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Forward Award

The Forward Award acknowledges rising stars in various fields who exemplify the Wisconsin Idea through an emphasis on service, discovery, and progress. Young alumni within 15 years of graduation who have demonstrated exceptional early-career achievement and a positive impact on their professions or communities are eligible for this award.

Congratulations to the 2022 Forward Award Recipients

Erika Dickerson-Despenza ’14

Erika Dickerson-Despenza ’14

New Orleans, LA
Playwright, Activist
School of Education (BSE)/College of Letters & Sciences (Cert.)

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Anthony Heddlesten '07

Anthony Heddlesten ’07

Riverdale, IA
Environmental Engineer; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mayor; City of Riverdale Iowa
College of Engineering

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Cavalier Johnson ’09

Cavalier Johnson ’09

Milwaukee, WI
Mayor, City of Milwaukee
College of Letters & Science

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Katie Lorenz ’12

Katie Lorenz ’12

Chicago, IL
Founder; Campo Alpaca
School of Business

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David J. O'Connor ’05, MS’13

David J. O'Connor ’05, MS’13

Madison, WI
American Indian Studies Consultant; Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
College of Letters & Science (BA)/School of Education (MS)

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Maria Ontiveros ’12

Maria Ontiveros ’12

Moline, IL
President; Mercado on Fifth
Community Relations Manager; Group O
College of Letters & Science

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Danez Smith ’12

Danez Smith ’12

Saint Paul, MN
Writer, Poet, Performer, Podcast host
College of Letters & Science

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Past Award Recipients

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