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Jocelyn Sanchez Selected as the 2023 Threlkeld Prize for Excellence Recipient

Release Date: April 12, 2023

Gena Alfonso

Director of Marketing/PIO

Marketing, Communication, and Community Relations


Pueblo native, Jocelyn Sanchez, was named as the Colorado State University Pueblo 2023 recipient of the Threlkeld Prize for Excellence at the Student Involvement and Leadership Awards held Tuesday night at the Occhiato Student Center Ballroom. 

Sanchez will receive the first diploma at the 2023 commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 13 at the CSU Pueblo ThunderBowl, and a monetary award. She is a third-generation ThunderWolf and will graduate summa cum laude (4.0 grade point average) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Education. She is a four-year Kane Family Foundation scholar and has served as a student ambassador at the university since August 2021. 

After she completed classroom fieldwork at Minnequa Elementary, Carlile Elementary, Pueblo School for Arts and Sciences Charter School, and Villa Bella Expeditionary School, Sanchez began student teaching at Irving Elementary as a kindergarten teacher. She has served as a volunteer educator for the Youth Academic Programs Association and as a teaching assistant for a linguistics class at the university. 

Five finalists for the prestigious award were selected from a pool of candidates nominated by CSU Pueblo faculty and staff across multiple departments. 

The four other finalists included: 

Nicole Buttram will graduate in spring 2023 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a BSBA in business management (marketing emphasis), and a minor in leadership studies. She will graduate summa cum laude (3.943 cumulative GPA). Nicole is a four-year Kane Family Foundation scholar, part of the President’s Leadership Program, and a CSU Pueblo Hasan School of Business Healy Fellow. As a Healy Fellow she created a marketing feasibility study for St. John Neumann Catholic School. She is also an ambassador with the American Red Cross.

Phillip Flores will be a Chicano first-generation graduate in spring 2023 with a Master of Science in mechatronics engineering, double majors in engineering (BS) and world language – Spanish (BA), and a minor in leadership studies.  His cumulative grade point average is 3.891 (summa cum laude).  Phillip was selected as the Colorado Leadership Alliance's Student Leader of the Year (Denver Metro Leadership Foundation - Denver, CO - February 2022). He has interned every summer with Kellogg’s Company since 2020 as a supply chain intern and most recently interned with Kellogg’s Company as a Global Engineering RTEC Intern. Phillip has been involved in associated students’ government since his freshman year and has served as a justice, STEM senator, chief of staff, and vice president. As a junior, he was featured in the ‘Life Changing’ campaign for the university and filmed interviews and photos that were shown across the state of Colorado.

Mikayla Lerch will graduate in spring 2023 with a Bachelor of Social Work, and minors in leadership studies and legal studies. She will graduate summa cum laude (3.935 cumulative grade point average). Mikayla is a four-year Kane Family Foundation scholar and has completed internships with Senator Leroy Garcia (political intern, May 2021); Pueblo district attorney’s office (legal intern, July 2021); El Pomar Foundation (Elevating Leadership Development intern, August 2022) and 10th Judicial District Probation (August 2022 to present). She is the Associated Students’ Government Student Body President (May 2021 to present) and Vice Chair of the Colorado Student Government Coalition (May 2022 to present). Mikayla serves as the CSU Pueblo student representative for the Colorado State University System, the CSU Pueblo Foundation Board of Trustees, and the University Leadership Team. She is a member of the Alumni Association, the CSU Pueblo Academic Council and has worked for the Student Engagement and Leadership Team as a new student orientation leader. Mikayla's leadership has been recognized by the President's Leadership Program Leader of the Year Award and has been nominated for the Denver Metro Chamber's Student Leader of the Year Award.

Tiffany Post will graduate in the spring of 2023 with a Bachelor of Social Work.  Her cumulative grade point average is 4.0 (summa cum laude). She is currently employed as a family development specialist with Catholic Charities of Southern Colorado where she has served the Pueblo community for 4.5 years. Tiffany interned with Health Solutions (peer specialist intern) and Steelworks Center of the West (graphic design intern). Tiffany was recently inducted into the Pueblo chapter of Phi Alpha Honors Society. Before coming to CSU Pueblo, she received an Associate of Arts, an Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communications, and a Professional Certificate as a creative communications specialist from Pueblo Community College. Tiffany has been accepted into the Master of Social Work program at CSU Pueblo beginning in fall 2023.

The Threlkeld Prize for Excellence was established in 1990 in memory of respected faculty member and beloved community member, Budge Threlkeld. The award recognizes a graduating senior who has completed at least four semesters at CSU Pueblo, maintained a grade point average of 3.7 or higher, and has demonstrated service to CSU Pueblo and the community. 

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