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A Memorable Class

Commencemnt memories for the class of 2012.

The class of 2012 by the numbers

by Christine Baksi

Prior to the Commencement address by CIA Director David Petraeus, Professor of Political Science Doug Stuart made this prediction:

“I suspect that if I polled the parents of our graduates here today, less than half of those who went to college would be able to tell me who gave the Commencement speech at his or her graduation. Two decades from now, this will not be true for today’s graduates.”

Petraeus, who previously served as commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, made good on Stuart’s promise and delivered a memorable 24-minute speech. In it, he encouraged graduates to lead a life of service—which, he said, comes in many forms—and assured graduates that the values and critical-thinking skills they acquired at Dickinson will benefit them throughout life.

“Whether you follow in the footsteps of soldiers, diplomats, intelligence officers, educators, environmentalists, health-care professionals, legal advocates, political figures, titans of industry or exemplary citizen-volunteers, there are countless ways to serve the public good and numerous issues that stand to benefit from the principles and values that are at the core of the Dickinson education,” said Petraeus.

In addition to a memorable Commencement speaker, here’s a snapshot of other notable facts about the class of 2012:

Class composition

The class is comprised of 548 graduates, including 33 who completed their degree requirements last summer and in February. Eighty percent of the class (440 graduates) received the bachelor of arts degree while 20 percent (108 graduates) received the bachelor of science.

Latin honors went to 34 percent of the class: seven percent summa cum laude, 13 percent magna cum laude and 14 percent cum laude.

Fifty graduates were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

The class ratio was 57 percent women and 43 percent men.

Fourteen percent of the class is comprised of students of color (excluding international students): 24 African Americans, 17 Asian-Americans, 29 Hispanics, seven multiethnics and two Native Americans or Alaska Natives.

Point of Origin

Members of the class reside in 30 states and the District of Columbia, including 25 percent from Pennsylvania, 13 percent from Maryland, 11 percent from New York and nine percent from New Jersey.

Thirty-four are citizens from 12 foreign countries.

Majors and minors

The most popular majors were international business & management (IB&M), political science, economics, English, psychology, biology, international studies, foreign languages (French, German, Russian and Spanish), history, sociology and neuroscience.

The most popular minors were Spanish, economics, French, creative writing, German, English, history, art & art history, education and Italian.

Study abroad and global engagement

Forty-three percent of men and 60 percent of women studied abroad, including 36 percent of students majoring in the sciences.

Courtney Weatherby, a summa-cum-laude graduate with a major in East Asian studies, will travel to China on a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, which provides fully funded, group-based, intensive Chinese-language instruction and cultural-enrichment programming.

Five percent of students participated in off-campus study programs in the U.S., such as The Washington Center.

Forty-three percent majored in an interdisciplinary field and 29 percent majored in an international area such as foreign language, international studies, IB&M or area studies.

Eleven graduates successfully completed the security-studies certificate requirements.

Faculty awards

The Constance and Rose Ganoe Memorial Award for Inspirational Teaching was awarded to Daniel G. Cozort, associate professor of religion. The award is given annually to a faculty member elected by the senior class through secret balloting.

Regina M. Sweeney, associate professor of history, received the Distinguished Teaching Award, which is determined by faculty vote and then approved by the college’s president. The award recognizes outstanding teaching and is the highest honor given to a Dickinson faculty member.

Student awards 

The James Fowler Rusling Prize, which recognizes excellent scholarly achievement, was awarded to Peter Bruland, a psychology major and philosophy minor from Mechanicsburg, Pa. In pursuit of a career as an attorney, he is preparing for the LSAT and will apply to law school.

The John Patton Prize for High Scholastic Standing was awarded to Shelly Hwang, a biochemistry & molecular-biology major from North Potomac, Md. She will pursue a career in medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Austin Farneth and Kim Starfield received the Hufstader Senior Prizes, which are awarded annually to the senior man and senior woman who, in the judgment of the president of the college, have made the greatest contributions to the good of Dickinson during their undergraduate years. Farneth, a New Kensington, Pa. native who served as president of Student Senate, is an international-studies major with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in security studies. He will teach high-school Spanish in the Washington, D.C., area through Teach for America. Starfield, an international-studies major with a minor in Spanish from Arlington, Va., plans to begin her career as a protocol officer with the Department of Homeland Security.

