The University of Alabama recognizes six students and three faculty members for their outstanding contributions to the Capstone. The Premier Awards honor students, faculty and staff who exemplify the highest standards of scholarship, service, leadership and character.
The William P. and Estan J. Bloom Award
This award honors a junior who has improved intergroup relations within the University community.
In the midst of a pandemic and the tail end of widescale lockdowns, Elizabeth Prophet was desperately seeking connection when she arrived at The University of Alabama in August 2020. She questioned what her college life would look like and how she could be involved in something she was passionate about — being a voice for the voiceless.
The social work major on the pre-law track found those connections through her service to the UA community. Prophet has served as president of the Undergraduate Social Work Organization and as an ambassador for Honors College. Prophet is currently serving as director of the Diversity and Cultural Engagement Committee for the Honors College Assembly and as the director of external affairs for Tide Against Time, an organization that helps educate students about issues of mass incarcerations in Alabama.
Prophet is also a student in the Blackburn Institute and a senator in the UA Student Government Association. Her many accolades include Distinguished Scholar in Social Work, Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award and the Cardinal Key Honor Society.
The Judy Bonner Presidential Medallion Award
This award recognizes a member of the UA community who has gone above and beyond normal expectations to change the culture or implement new initiatives designed to advance the Alabama experience for all undergraduate students or a segment of the undergraduate population.
Dr. Adam Brooks
When students at The University of Alabama say they’re afraid of public speaking, Dr. Adam Brooks smiles and seeks to provide students with tools that unlock all of their goals.
Brooks is an associate professor in the College of Communication and Information Sciences dedicated to empowering every student to make their message meaningful in how they communicate. He is most known for his steadfast efforts in creating The Speaking Studio, a presentation lab and communication center that provides all UA students, faculty and staff with coaching, mentoring and guidance to excel at presentations and public speaking.
As the director of the Public Speaking program, Brooks has improved the communication abilities of close to 5,000 students at UA while mentoring hundreds of graduate teaching assistants. Outside of UA he has provided workshops and training programs based on his expertise to help engineering and technical professionals present with clarity and confidence. Brooks has been recognized multiple times for his commitment to students through other awards including the Program of Excellence Award by the National Communication Association, Excellence in Academic Advising Award and Outstanding Teaching by a Doctoral Student.
The Morris Lehman Mayer Award
This award recognizes one graduating senior and one teaching faculty who exemplifies integrity, selfless service and leadership at the University and in the community, and who have made significant contributions to student life.
Kennedy Carter learned throughout her college career that someone’s successes and failures don’t define them — they help harness passion. Carter’s passion stems from a strong desire to create a safe campus community for every single UA student by raising awareness and resources to combat sexual assault and interpersonal violence.
Carter is working toward a bachelor’s degree in political science while also earning a master’s in public administration through UA’s Accelerated Master’s Program. Coursework aside, Carter’s service to the UA community and her fellow students is certainly a point of pride — most notably the UA Chapter of It’s On Us, where she serves as founder and president leading efforts to create and implement sexual assault awareness and prevention initiatives.
Carter also serves as president of Not on My Campus, director of the SAFE Center Committee with the SGA and as a safe sister with the Women and Gender Resource Center. Her many other campus achievements include being a student in the Blackburn Institute, a University Steward and a member of multiple university honor societies.
Dr. Jeffrey Gray
Dr. Jeffrey Gray is the Director of the Randall Research Scholars Program and a professor in the Department of Computer Science. He also mentors high school students on science fair projects, directs multiple undergraduate research experiences and advises the dissertations of several doctoral students. Gray seeks to find the inner passion of each student so that they can curate a personalized research and scholarly experience.
His award-winning work and teachings have been published in numerous journals, books, textbooks and conference papers. Gray has led K-12 outreach (e.g., robotics contests and summer camps for K-12 students) and professional development training for teachers nationwide.
He currently serves as the chair of the Alabama IEEE Computer Society. He was a past member of the Education Advisory Council of Code.org, which provided policy recommendations for K-12 computer science across the nation.
His drive to inspire innovative, creative and knowledgeable students who are excited about what they’re learning is what stands out the most to his colleagues and students.
The John Fraser Ramsey Award
This award recognizes a junior with the versatility of gifts and attainments, as well as the breadth of excellence in mind and character, that have traditionally been the goals of a liberal education.
Mae Farmer has been on a mission to dispel stereotypes long before coming to The University of Alabama. But through her own experiences and her time at the Capstone she has learned how to create real advocacy and representation and has served her mission since day one.
