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Master’s hooding, honors convocation celebrate student achievement

May 8, 2018

KOKOMO, Ind. —Indiana University Kokomo celebrated the academic success of its students, with the annual master’s hooding ceremony and honors convocation.

Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke expressed her deep admiration for the students’ personal commitment to excellence, and challenged them to lead.

“We will look to you for your leadership. Society will look to you to make a difference in all the challenges we’re going to face in the future,” she said, noting that one of her favorite quotes is, “Extraordinary people are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

“We are here to honor each of you because you have chosen to show up every day at IU Kokomo and do great work. You have chosen not to be ordinary. You have chosen to lead. I hope you will continue on that path once you graduate.”

Graduate students marked their accomplishment by receiving the hoods that recognize them as having earned advanced degrees. Each one selected a faculty or staff member who has impacted him or her to drape the hood before exchanging a handshake or a hug.

Maheen Zia, who previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Informatics from IU Kokomo, hopes to transition to a new career with her Master of Public Management.

“I want to get into human resources, so this degree has prepared me for that role as an administrator,” said Zia, a Kokomo resident.

Advancement in his career was also what Mark Renken sought when he enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program.

“I wanted to upgrade my skill set to make myself more marketable, to maybe move into different positions,” he said. “It’s been a great experience. All the professors have been wonderful. They’ve been more than willing to help when I need it.”

He earned his graduate degree while his daughter, Faith, was enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities program — and both received the outstanding student awards in their programs. 

“We didn’t cross paths all that much, but it was nice to run into her on campus from time to time,” he said. Their study time at home didn’t overlap, he noted, because he worked third shift at General Motors in Kokomo while earning his degree.

Faith Renken was proud that she and her father both received outstanding student awards in their program, and that they are graduating together. 

“Everything he’s accomplished, and I’ve accomplished, have been a great feeling for our family,” she said, adding that her grandmother, who just turned 90, is able to attend.

“The pride in her eyes, and for our family, to see us both graduating on the same day is amazing,” she said.

She was among the undergraduate students celebrated at the honors convocation. It honors those who have made the dean’s list during the year, and also those who won outstanding student awards in the academic majors. Awards also were given for student leadership, honors program completion, and outstanding faculty.

Joshua Jansen, a junior, was among those honored, receiving the outstanding student in math award.

“It feels great,” he said, adding that he likes math because of “being able to do what most people can’t do. Most people can’t do math very well.”

Those receiving outstanding student awards included

• John Schafer, Lafayette, Associate of Science in Radiography

• Stephanie Shorter, Winamac, Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging Technology

• Kirstyn Sommers, Peru; Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences

• Andrea Islas, Logansport; Bachelor of Applied Science

• April Wheeldon, Burnettsville; Bachelor of Science in Business

• Mallory Maris, Kokomo, Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

• Jacqueline Pawski, Rochester, Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and Healthcare Management

• Mark Renken, Kokomo, Master of Business Administration

• Heidi Sebastian, Peru, Master of Public Management

• Heather Amos, Wabash, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

• Elyse Clark, Westfield, Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education

• Bailey Troutman, Lapel, Bachelor of Science in Communication

• Mallory Jones, Converse, Bachelor of Arts in English

• Faith Renken, Kokomo, Bachelor of Arts in Humanities

• Morgan Collins, Kokomo, Bachelor of Science in New Media, Art, and Technology

• Courtney Barber, Logansport, Bachelor of Science in Psychology

• Tara Richey, Walton, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

• Debi Pellam, Lafayette, Bachelor of Science in Sociology

• Hannah Bourne, Bunker Hill, Bachelor of Science in History and Political Science

• Caitlyn Perkins, Kokomo, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Outstanding Student in Spanish

• Della Anderson, Rossville, R.N. to B.S.N.

• Khoulod AlHarbi, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Master of Science in Nursing

• Henry Worley, Kokomo, Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Chemistry

• Mary Elmasry, Kokomo, Bachelor of Science in Biology

• David J. Boone, Denver, Bachelor of Science in Biological & Physical Sciences

• Timothy Hernandez, Tipton, Bachelor of Science in informatics

• Joshua Jansen, Kokomo, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics

• Wendi West, Tipton, Bachelor of General Studies 

Students recognized for graduating from the honors program included:

Alexandria: Nicholas Church

Arcadia: Kelsey Million

Frankfort: Coral Regalado-Santos, Flor Valdes

Galveston: Kaitlin Rowlett

Kokomo: Carsten Beyer, Taylor Lynn Dittfield, Mary Elmasry, Matthew Floyd, Ashley Lovins, Stephen Nichols, Michael Plummer, Hannah Randall, Seven Surack

Lapel: Bailey Troutman

Student veterans honored with the Veteran Service Coin were:

Burnettsville: Tammy Wright

Converse: Carlos Coverdale

Delphi: Derek Bradshaw

Frankfort: Artemio Cardenas, Matthew Lucas

Greentown: Michelle Martinez

Kokomo: Zachari Ayres, Casey Colvin, Bryce Harlan, Patrick Lennon, Jessica May, Aaron Montel, Stephen Nichols, Robert Orzech, Cory Rupert

Lafayette: Tab Gebhard

Logansport: Carrie Jackson, Brian Powers, Alejandro Ramirez

Marion: Patricia Jackson, Curtis Maxey

Martinsville: Shancy Lawson, Jarrett McKinney

Peru: Brian Arwood, Michelle Clegg, Sarah Graves, Dale Truax, Thomas White

Rossville: Della Anderson

Russiaville: Rachel Coombs

Tipton: Timothy Hernandez, Hannah Tina

Winamac: Erin Bonnell

North Pole, Alaska: Steven Poupard

Other award winners included:

• Debi Pellam, Lafayette, Outstanding Student Leader

• Jacob Castleberry, Kokomo, Student Community Service Award

• Jacqueline Paul, Avon, Chancellor’s Student Diversity Award

• Allison Hopkins, Tipton, 2018 Newman Civic Fellow

• Erin Doss, assistant professor of communication arts, Resident Faculty Amicus Award

• Denise Chauret, adjunct faculty in organic chemistry, Adjunct Faculty Amicus Award

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 05/08/2018