PULLMAN – More than 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to participate in three ceremonies at WSU’s 112th spring commencement on the Pullman campus, Saturday, May 3, at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum.
At 8 a.m. graduates in the agricultural, human, and natural resource sciences; engineering and architecture; pharmacy; sciences; and veterinary medicine will receive their degrees. Rajiv J. Shah, director for Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be the featured speaker.
At the 11:30 a.m. ceremony, LeRoy Ashby, the Claudius O. and Mary Johnson Distinguished Professor of History and a WSU Regents professor, will address graduates in liberal arts.
Tom Vander Ark, president of the X Prize Foundation, will speak at the 3 p.m. ceremony for business, education and nursing graduates.
WSU President Elson S. Floyd will preside at all three ceremonies. During the ceremonies the following graduates will be highlighted:
Christopher M. Bates, Walla Walla
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Physics and Bachelor of Science Biochemistry, magna cum laude
High School: Walla Walla High School, 2003
Career Goal: To become a doctor
Parents: Teresa Dennis of Hesperia and Jerry Bates of Walla Walla
Before enrolling at WSU, Bates wanted to become a high school physics teacher. He was awarded a Distinguished Regents Scholarship that allowed him to pursue his interests in both physics and biochemistry and now plans to attend medical school after a one-year break to gain real world experience in the health sciences field.
Bates has done research in the laboratory of Regents physics professor J. Thomas Dickinson culminating in a first-author upcoming paper in the Journal of Materials Research and another undergoing revision at Langmuir.
His work just earned first prize in the physical sciences and Canter for Integrated Biotechnology categories of the 2008 College of Sciences Undergraduate Research Poster Competition, and first place in the undergraduate research capacity for Sigma XI. Bates also won a R.A. of the Year Award in 2006 and has volunteered at Pullman Regional Hospital.
Bates has managed to enjoy college through all the hard work including assisting in teaching a jazz dance class, taking beginning singing classes and learning to play guitar. Bates has received more than five scholarships while at WSU and has been featured in a WSU promotional video available online.
Kelly A. Dow, Fresno, Calif.
Department: Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Food Science/Human Nutrition
High School: Central High School, Fresno, Calif., 1996
Other Colleges: South Puget Sound Community College, Associate of Arts
Career Goal: Get a master’s or doctorate degree in pharmacy
Parents: Marie Anderson of Olympia and Larry Anderson of King City, Calif.
Dow is the first person in her family to attend college. As an older, non-traditional student, she has had to take the initiative to further her education in addition to taking care of a family of her own. While pursuing her education in nutrition and dietetics at WSU, Dow has been a devoted wife and mother of four children whom she home-schools: Emily, 10, Olivia, 6, Michael, 4, and John, 2.
Most of her homework has been done with a child on her lap and in between helping her children with their home-school curriculum. She kept the household running while her husband has worked nights and had to adapt to last minute changes in his work schedule.
Dow’s professors said she is an exceptional student. She has been able to maintain a 3.9 GPA. She said she doesn’t know how to do anything without making it the best she is capable of. She has always been committed to making all her work something she can be proud of.
Dow has been a volunteer at Bishop Place Retirement Center, Palouse Empire Gymnastics Booster Club, the Pullman Food Bank, and has been an active member of her church.
Emilee M. Hearrean, Spokane
Colleges: Education and Science
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in engineering and a teaching certificate
High School: Rogers High School, Spokane, 2004
Career Goal: To teach at a low-income high school and enable more students to pursue meaningful experiences related to math and engineering.
Parents: Elizabeth Heath and David Hearrean, Spokane
Hearrean grew up in a single-parent household and low-income neighborhood in Spokane. Within four years, she has earned her mathematics degree and engineering minor, completed her student teaching and maintained a 3.8 GPA.
Numbers are not the only area where she shines; she also received a “Pass with Distinction” on her WSU Junior Writing Portfolio. She is an example of hard-working student. While keeping herself busy with class assignments, Hearrean worked as a yoga/pilates/yolates instructor for the University Recreation Center and the Pullman Parks and Recreation, and a teaching assistant for pre-calculus.