Farmer is currently pursuing dual degrees. Upon graduation, she will have a bachelor of science in business commerce in accounting and a bachelor of arts in psychology. Academics are not her only strong suit. She’s also passionate about advocating for her classmates’ mental health needs. She is currently a peer coach at the Capstone Center for Student Success and a student assistant at the UA Counseling Center. Her long service record also includes serving as vice president of Student Tide Against Suicide.
In 2020, she founded aMAEzing.org, a site that serves as a launch pad for others who want to advocate for mental health in their respective communities.
Farmer is also a 2022 class member of the Blackburn Institute, participates in SGA Lobby Board, and is a council member on the Culverhouse Academic Honor Council.
She has also previously served on the DEI committee and as Health and Wellness Chair of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and was alumni relations coordinator for BAMA NAMI, UA’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The Catherine J. Randall Award
This award recognizes the most outstanding graduating senior based on GPA, rigor of course of study and extraordinary scholarly or creative endeavor.
Abigail Foes came to The University of Alabama ready to excel as she double majored in chemistry and mathematics, concentrating in statistics and biochemistry, respectively. She has not only maintained a 4.0 grade point average but has done so while taking the maximum number of credits per semester and completing a minor in global health and the Randall Research Scholars Program.
Her academic pursuits have included content-building courses and 6-hour chemistry labs and with her strong performance in foundational classes, Foes began taking graduate-level biostatistics courses as a junior.
Her extracurricular accomplishments include working in the chemistry department’s IRIS lab for three years and her work has included technical microscopy, computer processing and analytics, training other lab members and presenting at national conferences.
During the summer before her senior year, Foes served as a Fulbright-MITACS research intern in Montreal where she had the opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary and cross-cultural environment.
To engage in her local community, Abby has served as a volunteer and nursing assistant in the emergency department at the local hospital. She views her work as an opportunity to appreciate public health through the lens of local health care workers, giving her valuable insights she can use in her future career as a biostatistician.
The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
This award recognizes excellence of character and service to humanity. It honors one man and one woman of the graduating class and one non-student who have been helpful and associated with the University.
Izzy Boyd arrived at the Capstone with a mission to make sure individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities had every opportunity to live meaningful lives. The public health and economics double major is currently the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for the SGA, but that is more than a title to Boyd.
In her time at UA, she has led events helping students become DEI-certified through what has become revamped as the DEI Passport Program, through Boyd’s leadership. She also fostered a new partnership between CrossingPoints, a University program for students with intellectual disabilities, and the Alabama Panhellenic Association for women in the CrossingPoints Program to join sororities and enabled a member with Down syndrome to thrive in Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.
Her academic work includes extensive research into genetic data privacy and discrimination and writing grants and publishing research on health interventions for patients with chronic diseases. Boyd is also a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a member of The University Fellows Experience.
Jacob Camden is surely becoming a citizen of the world. For five years he has striven to attend to others on campus through academic and interpersonal relationships — in formal contexts, like the Blount Scholars Program or the German House, and in precious personal connections as well.
Arriving at the University in 2018 with 53 advanced placement hours, Camden immediately dedicated himself to further growth as a scholar, as a peer and a person. He majors in philosophy, English and Spanish and minors in Blount liberal arts, world literature and German.
Camden is a member of the English Honors Program, the Philosophy Honors Program and Phi Beta Kappa. He has received honors from each department he studies in and has served over three semesters as president of Bama Tutors Service, where he has volunteered over 140 hours assisting Tuscaloosa-area K-12 students. Camden also helped plan and teach two English language and American culture workshops for children in Costa Rica.
Dr. Robert Brooks
Dr. Robert Brooks is the Wallace D. Malone Jr. Endowed Chair of Financial Management, a professor of finance and coordinator of the masters of science in finance program in the Culverhouse College of Business. He is renowned for not only inspiring his students but his colleagues as well.
Brooks has written eight books at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and serves in multiple consultation capacities in order to help individuals — particularly his students — businesses and organizations fully understand complex financial transactions so they can make truly informed decisions.
Colleagues and alumni alike point to Brooks’ character and enthusiastic desire for his students to succeed as the most influential aspects of working with him and being in his classroom.
Students often line the hall to his office waiting for his advice and his fellow professors attest that he makes them better teachers and individuals, inspired by how he serves the UA and Tuscaloosa communities in ways many never see.
Jennifer Brady, UA Strategic Communications, email@example.com