USU's 50 Most Influential Aggies

1. All the brave survivors of sexual assault

Graphic by Emma Olsen

2. Erik Gray

Erik Gray lost an on-again, off-again battle with cancer on Feb. 10. He was initially diagnosed with megral epidermal carcinoma cancer when he was 16, but despite receiving treatment for his cancer, it came back multiple times. His motto in life was YOLO. He started saying it as a joke, but it eventually stuck.

Gray studied speech-language pathology, was a member of the A-Team and mentor for new student orientation, and was known for his appearance in the Snapchat story that went viral last spring — he was No Spoiler Boy. Gray said that was his favorite adventure.

“Logan’s amazing and I finally feel like I’ve found my place,” Gray said. “The Aggie family is a real thing.”

Gray’s doctors told him his cancer came back right before he started his senior year at USU in fall 2016, but this time they said it was terminal.

“I was angry at first and really upset,” he said. “But miracles do happen.”

Since Gray’s passing, members of USU have established scholarships in his honor. USU has also started spreading the “Erik Effect.”

3. Shane Richards

3. Shane Richards celebrated his one “Agg-iversary” just last week, but he’s already making a big impact on campus as the Landscape Operations and Maintenance manager for USU.

“In my type of work you do not get this type of recognition without supportive supervisors and a great working crew, so thank you to the entire LOAM crew, my supervisors, and all my co-workers in facilities,” he said.

He oversees the maintenance of the sports fields, tree canopies and landscapes, and advises the construction.

“I love my job! I cannot think of anything more satisfying than working on this campus,” he said. “I can walk around and take pride at how beautiful our school looks and if something is not right I look forward to the challenge to correct it and make that area beautiful.”

When Richards is not working, he loves spending time going on roller coasters and going to the drive-in theater with his wife and five kids. On top of all of that, he’s an entrepreneur hobbyist.

4. Gary Egbert

Gary Egbert has been a manager in the Information Technology Department for over 28 years.

“I have the opportunity of working with many outstanding students, administrators, faculty, and staff at Utah State University,” he said. “...I have the privilege of creating and supporting an environment that is welcoming for students to meet and accomplish their educational needs and desires.”

Egbert hires, trains, and oversees 70+ student employees, while also managing and maintaining six open access computer labs throughout campus.

“I am very passionate about my position at Utah State and the opportunities that I have to provide Utah State with the newest technology, and technological advancements that will foster learning opportunities, and educational successes for students,” he said.

He and his wife are the proud parents of four children and they love spending time in the great outdoors.

5. Sydney Peterson

5. Sydney Peterson has served USU for 38 years in various roles, and she’s spent 12 years as chief of staff to the president and secretary to the Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Executive Team and oversees many of the administrative functions of the President’s Office. She also works closely with Public Relations and Marketing and will serve as interim director of Alumni Relations.

As secretary to the Board, she works with the Board of Trustees, manages all the activities of the Board and serves as the liaison between the university and the Board.

In addition to her work at USU, she was chair of the board of the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education (NAPAHE). She currently serves on the Cache Valley Hospital Board and the Interfaith Council, and has been the chair of the Cache County Library Board, the Interfaith Council, and USU Community Associates.

5. Neil Abercrombie

Neil Abercrombie is the director of Government Relations at USU. Neil is responsible for bringing in a lot of the government funding that USU receives. He manages Utah State’s federal, state, and local government relations, and works to develop USU’s legislative strategy on Capitol Hill. He works with elected officials to advance USU by getting funding for buildings, faculty and staff compensation and funding for research or academic programs. Recently he’s also stepped into an interim role in advancement for USU, helping coordinate the university’s fundraising efforts across campus.

Abercrombie said working for USU is both a duty and a passion because he loves USU so much.

“I had great professors and mentors as a student majoring in political science and my passion for USU continued with me after I graduated,” he said. “But I also feel a real duty to my job.”

He enjoys helping build the partnership between USU and our congressional delegation, state government and local leaders.

When Abercrombie isn’t raising funds, he spends a lot of time cheering on the Aggies or going to concerts. He loves traveling with his wife and is “plotting” his next big trip with her.

6. Beth Foley

Beth Foley is the dean of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

As dean of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, Beth Foley is responsible for making sure Utah State University offers high-quality academic programs that prepare students for great careers. She also tries to ensure students, faculty and staff have the resources and supports they need to be successful.

Foley said she’s passionate about working at USU where she said she has opportunities that she wouldn’t have anywhere else.

“I work in an amazingly productive college and feel lucky to be surrounded every day by outstanding students, talented faculty and staff, and an unbelievable administrative team,” she said.

In her spare time, Foley has a 16-year-old son who keeps her pretty busy.

“I try to embarrass him only occasionally,” she said.

She also loves to hike, snowshoe, hang out with her two dogs, and garden flowers — but not food. Her idea of fun is cooking dinner for 10 to 15 friends.

9. Jenny Erazo

enny Erazo is the coordinator for USU Sexual Assault & Anti-Violence Information (SAAVI) Office.

