UAF names 2023 student award recipients

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will honor Kalen Moore-Thomas and Riley von Borstel on May 5 as its outstanding undergraduate degree recipients for 2023.

head and shoulders portrait of a student
Photo courtesy of Kalen Moore-Thomas
Kalen Moore-Thomas

Moore-Thomas will receive the Joel Wiegert Award, which recognizes an outstanding associate degree candidate. Von Borstel will receive the Marion Frances Boswell Memorial Award, which recognizes an outstanding bachelor’s degree candidate.

Moore-Thomas earned an Associate of Arts in December and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied management.

“Kalen has worked extremely hard to earn his associate degree and graduate summa cum laude,” wrote Montana Goss, Student Support Services interim associate director, in a nomination letter. “He is a very welcoming and friendly person who, despite hardships growing up, has persevered to become an outstanding member of his community.” 

Moore-Thomas volunteers his time to community organizations, including the Fairbanks Community Food Bank and Santa’s Helpers. He is self-employed and owns an entertainment business, 907 Foam Flingers, which caters activities and events for children, adults, the military and corporate team building.

head and shoulders portrait of a student
Photo courtesy of Riley von Borstel
Riley von Borstel

Von Borstel will receive bachelor’s degrees in justice, political science and performing arts, with minors in social work, psychology and creative writing.

“Riley is a shining example of a well-rounded, community-minded, multitalented UAF senior who, I have no doubt, will be a leader in Alaska,” wrote Carrie Baker, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, in a letter of recommendation.

Von Borstel is a student ambassador and a member of the UAF Honors College. She served two years as president of the Associated Students of UAF and on numerous boards and committees at UAF. She has been cast in leading roles in three Theatre UAF mainstage productions and completed internships for three organizations during her college career: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office, the UAF Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Fairbanks Office of Public Advocacy.

Moore and von Borstel will be among those honored at UAF’s 2023 honoree recognition ceremony, which will be at 5 p.m. Friday, May 5, at the Davis Concert Hall. More information about the ceremony and other 2022 commencement events is available on the commencement website.