Spring 2017 Outstanding UNLV Graduates

The power of higher education lies in its ability to open doors to originalities, to drive development, and to change neighborhoods– and households– for the better. There is possibly no greater testament to this power than start, when thousands of trainees recognize their scholastic dreams and embark on new or altering careers.

On May 13, almost 2,900 trainees will officially end up being UNLV graduates, joining the ranks of more than 110,000 alumni.

The Class of 2017 ranges in age from 19 to 85 and hails from 33 states and 50 foreign countries. The class is diverse– more than HALF racial/ethnic minority– and 84 percent of graduates are Nevada locals.

A long-lasting start tradition is for the president to honor a couple of remarkable trainees who embody the academic, research study, and neighborhood impact of the finishing class. This spring’s honorees consist of increasing researchers in science, psychology and engineering; activists, teachers, and survivors; an advocate for healthier communities; and a transport expert working to make our highways more secure.

Casey Barber– B.S. in Public Health (Formality).

Casey Barber graduates with a bachelor of science degree in public health, a minor in biological sciences, and a 3.98 GPA. A member of the Honors College, she has actually earned University Formality in addition to Research and Creative Formality.

Even though she is an undergraduate, Casey was among the authors of a short article recently released in the Journal of Community Health in addition to first author on one of two other short articles waiting for publication. She was a crucial individual in a massive research project, the Henderson Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes Program, where scientists carried out fieldwork to examine homes for lead-based paint and other health and wellness problems.

She likewise has found time to volunteer with a number of community organizations, consisting of Restoring Together of Southern Nevada, which helps elderly, handicapped, and veteran property owners with small but vital repairs to their houses.

On school, she offered as a laboratory assistant while still in high school. She likewise has actually finished internships with the Nevada Department of Transportation in addition to the Global Health Effort in the School of Community Health Sciences. Someplace along the method she found time to spend a term studying in Ireland.

According to one nominator, “Casey exemplifies all the qualities that we hope to impart in our trainees; she is an extraordinary scholar and human being with a passion for enhancing the lifestyle for those around her.”

In 2016 she was the UNLV recipient of the NSHE Regents’ Undergraduate Scholar Award. Next, she plans to pursue a master of public health degree in epidemiology and after that a doctoral degree prior to discovering a task in research or public service that allows her to continue her commitment to public health.

Kevin Briggs– B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Kevin Briggs is the unanimous candidate for Outstanding Graduate from the Mechanical Engineering Department this year.

All the statistics certainly look excellent: 4.0 GPA. Membership in Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Dean’s Honor’s List. Millennium Scholarship winner. Marjorie and Victor Kunkel Scholarship winner. Individual in the BS-Ph. D. integrated program. Engineering Intern at Southwest Gas. Undergrad Research Assistant in the smart structures and controls laboratory.

However his remarkable accomplishments seem even more remarkable when you discover he battles with Ulcerative Colitis, a health condition that kept him out of college for three years following high school.

As soon as he learned how to manage his medical condition, Kevin likewise found time to give back by mentoring at-risk youth. Through an outreach recommendation program with a local organization, Kevin guides trainees far from leaving of school and assists them realize they too have the possible to become college graduates.

Brendan O’Toole, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Woosoon Yim, one of Kevin’s professors, and Alexa Krauss, Kevin’s fellow trainee, lauded him for being generous, providing, caring, and determined.

Kevin plans to continue his education and research study as a Ph.D. student this coming fall here at UNLV.

Briceida Hernandez-Toledo– B.A., Gender and Sexuality Research studies.

Whether within or outside the class, Briceida Hernandez-Toledo is called a leader. The first-generation college student finishes UNLV with a 3.9 GPA and her pick of two Ph.D. programs. She ultimately selected UCLA, where she will continue the research study and activism that has actually made her regard in gender, sexuality, and ethnic studies circles at UNLV and across the country.

As a lady of color who hails from modest surroundings, Briceida has put an individual enthusiasm into her work to advance human rights. She works tirelessly to develop safe spaces for marginalized trainees, and, she states, to end violence in our country, particularly against Latinx, queer, and undocumented trainees.

Her advocacy has actually included restoring the campus’s Chicano student company MEChA, and dealing with the Center for Social Justice to develop shows and training that promote equity and addition.

