Amy Rieser Named UW’s Outstanding Graduating Woman
April 29, 2011 — Amy Rieser of Jackson, who will graduate with a B.S. degree in sociology and environment and natural resources, received the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating woman.
The award, established in 1964, recognizes Rieser for exhibiting the finest leadership, academic integrity and citizenship qualities. She also is in the UW Honors Program, has a minor in statistics and carries a 3.78 GPA. She is a member of National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honor society.
Seth Mathern, a physiology and Spanish senior from Riverton, received the Tobin Memorial Award as the outstanding graduating man.
Rieser arrived at UW as a transfer/non-traditional student. After taking a year to establish herself intellectually and academically at the university level, she attended the Brooks Institute of Film and Photography in Ventura, Calif., from 2004-2006, majoring in film studies.
She then began a personal journey to become involved in social issues both on the UW campus and the community, devoting herself to a large number of service organizations and activities.
Rieser began with an AmeriCorp position on the ACRES student farm. As a volunteer coordinator for the farm, she worked with the community, various schools, UW classes and student organizations. She then joined The Good Mule Project that empowers students through training, support and the inspiration needed to initiate acts of social and environmental good.
Rieser also became involved in student government and was an Associated Students of UW senator, representing the College of Arts and Sciences, serving on the student sustainability council. She was in the McNair Scholars program that encourages underrepresented and first-generation college students to seek higher education.
"As a student interested in continuing my education to the Ph.D. level, I incorporated research into my student career both inside and outside of the classroom," she says. She continued the research the following summer with an EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) Fellowship grant.
Rieser is committed to working with non-profits on environmental and social justice issues.
"I believe my time on the UW campus created and refined the tools in which to continue my passion of change into other areas of the world," Rieser says.
A professor notes Rieser's well-rounded educational background for her succeed.
"Amy has exhibited precisely the qualities needed to succeed in her pursuit of her degree -- a high level of motivation, self-discipline, persistence, a high energy level and well-developed work ethic, a keen analytical mind, good organizational skills and a robust intellectual curiosity," says Richard Machalek, sociology professor.
Statistics Professor Stephen Bieber cited Rieser's leadership in his class. Working on a class project as the only undergraduate among three graduate students, Bieber says Rieser quickly became the group's leader.
"Amy was fearless in class. She was always willing to share her work, her feelings, her intuition and speak her mind in a most respectful and professional manner," Bieber says. "I have interacted with hundreds, if not thousands, of students over my academic career. As I consider Amy's future post-graduation, it seems that the world is wide open to her. She has all of the skills necessary for success in any academic career or job."