“I am passionate about helping people and I am fortunate that my job allows me to do that,” she said. “I have the privilege of working with incredible people who inspire me with their bravery and strength.”

She provides counseling and advocacy services to primary and secondary survivors of interpersonal violence, including survivors of dating or domestic violence, bullying, hazing, stalking, and sexual assault. As an advocate, she helps students understand what their options are if they are a victim of interpersonal violence and helps support them in whatever option they chose to pursue. As a counselor, she helps students process their experience and begin the healing process.

She also works to raise awareness and educate our campus about interpersonal violence and resources available to help through campus events such as Red Zone and Walk A Mile In Her Shoes.

“I have a tough job but it is so very rewarding,” she said.

10. Ty Aller

Ty Aller was graduate studies senator, a Ph.D. student in FCHD, a graduate student instructor, and the student regent for the Utah State Board of Regents.

Aller was also responsible for spearheading the mental health initiative and helping declare mental health a statewide crisis.

“I work hard each day to make sure I represent student concerns to our governing bodies at the university and the state,” he said. “I hope to make the college experience a bit better, safer, and more supportive of every student.”

Aller said he’s genuinely passionate about the topics he studies and improving the USU experience.

“As someone that has been provided the opportunity to pursue higher education, I consider it my duty to use my privilege to help make the world a bit better place,” Aller said.

When Aller isn’t working, he loves hiking, bowling, fishing, hammocking, reading, and taking long Sunday naps.

11. Michael Scott Peters

Michael Scott Peters is the incoming USUSA President. He has been involved with the A-Team, the Global Academy Program, the Huntsman Scholars, the Diversity Cabinet and the Business Ambassadors.

12. Blake Lyman

Blake Lyman is the former athletics and campus recreation vice president on the USUSA Executive Council. Lyman has also been involved in the Student Alumni Association, the President's Cabinet and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences council.

13. Rachael Fresh

Rachael Fresh was the USUSA vice president of the Student Alumni Association and the secretary of the President’s Cabinet, and served as an Aggie Blue leadership conference facilitator. Fresh put in over 50 events and volunteered at every USU Howl and Mardi Gras party.

14. Joshua Claflin

Joshua Claflin is a musician and a member of The Young North band. He has been at USU for two years and is studying marketing. Claflin does what he does at USU because “there’s no better feeling than getting funky with all them USU baes and boos.”

15. Dalton Baker

Dalton Baker is a Utah State University linebacker on the football team. Baker is a redshirt sophomore and is “very thankful to be in a position that I am to enjoy every opportunity I have to progress my success for myself and just helping people out along the way.”

16. Lindsey Jensen

Lindsey Jensen is a sophomore and a guard on the Utah State University basketball team. Jensen loves basketball because she “loves tackling a good challenge.” Basketball is Jensen’s passion and she works as hard as she does because she wants to be a good role model for kids in her community and make a difference.

17. Ryan Jensen

Ryan Jensen was a USUSA student events vice president, housing and residence life ambassador, and office assistant in the Office of Global Engagement. He oversees Blue Crew and tries to increase student involvement and attendance at events. He also sat on fee board, lobbied for the mental health bill at the capitol, and co-chaired the USUSA elections.

18. Eliza Lin

Eliza Lin is a sophomore studying Marketing and Business Administration. She’s involved with the USU Ambassador Program and Best Buddies. She works directly with prospective students to help and recruit them to join the Aggie family. She’s passionate about making everyone feel included.

19. Ashley Waddoups

Ashley Waddoups was the 2016-2017 USUSA President. Throughout her time as president, she raised awareness and funding for mental health and sexual assault while sitting on over 20 committees throughout the university. Waddoups graduates this May with a degree in English education.

20. Lizzie Allen

Lizzie Allen is the 2016-2017 Student Alumni Association Executive Assistant and the 2016-2017 USUSA Student Campus Recreation Director. She is graduating in May with a degree in Parks and Recreation.

21. John Ferguson

John Ferguson has been the associate director for the Huntsman Scholar Program for five years. He teaches ethics, international business, and business law.

22. Travis Thurston

Travis Thurston is a Ph.D student who he works as an instructional designer in the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction (CIDI) on campus. He studies curriculum and instruction in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership. He improves course designs in Canvas and implements innovative instructional strategies and approaches. He also coordinates the Empowering Teaching Excellence program.

23. Ben Fordham

Ben Fordham is a senior from Salt Lake City studying public relations and political science. He works as a marketing assistant for Utah State University Extension and serves on the Hurd's public relations committee. Ben is perhaps best-known for creating customized seasonal graphics for his followers on Twitter.

24. Gavin Gailey

Gavin Gailey is a carpenter with facilities.

25. Shannon Peterson

Shannon Peterson teaches in the economics and finance department and created the Huntsman Scholar Program. She mentored students as they pursued top careers in academia, business, government, and the nonprofit sector.

