Rising Alumni

The Rising Alumni Award recognizes young professionals who earned their degree from CEHD within the last ten years, have made a significant impact in their profession or community at large and have achieved early distinction as leaders.

Nominations for 2023 are now closed. Please check back in January 2024 for nominations for 2024. If you have any questions, please contact us at cehdas@umn.edu or 612-625-5963.

Congratulations to the 2023 Rising Alumni honorees!

  • Christina T. Kwauk, PhD, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development
  • Damir S. Utrzan, PhD, Family Social Science

2023 Rising Alumni Award Recipients

Christina Kwauk

Christina T. Kwauk
PhD ’14, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development

Christina T. Kwauk (she/her) is a social scientist and policy analyst with expertise on girls’ education, 21st century skills and youth empowerment, sport for development, and the intersections of gender, education, and climate change. She is co-editor of Curriculum and Learning for Climate Action: Toward an SDG 4.7 Roadmap for Systems Change and co-author of What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. She has published numerous policy papers, including “The new green learning agenda: Approaches to quality education for climate empowerment.” Christina is an education consultant and research director at Unbounded Associates. Formerly, she was a fellow at Brookings and head of climate and education at The Education Commission.

Read the full profile for Christina Kwauk.

Damir S. Utrzan
PhD ’17, Family Social Science

Dr. Damir S. Utrzan is Manager of Mental Health Services and adjunct assistant professor at the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. In his role as manager, Dr. Utrzan oversees various operational aspects of care delivery. Dr. Utrzan was director of an intensive residential treatment services facility operated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services prior to his current role with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. He worked closely with various stakeholders to ensure effective delivery of care and uphold licensing requirements from the Minnesota Department of Health and The Joint Commission.

Dr. Utrzan concurrently serves as an unaffiliated research scientist on the Institutional Review Board in the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota. He has also served as a consulting research scientist and grant reviewer with the Administration for Children and Families in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Utrzan has authored several peer-refereed journal articles and book chapters, along with presentations for various professional organizations.

Read the full profile for Damir S. Utrzan.

Damir S. Utrzan

Alumni award recipients were interviewed in advance of the
Exceptional Alumni Awards Celebration on April 20.