Two University students receive 2019 Regents’ Scholar Awards

The College of Liberal Arts is fortunate to have an undergraduate and graduate student as Regents’ Scholar recipients

Hannah Huntley and Hector Arciniega, named 2019 Regents' Scholars

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5/10/2019 | By: Lisa McDonald |

The College of Liberal Arts is excited to have two students named as 2019 Regents' Scholars. This year, the Board of Regents chose eight students in the Nevada System of Higher Education to be awarded this special recognition because of their academic achievements, leadership ability and service contributions. The University of Nevada, Reno doesn't always have a student recognized with this high honor and to have two students in one college named as scholars this year is something to celebrate.

Hannah Huntley is a BFA student with an emphasis in printmaking and intends to graduate this May. "I was in shock and so over the moon thrilled when I found out I won this award," Huntley said.

Huntley, a bubbly senior with a passion for enhancing the local arts scene, couldn't say enough nice things about the professors and mentors she's had during her time at the University. When she first arrived as a freshman, she said she had no idea what her major would be. She said she is fortunate to have found her mentor, Eunkang Koh, associate professor of art, who helped guide her to her passion. After she took her first printmaking class, it was love at first sight and she never looked back. "I'm really thankful I found such a good program here," Huntley said.

It was her mentors and professors who helped guide Huntley and six of her fellow students to open Laika Press - a non-profit community printmaking press. Until now, Reno didn't have a place for the community to use printmaking equipment, so Huntley and her team started an affordable community press where they teach classes and help broaden printmaking in Reno. She plans to continue her involvement with the press until she begins graduate school.

It's clear Huntley comes from the creative mindset when she said she wants to start making clothes for fun. She has already started printing patterns on fabric.

She also just wrapped up her thesis exhibition, where she experimented with printing soft sculptures. She read a lot of women's literature in her women's studies minor, which influenced her ideas to use insects to portray female beauty ideals in mainstream media. Insects are often thought of as disgusting and grotesque. "I talk a lot about young women finding their identity and being influenced by media ideals - so butterflies and the metaphor of metamorphosis helped guide this project," Huntley said.

Huntley wants to continue her creative work using fiber and textile in sculpture. She plans to take the next year to work on her portfolio and work independently as an artist. She then intends to apply to graduate schools seeking her MFA in studio art with the goal of teaching printmaking at a university level.

Graduate student named one of 2019 Regents' Scholars

Hector Arciniega is a graduate researcher in integrative neuroscience in the department of psychology. He is a Ph.D. candidate and hopes to graduate in May 2020. Like Huntley, he too felt extremely honored to be a recipient of this award and never dreamed he could outshine the other nominees.

Arciniega is a first-generation student and received his undergraduate degree in neuroscience from the University of Nevada, Reno. He is humble and soft-spoken about his extensive list of achievements including being supported by several national grants and now this Regents' Scholar Award. Arciniega is currently working on his dissertation, which focuses on identifying executive function deficits in people who have experienced mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions. "I try to identify changes in working memory," Arciniega said. He works with college-aged participants who have recently been injured through athletics. Arciniega worked in his mentor, Marian Berryhill's (associate professor of psychology) lab as an undergraduate student and said this is where his interests in researching concussions started.

Arciniega is working closely with University athletes to study their brain injuries and concussions. He said he enjoys the work because all of the athletes are willing to participate and want to understand what is going on with their injuries and help advance the research.

In the fall, Arciniega plans to apply for post-doc positions. He is dedicated to his research on brain injuries and will focus on applying at institutes that have brain injury and deficit function labs. He said his main goal is to eventually teach at a research institute.

"It's not just my own success, but the success of others who have helped me get here," Arciniega said. "All my mentors have been really supportive throughout my undergraduate and graduate career."

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