Young Alumni

  • 2012 Winners +

    Rebecca Balkcom, Jeffrey Alan Brewer, Jessica Brookshire, Steven K. Brotherton, Courtney Ann Furlong Dow, Denisha L. Hendricks, Mark Spencer, Katy Law, Octavia Spencer, Kyes Steven, Emily Pauli, Richard C. Bell, Brent Fox, Richard W. Hall, Candace Mangum, and Dee Jones
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  • 2011 Winners +

    Jonathan Charles Bell, David H. Clark, Deeatra Seaborn Craddock, Nicole Faulk, James Lee Fenn, Bradley Fields, Allison “Allie” M. Floyd, Betsy Lynne Hall, Brian Higginbotham, Wade McCollum, Antarrious “A.T.” Williams Neal, Marie O’Brian, Michael S. Parmer, Nicole Seline Schiegg, Steven Speakman, and Mark Holton Thomas
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  • 1

What is the YAAA?

The Young Alumni Achievement Award, sponsored by the Office of Alumni Affairs, has been created to recognize extraordinary accomplishments by members of the Auburn family. Sixteen recipients will be recognized for significant achievement in their professional lives and/or for distinguished community service.

2013 YAAA Winners

Diaco Aviki Class of 1995

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Aviki graduated from Auburn with a degree in chemical engineering. He also holds an MBA from the University of Texas. Aviki began his career with ExxonMobil Lubricant and Petroleum Specialties. He quickly rose to positions such as national account manager, natural gas trader and brand manager, and manager for gas and marketing for ExxonMobil’s Gas and Power Marketing. Aviki is an active member of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council and the Chemical Engineering Advisory Council. He currently serves as regional marketing manager for BHP Billiton in Houston.

“It is an honor and a blessing to receive this recognition,” Aviki said. “I receive the award on behalf of the many individuals who have supported and mentored me throughout the years and most importantly my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’ Philippians 4:13. I would also like to recognize my wife, Angie Aviki, and my parents, Fred Aviki and Sandra Solaiman, for all their sacrifices along the way.”

Donna Bossman Class of 1996

College of Education

Donna Staarup Bossman (class of 1996) graduated from Auburn with a B.S. in Math and Chemistry Education, and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. She has held roles in research, development, chemical operations and leadership across Medtronic, General Electric, Trane, and currently Ingersoll Rand. She holds two patents in the area of polymer formulation development. In her current role as Engineering Director, she oversees the company’s Materials and Chemistry teams which support the technology, design, reliability and quality efforts impacting a $13B family of products around the world. She was a Charter Member of Ingersoll Rand’s Women’s Network. She was an inaugural STEP award recipient from the North American Manufacturer’s Association, which recognizes women who have demonstrated excellence within science, technology, engineering or production.

“It is such an honor to be selected as a Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient,” Bossman said. “I look back at my academic experiences, personal relationships, and supportive environment at Auburn as key enablers for me to grow and contribute in various avenues. I am so grateful and proud to have been and continue to be a part of the Auburn family.”

James Farmer Class of 2004

College of Agriculture

Farmer graduated from Auburn with a degree in horticulture. His experience as a landscape designer led to careers in design, wedding planning and writing. Farmer’s knowledge of agriculture and southern cooking has led to his five best-selling books: “A Time to Plant,” “Sip & Savor,” “Porch Living,” “Wreaths for All Seasons” and “A Time to Cook.” His work has been featured on national programs and publications. Farmer is editor at large for Southern Living Magazine. Beyond his professional work, Farmer is the spokesperson for The American Camellia Society.

“I’m thrilled to be included with such a great group of folks,” Farmer said. “Thanks y’all for this honor, and War Eagle!”

Kenneth Fields Class of 2007

Harrison School of Pharmacy

Fields graduated from Auburn with a degree in pharmacy. Soon after graduating, he purchased the 25-year-old independent Waynesville, Ohio family pharmacy. He launched health care programs such as a national pharmacy benefit-management company ApproRX, established a Suboxone clinic for opiate addictions and created Fields Mini-Medical Clinic in his pharmacy. He was named United States Entrepreneur of the Year for 2011 by Parata, Pharmacy Times Magazine and Next Generation Pharmacist and a 2010 Outstanding Independent Pharmacist by Drug Topics. His pharmacy was named the 2010 Innovative Pharmacy in America by Drug Topics Magazine. Fields Family Enterprises was a finalist for Family Business of the Year for 2011 by the Goering Center at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to his pharmaceutical career, Fields has established a financial advising firm, Fields Family Financial Services, and an insurance brokerage company, Hedges Gallery of Insurance in Waynesville, Ohio.

