Eight UL Lafayette seniors have been named named Outstanding Graduates and Five UL Lafayette students have been honored as Outstanding Master's Graduates.
For undergraduates, every spring and fall semester, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association honors outstanding graduates from the University's eight colleges. Each dean nominates one student, based on leadership, scholarship, and service. A selection committee of the Alumni Association interviews the candidates and selects one to receive its overall Outstanding Graduate award.
For the graduate students, each graduate program can nominate one student for the award, based on leadership, scholarship, service, and research. A committee, led by the dean of the University's Graduate School, selects the top candidates. A UL Lafayette Alumni Association committee interviews each candidate and chooses one for the overall award. That person is recognized during the Commencement General Assembly as the overall Outstanding Master's Graduate.
The Outstanding Graduates will be honored during Fall 2015 Commencement on Friday. The overall Outstanding Graduate will be announced at the General Assembly, which will begin at 11 a.m. in the Cajundome.
Here's a look at the honorees:
Margot Fry is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of the Arts. A music major with concentrations in theory and composition, and music media, she has a 3.58 GPA. She plans to travel to study music in different cultures and to earn a master's degree, and possibly a doctorate, in music theory and composition.
Fry was awarded the Sword of Honor from Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional international women's music fraternity, for outstanding service.
She is a founding member and artist of the Krewe of Camille, a non-profit organization whose members travel to children's hospitals to give patients and their families solace through painting together. Fry interned at Tipitina's Co-Op in Lafayette and at Delta Media Corporation in Carencro, La. She is a choir member at several Lafayette churches and a cantor at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Opelousas, La.
She is the daughter of Chris and Cheri Fry of Denham Springs, La.
Annie Briley is the Outstanding Graduate for the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.
A marketing major with a 4.0 GPA, she earned her degree in three and a half years. She was vice president of the Student Government Association.
Briley was a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and the Lyceum Committee, and a Junior Panhellenic delegate. She was founding president of the University's chapter of the American Marketing Association. She performed community service for the Big Event, the Girl Scouts of America, St. Pierre's Center for the Arts, Up Til Dawn, Lafayette Animal Aid, Prevent Child Abuse America, Faith House, and Walk to Defeat ALS.
Briley was undergraduate representative on the B. I. Moody III College of Business Administration dean's search committee.
She was president of Kappa Delta Sorority, and the University's 2015 Homecoming Queen. Briley was a student worker in UL Lafayette's Athletics Department. She will enroll in UL Lafayette's MBA program.
Briley is the daughter of Mark and Stacey Briley of Lafayette, La.
Leondre' Queen is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Education.
He is a kinesiology major with a 3.89 GPA. He received the Honors Convocation Award, and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Queen received a College of Education scholarship, and was nominated for the Bill Landry Memorial Scholarship.
He performed volunteer work with the Acadiana Senior Olympics, the American Heart Association, Festival lnternationale de Louisiane, and the "Johnny on the Spot" Christmas dinner program for foster children. Queen was a member of the Student Orientation Staff and a student equipment manager for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football team.
He belongs to the campus chapter of the Kinesiology Professionals Association and is state diversity chairman of the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Queen will pursue a graduate degree in sports administration or sports management. He plans to coach college football.
Queen is the son of Joyce Triggs of Thibodaux, La.
Anastasiya Gromova is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Engineering.
She is a petroleum engineering major with a 3.88 GPA. She belongs to the Pi Epsilon Tau, Tau Beta Pi, and the Delta Alpha Pi engineering honor societies. Gromova is fluent in several languages, including Russian, Ukrainian and French.
As part of her studies, she participated in a research project that examined design aspects of well design of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Gromova is a member of many campus organizations and engineering societies. They include the Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Society of Drilling Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, and the Louisiana Engineering Society. She volunteered as a translator with the LAGCOE oil and gas expo.
Her community service includes working with the Breath of Life Gala, Trees of Acadiana, Archangel Church and Teche Area Builders Association.
She plans to pursue a master's degree in petroleum engineering at UL Lafayette and would like to work as an engineer in the oil and gas industry.
Gromova, is the daughter of Svitlana Gromova-Patout and Frederick Patout of New Iberia, La.
Emily Gauthier is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Liberal Arts.
