Annual awards event celebrates undergraduate excellence, distinguished alumnus

On Friday, April 19, nearly 230 people gathered in Varsity Hall at Union South to congratulate this year’s undergraduate award winners and distinguished alumnus. The Department of Psychology annually recognizes students with awards honoring academic achievement, research excellence, and community impact. Please join us in congratulating all of our students!

Left to right: Dr. Martha Alibali, Pragati Maheshwary, Noah Fellinger, and Dr. C. Shawn Green

Robert J. Glushko Outstanding Undergraduate Cognitive Science Prize
The Robert J. Glushko Outstanding Undergraduate Cognitive Science Prize is awarded annually to senior Psychology majors who have demonstrated the strongest combination of: academic excellence; sustained and outstanding involvement in cognitive science research (typically involving two or more semesters devoted to a single project); and engagement in learning about cognitive science at UW and beyond via activities such as classwork, research, independent reading, and/or conference attendance.
This year’s recipients are Noah Fellinger and Pragati Maheshwary.


Dr. Aris Alexander poses with Serendipity Award recipient Cadyn Yandell.

Serendipity Award
This award recognizes undergraduate students who have distinguished themselves through hard work, talent, and dedication, drawing the attention of the faculty member in whose lab they work. The award is designed to be given “serendipitously,” since faculty members nominate students without their knowledge. The award is funded by retired Professor of Psychiatry and alumnus Aris Alexander’57, MA’59, PhD’62.
This year’s recipient is Cadyn Yandell.



Arlene Davenport Awards
The purpose of the Arlene R. Davenport Fund is to annually support Psychology students who have demonstrated a career interest in psychological research. Funds are to be used to help defray research and career development costs. This award is funded by the late Professor Emeritus Charles Snowdon, his wife Ann Lindsey, and Friends and Family of Arlene Davenport.
This year’s recipients are Aly Connors and Emma Speck-Wayne.


Six of the Thesis and Travel Award recipients pose with alumna Joyce Rosevear, PhD’74.

Thesis and Travel Awards
Undergraduates may receive these awards to support research and thesis projects supervised by a Psychology faculty mentor or to cover travel expenses to present research at a professional conference. This award is funded by distinguished alumni award recipient and Board of Visitors member Joyce Rosevear, PhD’74.
This year’s Undergraduate Thesis Award Recipient is Katie Henning.
This year’s Travel Awards recipients are Natalie Bovin, Samantha Brungardt Alvarez, Abigail Collins, Pragati Maheshwary, Mahika Mohan, Melina Mueller, and Claire Peplinski.


Bryan’s Aspiring Psychology Student Award
This award is intended to acknowledge students’ excellent work as a UW-Madison student and to encourage these students to take the next steps toward achieving their academic and career goals in the psychology department. Bryan’s Aspiring Psychology Students have declared the Psychology major in the past academic year, and have the top GPAs among their peers.
This year’s recipients are:

Katelyn Bailey Lily Bassett Delaney Becker
Grace Benish Kendall Callery Kayla Chang
Iris Chen Madeline Cicero Madeline Cometa
Katie Cowling Cecelia Donegan Eliana Eichman
Isabella Escobar-Aviles Grace Flanagan Sydney Flesch
Julia Gourtzelis Sophie Greene Ziye Guo
Courtney Isselmann Rachel Katz Danielle King
Alexa Klodd Emma Leiterman Erin Leu
Jiaxin Li Priscilla Louey Ashley Martinez
Meghan McGinley Alexandria Moews Aiman Syeda
Teresa Nelson Molly O’Connor Rohan Pemmasani
Josey Puzen Alethea Quick Benjamin Ruan
Caitlyn Ruud Charlotte Sawicki Gabby Schreiber
Molly Sell Aiman Syeda Mackenzie Szweda
JoLee Verville Elise Waller Kaitlynn Wang
Qingyang Wei Josh Weyandt Alexandra White
Jimiao Zhang


Outstanding Undergraduate Research Scholar Award
This award is given to students who were nominated by a Psychology faculty member and have been outstanding and exceptional research assistants and scholars. When beloved former lecturer Bryan Hendricks initially donated the funds for this award, he wished to remain anonymous. Today, when students are nominated and awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Scholars Award, they are told about Bryan and his generous contribution to recognize undergraduates’ hard work and dedication to the innovation and discovery happening at UW-Madison.
This year’s recipients are:

Brian Albarran Trujillo Lauren Aquino Grace Berglin
Kayla Bote Halle Braun Eden Comer
Dunia Dunn Olivia Fry Salma Gadelhak
Megan Gauthier Seth Genteman Michael Hekmat
Katie Henning Anna Janke Gayathri Jayaraaman
Eva Jocker Danielle King Vy Lu
Sam Luther Pragati Maheshwary Mahika Mohan
Amber Nguyen Misha O’Keefe  Shelby Olson
Alice Overland Manjeri Senthilmurugan Zoe Styler
Hannah Traynor Warren Treis Kaitlynn Wang
Bailey Wilde


Dr. Stephen Ferrigno (left) and Dr. Gabe Lubach (right) congratulate recipient Gracie Zeller.

Margarete E. Lubach Undergraduate Research Award
This award honors Margarete E. Lubach, mother of UW-Madison alumna and Scientist III Emerita Gabriele Lubach, and Margarete’s love of learning, by supporting undergraduate students in the Harlow Center of Biological Psychology. Dr. Gabriele Lubach established this fund in her mother’s name to honor her and to recognize that it was her example, her encouragement, and her financial help that made Lubach’s own education possible. This year’s recipient is Gracie Zeller. 


Four of this year’s Community Impact Award recipients with Caitlin Ziegler ’17 (right).

Psychology Undergraduate Community Impact Award
Psychology major undergraduate students are a talented, creative, and compassionate group who make broad-ranging contributions to society through research and civic engagement. This award recognizes significant student achievements in activities that benefit the local or broader community. The award is funded by the Ziegler Family Foundation.
This year’s recipients are:

Cassandra Angeles Maria Buckles Samuel Cann Vanessa Jimenez
Sarah Li Anjali Patel Sarah Scalzo Katherine Zimmerman


2024 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Vic Villcrez ’00

We are also delighted to recognize Victor Villacrez ’00 with this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The Applications of Psychology Award is given annually to a UW–Madison Psychology graduate who has achieved prominence in the field of applied psychology and made contributions of enduring impact.

Mr. Villacrez transferred to UW-Madison in 1982. While working on his bachelor’s degree in psychology, he launched several successful businesses. In 2000, he graduated with his Psychology degree and went on to receive his MBA from Cardinal Stritch University. 

His involvement in the community extends beyond his professional role in the real estate industry; he has served on several boards and commissions including the Greater Madison Visitor and Convention Bureau, Centro Hispano of Dane County, Downtown Madison, Inc., and the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce, among many others.

He continues to build businesses, most recently with the Madison Cusco Sister City Alliance and Mundo Esperanza, a nonprofit organization with a humanitarian and sustainable mission acting on a local and global level.

Mr. Villacrez is receiving this award in recognition of applying psychology to benefit the larger community through outstanding leadership and advocacy. Congratulations, Mr. Villacrez!

To see pictures from the evening, please visit this link using the password: AllStars2024