The University honored outstanding graduates from each of its schools during a special honors chapel Tuesday morning.
Madeline Erwich, a chemistry major, consistently excels in academics in the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program and is conducting undergraduate research. She is personable and admired by faculty, peers and the students she tutors, said Dr. Robert Lloyd, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. She plans to take two years off before medical school in order to get more involved in medical missions.
Alicia Mudd, an accounting major, is also in the Supper Honors Program. The Farmington, Minnesota, native, took a semester off from classes to volunteer in Asia with One Child International, a child abuse and domestic violence prevention agency. She completed a tax internship one summer and interned and volunteered with local youth ministries, said Dr. Leslie Turner, dean of the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. School of Business Upon graduation, she will work in a Minnesota office of Grant Thornton International, the seventh-largest accounting network in the world.
Charis Flake, a communication major and ministry minor in the Supper Honors Program, made the President’s List each semester, said Dr. J. Duane Meeks, dean of the School of Communication and Media. She received several scholarships, including the Women of Distinction scholarship. She excels in community and church service. At PBA, she served as a resident assistant, taught an enrichment seminar on Christian leadership, led campus tours and interviewed other student leaders. Flake has interned and volunteered in student ministry at local churches and a summer camp in Georgia.
Tanner Young, an exercise science major, is “fun-loving, polite and smiles frequently,” said Dr. Chelly Templeton, dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences. He is a serious student, always striving to be at the top of his class. Young has written protocol and tested and calibrated all of the equipment, she said. He has assisted in multiple research studies and works at a geriatric rehab facility, helping people improve mobility and quality of life. He mentors his peers and younger students. He has a clear mission focus in everything he does, Templeton said. He will pursue his doctorate in physical therapy after graduation.
Suzanne Caperton, an organizational management major, is a first-generation college student, the youngest of five children and the first to earn her college degree, said Dr. Craig Domeck, dean of the Catherine T. MacArthur School of Leadership. She works as a specialist in the nonprofit sector.
“She has a heart to serve people,” he said.
Both of Caperton’s parents went to be with the Lord while she was pursuing her degree, and she hopes everyone can persevere through the pain because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, Domeck said.
Caperton — always one to do things correctly — credits her husband for helping her “mellow” a bit, Domeck said.
Allison Rice, a senior majoring in biblical studies, is in the Supper Honors Program. In addition to her study of biblical languages, exegesis and writing, she faithfully practices the spiritual disciplines, said School of Ministry Dean Dr. Jonathan Grenz. She models the love of Christ, particularly in areas where the institutional church has been slow to respond, Grenz said.
As a PBA student, she served Syrian refugees in the Middle East and taught English in South Florida to immigrants who were struggling to make sense of their new environment, he said. She has been awarded a Fulbright Award to teach English in Bulgaria after graduation.
Dr. Jason Lester, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts, credited dance major Madeline Thompson with transformational leadership skills. A member of the PBA Dance Ensemble and professional dance company Dancing Waters, she has performed at the holiday Festival of Trees, the re-opening of the Norton Museum of Art and an outreach event in Lake City. She has participated in professional workshops around the world, including in Paris, where she performed outreach and prayer initiatives throughout the city. Thompson believes that sharing art through dance often says what words cannot, Lester said.
Megan Smith, a nursing student, came to PBA because of its Christ-centered approach, said School of Nursing Dean Dr. Joanne Masella. She has represented her class on faculty committees and demonstrated her nursing skills for donors and high school students. She received a job offer four months before graduation, was accepted into the doctor of nursing practice degree program at Quinnipiac University and interviewed for a residency program at Yale University. She plans to return to Connecticut to care for her ailing grandparents and help her mother, Masella said.
Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Suzanne Cardona was announced as the 2019 recipient of the Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from PBA. She performed her graduate studies in cell and molecular physiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The award is funded by an endowment that Dr. Paul R. Corts and his wife Diane established in 1995 in honor of his parents and in recognition of their commitment to higher education and scholarship.
Other outstanding graduates in their fields of study and special honorees are:
School of Arts and Sciences
Alexa Lora – Biology
Rachel Sakrisson – English
Jennifer Cook – History
Eric Feit – Mathematics
Madeline Erwich – Chemistry
Kimberly Salazar – Philosophy
Nathaniel Esbenshade – Politics
Julianna Weiss – Pre-Law
Kira Tilton – Psychology
Marshall E. Rinker Sr. School of Business
Alicia Mudd – Accounting
Kirsten Delany – Finance
Raquel Herrera Perdomo – International Business
Aaron Rose – Management
Rose Ducanis – Marketing
School of Communication and Media
Emily Trense – Cinema Arts
Arielle de Chabert-Ostland – Communication
Tracy Peyton – Journalism
Gabrielle Sterling – Public Relations
Allison Rohn – Sports Broadcasting
Sarah Byrd – Theatre
School of Education and Behavioral Studies
Casee Yarborough – Athletic Training
Emily Miller – Education
Sydney Jimenez – Health and Human Performance
School of Music and Fine Arts
Anastasia Keating – Dance
Sarah Rogers – Music
Madeleine Powell – Freshman Honors Award
Allison Rice – Supper Honors Program
Tannisse Clark – Outstanding Freshman Writing Award
Elizabeth Nikodem – Interdisciplinary Research Conference Presentation, Outstanding Presentation, Science and Health Care
James Davisson – Fulbright Award
Allison Rice – Fulbright Award
Rachel Sakrisson – Association of Christian Librarians Research Award
Photo 1: The outstanding graduates pose for a photo after Honors Chapel. Front row (l to r): The Catherine T. MacArthur School of Leadership's Suzanne Caperton, School of Music and Fine Arts' Madeline Thompson, School of Education and Behavioral Studies' Tanner Young, School of Ministry's Allison Rice. Back row (l to r): School of Arts and Sciences' Madeline Erwich, School of Nursing's Megan Smith, School of Communication and Media's Charis Flake and School of Business' Alicia Mudd.
Photo 2: Dr. Suzanne Cardona, recipient of the Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching, poses for a photo with Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Randy Richards during Honors Chapel.