Ursinus Experience Leads to Success for Class of 2012

President's PerspectiveMay 2012

On the occasion of my first Ursinus commencement, our speaker, Dr. Carol Geary Schneider, President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, made it clear that what we teach—the “bringing together of knowing and doing”—will be an advantage to our graduates in pursuing post-baccalaureate studies and employment. The Ursinus model of education is distinctive, she said, in that every graduate has completed an Independent Learning Experience. Our students have exercised initiative and independence in taking learning beyond the classroom. Moreover, said Dr. Schneider, “Your education at Ursinus has asked you to think long and hard about what you mean by success and what you really value. And in a fast-paced world where the tides of change can just push us all too easily forward, that inner compass—that inner sense of self, is likely to prove the most lasting educational value that you will take with you from this college.” See commencement coverage and read Dr. Schneider’s speech.

So how will the Class of 2012 navigate the post-college world? If we consider individuals in the class, we should be hopeful. They have mined their liberal arts education, having shown a willingness to learn broadly, think originally, and aspire boldly.

Co-salutatorian Jason K. Mullins, an International Relations and History double major, studied in the War Studies Department of King’s College, London, learned Arabic at Ursinus, and studied the Arab Spring both as a Summer Fellow and in a Distinguished Honors project under the mentorship of Dr. Richard King and Ambassador Joseph Melrose. Not only did he practice diplomacy at the Model U.N., help his peers as a Writing Fellow, and pitch for the baseball team, but he was an enthusiastic actor in Breakaway Productions. He heads to the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs with a dual concentration in International Security Studies and the Middle East.

Internships have served our students well. Co-valedictorian Kristen Wampole, a Business and Economics major and a Mathematics minor, studied the impact of productive and non-productive variables on an offensive lineman’s salary in the NFL. An Admission intern, she led the team of 140 tour guides. She also interviewed prospective students, praising the personal relationships she formed with her professors. She was an intern at Lockheed Martin, which has led to a position there doing financial planning and analysis.

Among several students heading to medical school, Kaitlyn Kennard will be attending Thomas Jefferson Medical College. Kaitlyn was selected for an undergraduate summer research fellowship from the American Physiological Society, and as such she was one of 20 students internationally to work on a self-designed research project. During a recent Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, she won the David S. Bruce Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award for her work looking at changes in the heart that occur during pregnancy.

Eryn Fennelly is one of several students who have double-majored in both Dance and a science; in her case, Biology. The chief of the Ursinus Emergency Medical Services, she has had research published in the science journal Impulse, and she also enjoyed studying in the Galápagos Islands. She will begin studies at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Another science major with a non-science minor, Alvaro Amor majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and minored in Philosophy. The president of our fencing association, and Summer Fellow, he completed an internship at Weill Cornell Graduate School and heads to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Ph.D. program in Biology.

Maeve Sutherland, our Creative Writing Scholarship winner and Watson Fellow, is preparing to leave for a year abroad exploring “Peaceable Kingdoms: Pacifist Communities the Quest for Utopia.” She will create art in pacifist communities in Costa Rica, Peru, Denmark, India, Nepal and Australia. An English major, she studied Scottish literature as a St. Andrews Scholar at the University of Glasgow, where she participated in Fringe theater.

English major Sarah Bollert was a Writing Fellow and tutor as well as a Senior Admission Fellow. She wrote each week for the Grizzly on students’ internship experiences and was able to promote campus-wide the benefits of internships. She has parlayed her own internships, both as a technical writer’s assistant and as a communications intern at the Hill School in Pottstown, into a job as a proposal writer in the marketing department at Cartus in Danbury, Connecticut. She credits her intensive writing courses at Ursinus “for preparing me and providing me with such a strong foundation in writing.”

Our Goldwater Scholar, Jennifer Schrandt, who also played in the Ursinus Wind Ensemble and danced in Escape Velocity, majored in Biology and minored in Music. A Summer Fellow, she received Distinguished Honors for independent research in Dr. Rebecca Lyczak’s lab. She is a co-author on an article in Developmental Biology and participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research program at Thomas Jefferson University. She held an internship with one of our alumni at the University Service Sleep Center. Jennifer heads to a Ph.D. program in pharmacology at Stony Brook University.

Erin Doby, double major in Politics and Spanish, heads to the University of Buffalo School of Law. A Media and Communication Studies, International Relations, and Latin American Studies minor, she studied abroad in the Ursinus in Mexico faculty-led program and did an internship with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

Several students have been accepted to Teach for America and other service programs, and several have begun working. Jennifer Wolf, a Psychology and Business major, is starting a job as a business development associate at a management firm. And Rebecca Kamm, President of our award-winning Students in Free Enterprise team, is going to Disney World—as a marketing sourcing specialist at the Walt Disney Company.

I am grateful I got to know many seniors during my first year at Ursinus, and their last. To them, I wish you success and ask you to please stay in touch by sharing your stories of how your Ursinus liberal arts education has impacted your life beyond graduation. To all the readers of President’s Perspective, I’ll be writing to you again in August.

Go, Bears!
Bobby Fong