Nelson, left, receives the PI of the Year award from Danielle McLean, Alpha Pi Omega Sorority Grand Circle Scholar and awards committee chairwoman.
University of New Mexico nursing student Shawna Nelson is the 2011-2012 member of the year for the country's oldest and largest Native American sorority.

Nelson, a nursing senior from Winslow, Ariz., was named PI of the Year at the national convention of Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc. Presented annually, the award is Alpha Pi Omega's highest individual honor.

"The awards committee received several quality applications this year," Grand Awards Committee chairwoman Danielle McLean said. "Shawna's truly stood out from the pack, though."

President of the sorority's chapter at UNM and the school's Multicultural Greek Council, Nelson was nominated by her regional adviser, who works with chapters in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona and Kansas. She turned in a portfolio outlining her accomplishments in academia, community service, campus involvement and sorority involvement. Nelson is the chapter's first national award winner since Alpha Pi Omega expanded to the University of New Mexico in 2004.

"On behalf of the Greek Life office at the University of New Mexico, our staff would like to congratulate Shawna Nelson on top honors within her sorority," said Jon Gayer, UNM Greek Life adviser. "We are proud to see her being recognized for all of the hard work she has put into the chapter and the university."

In addition to Nelson's award, the Delta Chapter was recognized for having the highest chapter grade point average among the sorority's undergraduate chapters and expansion sites. This is Delta's first chapter award since 2008.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: cgonzal@unm.edu