Almost 800 students– about 740 undergraduate students and 60 graduate students – are expected to participate in the WSU ceremony in Pullman from a total of 1,788 students that have applied to graduate with a December date, said Teri Hansen, WSU commencement coordinator.

During the ceremony, WSU Provost Warwick Bayly will highlight the following graduates:

– Selena L. Galaviz
College: Liberal Arts
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences and disability studies minor
High School: Toppenish High School, 2004
Career Goal: To work as a speech language pathologist in a school system, perhaps combining that with coaching track and field, and hopes to work in a hospital environment after she is done in the school system.
Parents: Leanne and Anthony Galaviz Sr.
 
Bio: A Distinguished Regents Scholar, Galaviz is the first of her family to graduate from a university. She is a member of the Honors College and presented her honors thesis entitled “A Needs Analysis for Speech-Language Pathologists Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations” under the direction of Assistant Professor Amy Meredith. She is a 2008 recipient of the Buckley and Daughters Honor College Scholarship and is preparing to enter graduate school in fall 2009. She hopes to expand on the great education she has received at WSU by entering the master’s program in speech and hearing sciences at WSU Spokane.
 
During her time at WSU, Galaviz has competed all four years as a walk-on for the WSU Track and Field team, competing in the 400, the 4×4 relay and cross-country. She has been a peer academic counselor in the Athletic Department and received recognition as PAC-10 All-Academic Second Team, PAC-10 All-Academic Honorable Mention and the WSU All-Academic Team. Galaviz is also an active member of the Speech and Hearing Sciences Club and collaborated on a “Resource Guide for Parents and Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.”
 
Galaviz has also done great work for her community by returning to her hometown every Thanksgiving and Christmas break to speak to high school students about the opportunities available to them with a college education. She has also participated in a food drive with the Speech and Hearing Club for the local food bank, volunteered for Cougar Pride Days and other fund-raising activities. Galaviz credits her parents for setting an example of hard work and encouraging their children to succeed and value education.

– Christopher J. Henry
College: Business
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, emphasis in entrepreneurial studies High School: Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, Calif., 2004
Career Goal: To run his own company
Parents: Mary Ann and Robert Henry

Bio:
Born in Washington D.C. and raised in California, Henry was a member of the 2007-2008 WSU basketball team that made it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. As a four-year letter-winner, Henry appeared in games all four seasons at WSU.

Henry’s entrepreneurship student team won the 2007 Fall WSU Business Plan Competition. His team took first place in the Sparks League for their student-run organization, FreeInke. Henry’s company would create uniquely designed university apparel for students and alumni. The business plan detailed how the company would offer a more trendy approach to branded apparel through a cutting edge Web site, allowing users to submit designs for which clothing will be produced based on popularity and current market trends. The competition is judged by business executives from around the country and is hosted by the College of Business Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, which is ranked 18th in the nation. 

– Leslie D. Huff
College: Education
Degree: Doctorate in Education
High School: Capital High School 1995, Olympia, Wash.
Career Goal: To help teachers become better at teaching English as a Second Language students
Parents: Meredith and Curt Huff

Bio:
Although Huff is originally from Olympia, she works in Japan as an associate professor of Media Communications at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, while her husband, Akira Ozawa, serves in the Japanese army. Prior to attending WSU, Huff was a student at Mukogawa Women’s University in Nishinomiya, Japan. In 1999, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of Washington and in 2005 she received her master’s degree in English from Eastern Washington University. She came to WSU to earn her doctorate in order to help teachers worldwide serve the needs of students who are language learners.

As a WSU student, Huff was outstanding. She was both a student and a teaching assistant. She has written several publications and an innovative dissertation. Her dissertation research focuses on the opportunities English as a Second Language students have to develop their identities bi-culturally. Huff was also the activities coordinator for the WSU Education Graduate Organization.