She earned a double major, in English and sociology. She completed more than 150 hours of degree requirements, in less than four years, with a 4.0 GPA.
To receive an honors baccalaureate in sociology, Gauthier wrote a thesis on the response of domestic violence shelters to nontraditional victims.
She is a member of many campus organizations, such as the Sociological Society; and Students for the Advancement of Women. She was vice president and secretary of the Secular Student Alliance.
Gauthier was a volunteer with Acadiana CARES, an AIDS education and support group, and the Healing House, which assists grieving children and their caregivers. She participated in Girard Park cleanup efforts, food drives, and fundraisers for the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa and the American Heart Association. Gauthier plans to attend law school.
She is the daughter of DeAnn Kalich of Lafayette and Stuart Gauthier of Kaplan, La.
Kevin Thomas Malone is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions.
He has a 3.28 GPA. He has worked at jobs 25 or more hours per week to support his nursing education and gained pediatric advanced life support and advanced cardiac life support training. Malone spent two months in India on a humanitarian mission. He volunteered over 100 hours with Habitat for Humanity and arranged for a local restaurant where he worked to donate unused food to St. Joseph Diner and Garden, which serves free lunches to anyone who is hungry in Lafayette.
He was named New Member of the Year by Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity. Malone has been a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda Honor Society and the National Student Nursing Association. Malone plans to work in a hospital emergency room for two years, then seek a doctorate and teach.
He is the son of John Malone and Leslie Malone, both of Lafayette.
Gage Seaux is the Outstanding Graduate for the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences.
A geology major with a 3.8 GPA, he is a member of the UL Lafayette Honors Program. Seaux conducted fieldwork during excavations in Fossil Lake, Ore., and, as a research assistant, processed specimens collected there. He is vice president of the UL Lafayette Geological Society.
Seaux participated in community service projects with Acadiana Animal Aid, the Lafayette Geological Society, Episcopal School of Acadiana's Junior Science Club, St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, and Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church. He received the Altar Server of the Year Award from the Diocese of Lafayette. Seaux will enroll at his alma mater in the spring to pursue a master's degree in geology. He plans to become an exploration geologist.
His parents are Preston and Angela Seaux of Lafayette.
Brittany DiNunzio is the Outstanding Graduate for University College.
She is a general studies major, with a concentration in arts. She has a 3.52 GPA, and has received several academic scholarships. DiNunzio intends to pursue certification as an art educator.
She has been involved in numerous community service activities, such as teaching swimming to children with special needs, giving art lessons at the Children's Museum of Acadiana, volunteering with the Autism Society of Acadiana's Autism Walk, and participating in the annual Heart Walk for the American Heart Association. DiNunzio has been a member of Giving Love, Acceptance, Safety and Support and the Louisiana Art Education Student Association. She is a member of the UL Lafayette Metals Club.
She is the daughter of Glen DiNunzio of White Plains, N.Y., and Tiffany Alario of Cut Off, La. Her stepparents are Carlye DiNunzio and Joseph Alario.
Photo info: Eight UL Lafayette seniors have been recognized as Outstanding Graduates. Seated from left, are: Margot Fry, College of the Arts; Annie Briley, B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration; Kevin Thomas Malone, College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. Standing, from left, are: Dr. Jim Henderson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Leondre' Queen, College of Education; Brittany DiNunzio, University College; Anastasiya Gromova, College of Engineering; Emily Gauthier, College of Liberal Arts; Gage Seaux, Ray P. Authement College of Sciences; and Dr. Joseph Savoie, University president.
Five graduate students have been selected as finalists for the Outstanding Master's Graduate designation, which started with the Spring 2015 Commencement.
Here's a look at the honorees:
Nathan Abbott is the Outstanding Master's Graduate for the College of the Arts.
He majored in music performance with a 4.0 GPA. A baritone, Abbott earned a full fellowship to the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany in the summer of 2015. He won first place at the summer festival Aria Competition, an accomplishment rarely achieved by an American vocalist.
Earlier, Abbott studied the Italian bel canto singing style and entered several competitions. He was a prizewinner at contests held by the Southern Tri-State National Association of Teachers of Singing and its Louisiana division. He then was invited to participate in the prestigious Madame Rose Palmai-Tenser Scholarship Competition, where he was awarded second prize.
