Commencement 2012: Outstanding Graduates
Eight University of Wisconsin-Parkside students?Chancellor's Award recipient Marcus Bouterse, Geography & History; Julia Anders, Geography; Dana Calamia, Economics & Mathematics; Mitchell Hughes, Biological Sciences; Emily Lumley, Biological Sciences; Anne Walaszek, Theatre Arts; Sierra West, Business Management/ Marketing; and Stephen Zambo, Economics?were the recipients of Outstanding Graduate Awards. Here is a look at their accomplishments.
Marcus Bouterse ('11, Geography & History)
By the time he completed his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Marcus Bouterse was the pride of two academic departments, graduating with geography and history degrees. Praised by one department for his "extremely advanced level of academic performance" and by the other for his "extensive community activities," he received academic achievement awards from both along with numerous other honors.
But it wasn't always that way.
Mr. Bouterse overcame a slow start here, a start that landed him on academic probation, a start that flattened his grade point average and led him to spend time away from school.
Returning in 2007, he excelled, being characterized by one professor as a "student who is extremely intelligent, self-motivated, and responsible." As his GPA soared, he became a member of the prestigious Historical Honor Society and the Association of American Geographers (AAG), a rarity for undergraduates. His research presentation at the AAG national meeting in New York had attendees mistaking him for a graduate student.
He served on student government, assisted three faculty members with their classes, tutored fellow students, and volunteered extensively. He became, in his words, "a true representation of the education I received at UW-Parkside."
Mr. Bouterse begins his graduate studies in history at Marquette University this fall.
Outstanding Graduate Awards
Julia Anders ('11, Geography)
The message couldn't have been clearer when a faculty member spoke about his prized student. "Julia Anders is the best student I have ever had the pleasure of teaching."
To illustrate Ms. Anders' intelligence, the faculty member cited a "very difficult" exam geography majors take. In the 12 years it has been administered, the highest score was 92 percent. Anders scored a 96. "I was not surprised," said the faculty member.
Ms. Anders research papers and oral presentations whether on the Panama Canal, on Wisconsin state parks, or on climate change were uniformly excellent. Her verbal and written skills prompted the faculty member to call her "the complete student and learner."
Outside class, Ms. Anders helped lead the Geography Club, was a professor's assistant, and was active in Amnesty International and Tri Sigma among others. She did all this while working to support herself and her husband who was also a UW-Parkside student.
Admitting she didn't feel "smart enough" when she first came to the university, she persevered. "Once I started doing well in school, I gained confidence in myself," Anders said.
From "not smart enough" to a veteran faculty member's best student ever makes Julia Anders a University of Wisconsin-Parkside Outstanding Graduate.
Dana Calamia ('12, Economics & Mathematics)
"Dana represents the best of our students."
"Dana's future is very bright."
It's easy to find people to sing Dana Calamia's praises. Ask the economics and mathematics faculty who have taught her these past four years. They'll tell you, "Dana is an exemplary student and possesses a genuine love of learning."
Ask the people who worked with her during her myriad extra-curricular activities from serving as president of Parkside Student Government to serving as a member of the UW-Parkside Dance Team. They'll tell you, "She has excelled not only academically but also as an active and involved undergraduate student."
Ask the students who struggled with complex economic concepts and benefited from the drop-in tutoring sessions Dana, on her own initiative, organized and conducted during fall semester 2011. One faculty member said those students would tell you they "greatly appreciated her desire to help them and her clear and understandable explanations."
Ask those she assisted as a resident advisor, her women's rugby teammates, her Ranger Bear mascot teammates, the people in Circle K, or at the Kenosha Public Museum; they'll tell you what you already know: Dana represents the best of UW-Parkside's students and Dana's future is, indeed, very bright.
That future begins this fall in graduate studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Mitchell Hughes ('12, Biological Sciences)
Drive. Determination. Desire.
These words describe the demeanor of Mitchell Hughes. A first generation college student, he wants to be a physician and UW-Parkside faculty members believe he'll be a very good one.
"Mitchell has been one of the top students within the pre-medical program and biological sciences major over the past four years," said one nominator. "From conversations with multiple members of the biological sciences and chemistry departments we know he is held in extraordinarily high regard as a student/scholar."
The truth of these statements is borne out by Mr. Hughes' grade point average. While always exceptional, it has improved significantly in the last four semesters, even though his courses were almost exclusively in upper division pre-med and biological sciences.
This GPA improvement came while he continued working 15 to 20 hours a week and pursued his interest in martial arts. And while he attended UW-Parkside full time, he also attended a technical school for emergency medical technician certification.
In what spare time he had, Mr. Hughes "shadowed" several local doctors to explore potential career options. Plus, he volunteers several hours a week at a local hospital.
