Dakota John Figueroa is this year's co-winner of the Gilbert L. Lycan History Award for Outstanding Senior. Dakota, a history major with a minor in American studies, is a member of the Stetson Honors Program. Other academic accolades include a Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Grant and an Evans Johnson Research Grant from the Department of History. Both grants were used to research his senior thesis, "From Archenemies to Allies: Reassessing the Birth of the United States-Japan Alliance, 1945-1960."
Dakota analyzed the factors that transformed the U.S. and Japan into staunch allies and shared his findings at the prestigious national conference of Phi Alpha Theta, the undergraduate history honor society.
Dakota was vice president of Stetson's Alpha-Zeta Chapter and a member of Phi Alpha Delta (Pre-Law Chapter). His professors praised him for being "a model of liberal arts inquiry" and making "intuitive connections between ideas from different courses."