Two Humanities Majors Receive Centennial Awards

December 11th, 2023

Two College of Humanities seniors are the recipients of the Centennial Achievement Undergraduate Awards.


Grayson Agrella, a triple major in French, Anthropology and Art History, and Emily Wright, a double major in Religious Studies and Journalism, join seven graduate students in receiving the University of Arizona’s 2023 Centennial Achievement Awards.


The annual awards, established in 1984, recognize undergraduates who have demonstrated integrity, persistence and a commitment to their communities and families. Agrella and Wright will each receive a $250 stipend and an engraved plaque.


Agrella was born and raised in Tucson and grappled with institutional and personal obstacles in pursuit of his degrees. He is engaged with the queer and artistic scenes around town and has worked with trans and gender-expansive youth. He has also served as an editor for a local literary magazine and processed U.S. passport applications, and he currently works in the archives department at the UArizona Center for Creative Photography. He regularly engages with mutual aid efforts, including those benefiting the unhoused community and other social justice causes.


Agrella aims to diversify the visible narratives around transgender people and their experiences. His current projects include an investigation of transgender art and the politics of visibility, as well as an analysis of conversations in media about transness and detransitioners. Intersectionality, including the disparity in transgender experiences across race and socioeconomic lines, drives all of his research and projects. This reflects both his personal experience and the anthropological imperative to understand his own privileges.


Agrella is a National Merit Finalist, and has made the Dean's List with Distinction, as well as Academic Year with Highest Distinction, numerous times. Agrella is set to graduate summa cum laude with honors in the spring. He plans to pursue graduate studies in queer anthropology while engaging with the needs of local trans and gender-expansive cohorts.


Wright grew up in Gilbert, Arizona, where she observed a pious population from up close and became consumed learning about people's belief systems and the institutions that house them. This, combined with Wright's continued interest in writing and activism, spawned her love for journalism.


After losing her mother to cancer in 2021, she deferred a semester for bereavement. She has worked as a teaching assistant in the School of Journalism, as outreach coordinator and a counselor with Bear Down Camp, been involved with the local Deaf community, interned for a clean-energy nonprofit, and volunteered for several campus organizations and units. Wright also studied abroad in Orvieto, Italy.


Wright has been awarded Dean's List with Distinction, was named a Drew Gyorke Memorial Photojournalism Contest Finalist, was selected for the Finley Best Beginning News Writing Competition and won the Arizona in Italy Summer 2023 Video Contest. Wright is expected to graduate summa cum laude. Following her graduation, she will pursue graduate studies in religion, gender, sexuality and ecology. She also plans to continue long-form feature writing and photojournalism.