Class of 2008
Class of 2008
The adage "like mother, like daughter" will have new meaning for Lisa and Amy Burns this weekend. The mother-daughter duo will each walk across the stage to receive bachelor's degrees from Penn State Erie as part of its spring 2008 commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 17. "I wanted her to walk with me; I'm proud of her," said daughter Amy. "I thought it'd be special. She worked so hard and she deserves it." Amy will be graduating with a bachelor of science in psychology from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
In 1994, Brian Beabout began his Penn State career as an undergraduate studying engineering. In 2008, he is leaving Penn State a second time with a Ph.D. in instructional systems, focusing on urban school reform, to become a faculty member in the University of New Orleans' educational administration program. There were quite a few influences in Beabout's life -- including a major natural disaster -- that changed his course of study and his personal direction.
For Penn State World Campus students like former professional football player Troy Drayton and full-time mom Stephanie Files, graduation is a way to share accomplishments with and honor commitments to friends and family. World Campus students will attend a graduation reception that brings together graduates and their friends and family this Saturday.
For class of 2008 graduates Becky Ferguson, a nutritional science major, and Jenna Spinelle, a journalism major, working for Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology seemed an unlikely next step after graduation.
Stacy Baptiste knows the challenges of returning to school as an adult learner while raising two young children. After eight years in pursuit of a degree in elementary education -- and at the same time waiting on tables to support herself and two young daughters -- the 35-year-old Baptiste is preparing for her commencement from the College of Education.
College graduates don't always find a job in their majors. They're even more hard-pressed to find work in a field that combines both their major and minor fields of study. Penn State class of 2008 graduate Erik Davidson came up with a solution to that problem: he's his own boss. The Monroe, Conn., native found a way to enter the professional world using both his electrical engineering major and his engineering entrepreneurship minor.
Spence Ford has been head of dance for Penn State's musical theatre program since its inception in 1994. She previously had a successful career on Broadway as a dancer/singer/actress in such shows as La Cage Aux Folles, Peter Pan and King of Hearts. While at Penn State, she has choreographed and directed a number of main-stage musicals, in addition to choreographing special musical revues and creating a one-woman show, "Taking Chances." But Ford's resume has been missing something you might expect to see listed among her job experiences and accomplishments -- a bachelor's degree. That will change on May 17, when she walks across the stage to receive her Penn State diploma.
On Saturday, Cathy Chuba will graduate from Penn State with remarkable academic achievement, attaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while earning her baccalaureate degree in secondary education with a teacher certification in math. But she also achieved another legacy, drawing on personal experience to help others. Chuba is the co-founder and former vice president of the Penn State Strike 3 ALS Organization, a club devoted to raising awareness and funds towards finding a cure for ALS, or what is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
This summer, when Keyairra Wright begins working with Teach for America shortly after graduating from Penn State, she'll be marking a landmark juncture for a signature College of Education program. Wright becomes the first participant of the Summer College Opportunity Program in Education (SCOPE) to enter the education profession. SCOPE's mission is to encourage high school teens from underrepresented groups to consider a career in teaching, counseling, special education, rehabilitation or educational administration.