Aileen Barton and Emily Davis are co-winners of the prestigious 2015 George Nigh Award at East Central University, it was announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 22.
Nigh, the former governor of Oklahoma and ECU alumnus, was on hand to present the awards. Nigh served four terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, four as lieutenant governor and two as governor. He was also president of the University of Central Oklahoma.
The late Julian Rothbaum, a Tulsa oilman, banker and one-time state regent for higher education, established an endowment through the ECU Foundation Inc. to fund the Nigh Award.
Each year top ECU seniors are selected to apply for this award and, after a rigorous application and interview process, the 2014-15 recipients ascended to the top for many reasons.
Barton, a graduate of Latta High School and a current Norman resident, has been active in the ECU Honors Program, Vision Bank ECU Presidential Leadership Program and Alpha-Chi, along with being the founder and president of Tigers Against Human Trafficking and a NASA Fellow.
She is an active volunteer in the community and has served on various mission trips while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.
Among Barton’s other volunteer projects is at DaySpring Villa, a domestic violence and human trafficking shelter in Tulsa and community branch leader in Ada Trinity Baptist Church’s Leadership Team.
Barton is a December 2014 ECU graduate, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in library and information science at the University of Oklahoma.
Davis, a graduate of Blanchard High School, has been involved with service opportunities through student organizations such as the Campus Activity Board and the Vision Bank Presidential Leadership Program.
She has developed a passion for befriending and working with citizens with developmental disabilities as an advocate through a volunteer program called TARC. Davis also has served as a volunteer, children’s after-school tutor and summer intern at the City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City and as an office volunteer and literacy tutor at the Pontotoc County Literacy Coalition.
Davis is an Alpha Chi National Honor Society member and a Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society member. She has continuously been named to the ECU President’s Honor Roll since the fall of 2012, served as an Oklahoma Research Day presenter and was 2013 ECU Homecoming Queen.
Kendall Dobbs, of Vian, and Ashma Shiwakoti, from Nepal, were the other two finalists for the award.
Dobbs is a member of ECU’s Presidential Leadership Class and Honors Program as well as being a part of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society and Honorary National Mathematics Society, Pi Mu Epsilon. She is the recipient of the Don and Jane Kellogg Math and Science Scholarship and has been on the president’s honor roll consistently since 2011. She is expected to graduate in May. Dobbs has also been a co-presenter for the NASA Space Grant Consortium for the Space Exploration Educators Conference and the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association.
Shiwakoti is vice president of ECU’s Society of Physics Students as well as being a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honor Society, ECU Rotaract Club (as club service director in 2014-15 and international director in 2013-14), Asian Student Association and International Student Association. She has received a research award from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.