How Students have Influenced Us

By University Communications | May 2, 2017

As the UA's 153rd Commencement approaches, we asked UA employees to tell us about students who have influenced them. Here are the sotories we received.

Destinee Ogas | Senior in Biochemistry

Destinee Ogas has been a student worker at the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center for four years. It has been an honor to see her grow and achieve her goals despite any adversities she faced. She was accepted at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy), and is on her way to achieve her dream of becoming a pharmacist. Destinee has inspired me to work harder, to be a better person, and to learn how to appreciate life all together. She is always positive and cheerful. She is intelligent and resourceful, and I hope that all of her amazing qualities lead her to great things in life. Thank you, Destinee, for being such an inspiration to our team!
Natalie Provencio Dean
Research Specialist
Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, UA Health Sciences
Destinee was raised in a small, rural town and overcame financial hardship and great personal loss to excel scholastically and became the first in her family to attend college. This summer, she will be moving to Hawaii to begin her studies at the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, and ultimately obtain her doctoral degree. She has worked alongside me this past year as a pharmacy technician, and has really impacted the way I approach my interactions with patients. Destinee has an innate sense of patience and caring, and approaches her patients with a genuine empathy, treating each one as if they were her own family member. Her positivity radiates and uplifts those around her. I admire these traits very much, and try to emulate them in my own practice thanks to Destinee.
Allison Buhl
Medication Management Specialist
Medication Management Center, College of Pharmacy


Jordan Barrows | Senior in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Biochemistry and Honors Student
Ben Zaepfel | Senior in Biochemistry, Physiology and Honors Student
Ben and Jordan are both participants in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program and they have both been part of the (Daniela) Zarnescu lab, in molecular and cellular biology, for the past three years. These two are amazing. They are incredibly bright and incredibly giving of their time and resources. Both were selected to be Beckman Scholars (the highest designation we have in UBRP for undergraduate researchers, and Beckman Scholars are leaders among undergraduate researchers).
Ben (pictured, left), who immediately became a UBRP ambassador when he was selected for the program, volunteered to be our first UBRP volunteer chairperson. He has, over the past three years, organized service days where UBRP students and their friends could volunteer as a group at the Community Food Bank, at Beads of Courage, and for other worthwhile causes. He also, on his own initiative, headed up an effort to create a library in a small village in Ghana (Debibi), which involved gathering, sorting and shipping 1,000 books through the African Library Project. Ben also is president of the MCB club.
Jordan, who also gives freely of his time to tutor students, and as a UBRP ambassador (secretary), and made a financial donation back to UBRP, a program he values. Both students were selected as Outstanding Senior by their respective departments. Jordan also was named Outstanding Senior for the College of Science.  Both are headed to Johns Hopkins University in the fall, where they will continue their studies as doctoral students. These students are always ready to help, they have great ideas for how to move projects forward, and they never fail to contribute to efforts in which they are involved in ways both big and small. The world is a better place because of them and we will miss them, A LOT, when they graduate.
Carol Bender
University Distinguished Outreach Professor
Director of the Undergraduate Biology Research Program
Photos courtesy of UA Communications.
Release Date: 
Thursday, May 4, 2017