a better life.

Raised in Toronto, Canada, with his brothers Richard and Andrew, he earned degrees from the University of Waterloo and today is an accomplished scholar living in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Dr. Kris Hoang, and 4-year-old daughter Evelyn.

As director of experiential learning in the Culverhouse College of Business and affiliate graduate faculty in Culverhouse’s School of Accountancy, Hoang works with various student populations and external partners to create experiences for students that develop their thinking and grooms their hearts with the goal of building a community and culture that supports students’ transition from college to career.

An example of Hoang’s accomplishments in his field includes working with the Management Consulting Academy to establish the University as a premier recruiting destination for top strategy consulting firms that used to exclusively recruit at Ivy League schools. They achieved this by developing a two-pronged approach to create a pipeline of talent from UA to these top-strategy consulting firms by preparing students for their unique interview process and building relationships with the firms by taking students on the road.

UA now has alumni in prestigious firms such as Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Co., McKinsey & Co., Deloitte, Oliver Wyman and L.E.K. Consulting.

THE MORRIS MAYER AWARD
This award recognizes one graduating senior who exemplifies integrity, selfless service and leadership at the University and in the community, and who has made significant contributions to student life.

Olivia Gevedon, Premier Award recipient
Olivia Gevedon

Olivia Gevedon
One day, Olivia Gevedon plans to be a physician, but her aspirations to serve others extend far beyond an exam room.

Gevedon, an anthropology major, is the founder and director of NoteABLE, an educational outreach program of Engage Tuscaloosa that aims to empower local elementary students through music literacy and performance. As a musician, Gevedon believes every child should have access to music education, which equips them with a valuable creative outlet and form of self-expression.

Since its implementation in spring 2018, NoteABLE has reached 210 kids and was recognized as the Most Outstanding Student-Initiated Engagement Effort of 2019 by the Council on Community-Based Partnerships.

In addition, Gevedon is a member of an aging, immunity and neurodegeneration lab under the mentorship of Dr. Stanislava Chtarbanova in the department of biological sciences. Her role as a research ambassador and vice president of engagement in the Office for Undergraduate Research allows Gevedon to recruit and connect other UA students interested in research with faculty.

Following graduation, she plans to help Project Horseshoe Farm, a community health nonprofit, establish a new site in Pomona, California.

Her parents are Timothy and Cynthia Gevedon.

THE JOHN FRASER RAMSEY AWARD
This award recognizes in a junior the versatility of gifts and attainments, as well as the breadth of excellence in mind and character, that have traditionally been the goals of a liberal education.

Logan Goulart, Premier Awards recipient
Logan Goulart

Logan Goulart
The combination of studying history and human rights has led Logan Goulart to many interesting places. A member of the Blount Scholars Program and New College, he is passionate about understanding the ideas of equality and justice and how they have evolved.

Goulart’s research interests include the intellectual history of 20th century sub-Saharan Africa, South African apartheid and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that followed Nelson Mandela’s election.

He plans to attend law school to work as a human rights attorney, before enrolling in graduate school to pursue a history degree.

He is involved in many organizations on campus, such as the Blackburn Institute, Student Government Association, the Million Dollar Band and Alabama Model United Nations.

Goulart is also an active cellist, performing regularly with the Huxford Symphony Orchestra.

His parents are his mother, Karen Duncan, stepmother Tracy Goulart and his late father Chris Goulart.

THE CATHERINE JOHNSON RANDALL AWARD
This award recognizes the most outstanding graduating senior based on GPA, rigor of course of study and extraordinary scholarly or creative endeavor.

Sarah Deutsch, a Premier Awards recipient
Sarah Deutsch

Sarah Deutsch
Despite the common stigma that physics does not affect the layperson, Sarah Deutsch, a physics major and Randall Research Scholars student, believes that societal progress is driven by fundamental research.

Deutsch’s research pursuits have included X-ray analysis of medieval artifacts, simulation studies of components of radiotherapy machines for cancer treatment and machine learning studies for CMS, an international particle physics experiment.

