Message from the President: Student achievements

April 28, 2009 

Dear alumni friends,

On a college campus spring is a time of celebration, and the other day we did some serious celebrating. It occurred to me that our alumni might be interested in hearing about the accomplishments of some of our soon-to-be alums.

The day started with a formal recognition of ASHLEY GRAYBILL of Waukesha, Wis., who in March became just the sixth national track champion in St. Norbert history. Ashley won, pulling away in the grueling 800-meter run in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Beyond her track accomplishments, Ashley is a fine student and has worked in the college’s Human Resources office, a position that requires not only capability but sensitivity. The HR folks love her and will miss her when she graduates in a few weeks.

Then that evening, academic vice president and dean of the college Mike Marsden presided over our annual awards banquet in which we honor our students’ outstanding academic achievements. And once again, as they came up to receive summa cum laude medals and faculty honors, these students just bowled us over with their accomplishments -- in the classroom, of course, but also beyond it. They are truly well-rounded young men and women who are, as the Norbertines challenge us all to be, “prepared for every good work.”

There are far too many honorees to cite here, but I thought a small sample would convey at least an idea of the kind of high-caliber students we are pleased to be educating at St. Norbert College:

RYAN PAVLIK, of Green Bay, graduates with not one or two but three majors: Spanish, computer science and math -- all within four years! He has studied abroad in Spain, worked with Google's Summer of Code, and maintains his own technical consulting company. Ryan’s senior project is the development of hardware and software that enable multi-touch interaction with computers. He’s been accepted into the Ph.D. program for human-computer interaction at Iowa State.

Biology major ERIN REINL, of Appleton, has conducted research at the University of Iowa in cellular and molecular biology, which has implications for understanding autoimmune disorders and lymphomas. She completed a co-op position with Kimberly-Clark, and this fall she will begin a research position at Iowa in two labs studying intracellular pathways relating to cancer and deafness.

STEVEN SLEEP, an accounting major from Thunder Bay, Ontario, will graduate with 150 credit hours and be eligible to sit for the CPA exam. He was a four-time letter winner on the hockey team, including its national championship season. And he graduates with a job in-hand at the Wipfli accounting and consulting firm.

DARRYL WESENER, from Manawa, Wis., is a chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry. He has done research at UW-Madison as well as at St. Norbert, and he received our Phi Delta Theta Educational Foundation Scholarship for Excellence in Science. Darryl has been accepted to numerous Ph.D. programs in chemistry, but he is leaning toward the graduate program in biochemistry at UW-Madison.

CULLEN BRAUN, of Green Bay, maintained straight A’s in both his mathematics and physics majors. He has served as a teaching assistant in both disciplines, and he has done several internships in engineering. Cullen is planning to enroll in a graduate program in mechanical engineering this fall, and he’s in the process of deciding which graduate school he will attend.

AUDREY ALANA O’HERN, from Sturgeon Bay, Wis., is a double major in communication/media studies and art, the latter with an emphasis in graphic design. She enriched her studies by working as the graphic design intern at the Leadership Development, Service and Engagement Office, and by completing a freelance project for a local company. Work like this earned Audrey the respect of the art faculty, who named her winner of the Daniel Dickhut Art Award.

REBECCA MELIS, from Appleton, is an elementary education major with minors in math and English as a Second Language. She has volunteered as a reading tutor and a writing mentor. Becky has worked as a camp counselor for young children with ADHD as well as a camp counselor for adolescents at Syble Hopp School. Becky is also a member of the St. Norbert women's basketball team. She is seeking a teaching job in grades 1 through 8.

Political science and sociology double major SARAH GOODMAN, of Sun Prairie, Wis., is a summa cum laude student who, at the same time, is continuously involved in campus and community activities. These include working as an athletics trainer, volunteering in an assisted-living facility, and interning for Congressman Steve Kagen. Sarah completed American University's Justice Program in Washington, D.C., and studied abroad in Rome. Sarah has been accepted to the George Mason University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations and Godspeed to all these outstanding young men and women. Their accomplishments do credit to us all.

Tom Kunkel

President