"I would like to thank the Auburn Alumni Association and Harrison School of Pharmacy for considering me for this award,” Fields said. “It is a great honor to be recognized by Auburn University for the accomplishments in my young professional career. I look forward to continuing to grow my companies into entities that will make the Harrison School of Pharmacy and rest of the Auburn Family proud. All of the accomplishments and recognition would not be possible without the understanding, patience, support and most importantly love that is given to me by my wife, Katie (Auburn Harrison School of Pharmacy ’07). A special thank you also goes to my brother, Kyle, for without his business partnership we would not be able to achieve the levels of success that we have had to this point.”

Juli Goldstein Class of 2003

College of Sciences and Mathematics, College of Veterinary Medicine

Goldstein graduated from Auburn with a degree in zoology and obtained her doctorate in veterinary medicine. She began her career as a veterinarian and ultrasonographer at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration National Ocean Service Health and Environmental Risk Assessment Project. She is currently the attending veterinarian for the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida. and serves as the on-site clinical veterinarian for Florida Atlantic University, assistant research professor and attending clinical veterinarian for the FAU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Goldstein is also the president and founder of the Stryder Cancer Foundation.

“I am both honored and humbled to be recognized by Auburn University for this prestigious award,” said Goldstein. “This award carries a special significance for me, as does being a part of the Auburn Family and the proud traditions that Auburn University represents. The time I spent learning and growing at Auburn has inspired and empowered me to achieve more than I could ever have imagined. Now, those many lessons are forefront as I advance in my career, my personal life and in my service to others. War Eagle!”

John-Bauer Graham Class of 1996

College of Liberal Arts

Graham graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in history. He then earned his master’s degree in history from Jacksonville State University and his master of library and information science from the University of Alabama. He is pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration and serves as dean of library services at Jacksonville State University.

“It is an honor to be chosen as this year’s recipient,” Graham said. “I was fortunate enough to have graduated with great friends (and my lovely wife) who also do great things. They are now medical doctors, lawyers, social workers, engineers and architects. I happen to be a librarian – just as noble and just as important a profession because it affords me the opportunity to serve all of those who aspire to be any of the above. My library career started as a student worker in the RBD Library. Everything I have accomplished in my field is an attempt to make those men and women, and my beloved university proud. Auburn was great for me because of my professors, my friends, my loved ones, my experiences, my hard work and ultimately my education. Auburn University continues to be great because of all of its proud graduates making a difference in this world in slight and grand ways by living up to our creed.”

Rob McDaniel Class of 2002

College of Human Sciences

McDaniel graduated from Auburn with a degree in hotel and restaurant management. He then studied at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. McDaniel has worked for chef Jonny Earles at Criolla’s, Chris and Idie Hastings at their Birmingham-based restaurant, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ and is the executive chef for SpringHouse restaurant on Lake Martin. He is also the general manager of the Kowaliga Restaurant. McDaniel has been recognized by the faculty and staff of Auburn’s Hotel and Restaurant management program as the 2012 Outstanding Alumnus. McDaniels said he highly believes in sustainable food and giving back. He is active in Chefs to the Rescue, an Alabama Tornado Relief event, and is the president of the Slow Food Crossroads local chapter.

“It is an extreme honor to have been chosen as a 2013 Young Alumni Award Recipient,” said McDaniel. “Without the knowledge that I gained while at Auburn, I wouldn’t be where I am today. War Eagle!!!”

Carter McGuyer Class of 1998

College of Architecture, Design & Construction

McGuyer graduated magna cum laude from Auburn with a degree in industrial design. He became the design director at a national branded kitchen manufacturing company and managed product design, packaging, overseas manufacturing and the company’s trade show presence. Carter then founded the Carter McGuyer Design Group where their goal is to develop beautiful and functional products. His work has won numerous awards including the 2003 Gourmet Gold Award, the 2004 Good Design Award, the 2009 Housewares Design Award for Best of the Best, the 2013 Housewares Design Award for Best in Category and the 2013 Red Dot design award.

“I was sincerely humbled, moved, and honored to receive such a prestigious award from the Auburn Alumni Association,” McGuyer said. “I want to thank everyone who has ever been involved in my life that helped me achieve this honor. This is something that I will never forget.”

Soren Rodning Class of 2002

College of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine



David Williams Class of 1997

College of Liberal Arts

Williams graduated from Auburn with a degree in radio, television and film. He was hired by WSFA 12 News in Montgomery as producer of the early morning newscast, Today in Alabama. While there, Williams produced Friday Night Fever, the high school football review, and produced the evening news broadcast. He then became the news director of KPLC-TV, a CBS affiliate, in Lake Charles, La. Williams and his team won awards including Best Ongoing Coverage, Best Public Affairs, Story of the Year and Reporter of the Year for their coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Williams is currently the assistant news director at WHNT News 19 in Huntsville. His group also has developed an instructional video for school children about safety during severe weather which is included in many north Alabama school systems.

"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by Auburn University, a place that means so much to me,” Williams said. “My collegiate experience and the support of my family are the foundation for any success I achieve. I’m excited for current and future students who will benefit from the growing School of Communication and Journalism. As George Petrie wrote, ‘I believe in Auburn and love it."

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