Nine students were honored April 26 as the outstanding graduates of their schools as part of Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Honors Day ceremony.
Katherine Konynenbelt of Lake Worth is the outstanding graduate in the School of Arts and Sciences. In addition, she is the outstanding graduate of the school’s English department. An English major and communication minor, Konynenbelt has served as president of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and as assistant editor and then a managing editor of PBA’s Living Waters Review. She has also represented PBA as a presidential ambassador since 2009, and she currently serves as the student co-coordinator of the ambassadors. She also was recognized in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. After graduation, Konynenbelt plans to pursue a master’s degree in writing and publishing at Emerson College in Boston.
John Warner of Riverhead, N.Y., is the outstanding graduate in the Rinker School of Business. With a double major in accounting and finance, Warner served as a community service project leader through the Workship program, working with ministries such as Christians Reaching Out to Society, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and the Palmer Hone for Children. Warner is the vice president of Sigma Beta Delta, the business honor society, and also works as an academic tutor in the areas of accounting, finance, economics and math. Since his sophomore year, he has led Bible studies both on and off campus. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing, shaping surfboards, bicycling and playing tennis. Immediately after graduation, Warner plans to lead a team of PBA students on a mission trip to Uganda to provide HIV/AIDS education.
Daniel Schwab of Pompano Beach is the outstanding graduate in the School of Communication and Media. Schwab will graduate magna cum laude, having majored in theatre arts in the musical theatre track. Schwab has been heavily involved in the PBA community through the student government, Welcome Week, Alpha Psi Omega, concert choir and the PBA Symphony. Schwab has been cast repeatedly in theatrical productions. Upon graduation, he hopes to work with StoryMakers and to help that company become a premiere theatre company for young audiences. He also intends to pursue professional work in the prolific South Florida market in theatre, film and television.
Carrie Phelps of Corfu, N.Y., is the outstanding graduate in the School of Education and Behavioral Studies. In addition, she is the outstanding graduate of the school’s athletic training department. Phelps is graduating with a degree in athletic training and a concentration in exercise science. She has been involved in athletic training for PBA baseball, softball, volleyball and men’s soccer, as well as for several local high school and college football teams. Phelps is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association and the Athletic Trainers’ Association of Florida. Phelps has represented PBA as a presidential ambassador since 2008. She has been a youth soccer coach, an elementary school small group leader in her church, a medical volunteer at the Walt Disney World Marathon and a holiday assistant for the Salvation Army. Phelps was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Upon graduation, she plans to work as an athletic trainer, and she hopes to attend physical therapy school.
Oliver Windle of Oviedo, Fla., is the outstanding graduate in the MacArthur School of Leadership. Windle, who will graduate with a degree in organizational management, is the first totally online student to be awarded the outstanding graduate award for the MacArthur School of Leadership. He served six years in the Marines as a helicopter crew chief and now serves as a director of regional development in Orlando. Windle is celebrating his 20th year of marriage to his wife, Kristen, and has two children: Grayson, 13, and Kelsey, 11.
Arno van Vuuren is the outstanding graduate in the School of Ministry. Van Vuuren is completing a degree in ministry leadership studies, and he is also a member of the Supper Honors Program. Originally from South Africa, he moved to Boca Raton in 1999 with his parents and older brother Richter, who is also graduating from PBA. When van Vuuren moved to the United States, he was faced with the challenge of fitting in and learning a new language. During his time at PBA, he served the School of Ministry’s traveling team as a worship leader, speaker and point person. Van Vuuren also was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. On campus, he worked as a resident assistant and as an assistant resident director of Rinker Hall. He also serves in his church as worship team director and as a pastor assistant. Upon graduation from PBA, van Vuuren plans to find opportunities to develop Christian leaders who are devoted to loving God and loving others.
Anna Karabensh of Rutland, Vt., is the outstanding graduate in the School of Music and Fine Arts. Karabensh will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education, and she also is a member of the Supper Honors Program. As a music major, Karabensh has distinguished herself as an accomplished pianist, flautist and percussionist, having performed with the PBA Orchestra, PBA Symphonic Band, Oratorio Chorus, Irish Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. She has been a work study student in the office of the School of Music and Fine Arts and has worked on the Burrito Project as well as having served as a Point 58 Leader on campus. Earlier this year, she received the University’s Women of Distinction Scholarship.
Annetta Babu of suburban Lake Worth is the outstanding graduate in the School of Nursing. Prior to coming to PBA, Babu completed a bachelor’s degree in biology at Nova Southeastern University. For the last five months, she has worked as a nurse intern at Bethesda Memorial Hospital, where she assists with cardiac patient care. Babu is the president of the PBA Nursing Students Association and is a member of the Nurses Christian Fellowship. She has volunteered as an HIV educator on a medical mission trip to Uganda in 2010, and as an asthma educator in the Open Airways Elementary Education program of the American Lung Association. She also serves as a youth advisor at Our Lady of Health Catholic Church.
Jerome Rich of Orlando, Fla., is the outstanding graduate for the Orlando Campus. Rich is earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. Prior to coming to PBA, he helped start a ministry in Raleigh, N.C., and later served as a pastor and evangelist in Fayetteville. He and his wife, Selby, have eight children; it was when their youngest son was a senior in high school that Rich decided to return to college to finish his undergraduate degree. In fall 2010, he was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. After graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s degree at PBA Orlando and hopes to open a Christ-centered school for inner-city youth.
They, along with other graduates, will receive their degrees in a 2 p.m. ceremony on May 7 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach. Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux will be the featured speaker.