Alabama honors new Capstone Heroes

Katherine Martin

Several University of Alabama students and two student organizations were honored as Capstone Heroes Thursday afternoon in Carmichael Hall.

The Capstone Heroes award was designed to recognize UA students, faculty, staff, student organizations and members of the community whose contributions to life at the Capstone reflect the values within the Capstone Creed, said Joshua Burford, coordinator of student development programming.

“I think, for me, being a Capstone Hero means two things,” Burford said. “The first is a person who goes above and beyond the normal activities at the University, and the second is people whose work goes for the most part unrecognized on campus because they’re not looking to win awards.”

Twelve students from different parts of campus were recognized at Thursday’s ceremony, Burford said.

“The nice thing about the Capstone Heroes award is that there are fewer strict criteria, making it a lot more flexible for nominations and winners,” he said.

Since this year is the last year Capstone Creed Week will be celebrated, Burford said, the ceremony will act as a kickoff for next year when the entire year will be about following the Creed.

“We’re going to take the Creed out of the week and into the year,” Burford said.

Shea Mason, a senior majoring in management, said she was surprised to hear she had been nominated and chosen as a winner of the Capstone Heroes award.

“It’s nice to know that people are recognized on campus for being a well-rounded member of the Capstone,” Mason said.

Mason said her contributions and dedication to The SOURCE and her role as director of student engagement allowed for her recognition.

Mike Zhang, a junior majoring in biology, said he was also surprised to find he was a winner.

During his time at the University, Zhang started a mentoring program for elementary school students at Holt Elementary in Tuscaloosa, teaching them about the scientific method and the importance of technology.

Zhang has also worked as an undergraduate researcher studying Parkinson’s disease.

“What’s unique about this award is that it’s not one you can apply for,” Zhang said. “You are nominated by someone who recognizes your work, which is a big honor.”

Hayley Strong, a senior majoring in marketing and advertising and SGA chief justice, said winning the award is definitely an honor.

“I feel like the Judicial Branch of the SGA are the real Capstone Heroes,” Strong said. “They’ve put so much into working with the students on campus to promote the Code of Student Conduct and making good decisions, and it’s been a privilege to work with them.”

Michael Wynn, a senior majoring in communication studies, said giving back to UA students and seeing that their lives are enhanced by being involved on campus has allowed him to be recognized as a Capstone Hero.

“It’s humbling because there are so many people on campus who do great work and do great things, and to be honored and counted among them is an honor because you kind of feel undeserving,” Wynn said.