Students making their mark prior to graduation
More than 2,225 students were eligible to participate in the 114th spring commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday, May 11-12, at Wichita State University. Ceremonies were held in Charles Koch Arena.
Undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred in individual college ceremonies.
Kelly Eden, Bachelor of Arts; communication
Kelly Eden has interned at numerous organizations around Wichita during her time at WSU, beginning with the WSU Student Activities Council office as an event planner. Next, she worked at the United Teachers of Wichita, helping with social media channels.
Kelly also held positions with the Wichita Independent Business Association, for the City of Kechi as a general communication and office staff, and finally for the Kansas African American Museum. After graduating, Kelly plans to apply for full-time work while she considers graduate school.
Dorothy Taylor served for six years the U.S. Air Force, where she weathered Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Miss, as a weather forecaster. She was awarded a humanitarian medal for her work during the aftermath of the storm.
After transferring from active service to reserve duty in June 2011, Dorothy came to WSU to fulfill the broadcasting credit for broadcast meteorology. Dorothy has interned at both KSNW and KAKE television. After graduating, she plans to apply for graduate school at WSU and finish paralegal school for her Air Force Reserve duty.
Kylie Woodward, Bachelor of Arts; Spanish
In May, Kylie Woodward will finish her internship at the Children’s Dental Clinic, part of the Sedgwick County Health Department. For more than a year she has acted as an oral interpreter between dental hygienists and parents of Spanish patients.
Kylie has been offered a full-time position as an instructor at Spanish Horizons in Wichita.
Andrea Dockery, Bachelor of Arts; criminal justice
Andrea Dockery interns with Communities in Schools of Wichita, working with Curtis Middle School students by helping those who need important items such as clothing or prescription eyewear. The goal is to help support the students so they can focus more on school.
After graduation, Andrea will continue working at her full-time job with Riverside Academy, where she is a teacher/counselor for juveniles who have had trouble with the justice system.
Andrea is working toward her goal of becoming a juvenile probation officer, working with kids who are already in the juvenile justice system.
In addition to being the president of Lambda Phi Eta, the Communications Honor Society, Andrea Holzwarth is finishing two internships as she graduates. The first is with WSU Undergraduate Admissions, where since August 2011 she has acted as a campus visit coordinator for prospective students interested in touring Wichita State. She also has been a marketing intern for the Kansas Credit Union Association since February 2011.
Upon graduation, Andrea will take a position as recruitment coordinator at WSU’s College of Engineering, beginning May 14.
Sundee Dunn, Bachelor of Arts; communication
This May, Sundee Dunn will complete her internship at High Touch Technologies, a media and software company with branches in Wichita, Kansas City, Denver and Dallas. She has worked at the business as a marketing intern since August 2011.
After graduation, Sundee will help with her family’s business in Derby while pursuing full-time employment in the marketing field.
Polina Osipova will graduate at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at Koch Arena. She majored in computer engineering and minored in mathematics. After commencement, Osipova will continue at WSU and finish her master’s degree. For the past three and a half years, she worked as a student research assistant for CISCO labs, a major supplier of networking equipment and organizational management for the Internet. Between work and school, Osipova says she kept herself busy and is excited to conclude this chapter of her academic life.
“Despite some temporary moments of frustrations and stress, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and wouldn't have done it any different.”
Jose M. Hernandez, Bachelor of Science; industrial engineering
Jose M. Hernandez began at Wichita State University in fall 2007. Early spring 2008, he helped form the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers on campus. Hernandez sees the interconnection of education, common sense and quality of life. He applies them accordingly to his study, family and work. Hernandez says he always had a full-time job to take care of his family. Before graduation, Hernandez secured a managing engineer position at The Coleman Co. in Wichita. Hernandez will graduate at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at Koch Arena.
“I am very excited because this is a big dream for me. I came from Mexico when I was 4 years old, and I am the first generation of my family to graduate from college. My parents are very proud of me.”
Angela Sager, Bachelor of Arts; philosophy, Bachelor of Arts; history
A former student of Maize High School, Angela Sager will graduate at 3 p.m. Friday, May 11, at Koch Arena. Sager attended Wichita State University for 5 years. She is a member of the Emory Lindquist honors program and a supplemental instruction leader tutoring students in philosophy. Sager will graduate with a degree in philosophy, history and a minor in religion. She was awarded a $366,000 fellowship to attend the Ph.D. program at Fordham University in New York, NY. Sager received a six-year package that includes tuition, fees and a paid graduate assistantship. Her stipend begins in the fall of 2012.
“I have always been the kind of person that takes things on a day-by-day purpose, but graduation is coming up quick and it’s the end of a pretty significant period in my life.”
Shawn Westervelt, Bachelor of Science; electrical engineering
Shawn Westervelt began his degree at Wichita State University in 2009 as a returning adult in electrical engineering. Westervelt is the coordinator for the WSU College of Education’s Science and Engineering Educational Development for Students (SEEDS) program, which teaches middle school children that engineering and physics are fun with hands-on activities. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu honor societies for engineering. Formerly from Coffeyville, Kan., Westervelt and his wife reside in Andover with their two children. Commencement is 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at Koch Arena. Westervelt is graduating magna cum laude in electrical engineering.
“I am nervous and really excited. I am a non-traditional student, and this has been a long road for me.”
Alexa Victoria Allen, Bachelor of Arts; communications, science and disorders
Alexa Victoria Allen will graduate from Wichita State University at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at Koch Arena. She is originally from Hugo, Okla., a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Allen is now a member of the WSU Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, an organization in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, consisting of future speech-language pathologists and audiologists. She also serves as a cooperative paraeducator at White Elementary. Working directly with children who need special attention, Allen has witnessed the impact of various factors in communication and their overall academic achievements. Beginning in fall 2012, she has been accepted into WSU’s Master’s in Communication Science and Disorders Speech Language Pathology program.
“I feel so fortunate to have been accepted into a graduate program where I will get the education and training I need to become fully prepared for my career.”
Justin Mullins, Bachelor of Arts; philosophy
Justin Mullins started college at Wichita State University in August 2008. Mullins graduates from WSU with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a focus on the philosophy of science at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at Koch Arena. He attended Maize High School and finished in 2003. Recently, Mullins was awarded a $270,000 fellowship to attend the Ph.D. program at the University of Kansas. He received a six-year package that includes tuition, fees and a stipend.
“Applying to these graduate schools, usually they only have a select number of spots and only 1 to 3 percent of applicants get accepted. So my chances were slim, but I’m grateful.”
Pravin Maharjan, Bachelor of Science; computer engineering
Pravin Maharjan began attending Wichita State University in 2009. Currently Maharjan is involved in his senior design project, a collision avoidance system for powered-wheelchairs users. This project will help ensure safety to those who are worried about accidents caused by obstacles. Maharjan’s commencement is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at Koch Arena. He will start graduate school next semester at Wichita State. Originally from Nepal, South Asia, Maharjan says he came to WSU to pursue his education and complete a degree in computer engineering. As an international student, Maharjan struggled to make it here in the United States and has overcome many obstacles.
“It really is an exciting day, and it has been a long journey for me.”