The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

72° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    6 win Centennial Awards

    When Pauline Mujawamariya lived in Rwanda, she studied law but had to stop because of war in the region.

    Mujawamariya, an international studies senior, escaped the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and immigrated to Senegal. After spending six years there, she came to Tucson.

    Mujawamariya is one of six winners of the Centennial Award, which will be given to outstanding graduates at the winter commencement ceremony next week.

    When she arrived in Tucson in May 2000, Mujawamariya enrolled at Pima Community College and got a job to help make ends meet.

    “”I needed to be self-sufficient,”” she said.

    In addition to the Centennial Award, Mujawamariya won the Outstanding Community Service award on International Women’s Day in 2002.

    Mujawamariya started a program to help single mother refugees from Liberia learn

    (My) upbringing has influenced the films I make. A lot of my films tend to be Latino themed.

    – Roberto Gudino, media arts senior

    how to read and write and help their children with school.

    She worked with the Honors Civic Engagement team to create the program.

    “”We wanted to have an impact on the refugees and the children to help them read and write,”” Mujawamariya said. “”We wanted to make sure the kids were getting help to break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty.””

    The program has been working with two families this semester, teaching children to read and even helping a grandmother spell her name and read signs.

    “”I feel very privileged to get the award,”” Mujawamariya said. “”Receiving the award motivates me to want to do more.””

    Danielle Ignace, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology who is another Centennial Award recipient, said she completed her undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin.

    After finishing her master’s degree at the UA in 2004, Ignace has continued to work toward a doctoral degree.

    A new grant was added to the UA in 2004 that was specifically created to help fund American Indian graduatestudents.

    Ignace, a part of the Coeur D’Alene American Indian tribe, said she has been an active leader in the Native American community.

    In addition to mentoring and tutoring undergraduate American Indian students, Ignace has invited other American Indians who have received doctoral degrees to speak to graduate students.

    Ignace has also had several works published, including one in the Journal of Nature.

    “”I was really excited to receive the award,”” Ignace said. “”There is no way to recognize departmentally the hard work that I have put in, but I feel like the Centennial Award (recognizes) all of my hard work.””

    Roberto Gudino, a media arts senior who is also a winner of the Centennial Award, was raised in a bi-cultural household, with Spanish as his first language and English his second.

    “”That upbringing has influenced the films I make,”” Gudino said. “”A lot of my films tend to be Latino-themed.””

    Gudino recently finished a film documentary called “”Just Coffee.”” The film is based around the real coffee cooperative Just Coffee, which is helping Mexican families earn a living in Mexico through the growth of organic coffee crops, he said.

    The film has been screened in Arizona several times, including at the Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs Office and at the Union Gallery at the Student Union Memorial Center.

    “”I want to let people know that there are more options than putting a militia on the border to keep people out of the U.S.,”” he said. “”People come to the U.S. because they have to in order to help their families survive, but if there is an alternative for them to stay in their country and get work, then they would. This is seen in my film.””

    Gudino has a new film coming out about the first Latinos to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1984. Three UA alumni composed that team that won the Pulitzer.

    “”I have put a lot of my heart and passion into the things I love doing. I was not looking for an award, but it was nice to have someone pat me on the back and say ‘good job,'”” Gudino said. “”It serves as motivation to help me continue with my work.””

    The other award recipients are Christina Roberts, a graduate student in English, Tania Metz Estrella, a graduate student in planning, and Alexandra Tsosie, a graduate student in school counseling and guidance.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search