FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Three Northern Arizona student-athletes were among the 37 graduating seniors that were recognized with the prestigious Gold Axe Award at a ceremony at the DuBois Center on the Northern Arizona University campus last week. The award is a tribute to outstanding academic performance, leadership and service to the community.
Swimmer Jessi Jones, a senior from Glendale, Ariz., will graduate this spring with a degree in health sciences. She is a four-time Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award recipient and three-time Academic All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) selection. For the Lumberjacks, Jones finished 15th in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 2010 WAC Championships in February. She also placed 17th in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Lauren Salter, a native of Idyllwild, Calif., is graduating with a bachelor’s in parks and recreation management. During her four-year tenure at NAU, she competed on the track and field team as a sprinter, and is currently throwing javelin. She has made three appearances at the Big Sky Championships for the 60-meter dash and as a member of the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays.
Salter has also made an impact off the track, receiving the Senior Legacy Award as well as a Residence Life scholarship. Her postgraduate plans include an internship at Adventure Links, an outdoor adventure company in Virginia.
Emy Ziemba, from Fairfax, Va., is a member of the NAU dance team and will graduate with a degree in merchandising, business minor and restaurant management certificate. Ziemba has been a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and served Tri Delta in several capacities over the past four years. She has been a Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC) representative for four years and was in the Northern Arizona Merchandising Association for two years.
Ziemba has been a part of the NAU dance team since 2006. She helped the Lumberjacks place fourth at the 2008 UDCA College Nationals and fifth at the 2007 Universal Dance Association College Nationals.
The tradition of the Gold Axe Award dates back to 1933, a year after the student body adopted the axe as the symbol for Lumberjack athletics. It was then that NAU adopted the tradition of awarding small gold axe pins to outstanding members of the student body.
To this day, the gold axe pin is considered the official emblem of the Associated Students of NAU and is presented to recognize students’ outstanding achievement and distinguished service to the university and the greater community.
The athletics department has produced 16 Gold Axe recipients since 2004.