Hearrean has received many honors during her tenure at WSU including a Bismark Turner scholarship, a Math Undergraduate Endowment, a University Achievement Award, a Washington Promise Scholarship, and a College of Education Scholarship, among others.
In total, she has received more than $25,000 in scholarships and is most proud of being a Noyce Scholar receiving an additional $20,000 National Science Foundation Grant.
rrie Schramm, Selah
College: Engineering and Architecture
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in environmental engineering and a minor in Mathematics
High school: Selah High School, 2004
Parents: Connie and Donald Schramm, Selah
Carrie Schramm has demonstrated during her time at WSU that she will use her engineering degree to give back to the community, make a difference and improves living conditions for others. Schramm demonstrates that an engineering degree can be used for the common good.
During her tenure at WSU, Schramm has been an officer in the Society for Women Engineers, was involved in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and has been active in mentoring a class in Mechanics of Materials.
For the past two years, she has been intensively involved in the WSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders, participating in a project to bring clean drinking water to 35,000 people in Kenya. Schramm learned on a daily basis about not only the project, but also how other cultures operate and about herself.
“I have learned patience from being a student mentor. I have learned happiness and thankfulness from the people of Kayafungo in Kenya. I have a higher sense of community and look forward to future projects that will help the local and global community.”
Schramm comes by her inclination for civil engineering naturally. Her father graduated from WSU with a degree in civil engineering and currently works for the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District. Her older sister, LisaRene, is also a WSU graduate with a civil engineering degree and her younger brother, Steve, is a freshman at WSU currently working towards his certification into the civil engineering program. Schramm credits her success to the love and support of her family.
Schramm plans on working over the summer at the East Wenatchee office of RH2 Engineering, Inc., but will return to Pullman in the fall to attend graduate school at WSU to study civil engineering.
Timothy J. Williams,
College: Veterinary Medicine
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience, Pre-Physical Therapy, with a minor in Psychology
High School: Charles Francis Adams High School, Clarkston, 1997
Other Colleges: Walla Walla Community College and a 2004 bachelor’s degree in Biology from WSU
Career Goal: Williams will continue school to achieve his doctorate in physical therapy
Parents: Anna Marie and Pastor Doran Williams,Clarkston
Williams is an inspiration to everyone around him. He has earned two degrees and a minor at Washington State University and is also a devoted husband to his wife, Gina, and father of two sons, Tj and Parker, all of whom will be attending commencement ceremony to see Williams graduate.
In addition to his roles as father, husband and student, he is a strong community leader in Clarkston, where he is currently helping build a new home for his church. The building was built in 1890 and Williams is volunteering to remodel and restore the structure, additionally, he is a worship teamleader and he and his wife are Sunday school teachers.
Daniel H. Zommick, Issaquah
College: College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture
High School: Hillside Student Community, Bellevue, 2004
Career Goal: Enter graduate school at WSU to eventually pursue a career in horticultural research and development.
Parents: Marilyn and Larry Zommick, Issaquah
Zommick was introduced to horticulture as a high school student in Bellevue by a WSU master gardener. Upon entering WSU, he decided to take full advantage of the curricular opportunities in horticulture through the Honors College. He has been named to the President’s Honor Roll every semester at WSU.
For his WSU Honors thesis requirement, Zommick studied a topic in the soil sciences under James Harsh from the WSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. The project focused on clay weathering in the soil and its implications in remediation of sites that had been contaminated through nuclear weapons testing, including sites at the Idaho National Laboratories and Hanford.
He was nominated for Pass with Distinction and traveled to Boise, Idaho, to present his research at an undergraduate poster session of the American Chemical Society.
The Department of Horticulture nominated him for early admissions to graduate studies and he was accepted into the WSU graduate program in March 2007. He is currently working on his master’s degree while finishing up his undergraduate degree. He is active in the community and participated in the WSU Jewish Student Organization and the Horticulture Club.
Danielle June Berish, Atlanta, Ga.
College: Liberal Arts
Department: Edward R. Murrow School of Communication
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Communication/Media Land the Law
High School: Chamblee Charter High School, Atlanta, Ga., 2004
Career Goal: To work someday for the NCAA to help write rules and regulations and to remain involved in the world of sports.
