More than 2,100 degrees and certificates to be awarded at IPFW Commencement

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News release from IPFW:

More than 2,100 Degrees and Certificates to be Awarded at IPFW Commencement

(May 8, 2013) – Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne’s (IPFW’s) 46th Annual Commencement Ceremony will take
place at 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 15, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, where 2,126 Indiana University and Purdue University certificates and degrees will be conferred.

IPFW Chancellor Vicky L. Carwein will give the welcome and the presentation of the class in which she will talk about several students who will be graduating.

Special recognition will be given to the first graduating class of Chapman Scholars. One of the premier competitive, merit-based scholarship programs in Indiana—the Chapman Scholars program is recognized for combining civic engagement opportunities with outstanding scholarship options. The program develops involved scholars who understand that civic engagement is key to personal growth as well as the growth and strength of a community. The four original Chapman Scholars are joined by two members of the second class, both of whom have completed their degree work in three years.

Those students are:

  • Jessica Geyer is from Sturgis, Mich., and majored in English. As a Chapman Scholar she was able to travel to Korea, where she taught English. Right now, Jessica is on a waiting list for a teaching assistantship program in France and will know by the end of the month if, when, and where she’ll be teaching. In the meantime, she is pursuing her love for writing as a freelance journalist for print and Web publications, as a novelist who has four as yet unpublished works, and as a published poet.
  • Matthew Rybicki of Dyer, Ind., graduates with a double major in political science and history and plans to attend law school.
  • Amy Schwarz is a Fort Wayne music education major. She will attend graduate school at Indiana University-Bloomington this fall, where she will pursue a double master’s in public affairs and arts administration. She plans to work in the non-profit sector with arts education advocacy programs.
  • Jeffrey Valliere is a Fort Wayne pre-dental major and will begin dental school this July at the Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis. After earning a D.D.S., Jeff may pursue a specialty, although he is considering doing dental mission work for a few years. His ultimate dream is to work alongside his father in private practice in Fort Wayne and come back to the IPFW Dental Hygiene Clinic as a clinic dentist.
  • Kelsey Gabbard of Marion, Ind., completed her management and marketing degree in three years and this fall begins her pursuit of a double masters’ degree in the College Student Personnel Program at Bowling Green State University. Kelsey will be the Recreation and Wellness Student Programming and Leadership graduate assistant  and a Greek Life housing director in Student Affairs. She wants to continue her studies and obtain a doctorate in higher education and then work at a regional campus like IPFW; but will work wherever life takes her.
  • Kevin Villela came all the way from Glendale, Ariz., to study and play volleyball at IPFW. He is receiving two bachelor’s degrees, one in mathematics and the other in computer science, both of which he completed in just three years. Kevin will continue his education this fall at IPFW, where he will pursue a master’s degree in Applied Computer Science. He then plans to move to California, play beach volleyball—professionally would be his dream come true—and get a job in the computer science field.
  • Osbaldo Regalado, from Ligonier, Ind., is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs with a minor in criminal justice. Osbaldo says he wanted a fresh start in life after high school and coming to IPFW gave him that opportunity. IPFW was affordable, close to home, and offered the criminal justice degree he was interested in earning. Beginning in fall 2009, he drove to IPFW from his home in Ligonier every day, attending classes, meeting with advisors, and planning his academic future. Then his father lost his job and Osbaldo felt it was his duty to support the family until his father was working again. For about two years Osbaldo worked third shift in a factory while still carrying a full load of classes. He told his advisors succeeding in school was more important to him than sleep. When his father got a job at the same factory, Osbaldo was able to quit and focus solely on his studies. He is now the first in his family to not only go to college, but to get a degree. Last year Osbaldo joined the Army National Guard and leaves for basic training next month. In December, he plans to move to Chicago and apply to the police academy there and become a police officer.
  • Arosha Perera is from Sri Lanka and is graduating with a Bachelor of General Studies with a minor in psychology and with the title “Student of the Year for 2012” from the Indiana Council for Continuing Education. Arosha’s journey to IPFW was filled with starts and stops, as she was twice denied a visa to study in the United States. However, her third attempt was successful, and at the urging of her sister who lived in Fort Wayne she came to IPFW to complete a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. However, when she found out only six of her 90 Sri Lankan credits would transfer; she changed her major to General Studies with a minor in psychology. Arosha also felt the strain of missing her husband and children, who couldn’t come with her when she left Sri Lanka. Things improved when her family was able to join her, but that also added another layer of responsibility to her as she helped them adapt to a new language and culture. Despite the challenges that might have weighed down another student, Arosha thrived. She maintained a 3.42 GPA as a full-time student and managed to find time to volunteer at Turnstone Center for Children, at the Indiana Buddhist Temple’s Center for Meditation, at her daughters’ elementary school, at her church, and at the request of the IPFW Learning Center, she began tutoring other students last fall. Arosha is taking a few weeks to decide if she will continue her education and get either another bachelor’s degree or pursue a master’s degree at IPFW, or if she will return to Sri Lanka to teach.
  • Erin Murphy, from Seymour, Ind., knows the pressure of competition only too well. As a member of the IPFW women’s basketball team, Erin knows that it takes hard work, dedication, and a strong will to persevere. She is a shining example of what a student-athlete can be, and is a Summit League Academic All-League Distinguished  Scholar who has been named to the Summit League Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence. As an athlete, Erin played in every game the three years she was on the basketball team. As a student, when the team played away games that fell on due dates for assignments, she would complete and turn in her homework before the due dates. She would even check a few weeks in advance just to see if there were any changes in the schedule. Besides her basketball schedule and her classes, Erin also found time to take part in the Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT) and volunteer at several not-for-profit agencies. And now she is graduating, with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology—all in just three years—thanks in part to advanced placement classes she took in high school. Erin learned that it takes hard work, dedication, and commitment to be successful. However, she says she wouldn’t  be where she is today without the help of a great support system, including her family, friends, teammates,  coaches, and professors. Erin will attend the University of Indianapolis this fall, pursuing a master’s degree in clinical psychology. Her ultimate goal is to earn a doctorate in that field and become a psychotherapist.
  • Sahar Rizvi is from Houston, Texas, and is graduating with a Master of Science with a major in biology. Her journey to obtain that was one of growth, introspection, and commitment. By her own words, Sahar’s undergraduate work didn’t reflect her capabilities. Before she was admitted to IPFW’s graduate program, she says she wasn’t healthy and had lost sight of the goals she set for herself. Once she began her studies, she made a conscious decision to regain her health and re-establish her goals—and she has done both. Besides her studies as a pre-med student, Sahar took advantage of other opportunities at IPFW. One of those was serving as an advising assistant in the SOAR program. She used that experience to reach out to a close friend who had dropped out of high school 10 years ago and   assisted him in gaining his diploma, which led him to pursue a college education. Sahar says during her time as a student at IPFW she was able to expand her horizons by shadowing physicians to learn more about the day to day aspects of her chosen profession. The job fairs and Career Services staff gave her insight into the processes of searching out and interviewing for jobs. Plus the many diverse cultural activities endorsed the sense of community that she has developed with her friends and peers. She is working on her career and educational goal of going to medical school and is in the middle of the application process. She is, in her words, ‘very keen’ to attend Indiana University School of Medicine on the IPFW campus or in her home state of Texas. As for her personal goals, she plans to stay healthy, and as part of her healthy lifestyle she is now a runner. Her next goal: completing her first marathon, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure later this month.


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