Barrett alumni recognized for their achievements and contributions with Alumni Awards

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April 19, 2021

Three outstanding alumni of Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University are being recognized for their professional achievements, contributions to society and support of the university with the honor college’s Alumni Awards. 

The trio were given the awards at the annual Barrett, The Honors College Gold Standard Awards and Barrett Alumni Awards event on April 15.

While they could not attend in person, each alumni award recipient was featured in a recorded message at the event. 

The 2021 Barrett, The Honors College Alumni Award recipients are: 

Julie RorrerEarly Achievement Award - Julie Rorrer

Rorrer received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2014. 

At ASU, she was very involved in research and service as an undergraduate teaching assistant, a Fulton Undergraduate Research (FURI) undergraduate researcher, and president of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers. 

Upon graduation, she was honored with a number of awards including Outstanding Student Organization Leader and Outstanding Graduate in Chemical Engineering

Rorrer obtained a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley. Her doctoral thesis focused on the catalytic conversion of biomass-derived intermediates for high-value chemicals.

In 2019, she founded ColorMePhD, a free coloring book communicating PhD-level research in science and engineering to a broad audience. Each hand-drawn page explains peer-reviewed manuscripts at a level that people of all ages can understand. 

Rorrer has created two volumes, with 20-30 pages each, of this coloring book. In an effort to increase diversity and inclusion in science, Vol. 2 highlights women in STEM. The coloring book also features a History Making Scientists series highlighting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) scientists. 

ColorMePhd was the subject of a feature story in Chemical & Engineering News. It also is listed as a resource on the ASU Fulton Engineering outreach page

Rorrer currently works in the Román lab in Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researching efficient ways to upcycle plastics into fuels and chemical feedstock. While at MIT, she has continued to help the community as a Communication Lab Fellow and offers individual coaching and workshops to help individuals improve their science communication skills.

Nicholas Wegener
Barrett Service Award – Nicholas Wegener

Wegener, a member of Barrett, The Honors College’s class of 2001, is a Hollywood producer, writer, and actor known for his work on American Dad!, Key and Peele, and Criminal Minds. He has also written for KSI Has Dinner with Craig David and Digital Farm Animals, The UCB Show, Napoleon Dynamite, and The Midnight Show.

He started performing comedy while a student at ASU. He was a member of the Farce Side Comedy Hour and Barren Mind Improv. He was named one of the "Five Funniest Comedians in College”, earning him a trip to the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. 

Wegener is an active member of the Barrett community. He volunteers with the T. W. Lewis Center as a workshop leader and mentor to students.

He is a proponent of making Barrett accessible to all and has established the Steve and Linda Wegener Scholarship in honor of his parents to support academic excellence in honors students. The scholarship is available for incoming and continuing students.

Malea ChavezDistinguished Alumni Award - Malea Chavez 

Chavez, Barrett class of 1999, is active in the honors college’s Inn of Court program that connects students interested in law with alumni who are legal professionals. 

She is a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of Law. She founded the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. 

Chavez was a clinical professor at the San Francisco Law School, a private law school in San Francisco, Calif. She has worked in family and immigration law. She currently is deputy director of programs for Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco. 

She also is active in giving back to her own community in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she has led multiple initiatives to alleviate homelessness and worked with people suffering from abuse.

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