Meet nominees from 2020 Dixie Awards

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The fate of the 2020 Dixie Awards might be uncertain, but the effort put in by the nominees is nothing to ignore.

What are the Dixie Awards?

According to its webpage, the Dixie Awards is an annual formal event patterned after the Academy Awards, meant to recognize the best and brightest at Dixie State University. It features 13 awards, including awards for faculty, staff, students, community members and businesses who support DSU. The 2020 Dixie Awards, which had its April 10 ceremony called off, may be canceled altogether in light of coronavirus concerns, though no official fate has been determined yet.

Del Beatty, assistant vice president of student engagement and dean of students, said there will be a meeting sometime this week to map out possible alternatives.

What do the nominees suggest?

Nominees have suggested possible alternatives in lieu of the usual event.

“I think it is important that the Dixie Awards follows suit with the university’s decision on graduation because COVID-19 is very serious,” said Julie Handy, a senior English major from Dutch John and Female Student of the Year nominee. “I hope that they would consider rescheduling the awards to possibly the night before the new date for commencement.”

Stacy Schmidt, public relations and publications coordinator and Staff Member of the Year – Rising star nominee, said she’s in full support of postponing or canceling the event in consideration of everyone’s health.

“Thanks to technology, there are ways to honor the awardees virtually if needed,” Schmidt said. “These unprecedented times give us an opportunity to get more creative about how we stay connected and how we keep people feeling like valued members of Trailblazer Nation.”

David Christensen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and Teacher of the Year – Rising Star nominee, said canceling the event would be unfortunate but understandable.

“I suppose an alternative could be to postpone the event or make a video that could be posted to Dixie Announce where the host announces the winners,” Christensen said.

Who is David Christensen?

Christensen said he was pleasantly surprised to find out he was nominated for Teacher of the Year – Rising Star.

“I suppose I’ve been nominated because I’ve had a unique opportunity to be at the ground floor of engineering at DSU,” Christensen said. “I would assume our success with Dixie Design Day last year played a role in the nomination.”

At Dixie Design Day, freshman engineering students designed and prototyped robotic obstacles for miniature golf courses.

“The public was invited to play and it was a huge success.,” Christensen said. “We call it Miniatronic Golf. These types of high impact experiences are what we are building in engineering.”

Others nominated for this award include Raisa Alvarado, Michael Hammond-Todd, Patrick Smith and Emily Workman.

Who is Julie Handy?

Handy said she believes she was nominated for Female Student of the Year because she’s the president of DSU’s chapter of international English honor society Sigma Tau Delta and its Far Western region student representative.

In these roles, she helped plan the recently canceled Sigma Tau Delta 2020 International Convention in Las Vegas and helped facilitate local service projects, such as maintaining three of the St. George area’s five Little Free Libraries and reading books to children at the English and Music Departments’ Story Time event for two years in a row.

“I am incredibly grateful to whoever nominated me and I think it is a great reminder that our actions impact those around us,” Handy said. “I remember being the person with anxiety that made it hard for me to tell people my name, and I know the feeling of wanting to be in a group but not knowing how to approach strangers. I still get nervous and anxious, but I try to create a space where even the most anxious person feels comfortable joining.”

Others nominated for this award include Ava Chollet, Ciera Corradetti, Kaylyn Fulton and Alexis McClain.

Who is Stacy Schmidt?

Schmidt said she’s not always great at pointing out her own strengths, but when she’s won Mini Trailblazer awards her colleagues have said she creates a friendly and warm environment, going above and beyond to elevate not only everything she works on, but also everyone she works with.

“Just being honored as a finalist is honestly recognition enough,” Schmidt said. “I actually nominated one of my fellow Rising Star finalists and I believe that employee is the most deserving of this recognition.”

Others nominated for this award include Blair Barfuss, Brenten Canfield, Jamy Dahle and Cesaria Selwyn.

What’s the important thing to focus on?

Schmidt said there are a variety of ways to highlight quality students, faculty and staff who make DSU great and she appreciates the opportunity to shine a light on any of them.

“I think that there are a plethora of students on campus who deserve this award and that’s what is great about DSU,” Handy said. “The professors care enough about their students to get them involved and put them in situations to shine, and the students rise to the challenge.”

Christensen said there are a lot of great nominees and he wishes them the best of luck.