Former Batesville student up for A-State’s highest honor

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ChrisTina Okolo, a Batesville High School graduate, been chosen as Distinguished Service Award (DSA) winner along with five other A-State students in recognition of their exemplary service and contributions during their collegiate careers. One of the students will be announced as the 2019-20 recipient of the university’s highest honor, the R. E. Lee Wilson Award.

Okolo graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the College of Sciences and Mathematics with a 3.89 GPA. She hopes to become a physician.

Okolo earned several scholarships in her collegiate career including the A-State Pride and Arkansas Challenge Scholarships, Dr. Willie Young Memorial Scholarship, Dorothy Snider Foundation Scholarship, and the Southland Racing Corporation Scholarship (three years).  She received the Dr. Earnest Lee Saunders Memorial Scholarship, the Thompson Minority Scholarship, and the Orien and Eda Garner Horn Memorial Scholarship. She was selected to the Chancellor’s List each semester and Dean’s List for two semesters.

As a result of her research, Okolo has been published in the journal of American Chemical Society Organic Letters with “Benign Synthesis of Thiazolo-androstenone Derivatives as Potent Anticancer Agents” and in the journal of American Chemical Society Omega on “Hexafluoroisopropanol-Mediated Domino Reaction for the Synthesis of Thiazolo-androstenones: Potent Anticancer Agents.”

Because of her research, she was awarded first place in undergraduate posters for the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the American Physiological Society Undergraduate Research Award in Physiology during Create@State in 2019. Her presentation was on “Synthesis and antiproliferative activity of thiazolo-androstenones against breast cancer cell lines.”

Active in the Student Philanthropy Council, Okolo was the group’s vice president in 2019 after serving as the president in 2018 and helped to raise $100,000 for SPC’s student organizations, student research, club sports, departmental projects, and faculty research. The group also established the Student Emergency Fund for A-State students who are undergoing temporary financial setbacks.

Okolo also worked alongside the A-State Alumni Association to help create the Emerging Young Alumni Award, recognizing recipients for their professional accomplishments and continued engagement with the university. 

Recognition of A-State’s top graduating seniors and naming of the Wilson Award recipient will proceed this year through a special online presentation Thursday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m.  This will replace the traditional private banquet with university representatives and the Wilson Fellows, the A-State alumni group of Wilson Award recipients, a change driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

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