University of Northern Iowa announces 2023 Lux Service Award winners

University of Northern Iowa announces 2023 Lux Service Award winners

Lux Service Award winners with their awards

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa announced its 2023 Lux Service Awards recipients at its Student Leadership Awards ceremony. The Lux Service Award, one of four awards from the Dean of Students office, is the pinnacle for graduating seniors to acknowledge their exemplary service, which will leave a lasting legacy upon graduation. 

To qualify for the Lux Service Award, students must hold leadership positions in at least two student organizations. Each of this year’s winners will be graduating in 2023.

  • Nixson Benitez, a digital media journalism major from Des Moines, has spent much of his UNI career building the student newspaper, The Northern Iowan. He has served as the paper’s executive editor, expanded and diversified the staff, and perhaps most notably, created a Spanish-language column for Spanish-speaking students to enjoy campus news in their native tongue. He also earned the title of Newman Civic Fellow in 2022.

    “What sets me apart is how much time and energy I poured into one organization and all of my classrooms,” said Benitez. “I found what I want to do in life and that is be a leader in a newsroom.”
  • Esha Jayswal, an accounting and economics major from Independence, has been active in many student organizations at UNI, including Northern Iowa Student Government, Business Student Ambassadors, Accounting Club and UNIBusiness Presidents Council. She was also the first female to lead a team to victory at the Deloitte Tax Case Competition and compete at the national level.

    “Looking back at my four-year journey, honestly, what haven't I gained here at UNI?” said Jayswal. “Put simply, I have become a better person and a well-rounded person because I chose to go to UNI. I can say with strong confidence that the quality of my student experience is unduplicable. UNI really took a shy little Indian girl and turned her into a confident businesswoman ready to take on Wall Street.”
  • Leila Masinovic, a biology major from Waterloo, has been a leader in Muslim Student Association and Northern Iowa Student Government at UNI. As president of the Muslim Student Association, Masinovic worked with Faculty Senate leadership to have religious observances added to the Class Attendance and Make-Up Work policy. She has served on many committees and councils while participating in countless programs and efforts in support of student success.

    “As I have learned how to better help others, I have learned the calling for my future,” said Masinovic. “I have never felt as much as myself until I started to wholeheartedly serve the community.”

The Lux recipients are among several Student Leadership Awards distributed to students at the ceremony last night. More information about all the Student Leadership Awards can be found at