Driven by an appreciation for the arts and humanities, Deutsch desires to help bridge the gap between society and science through research and outreach. By restarting UA’s Society of Physics Students, she hopes to help build a sense of community in the physics department and pass along information to help her peers get the most out of their undergraduate experience, while hoping to promote inclusion and work toward equality in the field.

She said she sees great value in interdisciplinary exposure, and she studied electrical engineering and mathematics in addition to physics. Her research endeavors have opened the door for her to travel to Switzerland for a summer internship at CERN, and she’s earned several awards for poster presentations at national conferences.

Her parents are Chris and Joyce Deutsch.

THE ALGERNON SYDNEY SULLIVAN AWARD
This award recognizes excellence of character and service to humanity. It honors one man and one woman of the graduating class and one non-student who have been helpful to and associated with the University.

Malik Seals, a Premier Awards recipient
Malik Seals

Malik Rashaun Seals
When Malik Rashaun Seals’ mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011, he was rocked to his core.

Everything about his life changed that day and the Columbus, Mississippi, native found himself drawn to research and medicine. Now, as a biological sciences major on a pre-med track, he seeks to become equipped with the skills he needs to eradicate MS.

He’s already presented at the largest North American conference for MS, Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, and has been published in the Journal of Neurology.

He will be attending graduate school with the intent to study microbiology and immunology in his pursuit to advance his scientific foundation to continue studying MS and neurodegenerative diseases.

In his time at UA, he’s served as president of National Pan-Hellenic Council, vice president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., assistant team leader for the Center for Service and Leadership, on the SGA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion cabinet and as the University’s first Movember Student Ambassador, a role in which he raised awareness about men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate and testicular cancer.

He said he tries to live with the constant awareness of the work that needs to done at UA and in the community.

His mother is Danyell Smith and his father is Derrick Seals.

Alexus Cumbie, Premier Award recipient
Alexus Cumbie

Alexus Cumbie
Birmingham native Alexus M. Cumbie is an influencer.

In 2019, she was named one of Birmingham’s most promising natives to invest in by the Birmingham Times, honored as the Southeastern Region’s New Soror of the Year by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., was named the recipient of the Greer Marechal Memorial Prize for her published healthcare research, “Why Negro Bodies Dodge a Southern Sun,” and was selected by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to serve as an intern on Capitol Hill for the second time as a legislative and press assistant with the office of Congresswoman Terri Sewell.

The political science and business management major is president of UA’s NAACP chapter, president of InterVarsity Christian Ministries, director of SGA’s Black Student Leadership Council, vice president of the Anderson Society and a member of the honor societies Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, The Carl A Elliott Society and Rho Lambda.

She’s also a member of the 31st Order of XXXI, which recognizes the most influential women at the Capstone based on their distinguished character and significant contributions to the University, state and nation.

Outside of her leadership roles, Cumbie is a poet whose work has been published in the American Library of Poetry.

She uses poetry as a tool to help increase literacy rates in the South through an organization she created called Literary Vibes.

Her parents are Cathleen and Kennard Cumbie.

Dr. Kathleen Cramer, a Premier Awards recipient
Dr. Kathleen Cramer

Dr. Kathleen Cramer
With more than 37 years of experience and three degrees from the Capstone, Dr. Kathleen Cramer is a loyal advocate of the student experience.

Though retired, Cramer served as senior associate vice president for Student Affairs and as director of student life for many years.

She’s also served a two-year term as president of The University of Alabama Retirees Association, project manager for the Tuscaloosa Sexual Assault Forensics Center and interim dean of students prior to her current role as interim vice president for Student Life.

Cramer has received several honors throughout her career, including being recognized as a Pillar of the Profession by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and being named one of the top 31 graduates from the 20th century at UA.

She was executive vice president of the Association of Fraternity Advisers and was named to UA’s Student Affairs Hall of Fame.

She is an active community volunteer, and she is the sustaining adviser to the Tuscaloosa Junior League.

She and her husband, Craig, have eight grandchildren.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.