Zachary Cartwright, Biochemistry Major, Receives Highest Honors from College of Arts & Sciences

Zach_Cartwright_1368734589[1]May 16, 2013

WRITER: Tonya Suther, 575-646-6233,
CONTACT: Zachary Cartwright,

A strong family bond spelled out academic success for New Mexico State University undergraduate Zachary Cartwright. The biochemistry major has received the College of Arts and Sciences Highest Honors designation and wore the prestigious crimson gown during the May 2013 commencement.

“I was adopted when I as an infant and my adopting parents raised me right,” Cartwright said. “My younger brother Lucas was also adopted, and I have a strong friend base. Just having their impact on my life has really driven me.”

To receive high honors, a student must have earned a 4.0 GPA or be in the top 1.5 percent of the graduating class. The highest honor goes to the top student with the most graded credit hours at NMSU. Cartwright graduated with a 4.0 GPA and 144 credit hours.

“Zach graduated with Highest Honors from the College of Arts and Sciences as well as being a Crimson Scholar Graduate and with distinction in university honors,” said Beth Pollack, associate dean for academics. “I first met Zach when he was a participant in the Sundt Seminar on Sustainable Development in Central America, which included a spring break travel component to visit sites in Nicaragua.”

The top student also received distinction as the chemistry department’s top senior and top analytical student. Faculty members select the top chemistry senior, while the top analytical student award is given to seniors who demonstrate top performance in the analytical chemistry class. Cartwright was presented with both those awards at a ceremony in April.

“Mr. Cartwright is the reason why I love my job at NMSU,” said William Quintana, chemistry department head. “Being able to interact with a bright student that I am certain will have a great future in whatever field he chooses to pursue.”

“It’s awesome just to be recognized,” Cartwright said. “I had a lot of tough classes, and a lot of semesters that I wasn’t sure if I would keep a 4.0, but I’m definitely honored by this recognition.”

Cartwright, who is originally from Albuquerque, graduated from La Cueva High School in 2008. He enrolled at NMSU as a civil engineering major in the fall before switching to biochemistry.

“I was awarded the President’s Associates Excellence Scholarship and this was important to my decision to accept the offer at NMSU.” Cartwright said.

The President’s Associates Excellence Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship available to new freshmen students with markedly superior academic ability.

Cartwright, whose dad teaches math at a community college and mother works as a physical therapist, plans to pursue enology, the study of wine, this fall as a graduate student at Washington State University where he has been accepted into a food science program that focuses on winemaking. His enthusiasm to pursue graduate study was sparked by his volunteer time at Rio Grande Vineyard and Winery under the direction of Gordon Steel.

“Having a degree in biochemistry is really going to open a lot of doors for me in the wine industry, because you have to know biology for the viticulture side and you need to know chemistry for the winemaking process,” Cartwright said. “Studying biochemistry was the best thing I could have ever done to open that door into a career in viticulture and enology.”

“I am glad that the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry had an opportunity to help Mr. Cartwright fulfill his aspirations in his chosen field of study,” Quintana said. “In my opinion, we are fulfilling our land-grant mission as a university by providing students with the opportunity to excel and preparing them for their future and Mr. Cartwright is a prime example of this mission.”

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