Lumba picked as UAS' top English grad

'Strong, original writer' will also speak at May 1 graduation

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles about students recognized as ‘Outstanding Graduates’ in the 2011 University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) class. The UAS 2011 commencement will be held at 2 p.m. May 1 at the UAS Recreation Center.


Grace Lumba is receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, from the University of Alaska Southeast on May 1.

She’s also receiving something else: UAS’ award for being the outstanding graduate in English.

“Being a creative writing student has been a perfect fit for me,” she said. “I love reading and writing poetry. It allows compassion even if you have different value systems. Language has that power.”

Lumba has been a national and international exchange student in Costa Rica and Hawaii. On the UAS campus she is a peer advisor and has worked as a student recruiter leading tours of campus. She has been involved in student government as a student senator and is an active member of the UAS Media Club, helping fellow members to create the UAS Radio Show broadcast on Excellent Radio, KXLL 100.7 FM.

Lumba thrives on connecting with people. Through student government and the Media Club, she has been able to reach out to others in different ways.

“Student government and the Media Club are both invaluable,” said Lumba. “I liked being a part of student government and seeing how it interacts with administration. I always wanted to help people, but I didn’t want to be separated by a position. That’s why I love the Media Club. It helps the community in a fun way.”

Lumba’s exceptional writing skills have not gone unnoticed by her professors.

“Grace is a strong, original writer,” said Emily Wall, assistant professor of creative writing. “Over the past few years her poems have become rich and memorable. It’s been a pleasure to work with her and watch her work mature,”

Assistant Professor of Communication Jenifer Vernon has worked closely with Lumba and the Media Club. She had equal praise for Lumba and her writing.

Lumba has been chosen as student speaker for the May 1 UAS Commencement ceremony.

“We nominate Grace for her consistently high quality academic work, and for bringing poetry and media to life on campus and in the broader community,” Vernon wrote in Lumba’s nomination.

After taking a little time off, Lumba plans to attend graduate school.

“I’m psyched to take a year off,” she said. “I want to do some more traveling. I can definitely see myself as a professor. I want to inspire people who love learning. ”

Lumba credits her academic success to her professors.

“I’ve had the best teachers at UAS,” she said. “They helped shape my college career.”


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