Journey is a great word for the path that 2015's 1,868 graduates walked to arrive at their degrees. Life threw all kinds of things at them along the way: challenges and opportunities, doubts and tragedies, millstones and milestones.
But despite it all, they made it through. With the help of friends, family, faculty, and staff, they reached their goal of a college degree.
Please join us in celebrating just a few of the amazing stories behind this year's graduates. May their stories inspire you to accomplish new things and persevere through rough times.
Master's in English
Getting a degree from IPFW is practically a family tradition for some people. Kristine Frye is graduating with a master’s degree in English. Her father, Robert D. Frye, started studying at IPFW when we opened in 1964. After leaving for military service in Vietnam, he returned to complete a Bachelor’s in electrical engineering technology and an MBA. Other members of the family followed in her father’s educational footsteps. Kristine’s Master’s degree makes the ninth IPFW degree awarded to a member of the Frye family.
Master's in special education
Kate Jones, graduating with a Master’s in special education, received the 2015 Purdue Focus award for her work assisting students with disabilities. Kate developed a specialized handbook that helps our students find the services and accommodations they need to succeed. She accomplished all of this while living with a hearing impediment and raising an active family of four children, with the youngest just two months old!
Bachelor's in communication
Ashley Coleman, graduating with a Bachelor’s in communication, was the first winner of the Mirro Student Founder Award from the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. Ashley’s company, La’Shic, plans to make orthopedic high heel shoes. She is not alone in her goal of starting a business – four of the seven finalists for the Mirro Student Founder Award were IPFW students or recent graduates.
Bachelor's in sociology (IU), Bachelor's in psychology (Purdue)
For some of our students, college is the second act in their lives. Tyler Bender had already served in the United States Marine Corps before arriving at IPFW. He graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Indiana University and a second bachelor’s degree in psychology from Purdue University. He is a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta sociology honors society and won the department’s Olson award last year for having the higest GPA among sociology majors. He will continue his studies in the graduate program at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where he has received a $30,000 scholarship.
Bachelor's in general studies
Jeremiah Burdick, graduating with a Bachelor’s in general studies with two minors, received company honors in ROTC, including Distinguished Military Graduate for the United States Army Cadet Command, and the Mastodon Award of Excellence Cavalry Saber. He will leave for active duty in August to follow his dream of becoming a pilot in the United States Army. Along with Jeremiah, seven of his fellow cadets were commissioned as 2nd lieutenants of the Army or National Guard and will be leaving Fort Wayne over the next two months to begin their military careers as officers. This is the largest graduating class ever for IPFW’s ROTC program.
Bachelor's in business management and marketing
Men’s volleyball senior Jordan Armstrong is graduating with a double major of business management and marketing and a 3.66 grade point average. Off the court, he is the president of IPFW’S Student-Athlete Leadership Team, known as SALT. Under his leadership, SALT members performed 2500 hours of community service. They also organized 100 student athletes to participate in the IPFW campus NoH8 campaign and helped approximately 120 student-athletes and athletic department staff receive gatekeeper training in the COMPASS suicide awareness program.
Associate of Science in dental hygiene
The road to graduation presents many challenges and takes many unexpected turns. For Tasha Stewart, a 21st Century Scholar, the road to her Associate’s in dental hygiene included long days of classes and working in the office of diversity and multicultural affairs, while also taking care of a new baby and juggling other family responsibilities. Next, she plans to continue her education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor's in psychology
Women’s volleyball senior Emily Spencer earned her second summit league player of the year honor, and was selected to try out for the United States national team. She graduates with a degree in psychology.
Bachelor's in communication and science
Haley Seibert, an all-conference selection, was named to the Division I-AAA Athletic Directors Association All-Academic Team, the third straight year that IPFW has had a student-athlete on the team. She is graduating with a 3.98 grade point average with a Bachelor’s in communication science and disorders.
Master of liberal studies
Karin Casazza, an advisor in the Doermer School of Business, graduates with a Master of liberal studies degree. During the Commencement ceremony, she will receive her Master's hood from her husband, Jeff Casazza, associate professor of acting, movement, and voice.
Max Fowler, Laren Fulk, and Eric Tom
Last year, we celebrated the graduation of the second class of Champman scholars, the university’s most prestigious scholarship program. This year, three more graduates join those ranks.
Max Fowler is graduating with a bachelors in computer science and a minor in mathematics. Max will begin the applied computer science graduate program at IPFW in the fall.
Lauren Fulk is graduating with a Bachelor of science with a major in nursing. Lauren will work full-time as a registered nurse for Parkview hospital and begin graduate school to pursue a career as a family nurse practitioner in the fall at Ball State University.
Erik Tom is graduating with two degrees, a bachelors in economics and a bachelors in political science. Erik will be entering full time employment upon graduation.
Evan Frauhiger, graduating with a Bachelor’s in history, will attend William and Mary on a 40% scholarship.
Taylor Goodpaster, graduating with a Bachelors in communication science and disorders, was accepted to all five graduate programs she applied to, including programs at both IU and Purdue. She will attend Purdue.
Rachel Habegger, receiving Bachelor’s degrees in both biology and history, has been accepted to the IU School of Medicine.
Amity Pauley, who graduates with a double major in women’s studies and communication, is entering the master’s program in women’s, gender, and sexualities studies at Brandeis University outside of Boston.