Most importantly, Huff helped to bring Japanese culture and tradition alive for her students who had not received much exposure to other cultures. Her experience working, teaching and living in Japan had a large positive impact on students in the WSU College of Education. Huff plans to stay in Japan for a while but hopes to return to the United States to get a teaching and researching job at an American university in the future.

– Vicki I. Puller
College: Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
Degree: Master of Arts, Apparel, Merchandising and Textiles
High School: San Loreno Valley High in Felton, Calif., 1970
Career Goal: To be a therapist at the Veteran’s Hospital in Walla Walla and use art therapy  to help returning veterans heal emotional traumas from their involvement in the war.
Husband: Larry Puller
 
Bio: Puller grew up in California and served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. She began her college education in the 1970’s by attending Cabrillo College in Soquel, Calif., and West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. Returning to a university after a 25 year break was a very important step toward her life time goal and she was able to make attending WSU a priority during the last six years.  Puller and her family have lived in Walla Walla for 30 years and after completing her associate degree at Walla Walla Community College, Puller came to Pullman to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts.
 
Puller qualified for the TRiO Program at WSU as the first member of her family to seek a college degree. As Puller completed her master’s degree, she was able to maintain a 3.8 GPA while also sharing her talents by teaching a visual merchandising course and an illustration and rendering techniques course in the Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles Department. She also taught design classes for Future Cougars of Color, Cougar Quest and Upward Bound. Even with her high level of involvement with WSU, Puller maintained her active commitment to 4-H by volunteering with the Sew and Stitch Expo, teaching children to quilt and producing beds for Guide Dog Users of Washington.
 
As a wife, mother and grandmother, Puller treasures the opportunity to be involved with her family and help them thrive. She is described as being an excellent example of someone who focuses her talents and shares them with others to make a difference in their lives. Puller plans to continue her education by pursuing her second master’s degree in January 2009 at Southwestern College in Santa Fe, N.M., where she will build on the topic of her master’s degree, “quilting as art therapy.”

– Bradley L. Rumsey
College: Sciences
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, cum laude
High School: Joel E. Ferris High School, 2000
Career Goal: To work as a medical technologist
Parents: Deborah Tracy and Hal Rumsey
 
Bio: Rumsey came to WSU in 2002 after he completed his associate degree at Spokane Falls Community College. After a year in Pullman with excellent grades, he made the difficult decision to leave school to pursue a once-in-a-lifetime dream of a musical career as a drummer in a rock band with his brother, Andy Rumsey. He toured across the United States multiple times, including an opening act for well-known groups such as Blondie, Twisted Sister and Foghat.
 
After several years on the road, Rumsey returned to WSU to continue his education. At WSU, he has been on the President’s Honor Roll every semester. He also earned a Herbert L. Eastlick Scholarship and a Walter and Pauline Harris Scholarship.

Rumsey had always wanted a career in science and after taking a medical microbiology course with Mike Konkel, Rumsey decided which career path to take. He has applied for the School of Medical Technology at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane and hopes to start in July.

– David Street
College: Engineering and Architecture
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages and Cultures with a Spanish emphasis
High School: Bishop Blanchet High School, 2004
Career Goal: To work for a structural engineering firm that supports his interest in structural design and its potential impact on foreign cultures and the global community.
Parents: Margaret and William Street
 
Bio: While at WSU, Street not only maintained a 3.94 GPA, he also spent the past three summers working as an intern at DCI Engineers, a structural engineering design firm in Bellevue. His ability to multitask has helped him become successful in different areas, as he also played the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band for four years, was vice president of the Honors College Student Advisory Council, served as an Honors College ambassador at recruiting events, volunteered as a peer tutor and works as a teaching assistant for a surveying class.
 
