Winter Commencement Tip Sheet


2013_stu_GraduationWinter commencement at Southeast Missouri State University is planned for 2 p.m. Dec. 21 in the Show Me Center arena. Some candidates for graduation have reported interesting feature stories about themselves that could be developed in conjunction with commencement. These story tips with contact names and information are listed below. Students will begin assembling for commencement at 1:15 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center-North. With advance notice, the Southeast News Bureau is happy to make arrangements for you to meet and interview any of the graduates listed below between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 21 in the Student Recreation Center-North. Call the News Bureau at (573) 651-2552 with any questions about these or other commencement stories.

Bruce Miller of Farmington, Mo., will graduate with a Bachelor of General Studies. The 42-year-old Miller has completed his entire degree program online, taking a couple of classes each semester since 2009, all while being on call with his full-time job at Black River Electric Cooperative in Fredericktown, Mo. The non-traditional student says his graduation will allow him to check an item off his “bucket list.” He says he’s developed new interests because of the classes he’s taken, and several times something he’s learned that he didn’t think would be relevant to him has helped him out at work or in his personal life. Miller can be reached at (573) 783-1837 or bamiller7s@semo.edu.

Yanjun Zhao of Beijing, China, will be the first student to graduate from Southeast with a Master of Science in Organizational Management. He started the program in September 2012. Zhao is preparing for the Graduate Management Admission Test. After he graduates, he would like to return to the business world and apply what he has learned, he says. Later, he plans on pursuing a doctoral degree. Zhao can be reached at yzhao4s@semo.edu.

Katelyn Glenn of Belleville, Ill., will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. After graduation, she will become a full-time Catholic missionary with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, serving college students across the United States. She can be reached at (618) 363-3915 or kmglenn1s@semo.edu.

Paula McCormack and her daughter Amanda Hente, both of Cape Girardeau, Mo., will graduate during the same ceremony. McCormack will receive a Bachelor of General Studies, and Hente will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. McCormack says she is “very proud to be sharing this moment” with her daughter. They are the first in their family to receive college degrees, and Hente is the first generation on her father’s side of the family to earn a college degree as well. McCormack can be reached at (308) 746-1105 or plmccormack1s@semo.edu. Hente can be reached at (308) 746-1105 or adhente1s@semo.edu.

Siblings Adam and Sara Parks, both of Farmington, Mo., will join each other at graduation. Adam will graduate magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in middle school education. He is the third of three children to graduate from Southeast, which will give their family a total of five degrees from the University. Sara will graduate with high honors with her third degree from Southeast, a Specialist in education with a major in educational administration. She previously earned a bachelor’s degree in 2007 and a master’s degree in 2010. Sara can be reached at (573) 915-1536 or skparks1s@semo.edu. Adam can be reached at (573) 631-5219 or akparks1s@semo.edu.

Gale Slinkard of Dexter, Mo., will graduate cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in elementary education. Slinkard is 52 years old and returned to school after he retired from 27 years of military service in the U.S. Army. He can be reached at gdslinkard1s@semo.edu.

Sarah Babich of Cape Girardeau, Mo., will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology. She developed fibromyalgia, a chronic illness, halfway through eighth grade and was unable to attend high school. In 2009, she came to Southeast with a GED. She says she was glad to be able to attend Southeast and complete a college education. While at Southeast, she has been a member of Delta Alpha Pi, the honor society for students with disabilities, and the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. As a Southeast student, she also participated in a study abroad trip to Ecuador. She says she plans to attend graduate school in Canada where she’s originally from to research ways to help others with disabilities lead fulfilling lives. Babich can be reached at sjbabich1s@semo.edu or by telephone at (573) 803-1146.

Brent Smith of Cape Girardeau, Mo., will graduate cum laude with a Bachelor of Science with a major in political science. He is the first person in his family to graduate from college. He is a single father who worked and attended school full time. He says his son “Brent Micheal will be in the audience at graduation and hopefully smiling.” He can be reached at (573) 421-2308 or bmsmith4s@semo.edu.

Sisters Jordan Smith of Jackson, Mo., and Allison Caines of Cape Girardeau will graduate during the same ceremony. Smith will receive a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in elementary education. Caines will receive a Bachelor of Arts in English, writing option, with a minor in political science. Although there is a two-year age difference, Smith said she and her sister did everything at the same time growing up and will graduate on the same day, being the first in their family to earn a degree. Smith can be reached at (573) 576-7390 or jdsmith2s@semo.edu. Caines can be reached at (573) 576-7636 or ansmith2s@semo.edu.

Brittany Taylor of Perryville, Mo., will graduate magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in global studies, Japanese option. She spent her final semester studying in Japan, attending Daito Bunka University. She lived there for almost five months, climbed Mt. Fuji and visited the Hiroshima A-bomb dome. She says “it was an amazing time.” She can be reached at (573) 204-3463 or bdtaylor2s@semo.edu.

Kristin Thomas of Lilbourn, Mo., will graduate with a Master of Public Administration. She says she learned during her freshman year she was going to be a single mother but with the support of the TRIO programs, family, and friends, she graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in management, organizational leadership option, and this semester with a master’s degree. She can be reached at (573) 318-0342 or kthomas@semo.edu.

Sisters Tawni Tumminello and Alexi Mast, both of St. Charles, Mo., will graduate together. Tumminello will receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Mast will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in criminal justice, law enforcement option, and a minor in accounting. Tumminello can be reached at (573) 837-6333 or tjtumminello1s@semo.edu. Mast can be reached at (636) 352-5810 or almast1s@semo.edu.