Published: Feb. 2, 2022 By

The Center for Leadership is pleased to present the recipients of the 2021–22 Student Leaders of the Year Award. This program highlights the impact of leadership education at CU Boulder. By recognizing outstanding students, we reward exceptional work and highlight leadership programs.

All of the recipients will be recognized at Macky Auditorium the evening of Feb. 28, during the marquee event of the Leo Hill Speaker Series. This year’s speaker is retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

“Leadership in Times of Uncertainty”

The Feb. 28 Leo Hill Leadership Speaker Series event will feature Stanley McChrystal, a retired four-star general and former commander of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism force. He will share his battle-tested leadership views during an on-campus talk at Macky Auditorium. 

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The CU Boulder Student Leaders of the Year awards recognize those individuals participating in campus leadership programs who have demonstrated:

  • Academic excellence and curiosity
  • Extraordinary support to and innovation within campus leadership programs
  • Exceptional service to the community, either campus or Boulder metro area
  • Outstanding character and personal resilience
  • Exemplary embodiment of the Colorado Creed

We would like to congratulate these students on their accomplishments and are proud to be able to showcase their contributions to their respective communities and CU Boulder.

Joshka Gustav

Gustav is a third-year student in the Scripps Leadership & Career Development Program. He is a starting member for the CU football team. Originally from Hamburg, Germany, he is pursuing a degree in psychology with minors in ethnic studies and leadership. Gustav serves as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and leads his student-athletes by example and acts as a positive representative of his team. He hopes to one day serve his community as a firefighter.

Jake McGrath

McGrath is a fifth-year student in the Presidents Leadership Class. He is originally from Littleton, Colorado, and is pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering. Peers who work with McGrath note his strong leadership comes from his personal responsibility for the whole team, his trust for his team in technical matters, and his treatment of his team as a group of unique individuals. In all that McGrath does, he maintains a positive outlook regardless of challenges and is highly dependable, hardworking and respectful.

Emma Pearson

Pearson is a fourth-year student and is a member of the Leeds Scholars Program. She is originally from Longmont, Colorado, and is pursuing degrees in finance and ecology and evolutionary biology. Pearson is a natural leader who people feel an instant connection with, and she is fiercely loyal to the groups and people who surround her. Her ability to empathize and to focus on unity with a group or community has been at the forefront of her leadership journey. Pearson is deeply passionate about the intersection of business and marine biology and devoted her time as an undergraduate to pursue that.

Areyana Proctor

Proctor is a third-year student in INVST Community Studies and the Multicultural Leadership Scholars Program. She is originally from Denver, Colorado, and is pursuing degrees in journalism and media production. Her instructors note she is an unusually gifted and accomplished student and leader whose work is grounded in a strong commitment to social justice and inclusion. Proctor is described as creative, inspirational and incredibly kind by her friends and peers. She was also recently selected as a Newman Civic Fellow.

Brant Smith

Smith is a fifth-year student in the Outdoor Program. He is originally from Boulder, Colorado, and is pursuing a degree in computer science. Folks who know him say he never shies away from adversity and strives to find a way to solve problems. From leading trips to working as a guide at the climbing gym, Smith interacts with all those in his programs with the utmost respect, honor and integrity. He is a role model for his peers. Smith also served for two years in the Student Advisory Group for the Center for Leadership.

Logan Turner

Turner is a fourth-year student in the Engineering Leadership Program. She is originally from Frederick, Colorado, and is pursuing degrees in creative technology and Russian. Turner sees leadership not only as being a captain to shipmates but also to the chaos that is on board. Peers of Turner say she is always someone to count on and has “an immeasurable impact on those around her.” Her professors and mentors note she is consistently seeking feedback in an effort to better herself and her leadership abilities.