SNU 2020 valedictorian Alisa Robinson B.A. in Psychology
My experience at SNU has taught me to think bigger, anticipate changes, listen, take risks, and most importantly to take advantage of opportunities.

2020 Valedictorian Alisa Robinson

Sierra Nevada College is proud to announce that Alisa Robinson, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, has been chosen as the valedictorian for the class of 2020.

Over the course of the past four years at Sierra Nevada University, I have grown to be a true academic who embodies what it means to be a Sierra Nevada University Eagle. I was a teaching assistant, tutor, and student mentor for the psychology department, and one of the primary researchers for Dr. Christina Frederick’s NIH and Nevada INBRE Pilot Grant Project. My senior research project will be presented at the 2020 UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference. Beyond the campus, I was a peer support group co-facilitator at the Douglas Center of Hope and Healing for several years, and volunteered with the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee Leadership Program.Shortly after I started at SNU, I became aware of the faculty and staff support that allowed me to freely explore my interests. This freedom to explore, both within and beyond the realm of her psychology courses, was empowering. My personal experiences with the pervasive influence of media grew into a minor in Marketing. A web design course led to my interest in the intersection of web design and psychology, and from there to new skills in coding and graphics programs.

My experience at SNU has taught me to think bigger, anticipate changes, listen, take risks, and most importantly to take advantage of opportunities.

If you had asked me 4 years ago what I expected upon graduation, I would have told you that, along with a diploma, I would now know everything there is to know. That fundamentally changed one day during my Sensation and Perception class. Dr. Robert King introduced Beau Lotto and the concept that to thrive in this world, that doesn’t truly exist as we perceive it, we must question everything. I left the classroom that day knowing less than I thought I knew when I entered it. That would have been a setback if I was still that naïve freshman, but my time at SNU had prepared me for that moment. Instead of feeling angry with myself, I felt excitement. I no longer fear uncertainty, rather I am intrinsically motivated to question everything to find it, because without uncertainty there is no room for growth. When I let go of the extrinsic motivation provided by my grade point average I truly began to learn.

I look back on this day and remember the excitement I felt, and feel proud in the transformation that occurred. The hands-on education I received allows me to face uncertainty with courage instead of fear.


2020 Valedictorian Candidates

“Each of these nominees embodied Sierra Nevada University’s mission. Their experiences showcased what makes SNU an incredible place to learn. Beyond their individual accomplishments, each of them also demonstrated curiosity, academic dedication, and significant personal investment in our larger culture and community.”
Provost Shannon Beets

SNU 2020 valedictorian candidate Piera Bernhard, BFA in ArtPiera Nicolee Bernhard
Bachelor of Fine Arts, major in Art     Summa Cum Laude
“Piera Bernhard completed her thesis art exhibition last November and will graduate with her bachelors of fine arts degree this May. She worked for the fine arts department throughout her time at SNU. You’ll find her sailing Lake Tahoe and touring the west in her mobile studio van the summer. She hopes we’ll all have the courage to leap into the unknown and pursue our dreams.”

SNU 2020 valedictorian candidate Brooke Boltz, B.S. in BiologyBrooke H. Boltz
Bachelor of Science, major in Biology     Magna Cum Laude
“Sierra Nevada University has given me many unique opportunities to be successful in my career. While earning my B.S. in Biology, I have gained invaluable experience interning at the UC Davis TERC Chemistry Lab, developed crucial leadership skills as a Resident Advisor in the dorms, and established lasting relationships with mentors and professors along the way.”

Sadie Brown
Bachelor of Arts, major in Psychology     Summa Cum Laude

James P. Cowan
Bachelor of Fine Arts, major in Art     Summa Cum Laude

SNU 2020 valedictorian candidate Sarah Craggs, B.S. in Environmental ScienceSarah Jene Craggs
Bachelor of Science, major in Environmental Science     Magna Cum Laude
“All educational journeys are unique and mine is no different. As I reach the end of my time at sierra Nevada University, I’m filled with gratitude, not only for knowledge gained, but for the enthusiasm to pay it forward.”

SNU 2020 valedictorian candidate Gabby Dodd, B.A. In Interdisciplinary Studies in Journalism and CommunicationGabrielle Dodd
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, major in Journalism & Communication     Magna Cum Laude
“When I came to SNU four years ago, I had skiing on my mind and no clue what I wanted to study. Quickly, I discovered my skill in writing and found my place in the journalism program, where I am now the managing editor of the Eagle’s Eye, the assistant for interdisciplinary chair Katie Zanto, and I’ve also spent my years competing on the freeski team.”

Luka Gobec
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majors in Global Business Management and Finance & Economics     Summa Cum Laude

Monique Hurdle
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration , major in Entrepreneurship     Summa Cum Laude

Cole Lyon
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, major in Entrepreneurship     Summa Cum Laude

Ryan Alexander McCarthy
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, major in Outdoor Adventure Leadership & Art     Magna Cum Laude

Jordan McDonald
Bachelor of Arts, major in Art     Magna Cum Laude

SNU 2020 valedictorian Alisa Robinson B.A. in PsychologyAlisa Robinson
Bachelor of Arts, major in Psychology     Summa Cum Laude

SNU 2020 valedictorian candidate Austin Thomas, B.S.B.A. in EntrepreneurshipAustin Thomas
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, major in Entrepreneurship     Summa Cum Laude
“My decision to study at SNU was a total game-changer. The community and opportunities I experienced here are going to stick with me for life, and I can’t be more grateful.”

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