Herz Gold Medal

Justin LopezThe University of Nevada, Reno has named Justin Lopez the recipient of the 2013 Herz Gold Medal for outstanding scholarship. The Herz Gold Medal is presented at each commencement ceremony to the graduating senior with the highest grade-point average.

Lopez, a graduate of Bishop Manogue Catholic High School in Reno, graduated from the University with multiple bachelor’s degrees, having majored in biochemistry, molecular biology and biology, and having minored in Spanish, chemistry and mathematics.

Lopez says he has achieved even more than he planned when he set out to college.

A National Merit Scholar and member of the Honors Program, Lopez said his two University Studies Abroad Consortium summer programs, including the inaugural field study in Havana, Cuba, were highlights of his college career. He is also a member of the National Collegiate Hispanic Studies Honor Society and was named this year’s Senior Scholar of CABNR.

Lopez’s advisor, Patricia Ellison, associate professor in the University’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, recalls suggesting to the then high school senior that he could complete his major in three years. Lopez responded by describing his college plans and she remembers thinking “if he does half of that, I’ll be impressed.”

And she is very impressed. Ellison instructed two of his lab courses and says he was always the best prepared. Academic advisor Pamela Sandstrom noted that Lopez has superior communication skills and interacts effectively with others, allowing him to help fellow students with lab experiments.

Lopez anticipates pursuing his doctorate degree in molecular biology after taking a year to continue research at the UNR and to volunteer and travel abroad.