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Miami, Okla. – Tuesday, February 22, 2022 – Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) celebrated accomplished student leaders during the Thirteenth Annual Top Ten Freshmen ceremony on Tuesday, February 15, 2022. 

“The Top Ten Freshmen are the best of the best at NEO,” said Natalie Long, NEO Academic Advisor. “They represent what we hope to instill in every student; a strong sense of self-efficacy and a steadfast desire to be their personal best. This year’s Top Ten Freshmen are a dedicated and tenacious group. I have no doubt each of them will go far. It has been a true joy getting to know them.” 

First celebrated in 2009, the Top Ten Freshmen ceremony is co-sponsored by NEO’s Presidential Partners and the Student Success Center. The keynote speaker, Kelsey Wiyninger PA, is an alumna of NEO A&M College, Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine. She was honored as a Top Ten Freshman in 2014 and currently practices urgent care medicine in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In her address, Wiyninger spoke about the importance of self-care and mental health. She focused on mental health being just as important as academic success.

All honorees are now sophomores and were selected by a committee of faculty, President’s Partners representatives, and NEO staff. Students received scholarships as well as the opportunity to participate in leadership development activities.

“It was great to see an auditorium full of people and to hear the student’s appreciation for being selected,” said Dustin Grover, NEO Vice President of Academic Affairs.  “It was a great group of high-performing students this year.”


This year’s honorees include:

Danilo Camilo 

Danilo Camilo is a Physical Education major from Guarulhos, Brazil.Although far from home, Danilo has created a strong network and extended family through his involvement on campus. Danilo is a member of the NEO Men’s SoccerTeam, where he serves as aleader androle model forhis teammates.Balancing commitments inside and outside the classroom, hehasmaintaineda 4.0 GPA throughout his time at NEO and is involved in planningand implementing activities for students on campus.Daniloalso serves as a mentor tofirst-yearstudentsthrough his work with the NEO Gold Programand often helps new international students acclimate through hiswork with Elizabeth Flees in the International Student Program.Danilo is an active member of the Christian Student Fellowship. 

Kaitlyn Cloud 

Kaitlyn Cloud is a General Agriculture major from Carthage, Missouri.Whether on or off campus, Kaitlyn’s desire toleadand inspire those around her is obvious. Through her work with the NEO Livestock Judging Team, Collegiate Farm Bureau,Agriculture Society,and Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa,Kaitlyn uses her time at NEO to continuously push herself tonew heights.Kaitlyn also serves as a Junior Board Member of the American Junior Simmental Society,where she enjoysfostering a passion for the livestock industry inthe next generation ofyoungagricultural professionals.When home, Kaitlynmakes time tovolunteeratthe CarthageSenior Center,teach Sunday school, andhelp inher church’snursery.   

Leah Evans 

Leah Evans is an Elementary Education major from Miami, Oklahoma.Dedication and integrity are words thatare often used to describeLeah’s approach toeducation and life. Leah is involved in manyorganizationsacross campus, including the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, where she dedicates time each week helping with lunch service,andtheHonorsProgram, through which sheserved as the 2021 Homecoming representative and co-led a service project centered around helping local nursing home residents.Leah has maintained a 4.0 GPA andhasbeen named to the President’s Honor Roll each semester of her college career.Leah is also very active in her local community, devotingtime and energy outside of school to helping with youth ministries at her church.   

River Friel 

River Friel is a General Studies major from Commerce, Oklahoma.Examples of her leadership and involvement reachall the wayback to her high school career,whereRiverbuilta foundationofhard workand perseverance.Dedication to her studiesandconsistent self-cultivationmadeRivera top choice to receive the Academic Scholars Scholarship,an honorshe hascarried from her freshmanyearto sophomoreyearat NEO.AlthoughRiverstruggled with her health throughout her freshman year,she has not given up. Shehasmaintaineda 4.0 GPA andhasbeen named to thePresident’s Honor Rolleach semester.She is an active member of the Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and her tenacity and confidence are an inspiration to her fellow students. 