Departmental honors went to 55 students: Africana studies (1), art & art history (1), biochemistry & molecular biology (1), biology (3), chemistry (1), computer science (1), Earth sciences (2), East-Asian studies (2), economics (3), English (2), environmental studies (3), French (1), German (1), IB&M (5), international studies (9), Judaic studies (1), law & policy (1), mathematics (1), neuroscience (1), philosophy (3), physics (2), political science (3), psychology (3), Russian (2), sociology (1) and Spanish (1).

Fulbright fellows

Two graduating seniors and one alumna have been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and one senior has been selected as an alternate.

Julie King, who graduated magna cum laude with a major in German, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Germany, where she will teach at the elementary or high-school level.

Allison Murawski, who graduated summa cum laude with a double major in biology and biochemistry & molecular biology, has been awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship to Germany, where she will spend the 2012-13 academic year researching and characterizing specific microRNAs that modulate cardiac hypertrophy.

Morgan Cheatham, a double major in physics and mathematics, is an alternate for a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Germany to research gravitational-wave physics.

Catherine Ludwig ’10 recently earned a Fulbright ETA. She will teach English at a college in Turkey.

Teaching for America

Eight graduates have accepted positions with Teach for America:

Marianh Aman, a magna-cum-laude major in Neuroscience, will teach middle and high-school science in Washington, D.C.

Fabiola Cineas, an English major, will teach middle and high-school English in Camden, N.J.

Austin Farneth, a cum-laude graduate with a major in international studies, will teach high-school Spanish in the Washington, D.C., area.

Daniel Gagliano, a history major, will teach secondary-school social studies in Connecticut.

Leigh Harlow, a double major in English and French, will apply the experiences she acquired teaching English in Toulouse, France, to her new role as a secondary special-education teacher in New Orleans.

Maria Orozco, a women’s & gender studies major, will teach middle-school mathematics in Blytheville, Ark.

Lizet Vera, a cum laude graduate with a double major in Spanish and women’s & gender studies, will teach high-school Spanish in Los Angeles.

Peter Wright, a history major, will teach middle- and high-school science and social studies in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo.

Ashley Williams, a double major in English and Africana studies, will teach ninth- and 10th-grade English at Archbishop Spalding High School in Baltimore as part of Operation TEACH, a two-year, post-graduate service program in which participants teach at a Catholic school while pursuing their master’s in education at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Serving America in Uniform

Thirteen members of the class of 2012 were commissioned into the U.S. Army as second lieutenants:

Brian Cook, a psychology major, will be assigned an educational delay at Pacific University to study counseling psychology.

Julia Filiberti, a mathematics major who graduated cum laude, will be assigned reserve- forces duty with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and Branched Military Intelligence.

Christopher Foulk, a history major, will be assigned reserve-forces duty with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and Branched Infantry.

William Hall, a German major, will be assigned active duty and Branched Infantry with initial duty to be determined.

Kaitlyn Hoza, who graduated cum laude with an American-studies major, will be assigned active duty and Branched Medical Services with training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Michelle Kyper, an Italian major, will be assigned to the U.S. Army Reserves with duty in Conroe, Texas and Branched Military Intelligence.

Kelsie McNett, who graduated cum laude with a double major in English and women’s and gender studies, will be assigned to a U.S. Army Reserves unit in Hayes, Kan., Branched Medical Services.

Nickolas Nagel, an international-studies major, will become an End of Camp commissionee after advanced summer training at Fort Lewis, Wash.

Brandon O’Brien, an economics major, will be assigned reserve forces duty with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and Branched Medical Services.

Alexandra Ostebo, an English major, will be assigned to the U.S. Army Reserves with duty at Fort Belvoir, Va., in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. She will work as a public affairs clerk for the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters this summer and plans to attend graduate school for creative writing next year.

Devin Quinn, an economics major, will be assigned active duty and Branched Engineer training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and is assigned to the 20th Engineer Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C. He has been awarded high honors as a distinguished military graduate, which is awarded to only the top 10 percent of all ROTC graduates.

Jeb Smith, an IB&M major, will be assigned active duty and Branched Ordnance Corps with initial duty at Fort Knox, Ky.

Scott Verna, an archaeology major, will be assigned to U.S. Army Reserves duty at Fort Meade, Md., and Branched Ordnance Corps.

Big plans

For more information about the class of 2012’s post-graduation plans, visit Life Beyond the Limestone Walls.  

Published May 23, 2012