As a graduate assistant at the School of Music, Abbott helped teach and coach undergraduate voice students. He was a music theory assistant and taught music appreciation classes. Abbott has performed leading roles in numerous UL Opera Theater productions.
He is the son of Neil Abbott of Raceland, La.
Nadine Bayard is the Outstanding Master's Graduate for the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.
She has maintained a 4.0 GPA and is graduating summa cum laude with a Master's of Business Administration. Bayard was a market research intern with Enersciences Holdings LLC, which develops products and services for the energy industry. She conducted research and produced a comprehensive report on energy sources, providers, and exploration and production costs in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bayard, whose hometown is Panama City, Panama, was a graduate assistant in the University's Office of International Affairs, where she developed programs to enrich international students' experiences at UL Lafayette and the City of Lafayette. As a graduate assistant and team leader in UL Lafayette's Information Systems and Multimedia Labs, Bayard codesigned a business plan for a campuswide digital signage project.
As a student leader for Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, she led a team of volunteers who fed over 150 students weekly for one year. She was named Outstanding Graduate in 2013 when she received her Bachelor of Science in business administration from UL Lafayette. Bayard is the daughter of Nadina and Gustavo Bayard of Panama City, Panama.
Zheng Zhang is Outstanding Master's Graduate for the College of Engineering.
He is a petroleum engineering major, with a 3.83 GPA. His research paper "An Experimental Test of the Critical Flowback Velocity in Hydraulic-Fracturing Shale Gas Wells" was featured during the 2015 LAGCOE graduate student paper competition.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in applied petroleum engineering from China University of Petroleum in Qingdao, China. Zhang's paper has also been submitted to the "Hydraulic Fracturing Journal." He has been active in student chapters of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Drilling Engineers, American Petroleum Institute, and Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
His parents are Xingya Zhang and Shan Wu, of Changchun, Ji Lin Province, China.
James Blankenship is the Outstanding Master's Graduate for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Profession.
A registered nurse enrolled in the family nurse practitioner concentration, he has a 4.0 GPA. Since 2010, Blankenship has worked as a charge nurse for Regional Medical Center of Acadiana's Emergency Department. From 2005 to 2010, he was an emergency room technician at Lafayette General Medical Center.
He recently developed a presentation to inform patients of colorectal cancer screening options, with the objective of increasing the number of patients who get tested. It was adopted by a large primary care practice in southern Louisiana as an educational supplement for patients.
Blankenship is a member of the Delta Eta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He is an instructor for Sudden Impact, a driver safety program; a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Team; and a cadet commander of the Lafayette Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.
Blankenship is the son of Kelley and Joyce Blankenship of New Iberia, La. He is married to Ashley Blankenship and is the father of Charlotte Blankenship.
Benjamin Magallon is the Outstanding Master's Graduate for the School of Architecture and Design.
He maintained a 4.0 GPA, while participating in projects such as the Lafayette Strong Camellia Gridshell. The open-air, dome-shaped structure was designed by architecture students, and built with input from engineers at an art park along Camellia Boulevard.
As an intern in UL Lafayette's Office of Sustainability, Magallon worked on campus sustainability policies, research, and reporting.
For his master's project, Magallon designed an orphanage in his hometown of Puebla City, Mexico. It features "child-centric" spaces intended to foster a sense of well-being. He was active with AmeriCorps, a national community service program.
Prior to enrolling at UL Lafayette, he earned a Bachelor of Science in history and anthropology from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
He is married to Kristine Loewer Magallon, and the father of son Emerson David Magallon. His parents are Phil and Beth Dorcas of Fort Worth, Tex.
Photo info: Five students who will receive master's degrees during Fall 2015 Commencement ceremonies are finalists for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's overall Outstanding Master's Graduate Award. Shown, from left, are: Dr. Jim Henderson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Benjamin Magallon, School of Architecture and Design; Nadine Bayard, B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration; James Blankenship, College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions; Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, Graduate School dean; and Dr. Joseph Savoie, University president. Not shown are Nathan Abbott, School of Music and Performing Arts; Zheng Zhang, College of Engineering.