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UL Lafayette recognizes eight outstanding Fall 2018 graduates

Posted at 2:24 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 15:24:11-05

Eight award finalists will be recognized as Outstanding Graduates during UL Lafayette’s Fall 2018 Commencement General Assembly. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. on Friday at the Cajundome.

Each spring and fall semester, deans from UL Lafayette’s academic colleges nominate a student as Outstanding Graduate. Nominations are based on leadership, scholarship and service. An Alumni Association committee interviews candidates and selects one to receive the overall award.

UL Lafayette Fall 2018 Outstanding Grads
The Fall 2018 Outstanding Graduate honorees are, from left: Bethany Godbold, University College; Madeleine Comeaux, B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration; Denice Emokpae, College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions; Dahlia Khalifa, Ray P. Authement College of Sciences; Alissa Netto, College of Liberal Arts; Jacob Deshotels, College of Engineering; Rheanna Fontenot, College of Education; and Maggie Martin, College of the Arts. (Photo credit: Rachel Keyes / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Alissa Netto

The University has named Anthropology major Alissa Netto as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Outstanding Graduate. Netto represents the College of Liberal Arts as its Outstanding Graduate. She has a 3.97 GPA.

Netto is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the Honors Program, the Pride of Acadiana Color Guard, the Association of Future Alumni and the Moot Court team. She was the University Program Council’s director of traditions, spirit committee chairwoman and president.

She was Alpha Delta Pi’s pride leader and served on the sorority’s executive board. Netto received the organization’s Miss University Award.

Netto’s community service activities include volunteering with Acadiana Animal Aid, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics and the United Way Food Bank.

Netto interned at the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana, and worked in its public defender’s office. She twice served as an adviser at the Junior National Young Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

She is the daughter of Wendy and John Netto of Slidell, La.

Here’s a look at the remaining Fall 2018 Outstanding Graduates:


Madeleine Comeaux

The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration selected Madeleine Comeaux as its Outstanding Graduate. She is a hospitality management major with a concentration in international business. Comeaux’s GPA is 3.92. Comeaux was vice president of the campus chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Each recognizes a student’s academic achievements.

She twice participated in the Disney College Program, and completed its hospitality and guest services seminar. Comeaux received the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s certification in hotel industry analytics and the National Restaurant Association’s ServeSafe Certification.

Comeaux is vice president of the Ragin’ Hospitality Association, and is a member of Ragin’ Cajun Catholics.
She completed a five-week French immersion program at the Université Sainte Anne in Nova Scotia, Canada, and was recognized as its Outstanding Student.

She is the daughter of Catherine and Brian Comeaux of Duson, La.


Jacob Deshotels

The College of Engineering chose Jacob Deshotels as its Outstanding Graduate. He is a mechanical engineering major and has a 3.85 GPA.

Deshotels is a member of the Honors Program, Pi Tau Sigma Honorary Mechanical Engineering Society and Tau Beta Phi Engineering Honor Society. He serves on the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Student Advisory Committee, and represented the college as a Student Government Association senator.

The National Science Foundation presented Deshotels its Research Opportunity for Undergraduates award in summer 2018. It enabled him to work at the Consortium for Innovation in Manufacturing and Materials at LSU in Baton Rouge.

Deshotels worked in several laboratories during his time at UL Lafayette, including those that design low-orbit satellites, flexible-legged robots and autonomous boats.

He is a member of Ragin’ Cajun Catholics, led Bible study groups and was an altar server at Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church on campus.

He is the son of Sharon and Teddy Deshotels of Lafayette.


Denice Emokpae

Denice Emokpae is the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions’ Outstanding Graduate. A nursing major, she has a 3.58 GPA.

Emokpae was captain of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s soccer team. She was recognized three times by the Student-Athlete Academic Office for maintaining a 4.0 semester GPA, and was honored four times by the Program of Athletes Committed to Excellence Club for her academic performance.

She was also a recipient of the Sun Belt Conference’s Academic Achievement Award.

Emokpae served three terms as the women’s soccer representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In her spare time, she hosted children’s soccer clinics.

Her community service activities included volunteering with St. Joseph’s Diner, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Down Syndrome Association. Emokpae was a member of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries.

She is the daughter of Laura and Matthew Emokpae of Sugar Land, Texas.


Rheanna Fontenot

The College of Education selected Rheanna Fontenot as its Outstanding Graduate. Her major is kinesiology, with a concentration in exercise science. She has a 4.0 GPA.

She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta and Sigma Alpha Lambda Delta academic honor societies.

Fontenot is a principal dancer with Lafayette Ballet Theatre. She also served as the theater’s class assistant, contracted artist, instructor and spokeswoman.

Fontenot conducted research under the direction of kinesiology faculty that examined the effects of participating in a full-length ballet production on performers’ testosterone and salivary cortisol, a stress hormone found in saliva. She presented findings at the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology Conference.

She worked as a physical therapy technician and interned in an area hospital’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation center.

Fontenot is active in Trinity Bible Church’s Community Mission Possible, which performs community service throughout Acadiana.

She is the daughter of Mona and Ernie Fontenot, and lives in Carencro, La.


Bethany Godbold

University College named Bethany Godbold as its Outstanding Graduate. She is a general studies major with a concentration in arts and humanities. Her GPA is 3.56.

Godbold is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi fraternity, and served as the campus chapter’s social chairwoman and reporter. She received its Pi and Pearl awards for academic achievement.

She participated in UL Lafayette Performing Arts Department productions, including as an actress in “Q: A Tragedy,” as a dresser for “Metamorphoses,” and as front of house manager for “The North Plan.”

Godbold was a member of Alpha Psi Omega collegiate theater fraternity, and performed in the campus chapter’s “Christmas Cabaret.” She was a singer in the UL Lafayette Chorale.

Godbold is a member of the University Honors Program, and the National Society for Leadership and Success.

She is the daughter of Melissa and George White of Zachary, La.


Dahlia Khalifa

Dahlia Khalifa is the Outstanding Graduate for the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. She is a biology major and has a 4.0 GPA.

Khalifa was an undergraduate research assistant. She examined the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on rhodoliths, calcium carbonate nodules in coralline algae.

She was one of three undergraduates to present findings at the 2018 Phycological Society of America meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Khalifa was among the College of Sciences’ top scholars in her sophomore, junior and senior years. She is a member of the Honors Program and serves as historian of the Pre-Professional Society.

Her community service includes volunteering at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, and campus activities such as The Big Event, Science Day and Freshmen Move-In Day and serving as a biology peer mentor.

She is the daughter of Candace Joubert-Khalifa and Taha Khalifa of Lafayette.


Maggie Martin

The College of the Arts named Maggie Martin as its Outstanding Graduate. Her major is performing arts with a concentration in theater. Martin’s GPA is 3.4.

She helped stage numerous campus presentations, including as scenic and lighting designer for “As You Like It” and “Macbeth: An Adaptation by Tanner Cole,” as master electrician for “Q: A Tragedy” and “State of La Danse,” and as light board operator for “Metamorphoses.”

Martin lent her production skills to performances staged by the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and the Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Christian Community Theater, both in Lafayette. She also interned at the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre in Conway, and is lighting designer at Crossroads Church in Lafayette.

Martin served as business manager and vice president of the campus chapter of Alpha Psi Omega collegiate theater fraternity.

She is the daughter of Janea Giroir of Berwick, La.

To read about the University’s Fall 2018 Outstanding  Master’s Graduates, click here.