Four From UA Among '40 Under 40' Honorees
Four members of the University community will be honored next week at the "40 Under 40" awards ceremony, which recognizes young community leaders for their professional and charitable work.
The annual event, presented by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Daily Star, will be held Dec. 5 at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd.
The four UA honorees are:
- Andrea Kelly, assistant news director for Arizona Public Media.
- Heidi Lee Pottinger, director of clinical investigations in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
- Brian Selvy, a UA associate who works on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.
- Celina Valencia, postdoctoral research associate in the College of Public Health.
In his nomination letter for Kelly, Gene Robinson, director of marketing and communications at AZPM, mentioned Kelly's years of work as a print and radio journalist leading up to her time on air. Kelly, Robinson said, has shown "undeniable" leadership in the newsroom and has long produced impactful journalism on a local and national scope.
"Imbued by a passion to truly serve the public, Andrea is dedicated to the mission of informing audiences so they can make important decisions about the topics that directly affect their lives," Robinson wrote.
Kelly has won awards for her reporting from the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and a regional Emmy from the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
"I'm honored to receive this award, and for the support from AZPM in helping me grow new skills in journalism and leadership in my time working here," Kelly said.
Pottinger was nominated by Stephanie Bermudez with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Young Entrepreneurship Academy and Megan Wingfield with EMS Realty. Bermudez highlighted Pottinger's achievements going back to her time in high school.
Since taking her position in the College of Public Health, Pottinger has been devoted to improving the health and well-being of children, especially those with special medical needs, Bermudez said.
"Heidi is driving the changes she is most passionate about and improving wellness for the community around her – especially for individuals with health disparities," Bermudez wrote. "She exemplifies leadership in all that she does."
The Tucson community "is home to many remarkable and passionate individuals," Pottinger said. "I am really humbled to be considered amongst those, past and present, who are making an impact."
Selvy is the manager of systems engineering for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope – a project that involves a consortium of universities, including the UA. Stephanie Sharo Chiesi, a principal systems engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems, nominated Selvy.
Chiesi's nomination notes Selvy's passion for his work with the community, volunteering with organizations such as the International Council on Systems Engineering's Southern Arizona chapter.
"Brian has been a strong advocate for promoting the profession of systems engineering and engineering in general in the local community," Chiesi wrote. "He enjoys speaking to students and professionals alike about the opportunity systems engineers have to assess and develop solutions to complex societal and technical challenges through a systems approach."
Selvy said he was honored by the award and plans to "use this as inspiration and motivation to continue to contribute meaningfully to my organization, profession and community."
Alma Peralta with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce nominated Valencia.
Peralta's nomination details Valencia's time as a UA student, which included service with the Commission on the Status of Women and as president of the Latino Graduate Student Association. Now, as a public health expert, Valencia is studying social influences on Latino health, particularly along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But some of Valencia's most impressive accomplishments, Peralta wrote, were personal ones.
"Despite being a widowed, single mother to a small child, while pursuing her doctorate, Dr. Valencia remained focused on the greater goal of serving and helping others," Peralta said. "Dr. Valencia remained focused on giving back to her community via leadership, volunteerism and professional excellence."
Valencia said she felt "very humbled to be sharing the honor with such an amazing cohort of top young leaders and go-getters in the Southern Arizona community."