Parents: Sally Tubridy and Cory Berish, Atlanta, Ga.
Berish was recruited to Washington State University by the Women’s Swim Team and she competes in the sprint to mid-distance in freestyle events. She has loved being a part of a building team, one that is sending more and more athletes to the NCAA championships and was especially proud when the Cougs beat the University of Washington in last year’s meet.
As a student athlete, Berish has served on the Student Advisory Board to the President; is currently president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee; has been very involved in university and community service activities, includin Relay for Life, Women in Sports Day, Palouse River Cleanup, Operation Santa, and serving as a Peer academic counselor. Every summer she returns to Atlanta to coach a summer league swim team of over 150 children ranging in age from under 5 to 18 years old.
Berish is an excellent student and has been on the President’s Honor Roll every semester. She was named to the PAC-10 All-Academic First Team in 2007, the PAC-10 All-Academic Second Team in 2006, the Freshman All-Academic Team in 2005, and the WSU Athletics All-Academic Team every year (2004-2007). Roberta Kelly, from the School of Communication, said of Danielle, “This student is exceptionally well-rounded, organized, bright, hard-working and motivated. She’s an excellent role model.”
Victor E. Vlist Jr., Port Orchard
College: Liberal Arts
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Digital Technology and Culture with a minor in Fine Arts
High School: South Kitsap High School, Port Orchard, 2003
Career Goal: Vlist will return to western Washington and would love to begin Web designing. His passions are technology and the arts and he would like to find something that will combine them.
Parents: Kim and Victor Vlist Sr., Port Orchard.
Vlist is the first in his family to obtain a university degree. He is an artist and loves the mixture of art and technology that his degree has allowed him to develop. Vlist has been chosen as this year’s Outstanding Graduating Senior in Digital Technology and Culture due to his exceptional abilities and hard work.
Until he was eight years old, Vlist was a typical, active and vocal boy. He played baseball, basketball and soccer but shortly before his ninth birthday he suffered a brain aneurism that required extensive brain surgery and left him in a coma for a month and in rehab for another three months. He emerged from his hospital stay as a hemiplegic, paralyzed on his left side, never expecting to walk again.
With the support of family and friends and through all the physical challenges, Vlist has excelled in school and worked hard to achieve his degree. He now walks with the aid of a cane and continues to excel, both as a person and as a student. He is excited to learn new things and his teachers are impressed with his abilities, thirst for knowledge, confidence and sense of humor.
He feels blessed to have such a wonderful family and describes his dad as fun, supportive and hard working and his mom as creative, understanding and the perfect mother. He has a large network of friends and is excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.
Meghan N. Waddle, Pasco
College: Liberal Arts
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Leadership and Professional Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
High School: Grandview High School, 2004
Career Goal: Work in the nonprofit sector with an emphasis in women and children, and possibly nutritional development, disaster relief, domestic abuse or anything down the humanitarian route.
Parents: Vickie Newell and Richard Waddle, Pasco
A Silver Regents Scholar, Waddle completed an internship for leadership and professional studies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where she taught 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th grade reading, math, science and Christian education in an international school.
She also taught swimming lessons to 75 students at one of two of the only pools in the country, Waddle has always been involved in sports, playing soccer, basketball, fast pitch and swimming in high school and being a player on the WSU women’s rugby club team.
While in DRC, she began working with Pastor Joseph, Mwaba, in a program called Street Kids of Africa. The program focuses on feeding the kids, getting them healthy and educating them.
She also worked with a school in Katanga Province that is struggling and in need of sponsors and donor support. After returning to the States, Waddle continues her work for both schools by writing letters to prospective donors, writing grants and seeking financial support.
Waddle is described by her professors as a woman with a passion for helping others that goes beyond anything asked of her. She hopes to receive a Fulbright Scholarship that will allow her to do meaningful research while earning a master’s degree in non-profit leadership and management.
Yuji P. Higashi, Vancouver
College: College of Business
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, emphasis in management information systems
High School: Evergreen High School, Vancouver, 2004
Career Goal: Higashi will begin his career with a top technology consulting firm in Seattle.
