Distinguished Capstone Award Recipients

Distinguished Capstone Award Recipients

The Distinguished Capstone is meant to foster a more academically competitive and rigorous Capstone environment. The Distinguished Capstone provides the Capstone Committee and faculty advisors with a means of recognizing exceptional work. 

Students who receive the Distinguished Capstone Award have demonstrated they have:

  • Gone above and beyond the expected learning outcomes
  • Expressed their experience in a meaningful manner through both their presentation and essay
  • Demonstrated that they have impacted a community during their Capstone experience
  • Demonstrated their presentation was an act of leadership by influencing the audience
University of Minnesota Rochester student smiling

2020-21 Distinguished Capstone Award Recipients:




Anika Evers
(Fall, 2020)

Mission In-Pieces: Putting the Puzzle Together

Link to Capstone Presentation

Kadley Harmon
(Fall, 2020)

Evolution of a College Student: An Exploration of Murphy’s Law, Cytotechnology, Histology, 2020, and Adaptation

Link to Capstone Presentation

Rafaelle Baglio
(Spring, 2021)

Nothing Ever Goes as Planned: Navigating Towards Medical School in the Middle of a Pandemic

Link to Capstone Presentation

Charly Vang
(Spring, 2021)

Finding My Soul: A Journey Into Medicine

Link to Capstone Presentation

Faduma Ali
(Spring, 2021)

Walking Uncertain Plains Instead of Climbing Mountain: Finding Peace Within In Life's Unanswered Questions

Link to Capstone Presentation

Danniella Balangoy
(Spring, 2021)

Gender, Health, and Ethnicity: A health science student’s intersectional perspective


Chandi Katoch
(Spring, 2021)

Building a Strong Foundation: Combining Skills and Experiences to Prepare for Medical School and Beyond

Link to Capstone Presentation

Natalya Wells
(Spring, 2021)

Breathing in the Possibilities: Preparing Myself for a Future Career in Anesthesiology

Link to Capstone Presentation

Daniel Turin
(Spring, 2021)

Sorry means thank you: How self reflection, science and a few fruit flies ushered in my future

Link to Capstone Presentation

Hunter Olson
(Spring, 2021)

The Queer Eye: A Reflective Analysis of a Queer Students Understanding of Humility, Determination, and Regret

Link to Capstone Presentation

Valerie Yarbrough
(Spring, 2021)

I Am Resilience: Being an African American in Contemporary America

Link to Capstone Presentation

Ethan  Moser
(Spring, 2021)

Making an Epidemiologist: Acquiring Knowledge, Expanding Skill Sets, and Looking Beyond Myself

Link to Capstone Presentation

Yaqoub Yusuf
(Spring, 2021)

The goal of stoicism

Link to Capstone Presentation

Two University of Minnesota Rochester students smiling
Capstone Experiences are designed based on unique personal and professional goals.

Past Distinguished Capstone Award Recipients

Shannon Holmberg 

I’m Not Scared of Bugs, I’m Scared of Uncertainty

Video Link

Audra Gaikowski

The Uncertainty of Life: How Learning to Enjoy Life’s Unanswered Questions Made me a Happier Person

Video Link

Samantha Kreps

Defining my Identity: The Process of Self-Discovery in Both the Medical Field and Within Myself

Video Link

Maha Siddiqui 

Rang ke saath dekho: Finding balance in a world of black and white

Video Link

Besima Majetic

Serving Among Diversity: A Story From a Healthcare Soldier


Breanna Enger

A Pursuit of the Unknown: A Journey of Self-Discovery Through Exploration

Video Link

Paola Gomez Tapia

Painting a Picture of Who I Am

Video link

Mohamed Addani

Applying multiple lenses: A refuge, a student, and future scientist to understand an identity

Charles Brick

A Lost Identity: Learning to face my past to gain self-awareness

Annika Shelstad 

Refuting and Reflecting upon the Single Story of my Condition

Casandra Jefrey

Assembling my Puzzle: How trauma of my past has guided my future

Kao Ly Thao

Far but Closer to Home

Alecia Alto

Finding Potential Through Uncertainty of Research in the Face of Complex Problems

Mariah Arneson

Thriving in Complexity: Understanding the value of crafting the complex integration of patient care, research, and international health into a medical career

Rebecca Houston

Empowering others to tell their story: exploring creativity and vulnerability in therapy and speech pathology

Drew Kerska

In Search of Self-Discovery: Gaining Intellect through Pharmacology, Reflection, and Change 

Roy Montgomery

Perseverance and how my Capstone Became a Major Turning Point in My Life

Paige Oklon

Learning My ATGCs: Decoding the Pathway to a Genetic Counselor by Amplifying My Scientific Knowledge and Personal Strengths

Nitya Chandiramani

Catalyzing Passion into Action: Challenging Uncertainty and Pioneering a Path in Health Policy

Haley Pysick

It’s all about perspective: exploring medicine through research, humanitarian, and cultural lenses

Nolan Meyer

Health Science, Optimized: A Medic's Mathematical Metamorphosis

Isaac Horn

On conflict: emotional, spiritual, and social reconciliation

Glen Morris

Health Sciences and our Environment: Integrating Academic Learning, Professional Experiences, and Research

Sarah Styer

Focusing on the Person: The importance of relationships while preparing for a career in rural medicine

Hawa Ali

Driven by Distrust: Addressing Disparate Outcomes in Health & Education through Scientific Literacy & Sociological Perspectives

Brianna Allen

It’s All About the Why: a Lesson in Humanity

Kelly Dano

Healing: A Journey through Destruction

Melissa Folstad

An Exploration of Women’s Health through Medical History, Public Health, and Emergency Medicine

Eric Mehlhaff

A Realization of What Matters Most: The Intersection of Science and Culture

Megan Zimmerman

Reflection of Mortality: Stories of Disability, Disparity, and Dying