Christopher Harper 

Christopher Harper is a General Studies major from Mangum, Oklahoma.An enthusiastic learner and friend to all, Christopher bringsan impressivelevel of intensity to everything he does. From tutoring in the NEO Tutoring Center tobeing named Mr. NEO Spirit in 2020, Christopher’s commitmentsacrosscampus center around academic engagement and raising campus spirit.As a member of the Honors Program, Christopher has served as a Student Body Government representative, service project co-organizer, and 2020 Homecoming escort.He is an active member of the Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, a Student Ambassador, and amember of the NEO Wrestling Team.Outside of school, Christopher devotes his time to participatingin his church community and has aspirations to become a preacher and teacher one day.   

Alaniss Marin 

AlanissMarin is a General Studies major from Grove, Oklahoma.While at NEO,Alaniss has received multiple Foundation scholarships and is an active member of the NEO Marching Band, where she is committed to mentoringher fellow studentsand serves as the woodwind section leader.Although herfreshmanyear took a turntowardthe unexpected when she experienced a debilitating injury just days beforeherclasses started, Alaniss hasremained positive, kind andfocusedthroughout her time at NEO.Staff,faculty,and studentshave been consistently impressed by Alaniss’spatience andability to stay upbeat. Alanisshasused theexperiences in her lifeto inspire her choice tostudy Physical Therapy at the University of Oklahoma after she graduates from NEO.  

Murphy Mulvane 

Murphy Mulvane is a Pre-Engineering and Natural Science double major from Monkey Island, Oklahoma.With a plethora of commitmentsbothon and off campus,Murphybalances school and lifeverywell. On campus,Murphyis avalued classmate,activemember of the Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, andStudent Body Government representative for the Behavioral Science Club. Murphyalsodevotes time totutoringfor the NEO Tutoring Center as well as participating in and helpinghis fellow teammates on the NEO eSports Team.Off campus, Murphy serves his community as alicensed EMT andvolunteer firefighter. In 2021,Murphywasnamed Monkey Island Fire Department Volunteer of the Year.   

Elizabeth Scott 

Elizabeth Scott is an Agronomy major from Scammon, Kansas.Highly motivated and driven,Elizabeth is leaving her mark on NEO and in the community. She is an activemember ofthe Mu Chapter of PhiTheta Kappa and a proud student contributor to NEO Aggie Days. Through herparticipationin the Honors Program, Elizabeth was able to createa research project based onwheat plantingmethods. Not only didthisresearchprojectshowcaseheracademic ability, but it exemplified her long-term thinking and desire to understand her field in a real-life context.Elizabeth has maintained a4.0 GPA and has consistently been named to the President’s Honor Roll.In her community,Elizabethhelps with youth ministries andparticipates annually as a Thanksgiving Basket Drive organizer. 

Andrea Smith 

Andrea Smith is a Medical Laboratory Technician major from Fayetteville, Arkansas. As a mother of two and a full-time, first-generation student, Andrea has a lot to balance, and she does so incredibly well. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA pre and post acceptance to the Medical Laboratory Technician program and is an active member of the Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa as well as the Medical Laboratory Technician Club. From organizing women’s shelter fundraisers to participating in holiday events, Andrea is heavily involved in her community as well. She is motivated to be a role model for her two sons and have an impact on the lives and health of others. 

Barbara Turkalj 

BarbaraTurkaljis a Business Administration major from Zagreb, Croatia.Whether on the basketball court, in the classroom, or off campus, wherever you meet Barbara,shewillhave a bright smile and kind words for you. Barbara is a starting member of the NEO Women’s BasketballTeam, where she commits time and effort to helping her teammates and being the best player she can be. On campus, she has volunteered at the NEO Library and is an active member of the Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, where she served as the 2021 Homecoming representative.Living so far from home can be challenging, but Barbara is driven to succeed and is inspired greatly by her mother, siblings, and extended family. Barbara knows the importance of building community and often helps organize and promote activities for her fellow students. She alsotakes joy inhelpingfirst-year students navigate college through her work with the NEO Gold Program. 


For more information please contact Natalie Long at 918-540-6314 or natalie.long@neo.edu.

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