Wartburg College recently recognized five outstanding young alumni for service to their community and the world. 

The Young Alumni Award honors recent graduates who are living the four pillars of the Wartburg College mission statement: leadership, service, faith and learning.

This year’s recipients are: 

Paul Yeager is a 1998 graduate who has worked at Iowa Public Television since 2007. He is a producer with “Market to Market,” a nationally syndicated weekly journal of rural America. Yeager has served on the Iowa Broadcast News Association, National Archives of Iowa Broadcasting and Wartburg Communication Arts National Advisory boards. He also sings in the choir at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Ankeny, and has volunteered with organizations like Lutheran Social Services of Iowa and the Iowa High School Speech Association. 

Aaron and Crystal Heins Buzza graduated in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Aaron Buzza is executive director of the Waterloo Convention and Visitors Bureau and was the driving force behind the relocation of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum to Waterloo from Newton. Crystal Buzza is director of strategic partnerships with the Waterloo Community School District. She has served on the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Salvation Army Advisory Board, Allen Hospital Community Advisory Board, and Waterloo Cultural and Arts Commission. She also was a 2008 YWCA Women of Persimmon Volunteer of the Year and 2009 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier 20 Under 40 recipient. 

Stephanie Fisk Mendez is a 2004 graduate now living in Malaga, Spain. In 2007, Mendez visited 11 countries in 11 months as part of The World Race. While in Bangkok, Thailand, her eyes were opened to the horrors of human trafficking. Since then, she has dedicated her life to helping girls and women escape that life. In 2010, Mendez joined Men Against the Trafficking of Others, an international organization that uses the empowerment of boys and men to stop the threat of sex trafficking. As the European director, she designs and implements the MATTOO message in Spain and Romania. 

Hyeladzirra “Zirra” Banu is a 2011 graduate now living in Bologna, Italy, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in international relations and international economics at Johns Hopkins University. In 2011, she was named Miss ECOWAS Nigeria. In 2012, she was named the ECOWAS Peace Ambassador. The Economic Community of West African States is a group of 15 West African countries promoting economic integration across the region. She also helped launch the first children’s satellite television network in West Africa and is founder and CEO of SapelGoldFoundation.org, an organization with a focus on social awareness