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Academic Awards 2021

academic excellence pyramid


Academic Awards

An Otis education is widely known for its academic rigor and educational excellence.  The College recognizes the highest level of achievement with the Valedictory Award, Academic Excellence Awards, Distinction in Studio Awards, and Honors.

2021 Valedictory Award

Communication Arts major Khang Nguyen has been named Valedictorian of the Class of 2021. This award is bestowed annually on the member of the senior class whose work represents the pinnacle of academic excellence. This graduate receives a special medallion and presents an address to be included in this year's Commencement recognition. Khang was chosen for their continuously stellar academic performance throughout her Otis College career and the exceptional quality of their studio work. 

valedictorian 2021

Khang finds confidence in presenting his perspective and voice in his work. A student coming from Vietnam, Khang recalls visiting Otis College and being confident that he would have the freedom he would need to express himself as a designer and artist, and find his creativity. Often drawing inspiration from his Vietnamese home and culture, he proudly does so to show its beauty by way of graphic design, illustration, drawing, painting, as well as employing creative make-up looks by using his own face as a canvas. Rewarded by seeing his designs printed, published, and consumed, he cares deeply about how they communicate to the world, not just their aesthetic.  

A talented, considerate, and profoundly investigative and exceptional designer that brings out the best in his classmates, instructors, the Communication Arts department, and larger Otis communities, Khang is truly an asset to Otis College. Samples of his work may be seen here. You can also view the Valedictorian Commencement address here.

2021 Academic Excellence Awards

The Academic Excellence Award is the highest honor given to graduating students in a major program. Selections are made by program leaders and faculty, and affirmed by the College’s academic awards committee. Criteria include a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher (for undergraduates), quality of work, personal character, and contributions to Otis and the larger community. These students wear a special purple cord at the Commencement ceremony.



The 2021 Academic Excellence Award recipients are:
Mehrshad Arabi Khalili, Architecture/Landscape/Interiors
Kiv Bui, Communication Arts with an emphasis in Illustration
Khang Nguyen, Communication Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design
Andrea Ortiz, Digital Media with an emphasis in Motion Design
Natalia Parra Mejia, Digital Media with an emphasis in Animation
Aalaa Yassin, Digital Media with an emphasis in Game and Entertainment Design
Julia Choi, Fashion Design
Sydney Busic, Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting
Erick Cortes, Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography
Justin Akioka, Product Design  
Rosina Hung, Toy Design
Esther Lee, Graduate Fine Art
Itsayana Campa, Graduate Graphic Design

2021 Distinction in Studio Awards

Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Awards for Excellence in Design 2020-2021
Josh Valentine - Studio 1 Fall 2020 / Spring 2021
Sofia Parshina - Studio 2 Spring 2021
Mehrshad Khalili -Studio 3 Summer 2020 / Fall 2020
Jean Juan - Studio 4 Summer 2020 / Spring 2021
Mehrshad Khalili - Studio 5 Fall 2020
Nicole Na - Studio 6 Spring 2021

Communication Arts Distinction in Studio Award
Esmerelda Benevides: Comm Arts; Graphic Design emphasis
Kiana Tenerelli: Comm Arts; Graphic Design emphasis
Lucas Guerra: Comm Arts; Illustration emphasis

Toy Design Distinction in Studio Award
Winnie Ngoc Nguyen

Fine Arts Distinction in Studio Awards

Special Award in Fine Arts: Juan Carlos Anguiano Baca (deceased 12/31/20) 

Suni Mullen, Painting
Dayna McFarlane, Sculpture New Genres
Deen Babakhyi, Photography
Lukas Stewart, Photography

Suhey Elias, Painting
Vivian Chuang, Painting
Angelica Baty, Photography
Cassie Miller, Sculpture New Genres
Kate Schofield, Sculpture New Genres

Delany Jackson, Painting
Chandler Dangaard, Painting
Gena Smith, Painting
Min Htet, Photography
Holon Rumsey, Sculpture New Genres
Augusta Kokas – Out of Bounds Award
Emma Diffley  – Out of Bounds Award

Product Design Distinction in Studio Award
Amber Grable                            
Mirna Kamel 
Daniela Madaria 

MFA Graphic Design Distinction in Studio Award
Malak Abdullah AlMalki 

MFA Fine Art Distinction in Studio Award
Sharon Barnes
Xiouping Chang-Whitworth

Honors List
An honor given to graduating seniors (Undergraduate only) who achieve a 3.5 GPA or higher as of Spring semester. See list here.
Dean's List

Students whose cumulative grade point average is 3.5 or higher earn a place on the Dean's List. 

Academic Awards Archive