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Ranchester Student Named UW’s Outstanding Graduating Woman

April 28, 2017
head portrait of a woman
Sarah Maze

Sarah Maze, of Ranchester, is the recipient of the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating woman.

The award, established in 1964, recognizes Maze for exhibiting the finest leadership, academic integrity and citizenship qualities. She will graduate May 12 with dual degrees in physiology and Spanish, with minors in neuroscience and the Honors Program.

Anthony Farmer, of Cheyenne, received the Tobin Award, honoring the outstanding graduating man.

Maze, the daughter of Meg and Tim Maze, graduated in 2013 as Tongue River High School’s valedictorian. She points out that her first class as a freshman at UW had 150 students, more than the entire population of her high school class.

“That first day, the professor looked right at me in the third row and recognized me from my campus visit. ‘Sarah,’ he exclaimed, ‘so glad you decided to come to UW,’” she says. “From that moment, I have always felt like an integral part of the Cowboy family. This university has a spirit unlike any other, and I am honored to contribute to a legacy so storied and proud.”

Through her love of science, Maze’s decision to study physiology at UW will lead into her becoming a physician. She has been accepted into UW’s WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) medical program.

“Not only did Sarah earn this opportunity, she was accepted at every medical school she interviewed with,” says Katie Watson, UW admissions assistant director.

Maze says conducting experiments with food coloring and water in her father’s science lab, to synthesizing banana flavoring compound in UW’s organic chemistry lab, to completing solo neurosurgery procedures on Bengalese finches as an undergraduate researcher deepened her passion for learning.

“I believe a truly comprehensive education must include some element of real-world experience,” she adds. “The University of Wyoming has offered opportunities to challenge my education both in the classroom and in the Buenos Aires metro area during a study-abroad experience.”

Along with her involvement in the Honors Program, Maze has delved into many disciplines throughout her undergraduate career. The liberal arts approach to her education has impacted not only Maze’s development as a scholar, but as a human being, she adds.

Since her freshman year, Maze has been involved with Associated Students of UW student organization; Alpha Epsilon Delta; Phi Beta Kappa; Freshman Senate; Iron Skull; Catholics on Campus; Sigma Delta Pi national Spanish honorary; and Mortar Board. Sarah also has received EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) and INBRE (IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence) funding for her research in UW Associate Professor Johnathan Prather’s neuroscience research lab.

“Sarah is a truly delightful young woman. She is at ease with herself and brings that ease to every interaction that she has,” says Meg Flanigan, UW Department of Zoology and Physiology senior lecturer. “She is gentle, humorous, energetic and mature beyond her years. The combination of her academic excellence and her personality and temperament makes for a truly outstanding student.”

Maze says it has been an honor to give back to UW, a place that has given her so much.

“I am grateful for faculty, staff and community supporters who encourage scholarship and provide opportunities for personal growth for students throughout our educational experience at UW,” she says. “The University of Wyoming has inspired me, encouraged me, challenged me, empowered me, spurred me on and given me the tools to pursue my dreams.”

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