Lake Superior State University and the LSSU Alumni Association paid tribute to three highly accomplished alumni at the annual Alumni Awards Program held during Great Lake State Weekend (GLSW) next month: Chris Conklin, Sophie Chandauka MBE, and Jamie Momber. All three have not only had great success professionally but also been exemplary examples of Laker leaders through extensive volunteer work.
“One of our goals at Lake Superior State University is to prepare leaders to meet challenges head-on in an effort to improve the future and contribute to a better society. In honoring these esteemed alumni and their accomplishments, we recognize that their common thread is what makes them Lakers. They are everyday heroes who have forged their paths through dedication and service, and they continue to leave indelible marks on history. We are proud to call them Lakers,” said LSSU President Dr. Rodney S. Hanley.
The Alumni Awards were held on Friday, Oct. 21 at 4 PM in the Walker Cisler Center. The event has been held since 1994 in conjunction with GLSW, LSSU’s annual homecoming.
The LSSU Outstanding Alumnus Award is the highest honor that the association presents. It recognizes recipients for their personal and professional accomplishments and their involvement with LSSU. The Kenneth J. Shouldice Professional Achievement Award honors individuals whose personal and professional successes serve as outstanding examples to LSSU graduates. The Paul Ripley Award for Young Alumni is presented to graduates who have enjoyed exceptional personal and professional success early in their careers.
Chris Conklin, a 1974 alumnus with a B.Sc. in electronic engineering technology, will receive the LSSU Outstanding Alumnus Award. He served as a senior measurement and controls engineer for 30 years at Dow Corning Corporation. Conklin has given back to LSSU through his volunteer work with the admissions office and serving on the Industrial Advisory Board supporting the engineering and technology programs.
“You only ever get out of your education what you put into it,” said Conklin.
“Chris is an exemplary example of what it means to be a Laker,” said Vice President of Advancement Scott Smith. “Both through his volunteerism at the university and in his advisory role, we are very proud to recognize Chris as the Outstanding Alumnus.”
Sophie Chandauka, who graduated summa cum laude in 2000 with a B.Sc. in political science pre-law, will receive the Kenneth J. Shouldice Professional Achievement Award. She is head of Americas risk management and intelligence for Meta, parent company of Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus. A campaigner for diversity, equity and inclusion, she was honored by the late Queen Elizabeth II as a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to diversity in business in 2021.
“LSSU gave me the greatest gifts of all: the privilege of an education through a scholarship; world-class guidance from my academic supervisor, Dr. Gary Johnson, professor emeritus of political science, who had great expectations; and a community of peers and staff who welcomed me into their homes when I was away from my own home, Zimbabwe,” said Chandauka.
“We are honored to have Sophie back at LSSU and to present her with the Kenneth J. Shouldice Award,” said Smith. “She has accomplished great things and we look forward to following this remarkable woman in her future endeavors.”
Jamie (Groos) Momber, who graduated summa cum laude in 2008, with B.Sc. degrees in computer networking and computer science, will receive the Paul Ripley Award for Young Alumni. She was a member of the LSSU volleyball team, Alpha Chi, and student athlete advisory committee. She is a senior application engineer at Steelcase. Momber also is an established cook and gardener who uses these skills to volunteer with various organizations in the Grand Rapids area, including the Renucci House and Kids Food Basket.
“Lake State checked so many boxes for me,” said Momber. “I was able to continue a sport I loved at the collegiate level, I was able to remain in the Upper Peninsula at a small school where I knew my professors personally, and I was able to study a field that keeps me learning still today.”
“Jamie Momber represents the very spirit of the Paul Ripley Young Alumni Award,” said Smith. “With her can-do attitude and great work ethic, she has already accomplished so much in a short time.”