Award Recipients for Ivory Prize
2023 IVORY PRIZE AWARD RECIPIENT
B. Drake Regalado Alton
In 2021, Benjamin “Drake” Regalado Alton was a junior at Weber State, working toward his degree in biochemistry, when he founded the Regalado Foundation, a non-profit organization which helps underrepresented students in the Ogden area pursue higher education.
“I come from an immigrant family and have always had a passion for helping people who are new to this country,” Alton said. “My dad immigrated to the United States from Honduras as a teenager to receive an education, and there is a huge population of people like him in Ogden. I thought to myself, if I struggled to figure out my own career path, how much more would people who are new to this educational system struggle to find theirs?”
Though Alton is not a first-generation student, he was the first in his family to be born in the U.S., and often found it difficult to navigate college. His goal with the foundation was to give students an easier start with higher education than he did through guidance, mentorship and aiding with scholarship applications.
In 2022, the Regalado Foundation, which relies 100% on the work of volunteers, was able to provide four students from immigrant families with $1,000 college scholarships and aided 20 more in getting scholarships from Ogden-Weber Technical College. With the additional money Alton has raised for the foundation, he expects the number of awards the foundation offers this year to nearly triple.
“I have been teaching Spanish for 40 years and have seldom had the privilege of working with students as outstanding as Drake,” said Thomas Mathews, WSU Spanish professor. “I have no doubt of the impact his work will have for heritage Spanish speakers in the Weber State area, and I look forward to seeing the benefits of the work that Drake and his foundation will inspire.”
Alton graduated from WSU in December 2022 and plans to begin medical school at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine this summer. He hopes to one day work in the medical field at a university. In his free time, he enjoys reading and taking jiu-jitsu classes.
“The work I have done with this organization is one of my biggest and proudest accomplishments,” Alton said. “Nothing has brought me more satisfaction than helping young students in my community succeed.”
2022 IVORY PRIZE AWARD RECIPIENTS
For two years, Kaila Lemons has served as Food Recovery Network president and Weber State’s first campus Zero Waste Coordinator. In these roles she has coordinated 50 volunteers who have collaborated with groups across campus including Athletics and Residence Halls to generate less waste and increase recycling. They have also collected and shared nearly 2,000 pounds of food, which otherwise would have gone to waste, with Lantern House, northern Utah’s largest homeless shelter.
Lemons has also managed and recruited volunteers for a variety of sustainability events such as a campus clothing and supply swap, bicycle fix-it workshop, tree plantings, xeriscaping projects and composting workshops.
“As a sustainable leader on campus, I have learned to think through the lens of supporting not just a livable environment, but also an equitable society and viable economy,” Lemons said.
Maria Rios Cabrera
Maria Rios Cabrera, a senior with a double major in mechanical engineering and economics and a minor in math, has a passion for helping students with learning disabilities.
Cabrera serves as the Student Coordinator for the CATT (creating achievement through transition) program, in the Disability Services Center, which helps students with learning disabilities transition from high school to college. Cabrera understands the challenges, at age 9, she immigrated from Honduras and struggled with the language, culture and her own learning challenges.
She and her team of mentors have provided support and information to students in 11 high schools in the Davis, Morgan and Weber school districts.
“We all know how difficult the transition from high school to college is, now add a learning disability to the mix — it almost seems impossible to go through,” Cabrera said. “The CATT Program provides students with not only the tools and support they need to go through this transition, but also provides examples of students with disabilities who have thrived and excelled in college. Our mentors are one of a kind because they have broken down barriers so others don’t have to.”
2021 IVORY PRIZE AWARD RECIPIENTS
Recent graduate, Lori Cummings, served as an intern of the Children’s Adaptive Physical Education Society (CAPES!), a skill development program for children with developmental disabilities such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Visual Impairments, and Cerebral Palsy. In her role, she helped WSU students complete over 1000 community-engagement hours, developed the Parent Meet & Greet, and positively impacted the lives of numerous children and their parents. Lori now works as an Adaptive Physical Educator in the Davis School District, where she continues to serve her students and the school community.
Current student, Finau Tauteoli, serves as president of The Ohana Association, a WSU student organization that strives “to extend, develop, and enhance support systems contributing to the success of all students, with a focused emphasis on the Pacific Islander students.” She and The Ohana Association actively supported activities as volunteers and/or collaborative partners in planning community events such as the Mana 5k, the Pacific Islander High School Conference, The Northern Utah Health Coalition, and the Utah Chapter of OCA. Due to her dedication and leadership, Finau successfully launched the now ongoing Pasifika Youth Talk Series for 7th through 12th Pacific Islander students.