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Biosystems Engineering Senior Receives 2013 Centennial Achievement Award

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Biosystems Engineering Senior Receives 2013 Centennial Achievement Award

Dec. 12, 2013
Centennial Award winner wants to translate her lunar greenhouse experience into fighting hunger here on Earth.

Biosystems engineering senior Marianna Yanes will be collecting more than her diploma when she graduates on Dec. 20, 2013. She is being honored with one of two annual UA Undergraduate Centennial Achievement Awards, recognizing her outstanding integrity, perseverance and volunteerism.

Marianna Yanes as a Space Grant intern in 2011

“We are filled with pride for Marianna,” said Donald Slack, interim head of the department of agricultural and biosystems engineering, a joint College of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences program. “She is a unique and very deserving individual.”

Yanes, who moved to Arizona from Nogales, Mexico, when she was 17, says life is far too short to dwell on personal difficulties when there are so many serious problems in the world. The 22-year-old plans to attend graduate school next fall and hopes to one day start a greenhouse company that will provide food for those who need it most, in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way.

For the last year and a half, Yanes has worked monitoring plants that grow without soil at the UA lunar greenhouse and the University’s model greenhouse at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. She was a NASA Space Grant intern for two consecutive years and is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Alpha Epsilon and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. She has received several scholarships and awards, including a “Best Paper” award at the Thai Society of Agricultural Engineers International Conference in Hua Hin, Thailand, and the Benjamin E. Franklin scholarship.

Yanes, who has done volunteer work for a number of organizations in Tucson, credits her mother, co-founder of an organization that provides food, clothing and toys to children in Nogales, with teaching her how important it is to give back.

The Centennial Achievement awards, established in December 1984 by the UA Division of Student Affairs, recognize graduating students who have demonstrated integrity, overcome enormous challenges to achieve a college education and made a contribution to self, community and family.

Top: Marianna Yanes, right, with assistant professor Lingling An, who nominated Yanes as an outstanding senior of the fall 2013 semester, pose for a picture after Yanes received her award December 6.