Along with drive, determination, and desire, Mr. Hughes may soon add another "D" word to his lexicon: "Dartmouth," as in Dartmouth Medical School, one of several top medical programs where he's been accepted.
Emily Lumley ('12, Biological Sciences)
Emily Lumley's busy UW-Parkside undergraduate experience shows that a successful education contains a vital element of self-discovery.
"There were periods during my undergrad where I was taking a full course load, volunteering weekly, working part-time, being president of a club, and?doing research!" she recalls. "Those are the times that challenged me the most, both mentally and physically; but they are also the experiences from which I learned about my capabilities and my limits."
Academically, one faculty member called Ms. Lumley, who earned a Biological Sciences degree and chemistry and Spanish minors, "one of the strongest students to come through our program in the last several years."
To augment her academics, Ms. Lumley "shadowed" local physicians and volunteered at several health care facilities, broadening her knowledge base. Meanwhile, she worked part time as a certified nursing assistant for a local health care provider. These experiences, said one nominator, gave her, "the solid foundation she needs to be an effective health care practitioner."
Ms. Lumley's impressive research credentials include investigations with UW-Parkside professors Edward Wallen and Daphne Pham. She spent summer 2009 studying in the distinguished Pepperdine University Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory through a National Science Foundation program.
Through discovery--and self-discovery--Emily Lumley is, as one faculty member said, "an outstanding model of what UW-Parkside is capable of producing for students."
Anne Walaszek ('12, Theatre Arts)
It's been a year of rave reviews and three years of growth for Anne Walaszek.
"She was an amazing Princess Catherine on our fall production of "Henry V," and followed that with a wonderfully charming Tilly in "A Melancholy Play," said a faculty nominator.
Then came her turn as Cherie, an aspiring nightclub singer in "Bus Stop," a joint Parkside Theatre/Milwaukee Chamber Theatre production. Reviewer Mike Fischer, writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,commented on "Walaszek's beautifully played Cherie." And Damien Jaques of onMilwaukee.comsaid "Walaszek brings a skittish vulnerability to Cherie that is quite compelling."
To Theatre Arts faculty, Ms. Walaszek is more than an actor.
"She has fully distinguished herself--as a student, as an actor, as an aspiring designer, as a costume technician, as a leader, and as a person. Those of us who teach in the department have noted the broad range of her intelligence and wisdom," said a nominator.
For her part, Ms. Walaszek has grown to understand what theatre is and what it can become. "Through my faculty, peers, and classwork at Parkside, I have seen what theatre can do for another human being and what I would hope to bring to the outside world upon my graduation."
Sierra West ('11, Business/Marketing)
"It is very rarely that we come across an exceptional student who has a well rounded portfolio of academic accomplishments, campus service, and community service. It is even more difficult to find a student who uses her talent to have a transformative impact on our campus and community. Sierra West is one such rare student."
That was one paragraph of a faculty member's three page letter lauding Sierra West. And that faculty member wasn't alone in praising West. Another called her, "...a true team player and a popularly elected leader in the classroom."
Since transferring from Lewis University, West has achieved her stated goal to, "stand out in everything I involve myself in" specifically in the areas of academics, involvement, and leadership.
Academically, she earned multiple scholarly honors by earning a grade point average of 3.965 and garnering coveted internships with the Milwaukee Brewers and Diversey. Her work for Feeding America and the campus volunteer program kept her active in the community. And her leadership is evident as a player on UW-Parkside basketball teams that have reached the NCAA Division II "Sweet 16" two years in a row and in her service as president of the university's chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Sierra West is, as her professor said, a "rare student."
Stephen Zambo ('12, Economics)
One look at Steve Zambo's body of work and you understand why Economics faculty members are impressed by him. It's all there: near academic perfection, exceptional leadership, and extensive extracurricular activities.
"Steve's academic work has been outstanding," said a nominator. "[He] has distinguished himself by his academic rigor and thoroughness. And Steve has demonstrated his analytical and quantitative skills through several research projects."
One paper titled "An Exploration of the Determinants of Student Success Using Stepwise Regression" was presented at the 2011 UW System undergraduate research symposium. He is a two-time recipient of the Alice M. Hamele Memorial Scholarship in Economics. Mr. Zambo is a current member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Omicron Delta Epsilon, the economic honor society.
Mr. Zambo graduates as the president of the university's Economics Club. "Steve has effectively organized and conducted club events and has assisted the department with promotional activities," said an economic faculty member.
And while he has given extensive volunteer service at a Racine hospital, it may have been his internship with the Kenosha County District Attorney's Office, along with his minor in Political Science that led to his main career interest."I hope to be an attorney," Mr. Zambo said. "I?feel that I will be well equipped for law school."