Medals for Schluntz, Sheedy

April 30, 2009

(Courtesy Office of University Communications)

University of Arizona graduating seniors Craig Sheedy and Justijne Schluntz of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will be accorded high honors at the University’s 140 Commencement ceremony May 16.

Sheedy and Schluntz will receive the Freeman and Robie Medals during the morning session of Commencement in McKale Center, which starts at 8 a.m.

The Freeman Medals and Robie Gold Medals are among six top awards presented to male and female graduates each year, along with the Nugent Medals. Jessica Anderson (Freeman), Joseph Fu (Robie), Nancy Hernandez (Nugent) and Abraham Itty (Nugent) are the other graduating students who will be cited.

Merril P. Freeman Medal - Craig Sheedy

The Freeman Medals are awarded to one male student and one female student who show outstanding qualities of manhood or womanhood and moral force of character. Additional factors considered are: popularity, receipt of athletic awards, membership in organizations, service on committees and service as officers.

Craig Sheedy will receive a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Science and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree from the College of Medicine. He is an honors graduate, double majoring in biochemistry and molecular biophysics and physiology with a minor in Spanish.

Sheedy has been involved in scientific research for the biochemistry department for the past three years, His thesis research was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Megan McEvoy and involved studying a model copper/silver resistance system in the organism Escherichia coli, an important topic for study since the problem of copper and silver resistance is intimately linked to the broader subject of antibiotic resistance.

Sheedy is involved in a number of other campus activities. He is an elected officer in the UA Biochemistry Club and also serves his department as an ambassador promoting and generating interest in the biological sciences.

He was selected as the fall 2008 Outstanding Senior in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and was a recipient of the Glen W., Vanice, and Keith G. Reid Award for Scientific Research in Biomedical Fields in 2007. He was selected a Galileo Circle Scholar in 2008. He also serves as a peer mentor for freshman students and as a science tutor.

Sheedy is a member of the UA swimming and diving team, competing as a member of Arizona's 2008 National Champion Swimming and Diving team and was a USA diving national qualifier. He served as a team co-captain, was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was involved in the Peer Athletic Leader and Step Up! leadership programs.

In addition, Sheedy is also very active in the community, having participated in service projects with the Boys & Girls Club and Grace Home. He also volunteers weekly at the Tucson Medical Center in the pediatrics unit and believes that caring for hospitalized children has been one of his most rewarding experiences.

Upon graduation, Sheedy will pursue a doctorate in medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, beginning in August, aiming to specialize in pediatrics. Earlier this month he was awarded one of the NCAA’s most prestigious national honors, the Walter Byers Scholarship, worth $24,000 toward his education.

Robie Gold Medal - Justine Schluntz

The Robie Gold Medal Award is given to one male student and one female student who show personal integrity, initiative, cooperativeness, enthusiasm, humility, well-rounded interests, active participation in student affairs, service to the University and willingness to give more than required and show a love of God and country.

Justine Schluntz will graduate summa cum laude with honors from the College of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.

Schluntz is an avid competitive swimmer and was attracted to the world-class swim team at the UA, led by coach Frank Busch. After being sidelined her first three semesters due to two shoulder surgeries, she participated in the next three NCAA Championships.

In 2008, Schluntz swam the lead-off leg of the 800 meter freestyle relay at the NCAA Championships. The relay's upset victory was part of Arizona's relay sweep that paved the way for the Wildcats' first ever NCAA team championship in swimming.

In 2009, Schluntz continued her athletic success by participating on two winning relays at the NCAA championships. The 200 meter freestyle relay and 400 meter medley relay both won in spectacular fashion, breaking school, NCAA and American records. In her three years as a collegiate swimmer, she has garnered nine All-American honors.

Equally important to her is her Christian faith. She has attended Canyon Del Oro Baptist Church since her freshman year and is also active in Athletes in Action, a sports ministry on campus.

She is involved in several service-oriented groups, many through athletics. She has participated in the Peer Athletic Leader, or PAL, program for three years, meeting monthly to hear about topics such as money management, nutrition for peak performance, hazing, discrimination and sexual assault and to serve as peer counselor for any athlete in need of assistance.

Schluntz also volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson and participates in community service events through CATS community service as well as the women's swim team. These activities range from discussing the importance of staying in school with local youth to helping distribute food through The Giving Tree on Thanksgiving weekend.

She was one of 12 students to receive the 2009 UA BookStores' Pillar of Excellence honor for academic excellence and contributions to the community.

Schluntz plans to continue her education at the UA by beginning graduate studies in mechanical engineering next fall. She has accepted a research assistantship with Jeff Jacobs to study experimental fluid dynamics. In addition, she looks forward to utilizing her final year of athletic eligibility by representing the Wildcats in the pool for one more year.

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