CALS Senior Recognized with Centennial Achievement Award

Gresa Sylejmani, a senior majoring in microbiology, has been recognized by the University of Arizona with a Centennial Achievement Award. Sylejmani will graduate in May.

Centennial Achievement Awards are presented to undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated integrity, overcome enormous challenges to achieve a college education, made a contribution to self, community and family, and who are the first in their families to graduate from college. Only two undergraduates are honored with Centennial Awards each year. Sylejmani was presented the award at UA’s winter commencement ceremony in December 2012.

The Dean of Students Office prepared this narrative about Sylejmani’s personal and campus experiences when the award was announced late last year:
Gresa and her family immigrated to the United States as war refugees from Kosovo when she was eight years old. Fearful for their lives, she and her family spent weeks at a refugee camp in neighboring Macedonia before being sent to a U.S. military refugee camp in New Jersey. They were eventually relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they established their new home.

A 2009 National Merit Finalist Scholar, Gresa has marked achievements and awards including the E. Ray Cowden Scholarship, the Jim and Mary Faul Scholarship, the Phi Beta Kappa/Murphey Foundation Scholarship, the Honors College Undergraduate Research Grant Award, and the Jody Winn-Oden Memorial Scholarship. Gresa is very interested in the study of infectious diseases and their effect on public health.

She has served as a mentor and tutor for college and high school students in the Tucson community and the University of Arizona Think Tank. She dedicates much of her time to volunteer with local non-profit organizations, teaches English reading and writing classes for refugees through the International Rescue Committee, and provides grief support to young children as a group facilitator at Tu Nidito Children and Family Services.

After graduating this spring, Sylejmani plans to do some research work here in the U.S. and abroad, then to attend medical school and become a physician.

Released date: 
Apr 15 2013