Virtual format of annual awards now allows video nominations

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Emely Cepeda ’20

CYOS award recipient Emely Cepeda ’20 believes her involvements at UNH made her “a positive influencer, a dancer, a leader and a social justice warrior.”


This year, more than any other, the perseverance of faculty, staff and students has been inspirational. For many students, remote learning and navigating a ‘new normal’ have provided an opportunity for them to grow, mature and invest in themselves by achieving academic and personal success.

Those inspiring stories of students who have written their own UNH story — not just during the pandemic, but over the course of their undergrad careers — are the ones recognized each year by the Create Your Own Story (CYOS) program.

The campuswide event and its awards committee celebrates student who have made an impact on the community, in big ways and small, by taking command of their undergraduate careers, and taking full advantage of all the opportunities that both our Durham and Manchester campuses can offer. These awards go to students who have truly embraced the opportunities at UNH — or even created opportunities for themselves — and who have had a positive impact on others around them.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to nominated students for this year's CYOS award through Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Ten students receive a CYOS award each year. Before the pandemic, students and their guests were invited to a luncheon to celebrate the award winners. Earlier this year, we pivoted the in-person event to a virtual one, where students and families were invited to hear from their faculty/staff mentors who had nominated them. You can watch last year’s ceremony here:

With that online celebration in mind, new this year for CYOS nominators is the option to submit a nomination via video. Learn more about the nominations, and find the link to the nomination form on the CYOS website.

CYOS committee chair Curt Kenoyer of the Memorial Union & Student Activities notes that faculty and staff tend to nominate students who they know well — students who they’ve seen face challenges and achieve great things.  CYOS committee members also suggest co-nominating with a fellow faculty or staff member to provide a more complete picture of the student nominee. If you have written a reference or letter of recommendation for the student for a different purpose, this can serve as the basis for your CYOS nomination.

Last year, CYOS award winners included students like Emely Cepeda, who was a CONNECT program leader and hoped to attend dental school, Chase Retrosi, whose job at the Browne Center inspired a passion for outdoor education, and Jordyn Haime, who forged her way from a journalism student to a practicing journalist, covering big stories and timely topics.

The CYOS committee hopes you’ll share vibrant and inspiring stories of students. If you need further information, you can contact Curt Kenoyer, or check out the CYOS website.