26. Jalen Moore

Jalen Moore just concluded his final season as a member of the Utah State basketball team. In his four years he scored 1,645 points (ninth all-time), but might have been most well-known for his iconic afro.

27. Matthew Clewett

Matthew Clewett was the student advocate vice president. He is majoring in law and constitutional studies.

28. Carly Thornhill

Carly Thornhill studies mathematics, statistics composite with a minor in psychology. She’s a director in the President's Cabinet, a member of the Hurd committee, an Aggie Blue committee member and recipient of the USUSA Dedication Award.

29. Frank De Leon Compres

Frank De Leon Compres was a student in the aviation program at USU. Over the summer, he tragically died in a single-engine aircraft crash. After his death students came together to remember him and the Frank M. De Leon Compres memorial scholarship was created in his honor.

30. Amir Malakooti

Amir Malakooti’s master’s thesis is about using electricity to measure the durability of concrete. This research will lead to a revolution in electric vehicle usage all around the world. As an Iranian-Muslim Aggie, he has been an activist against the Muslim and refugee travel ban in 2017.

31. Chaz Lundquist

Chaz Lundquist is involved with the ambassadors, Alpha Sigma Phi, the LDS Institute Singers, and the Entrepreneurship Club, and previously volunteered with the USUSA PR & Marketing and USUSA Student & Traditions committees.

32. Chris Glaittli

Chris Glaittli was the social media director of USU Campus Recreation, Assistant Marketing Director for USUSA, and an attendant for USU Campus Recreation. He is currently editor-in-chief for Half&Half, a multimedia style blog for men and women. Chris has also been an ambassador for USU and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

33. Yusuf Mumin

Yusuf Mumin engages over 1,000 students on social media between Facebook and Twitter alone. He gives insight on student life, but he also just adds humor to his followers’ news feeds.

34. Bicycle Brent

Bicycle Brent brightens people’s days by honking and waving from his bike.

35. Dr. James Morales

Dr. James Morales is the vice president for Student Affairs. For the past eight years he has been a strong supporter of the students at Utah State, overseeing the 17 departments that provide support and services to them.

36. Jace Goodwin

Jace Goodwin spent the past academic year as the senator for the Caine College of the Arts. He is a graphic designer and a marketing student, and is in his fourth year at USU.

37. Linda Zimmerman

Linda Zimmerman is the director of the Student Involvement and Leadership Center. She oversees several organizations, including USUSA, student media, Greek life, the spirit squad and more than 100 clubs and other organizations.

38. Ruby Parkin Earl

Ruby Parkin Earl is a senior and will be graduating with a marketing degree from the Huntsman School of Business. She has had an impact on many aspects of the university in her time with the Huntsman Scholars, President’s Cabinet, business council, Kappa Delta sorority and various USUSA groups.

39. Clair Canfield

Clair Canfield is a communication studies lecturer in the Department of Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies. He primarily studies conflict management and gave a presentation on the topic at the most-recent TEDxUSU.

40. Francia Yluminada Solis Gil

Francia Yluminada Solis Gil is an international student from the Dominican Republic, double-majoring in French and global communication. She is the president of the International Student Council and was named Miss USU 2016-17

41. Jacie Rex

Jacie Rex is a member of the Kappa Delta sorority, a 2016-17 CHaSS senator, recipient of the 2017 USUSA Citizenship award and winner of the W. Mont Timmins writing award for 2017.

42. Larry Smith

Larry Smith is the interim provost.

43. Nelda Ault-Dyslin

Nelda Ault-Dyslin is the community service coordinator at the Val R. Christensen Service Center. She has spent the past three years connecting USU students with local nonprofit organizations that are in need of volunteers.

44. Alison Berg

Alison Berg is a staff writer at the Utah Statesman and has primarily covered campus crime and student government. She is passionate about keeping people informed and fulfilling her journalistic responsibility to hold those in leadership positions accountable.

45. Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney served as the 2016-17 business council president. The two focuses of the council for this year were on service and increasing attendance at Focused Fridays.

46. Ben Blau

Ben Blau is a professor in the economics and finance department and has been at USU since 2009. He splits his time between teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and conducting research. He spends most of his spare time reading books about finance and economics and trying to convince his children the topics are important and interesting.

47. Darren Bingham

Darren Bingham is the senior undergraduate advisor for a club, a volunteer, an unpaid teaching assistant, and a community organizer. Bingham organizes protests and raises awareness about environmental and human rights issues. He says advocacy is becoming increasingly important.

48. Morgan Pratt

Morgan Pratt is the opinion editor for the Utah Statesman, the host of the Aggie Morning Word on Aggie Radio and a senior broadcast student in the journalism department. She loves her dog and her husband.

49. Savannah Lund

Savannah Lund is an English education major and a French minor. She is an ambassador for CHaSS and a member of Sigma Tau Delta, and is in the university honor’s program.

50. Sawyer Hemsley

Sawyer Hemsley is a senior at Utah State and has been the Student Events vice president in USUSA and a member of the A-Team. This past semester, he started an environmental project called Waterlief to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

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