Outstanding Graduates, Professor Announced on Honors Day

Recognized at Honors Chapel were the Outstanding Graduates for the 2014 spring semester. They are

Recognized at Honors Chapel on Tuesday were the Outstanding Graduates for the 2014 spring semester. They are (back row, from left) Giseli Cocklin, Terry Jones, Geoffrey Kishbaugh, Camille Benito, Alainna Liloia, (front row, from left) Brianna Parker, Leah Wierichs, Morganne Bayliss and Kyla Machacek.

Nine students were honored Tuesday as the outstanding graduates of their schools and several others received departmental awards and scholarships as part of Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Honors Day ceremony. The outstanding graduates each will receive special recognition during spring commencement on May 10.

In addition, one faculty member, Associate Professor of English Dr. Beate Rodewald, received the Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching. 

The outstanding graduates are:

Morganne Bayliss of Harbor Springs, Mich., is the outstanding graduate in the School of Arts and Sciences. Bayliss is a biology major with a pre-health concentration. She is a member of the Frederick M. Supper honors program, and she was part of a team that included Dr. Mireille Aleman, Dr. Cidya Grant and student Spenser Smith working on a “Multidisciplinary Collaboration for the Establishment of an Ethnopharmacology Research Laboratory.” The team presented this breast cancer research at the Florida Undergraduate Research Council Symposium in February, the PBA Interdisciplinary Research Conference in March and at the American Association for Cancer Research in April. After graduating from PBA, Bayliss plans to attend graduate school after spending a year working in medical missions. 

Geoffrey Kishbaugh of Groveland, Mass., is the outstanding graduate in the Rinker School of Business. Kishbaugh, who now lives in West Palm Beach with his wife, Andrea,  has spent his time at PBA serving the community in various ways, including as a resident assistant in the Rinker residence hall and as the finance tutor for the Rinker School of Business. His professors say Kishbaugh was chosen as outstanding graduate as a testament to his hard work academically, his service to the school and other students, and his role as a leader both inside and outside of the business school. After PBA, Kishbaugh and his wife will move to Grand Rapids, Mich., where he will pursue a master’s degree in English at Grand Valley State University. Ultimately, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in English and become a professor. 

Kyla Machacek of Belle Plaine, Minn., is the outstanding graduate in the School of Communication and Media. As a theatre major in the acting track, Machacek played leading roles and provided stage management for five theatre productions. As a volunteer, she  used her equestrian background at the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center and His Haven Riding Center to teach disabled children to ride horses. In 2012, Machacek participated in a mission trip to Haiti, where she was part of a team that helped a local church put on a vacation Bible school for more than 400 children. After graduation, she will participate in a paid internship at Stages Theatre, a children’s theater in Minnesota with an extensive education program. At the close of summer, Machacek will pursue professional acting for a year while preparing to attend graduate school the following year. Her desire is to obtain a Master of Fine Arts degree in Shakespearean studies and classical acting.

Camille Benito of Davie is the outstanding graduate in the School of Education and Behavioral Studies. Benito, who is majoring in psychology and minoring in Spanish, is a peer mentor and has led Bible studies for the PBA softball team. Benito’s professors said she was chosen as the outstanding graduate of the psychology department and of the School of Education and Behavioral Studies because of her consistent work ethic and her desire to be an active learner. She is a pleasure to have in the classroom and can always be counted on to have both a smile and an answer to a question, her professors said.  After graduation she will be attending Nova Southeastern University to pursue a doctorate in psychology.  Her goal is to have a private practice counseling children and adolescents in South Florida.

Terry Jones of Detroit, Mich., is the outstanding graduate in the MacArthur School of Leadership. Jones has been a patrol officer for the past six years for the Delray Beach Police Department, after working for 23 years as a tool and die maker in the Detroit auto industry.  In 2007 he lost his job in the economic downturn and pursued a new role as a police officer.  In his late 40s, Jones decided to pursue his degree, and he excelled both in academics and in leadership in the classroom. Faculty members say that Jones was able to inspire his fellow adult students to never give up and to step up to the challenges of the program. Despite working full-time patrolling the streets of Delray Beach, Jones will complete his degree by the age of 51. 

Alainna Liloia of Washington, N.J., is the outstanding graduate in the School of Ministry. Liloia is majoring in in biblical and theological studies and has served two terms as president of the ministry honor society, Theta Alpha Kappa. She excelled in academics, having the highest GPA of her fellow School of Ministry graduates, while maintaining a life of Christian service both on campus and at her local church.