Parents: Eva and Shoji Higashi,Vancouver
Higashi can credit his successes in life to a slightly unusual upbringing. He is the first generation of his family born in the U.S. and the first to earn a college degree. His mother, born in the Czech Republic, and father, born in Japan, supported him and his two sisters through college simultaneously.
Growing up, Higashi’s parents strongly advocated education and academic achievement, even though neither held college degrees themselves.
He has learned to see the value gained from his diverse, untraditional background and has applied it to all his endeavors. Since beginning at WSU Higashi has dedicated himself to academic achievement and campus involvement, but has also strived to be active in the community.
Higashi has been honored as an MIS Fellow, has been an active member of the Society for Management Information Systems, where he has held the office of president the past two years. In addition, his leadership and involvement extends throughout the College of Business as a two year College of Business Ambassador, Business Leaders Council member and Boeing Scholar.
He has also supplemented his college experience by attending numerous leadership conferences around the country, competing in five business case competitions in the last two years, including a SIFE competition at California State University where his team achieved a second place award.
Higashi also has taken on several mentorship roles helping younger students take advantage of opportunities available in college. He guides these students to understand the importance of getting a head start on planning for their careers and future. His professors commend his display of passion in everything he pursues and his gratitude to all who have contributed to his learning and success.
Bradley M. Mohr, Libby, Mont.
Degree: Sport Management with a minor in Communication.
High School: Libby Senior High School, Libby, Mont., 2003
Other Colleges: Carroll College, Helena, Mont.
Career Goal: To have a career in Major League Baseball
Parents: Lisa and Bruce Mohr, Libby, Mont.
Bio: Mohr has cerebral palsy and cannot walk without the assistance of crutches, but his disability has not discouraged him from pursuing a career in sport management. He came to WSU after starting his college career as a political science major in Montana. His desire to stay in the Pacific Northwest close to his family made him choose WSU to pursue sports management.
He knew from an early age he wanted to work within baseball. “I think as soon as I realized people got paid to sit at baseball games and that was their job,” he said.
Mohr is portrayed by his professors as a determined and capable young man whose life-long dream is on its way to coming true. He will graduate from the sport management program this spring after excelling during the spring semester in his internship in the Communication Center of the Seattle Mariners.
While at WSU, Mohr has been a member of the Disability Awareness Association for three years and has worked in a variety of positions within the Athletic Department.
Patrick Muturi, Spokane
Degree: Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing
High School: Tinganga Secondary School, Kenya
Other Colleges: Mesa State College, Colo., Front Range Community Collage, Colo.
Career Goal: Serve humanity in a way that is meaningful
Parents: Teresia Mbaire and Muturi Karanja, Kenya
Patrick Muturi was born in Kenya and became a world class runner to support his family. As a runner he represented WSU and the U.S Army in numerous national and international competitions. He was the team captain to the world student games in 1993 and in 1995, was a marathon silver medalist at the 1995 world university games in Fukuoka Japan and was voted All-American in cross country/track and field in 1993-1994.
He won the San-Francisco International Marathon in 1994 and became a professional runner, and has also won the Gradmas Marathon in 1996 and 1997 and the San-Diego international half marathon twice, breaking the course record in 1997.
He is a fascinating story teller, not only about his life in Kenya but also about his transition to our western culture and life in the US military.
Muturi, who first came to the U.S. in 1993 and later became a U.S. citizen, is enthusiastic about his education at WSU and has been passionate about his ultimate goal, to serve humanity in a way that is meaningful. Nursing is Muturi’s medium for fulfilling this goal.
He has a degree in international business from WSU and he returned to the university after his military career. Muturi’s motivation for obtaining the nursing degree is stimulated by his strong character, extraordinary compassion, wisdom beyond his age and his ability to positively embrace the soul of others around him.
He is a member of Namaste, serves on the Undergraduates Academic Progression committee as a student representative and is a member of the Diversity Committee.
Muturi has earned the respect of the faculty and student body with his quiet charisma. It is also not unusual to find him offering support and advice to his colleagues. The grace and humility with which he approaches life allows him to stand out from the crowd.