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SXU Student Awarded Two Remarkable Honors


Recent Saint Xavier University (SXU) graduate Giuliana Islas '24 has been awarded two honors at SXU's 2024 Scarlet and Gray Awards. Named Journalist of the Year and bestowed with the President's Award for Distinguished Leadership and Service, Islas is honored to see her significant contributions and community involvement come to fruition.  

"Receiving Journalist of the Year was a shock and a huge honor, but the best part about getting it is that I won it alongside my best friend, Nuala Hanlon. This award means a lot to me, because I never saw myself getting involved with journalism and originally joined The Xavierite without imagining it would become such a huge part of my life. To stand on stage and receive the President's Award for Distinguished Leadership and Service while Dr. Elder said so many lovely things about me was a special moment I'll treasure forever. Being recognized for the work I did to be a leader and create opportunities for other students on campus feels good, and I am thankful for the award, which reminds me to keep moving forward," said Islas.  

Islas, who majored in strategic and media communication with a minor in film and media studies, was selected for her stellar contributions to The Xavierite and her commitment to leadership, holding positions as president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Drama Club.  

"Being president of SGA was a huge honor. The student voice is the most important part of our University, and getting to amplify it and serve as a liaison between students and administration is something I cared about deeply and tried to reflect in all my work. I am especially proud of working with Public Safety to bring back swipe access across campus, an issue we'd been trying to tackle for quite a while. Another accomplishment was our 2023 Homecoming and Spirit Week events. We succeeded in getting a 'Barbie' theme approved and worked hard alongside the Student Activities Board to put together a week of events for students to enjoy. It was such a wonderful feeling to see our hard work pay off," said Islas.  

Islas got involved with SGA in her first year at SXU, starting as a senator before she joined the Executive Board as the vice president of RSO Affairs. She also initially began her work with the Drama Club as vice president and was one of three students that revived the club. She served as opinions editor of The Xavierite for over a year.  

"Being a part of all these organizations helped me understand myself as a person and helped me learn new skills and master existing ones. I also formed so many lifelong friendships, which are so very dear to my heart. When I look back at my college memories, it'll be the memories I made being part of these organizations that really stick out," said Islas.  

Islas especially appreciates the memories she made during the closing night performance of the Drama Club's production of "She Kills Monsters" in 2023 and when The Xavierite staff went downtown for the Illinois College Press Association Awards.  

"That was my first time directing a production by myself, so I was terrified the week leading up to the show. After a successful opening day, I finally relaxed on closing night and felt I could really enjoy myself and be proud of the work of the cast. At the ICPA Awards, I had such a wonderful time surrounded by all my friends. Seeing our name come up on the screen when we won first place for our editorial piece was truly something I’ll never forget,” said Islas.  

Islas was drawn to the idea of studying communication from her high school experiences in recruiting students and giving tours to prospective families.  

"As a first-generation student, I had no idea what college was going to look like or what I wanted to study. I recalled my time in high school and realized I was dipping my toes in the world of public relations and loving it. Additionally, I've always been interested in media creation, especially filmmaking. The communication major at SXU was a perfect combination of things I loved," said Islas.  

Islas appreciated SXU's expert communication faculty and the project-based assignments that gave her hands-on experience. She enjoyed that the faculty prepared communication students for real-world situations without just repeating information from a textbook.  

In the future, Islas plans to pursue a master's degree. In the meantime, she will take a brief transitional period to focus on getting to know herself in a new way through the hobbies she loves, like reading, writing and singing.  

"My time at Saint Xavier is something I will treasure forever. Coming here was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I am so excited to see what the future of SXU looks like."