Riverton Student Named Top Graduating Woman at UW
April 26, 2013 — Amanda King, who will graduate in May with an international studies degree with specialization in the Middle East and Africa, is the recipient of the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating woman.
The award, established in 1964, recognizes King for exhibiting the finest leadership, academic integrity and citizenship qualities. Ty McNamee of Shoshoni received the Tobin Award, honoring the outstanding graduating man.
King is the daughter of Beckie Zwiefelhofer of Riverton.
King’s major focuses on issues of justice, history, culture and politics of the Middle East and Arabic nations. She carries a 3.8 GPA and has an Honors Program endorsement. Her achievements as an outstanding student were acknowledged by the 2012 UW Internationalization Award and the nationally competitive Critical Languages Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. She spent last summer in Morocco working on her Arabic under the auspices of the scholarship. At UW, she has been active in significant globally focused activities on campus.
She has excelled in her classes; in fact, many of her professors have noted that King was the top student in most classes. She has been a leader who also helps her peers, says Jean Garrison, UW professor and director of Global and Area Studies.
“In terms of her overall abilities, I would unreservedly place Amanda in the top 1 percent of the students that I have had the fortune to teach during my career,” Garrison adds. “She is now poised to take her vast array of talents and dedication to helping people into the next phase of her life. She has been an outstanding ambassador for the university and we believe will continue to do great things.”
King says she is grateful for the many opportunities UW afforded her during her four years on campus.
“I was given these opportunities by the warm and supportive faculty whom I grew close to, and for the plentiful return that my hard work always reaped,” she says.
King’s skills in the classroom are only surpassed by the leadership she has shown on campus and across the state during her time at UW. She has worked with the Freshman Senate and the Honors and LeaRN programs. As president of UW’s Engineers Without Borders, King helped develop and expand efforts on campus, which led to international outreach efforts in Kenya, Guatemala and Honduras.
She also represented UW on the Model United Nations (UN) team as head delegate at the annual international competition in New York. She brought what she learned to serve as UW’s student director of the campus Model UN. King took the lead in bringing the One Million Bones movement to UW to help raise global awareness of genocide and genocide prevention.
“Put simply, Amanda is the kind of truly exceptional student who will most certainly go on to do incredible things and bring great pride to the University of Wyoming,” says Nevin Aiken, UW Department of Political Science and Global and Area Studies assistant professor. “It takes a great strength of character and a very special undergraduate student to be able to combine this level of achievement in leadership with a record of academic excellence.”
“Our university is unique in its efforts to recognize outstanding students, staff and faculty; and supportive of its best in a way that I have never observed elsewhere,” King says. “I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this culture, and hope that I have done our university well through my academic performance, service, leadership and efforts in our name.”