Masquerade Ball celebrates NUNM students, faculty, staff who ‘Make a Difference’

SGA-sponsored event recognizes those who have embodied excellence and community engagement.

At the Make a Difference Masquerade Ball on March 15, the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) honored the remarkable efforts of its students, faculty and staff.

The event, which was hosted by NUNM’s Student Government Association (SGA) and took place on March 15 at Union Pine in Portland, was an opportunity to celebrate those who have surpassed expectations, embodying excellence and community engagement.

Their innovative teaching methods and groundbreaking research have not only enhanced NUNM’s reputation, but have also impacted countless lives. Through their stories, there are tales of resilience, compassion, and unwavering dedication, inspiring admiration and gratitude throughout the community.

“Hosting the Make A Difference event was a really special experience that highlighted the incredible impact individuals have on our communities,” said Jessica Larsen-Gemza, vice president of SGA. “The outpouring of kind and thoughtful words, coupled with heartfelt acknowledgments, served as a powerful reminder of the importance of celebrating the efforts and achievements of those dedicated to making a positive change.”

The award recipients were nominated by members of the NUNM community. They are:

Leadership Award

Someone who has been an organizer, an initiator, or has otherwise shown that they have grown or developed as a leader.

  • Faculty Member: Dr. Taylor Boham
  • Student: Yolanda Fernandez

Tender Heart Award

Someone who shows great compassion, or demonstrates a gentleness or sensitivity that inspires others or just makes being here a lot easier or better.

  • Faculty/Staff: Keith Casper
  • Student: Sara Danko

Helping Hand Award

An individual, who every time something is needed, seems to be there, making sure it gets done.

  • Faculty/Staff: Christina King
  • Student: Hannah Ruisi

Benedict & Louisa Lust Award

An enthusiastic person who embodies the principles of Naturopathic medicine.

  • Staff/Faculty: Dr. Emma Petshow
  • Student: Miles French

Excellence in Research Award

Someone who has worked tirelessly to advance the research base of our medicine.

  • Staff/Faculty: Ben Zimmerman
  • Student: Danielle ZuZero

Food as Medicine Award

Someone who has passionately advanced the study and practice of nutrition in our community.

  • Staff/Faculty: Kira Freed
  • Student: Ethel Richards

Hua Tuo Award

Named for the famous physician, Qigong practitioner, and surgeon, from the time period of the Han Dynasty. This award is given to the person who embodies Chinese Medicine in their own life as well as a Chinese Medicine practitioner and/or scholar.

  • Staff/Faculty: Dr. Xiaoli Chen
  • Student: Anne Lu

Lifetime Award

For a community member who is literally part of NUNM history. Someone who has opened new ground and opportunities for NUNM and its students, staff and faculty.

  • Dr. Kimberly Windstar

Equity Award

  • Staff/Faculty: Dr. Katherine Patterson
  • Student: Eden Jeffries

Outstanding Club Award

  • Tea Club (Cara Pollard)

“I feel there is a lot of value in acknowledging all that people are doing, as even what may seem like small contributions can have profound impacts,” Larsen-Gemza sad. “Witnessing the joy and gratitude of the award recipients was truly heartwarming and reaffirmed the significance of recognizing and supporting each other’s contributions.”