During the summer of 2005, he attended La Universidad de La Serena in Chile with his Honors College class. In Chile, he studied Spanish and learned about the socio-economics of the region. In May 2008, Street traveled to Spain and attended La Universitat de Valencia where he refined his Spanish skills and learned about the influence of Spanish culture on the world. He then traveled to several other countries, which inspired him to begin Italian language studies. Street also worked with Engineers Without Borders to design and build a water pipeline in Kayafungo, Kenya and was an active member of the St. Thomas More Newman Center, where he served on the leadership council and participated in a mission trip to the Navajo Indian Reservation in Chinle, Ariz.
 
Street provides current and future WSU students with some advice: “Don’t be afraid of hard work – it pays off in the end!” His work ethic has proved to be an asset as Street will continue his studies by pursing a master’s degree in Civil Engineering at WSU while doing research in the field of engineering education.
 
– Patrick J. Tomulty
College: College of Nursing
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
High School: Marysville High School, 1968
Career Goal: To work in critical care nursing and the emergency department
Parents: Patricia Tomulty and the late Jack Tomulty
 
Bio:  Tomulty holds a unique position in the WSU College of Nursing graduating class of 2008, he is both the oldest and the newest. Throughout his journey to become a nurse, he has attended six academic institutions. He attended Biola University and received two bachelor’s degrees from Portland State University. He then earned his master’s degree in clinical counseling at Western Oregon University while working as a mental health professional. During his 18 years as a licensed mental health professional, he was an on-call provider for the psychiatric assessment team in King, Skagit and Island Counties. He grew to admire the nurses who provided care to his patients and set out to treat both drug and psychiatric conditions through nursing.
 
Once Tomulty’s prerequisites were completed at Everett Community College, his advisor suggested that he should earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. For this reason, Tomulty entered Seattle University for his junior year. As his wife, a college math instructor, could not leave her position, Tomulty transferred to WSU’s College of Nursing in Spokane in the fall of 2007. As an incoming student, some of his rotations had to be repeated so Tomulty’s clinical instructors tailored his experiences to a more intensive level in obstetrics and pediatrics.
 
Tomulty credits his clinical instructor, Barb Leon, for bringing the nurse in him to life by creating the opportunity for him to work in the Emergency Department at Valley Medical Center. Here, he was given experiences that he never would have received if he had stayed in Seattle. Accordingly, he won a VALOR student position at the Veteran’s Hospital in the Emergency Department.
 
– Brett L. Yancey
College: Communication
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an Emphasis in Public Relations and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
High School: Kennewick High School, 1994
Career Goal: To work in international crisis management
Parents: Jan and Ed Yancey

Bio: Few people endure in a lifetime what Yancey and his family endured in a single semester. During the 2008 spring semester, Yancey and his wife Bekie, a nurse and Cougar graduate, were expecting their second child. However, in February, Bekie went into labor two months early. Yancey and his wife were quickly flown by helicopter to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane where doctors performed an emergency C-section to save the lives of both mother and baby. Yancey’s wife lost almost half her blood in the process. She received four blood transfusions to recover. Yancey’s new baby girl, Lailie Grace Yancey, came into the world weighing only 3 pounds 8 ounces. She was immediately placed on a ventilator to help her underdeveloped lungs breathe. To graduate on time, Yancey drove back and forth from Pullman to Spokane for five weeks to attend his classes until his daughter was released from the neonatal intensive care unit.   

Only 19 days after returning home, Yancey collapsed. Doctors in the emergency room diagnosed Yancey with a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia. He was sent by ambulance once again to Spokane. There, doctors determined Yancey had a congenital heart condition called Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome. The operation to repair the problem took five hours. 

However, two months later an EKG revealed the same persisting heart condition. The previous operation had failed. So, once again, Yancey was sent to Spokane where he received a second operation to correct the problem.   

Today, Yancey and his family are healthy and strong. However, it’s no wonder why he and his wife say their new family motto is “We hate 2008.” Despite everything, Yancey is graduating on time with two degrees. Last semester Yancey earned a 3.85 GPA. and in 2006 he was the Spanish student of the year.