Biology Major Named 2022 College of the Sciences Valedictorian

Published: April 25, 2022 | Author: Kaylee Condie | Read Time: 3 minutes

Jackson Nowatzke has been named as the 2022 valedictorian for Southern Utah University’s College of Sciences. He majored in biology and minored in chemistry with the goal of one day becoming a doctor.

“I feel very honored to be given this award,” said Nowatzke. “It is very nice to see that all of the hard work and long days that I’ve put in over the last four years has been noticed and has paid off. I am very grateful for everyone who has helped me get to this point, especially my professors, classmates, family, wife, and members of the community.”

Nowatzke always had a vision of where he wanted to end up. From a young age, it had been his dream to work in the medical field, so he knew he wanted to attend a university that would give him his best chance at getting into graduate school. Growing up in St. George, Utah allowed him to hear multiple first-hand accounts about SUU’s education programs and success rates. Add in small, personal class sizes as well as the amazing environment the campus is surrounded by and his decision was made.

After he was accepted, Nowatzke got involved with multiple organizations and volunteer work offered here at SUU. He served on the coordination board for Camp Kesem, became a certified coach at Rock Steady Boxing, and traveled to Costa Rica on a volunteer trip to help children that came from unstable homes. In addition to his volunteer work, he was a teacher’s assistant in multiple classes such as anatomy and organic chemistry, and was able to build lasting relationships with several of his professors.

“Jackson Nowatzke is one of the most academically gifted students I have encountered while teaching at SUU,” said Dr. Mackay Steffensen. “He was the top student in both semesters of my section of Organic Chemistry. He scored the highest on every exam in the second semester and ranked in the 100th percentile on the American Chemical Society Organic Chemistry subject exam, which is given as a comprehensive course final. He represents the best SUU has to offer and his efforts are deserving of recognition.”

Nowatzke’s list of accomplishments is impressive, as is the why behind it.

“I like to be involved with something that is meaningful, takes a lot of work to accomplish a goal, and requires the effort of others to accomplish,” Nowatzke said. “I feel like I found this in sports growing up as I felt like I was able to make a positive impact on both myself and others, and I also was able to recognize the impact that they have on me. Medicine is similar to that aspect in that there is a lot of work that goes into it, it is a team effort, and the work done has a very meaningful effect on the lives of those whom you help.”

SUU’s College of Sciences facility and students are dedicated to their studies, whatever they may be. Whether they go into physical science, biology, or geology, every student wants to help further knowledge gained in the scientific community, and Jackson Nowatzke is a great example of that.

SUU’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, April 29 in the America First Event Center. Tickets are not required for the ceremony, but seating preference will be made for graduates and their families. The ceremony will also be streamed online by SUTV-9 and on SUU's social media channels.

Visit SUU’s graduation website for more information about the 2022 Commencement Ceremony.

Tags: College of Natural Sciences Biology Graduation

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