OU's top student award recipients announced
Each spring, Oakland University recognizes three students for distinguishing themselves as outstanding scholars and leaders on campus and in the community.
The Alfred G. Wilson and Matilda R. Wilson awards – the most prestigious honors the university presents to students – have recognized OU’s top male and female scholars and leaders since 1965. The awards commemorate the Wilson family, whose generous donation of land and financial resources helped establish the university in 1957.
The Human Relations Award recognizes a student who has made a valuable social impact within the university community. A committee reviews nominations from faculty, staff and students and selects the award recipients.
Recommended candidates are ultimately approved as honorees by the vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer, and the president. This year’s honorees were recognized April 12 during the OU Board of Trustees formal session held via Zoom.
Alfred G. Wilson Award: Jack Andrews
Jack Andrews has established himself as a leader and scholar through numerous academic and extracurricular activities. These include serving as event coordinator for OU’s Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society chapter and as vice president of the university’s men’s club soccer team. He also participated in Alternative Spring Break service programs at BARCS Animal Shelter in Maryland and Catalina Island Conservancy in California.
As a member of OU’s Honors College, Andrews was selected into the Moceri Scholars program, which recognizes students’ academic merit, visionary and aspirational thinking, and commitment to helping others. He lived in the Moceri Scholars House during the 2019-2020 academic year and took part in various volunteer activities and social events.
The bioengineering major from Clinton Township also served as an undergraduate research assistant for the Department of Chemistry and the School of Engineering and Computer Science. He worked alongside faculty mentors and presented his research on campus and at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Kennesaw, Georgia. These research efforts also include two first-author IEEE conference proceedings. Along with conducting research, Andrews interned at Beaumont Health and Beacon Health, where his duties included managing, repairing and maintaining medical equipment such as IV pumps and ventilators.
Andrews served the local community by teaching underprivileged kids the fundamentals of soccer through a program involving the OU men’s club soccer team and Sheriff PAL. He also volunteered at the Alex M. Mackmin Memorial Foundation, helping with yearly golf outings and other fundraising events for youth sports.
Matilda R. Wilson Award: Sydney Torres
A passion for the medical field and a heart for service define Sydney Torres’ contributions to OU’s campus, the surrounding community and the world. Originally from Almont, Michigan, she has engaged in many healthcare-related endeavors, including a trip to rural Peru where she helped set up medical clinics and rebuild a house as part of OU’s MEDLIFE chapter.
The biomedical sciences major also served as president and secretary of OU’s Pre-Medical Society and conducted research on thromboembolism, a blood-clotting disorder, in the Department of Biological Sciences. As a member of OU’s Honors College, Torres wrote an honors thesis on her research and was a Teaching Assistant, Dean’s Student Fellow and participant in the Presidential Scholar Medallion program.
In addition, she received the Honors College Merit Scholarship, OU Credit Union Honors College Dean’s Choice Spirit of Discovery Award and HC 3900 Thesis Competitive Grant. She was also a puppy raiser and secretary of OU’s Leader Dogs for the Blind chapter and a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society chapter at OU.
Outside of Oakland, Torres attended a University of Michigan-sponsored MCAT preparation course with a diverse cohort of students while learning about systemic issues and potential solutions for the healthcare system. She is also a nursing assistant at Beaumont Health and has donated her time as a playroom volunteer and volunteer trainer at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, a reading and literacy mentor at Pontiac’s Center for Success and a kitchen volunteer at Grace Centers of Hope. She will attend the University of Michigan medical school starting this fall.
Human Relations Award: Jai Carrero
Throughout her time at Oakland University, Jai Carrero has worked tirelessly to promote the virtues of diversity, equity, solidarity and inclusion. She served as founder and president of OU’s Black Lives Matter chapter, partnering with OU’s Association of Black Students, Center for Multicultural Initiatives, Filipino-American Students of OU and Black Alumni chapter to organize a pair of rallies on campus in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In addition, Carrero served as founding chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region III Student Council with a goal to make the festival more diverse and inclusive. In this role, she created a workshop to give a voice to students, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color, as well as members of the LGBTIA community and students with different abilities.
The Detroit native was also an OU Admissions Ambassador and CMI CORE Ambassador, encouraging prospective students to attend OU and mentoring first-year students through the Center for Multicultural Initiatives. She was a strong advocate for diversity in OU’s Department of Theatre, cultivating a welcoming atmosphere and helping address issues of racial insensitivity.
As a member of OU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting program, she was awarded the Jan and Don O’Dowd Performing Arts Scholarship and the Outstanding Student Service Award in Theatre. She also received OU’s Keeper of the Dream Award Scholarship, which honors students who advance Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of interracial understanding and goodwill.
To learn more about the Wilson and Human Relations Awards at Oakland University, visit the web page.