Leah Wierichs of Myakka City is the outstanding graduate in the School of Music and Fine Arts.  While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in dance, she participated in two mission trips to China. A member of the dance ensemble, Wierichs performed in various soloist and principal roles. For the last three years, she worked as an intern with the Miami City Ballet. After graduation, Wierichs will join the Ad Deum Dance Company, a Christian organization in Texas. 

Brianna Parker of Jensen Beach is the outstanding graduate in the School of Nursing. Parker earned a high GPA while representing PBA as an athlete on the softball team. She is active in the Nursing Student Association and Nurses Christian Fellowship; she also has participated in community service projects such as Christ Fellowship’s Thanksgiving Outreach, Quantum House, Gary Carter Foundation, and SNAPP (participating in sports with autistic children). Parker serves as an assistant coach for the Lightspeed Gold 14U softball team, and went on a mission trip to Nicaragua with the PBA softball team. She enjoys speaking to prospective students as young as middle-school who are interested in healthcare as a career. She mentored two junior nursing students and is now a mentor to her teammate who is beginning the nursing program. 

Giseli Cocklin of Curitiba, Brazil, is the outstanding graduate for the Orlando Campus. She was one of the inaugural student mentors in the newly created Orlando Campus Writing Center and volunteered her time representing PBA’s Orlando Campus at school-hosted leadership events such as the John Maxwell Leadership Award Event. After she completes her bachelor’s degree, Cocklin plans to continue her education with an MBA or master’s degree in leadership, hoping to continue to inspire her son as well as minorities to follow their dreams in education.

Other award recipients on Honors Day included:

School of Arts and Sciences

Trinity Livingston and Amanda Long, PBA Science Club/Arthur R. Marshall Foundation Scholarship

Trinity Livingston, Patricia Shiers Bailey Scholarship

Meagan Landis, Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation Scholarship in Marine Biology

Evan Berlanti, Sons of the American Revolution-Palm Beach Chapter

Michael James, Ben Starling III Excellence in Public Service Award

Tonya Mateuszcyk, Swick Mathematics Award

Ashley Duhaime, LaTasha Harper-Coleman and Collena Whitbeck, Meredith Barsalou Scholarship

Morganne Bayliss, Outstanding Graduate-Biology

Jeremy Espy, Outstanding Graduate-Computer Science

Danielle Mercier, Outstanding Graduate-History

Lisa Nyman, Outstanding Graduate-Mathematics

Spenser Smith, Outstanding Graduate-Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Esther Geller, Outstanding Graduate-Philosophy

Rinker School of Business

Matthew Jennings, Philip Billings Memorial Scholarship

Joshua Timms, Outstanding Graduate-Accounting

Michael Lyon, Outstanding Graduate-Finance

Stephen Troll, Outstanding Graduate-Marketing

Jonathan Dykert, Outstanding Graduate-Management

School of Communication and Media

Kayla Viaud, Outstanding Graduate-Journalism and Entertainment Media

Jessica Wharton, Outstanding Graduate-Public Relations

Emily Miraglia, Outstanding Graduate-Theatre

School of Education and Behavioral Studies

Indira Bertarioni, Jennifer Criss Memorial Scholarship

Anna Finlayson, John W. and Almarene W. Outlaw Scholarship

Jerica Moore, Michael Leighton Scholarship

Lexi Fenton, Joanna Whitney Memorial scholarship

Alexis Self, W.C. Woodring Award for Outstanding Physical Education Major

Emily Pain, Dona Thornton Scholarship

Tyler Westra, Outstanding Graduate-Athletic Training

Carley Hubbard, Outstanding Graduate-Elementary Education

Tucker Owen, Outstanding Graduate-Physical Education

Camille Benito, Outstanding Graduate-Psychology

School of Ministry

Mary Bellamy, The Baptist Church of Palm Beach Scholarship

Victoria Lackey and Danielle McDonald, Lloyd and Iris Mahanes Scholarship

Alainna Liloia, Outstanding Graduate-Biblical and Theological Studies

Cassandra Clark, Outstanding Graduate-Ministry Leadership Studies

Sara Kratz, Outstanding Graduate-Cross-Cultural Studies

School of Music and Fine Arts

Tabitha Meeks, Outstanding Graduate-Music

Honors Program

Deanna Stephens, PBA Freshman Honors Award

Spenser Smith, Frederick M. Supper Honors Program

Center for Writing Excellence

Gracelyn Kuzman, Outstanding Freshman Writing Award

Interdisciplinary Research Conference Awards

Dr. Vanessa Rowan, Outstanding Research Conference Poster

Morganne Bayliss and Spenser Smith, Outstanding Presentation, Science/Health Care Track

Nathaniel Flores, Outstanding Presentation, Liberal Arts/Social Sciences Track