Outstanding Student Awards

Outstanding Student Awards

Social Work Students

Axel Brown
Outstanding BSW Student - Spring 2023

"My experience in the BSW program was nothing short of amazing, I've said it once and I'll say it again. The UCCS Social Work Faculty saved my life."

Axel Brown is a father, veteran, student body president, and social worker. The things that he has been able to accomplish in life are all accredited to each one of those. His time at UCCS has been nothing short of amazing. He would like to state that this accomplishment wouldn't have been possible without the help of his amazing BSW faculty members and most importantly his 2022-2023 BSW cohort.  Axel is from Brooklyn, New York and joined the military at the age of 17. At the age of 22, his military career was cut short. He enrolled in UCCS in the Spring of 2020 and his journey to become a social worker began. As an African American man, the odds have been stacked against him since birth, but with the help of positive influences at UCCS, it has been an easier climb to overcome his challenges. He is proud to have the opportunity to help shape the future and it would not have been possible without the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Criminal Justice

Kristen Aguirre
Outstanding BACJ Student - Spring 2023

"My experience in the BACJ program has been awesome, I am very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to learn from such instrumental people within the field of criminal justice. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of course offerings and feel that I was well versed in my education as a result."

Kristen Aguirre is not only a diligent student but also a devoted wife and mother. She prides herself on her academic accomplishments which include being on the President’s List every semester, the Chancellor’s Award, this BACJ Outstanding Student Award, and graduating Summa Cum Laude. She is proud to serve as an example to her daughter, Amelia, that hard work and perseverance can help you achieve your goals.  When Kristen is not focused on her academics, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and hiking. She is originally from California but has called Colorado home for the past four years. She loves exploring the outdoor beauty our state has to offer. She is passionate about contributing to her community through public service. Upon graduation, she hopes to attain a position with a non-profit organization in which she is an intern.

Public Administration

Erica Oakley-Courage
Outstanding MPA Student - Spring 2023

"The Master’s degree in Public Administration has allowed me to deepen my knowledge of the nonprofit sector and civil service, both of which I am extremely passionate about. I think it’s incumbent on each of us to participate in community endeavors to create and shape the society we want to live in, and I’m excited to put this education to use as I continue to find ways to serve Colorado Springs and the State of Colorado."

Erica Oakley-Courage serves as the Associate Vice President of Grants at El Pomar Foundation, managing the operations of the grants department. She also directs the Pikes Peak Heritage Series, an El Pomar program that celebrates and raises awareness of the natural assets of the Pikes Peak region. Prior to El Pomar, Erica worked for six years as a development officer with the Palmer Land Conservancy and the Colorado Springs office of the American Heart Association. The Seattle-area native earned a Bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University in Journalism/Public Relations and will earn her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in May. She completed her Certificate in Nonprofit Management in December 2022 and joined UCCS’ chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for Public Affairs and Administration, in November 2021. Erica was a member of the Institute for Leaders in Development’s Class of 2017, participated in the Community Leadership Program in June 2021, and is a member of the Mayor’s Civic Leaders Fellowship Class of 2023. She has served on multiple boards and volunteered for several organizations in the Pikes Peak Region including Peak Vista Community Health Centers, Girl Scouts of Colorado, and the Colorado Springs Osteopathic Foundation. In 2016, she was recognized as the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southern Colorado Outstanding Emerging Fundraiser and in 2018 she was named a Rising Star by the Colorado Springs Business Journal.