The McNair scholar has received several extremely competitive scholarships; provided at five nationwide conferences; served as a teaching assistant for a core topic in her significant; developed 2 research essays on university resources for undocumented and LGBT students; and co-authored a peer-reviewed journal publication. Her precocious enthusiasm and intellect has prompted peers to seek her guidance.

In other words, Briceida’s nominators said, “our university and our community will never be the exact same due to the fact that of her contributions.”

Hannah Kelley– B.A. in Secondary Education (Honors).

A teacher. An author. A leader. Hannah Kelley is all of these things. A 2017 Fulbright grant recipient and a 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholar, Hannah is finishing with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with a 3.99 GPA.

The Honors University student has said she always understood she wanted to be a teacher to return to the neighborhood. While at UNLV, the previous Green Valley High School valedictorian worked full time to support herself while balancing after-school activities such as acting as Editor in Chief of UNLV’s chapter of The Odyssey online news publication, as a workshop trainer at the Author’s Block Bookshop, and as a peer trainer and coach for the Honor’s College.

” Hannah is a dynamic student who will be working to change the world,” Honor’s College Dean Marta Meana stated. “Her enthusiasm for her discipline shines through in all that she does.”

After finishing, Hannah will be relocating to Norway to teach English as part of her Fulbright dedication. Hannah plans to go into instructional policy after returning from Norway and mentor in the Clark County School District.

Janet King– Ph.D. in Curriculum and Guideline.

Janet King graduates with a Ph.D. in curriculum and guideline (educational innovation) and a 3.7 GPA.

Janet has taught in higher education institutions across the nation for the previous 30 years. She began by teaching sociology, however eventually opted to study psychology so that she might teach that as well.

Intrigued in computer technology for several years, she decided in 2011 to start working toward a postgraduate degree in instructional innovation here at UNLV. At the very same time she continued to operate in e-learning at our sister organization, CSN.

Then came exactly what for many would have put an end to more research studies. In 2015, on the exact same day she received that year’s Female of Influence Award from CSN, she was identified with terminal lung cancer. For somebody who never ever had actually smoked nor used any tobacco product, this news was stunning. Within one month, she had actually surgery, followed by chemotherapy. She suspended her research studies for a year, however then returned to UNLV.

Although she says that numerous times she has quickly thought about throwing in the towel and stopping her research studies, she constantly decides versus that path. She had actually set the goal of earning a Ph.D. and was identified not to give up. So determined is she, in fact, that she just recently informed her doctors that she would be delaying her next surgical treatment until June so that she could be here today to stroll across this phase and pick up that hard-earned degree.

Janet says, “I simply wanted to show my three children I might do it. If I might do it, they might do anything. I desire them to be happy with me.”

Nemanja Novakovic– B.S. in Biochemistry & & Biological Sciences (Honors).

The course to Nemanja Novakovic’s graduation with a best 4.0 GPA had plenty of twists and turns.

He was a young child when his household got away to Las Vegas from their native Sarajevo as war refugees. It was Nemanja’s own diagnosis in middle school with diabetes that spurred his desire to pursue a future in the medical field. He thought he would do it at UCLA. But a UNLV college visit throughout his senior year of high school changed his course once more.

Today, Nemanja is finishing with a double significant in biochemistry and life sciences. The teachers who chose him state he “epitomizes exactly what it suggests to be a high-achieving undergraduate.”

He’s performed HIV research in UNLV’s Institute of Personalized Medicine lab, co-authored three peer-reviewed publications, got multiple distinguished Honors College and university scholarships plus the 2017 Regents’ Scholar Award, and mentored younger Honors College students. That’s on top of offering at a feral feline center and with the Ronald McDonald Home, and participating in Relay for Life.

All this has actually moved the hopeful brain surgeon closer to his dream of medical school. He will be attending the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Meghan Pierce– Ph.D. in Speculative Psychology.

Meghan Pierce is a true UNLV success story. This spring, she makes a Ph.D. in experimental psychology, but it will not be the first time she strolls throughout the Thomas & & Mack Spotlight to get a degree. Meghan has now made 4 degrees from UNLV– a bachelor’s, two master’s, and today a Ph.D.

As an undergraduate, she balanced a 40-hour workweek with school and research, making a psychology degree in 2009. As a master’s trainee in psychological health therapy, she dedicated nearly 4,000 hours supplying services to those suffering from trauma-related disorders and compulsive behavior disorders, including pathological betting.

Her present research concentrates on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, where she examines the relationship between PTSD and high-risk habits and is laying a foundation for effective treatment.

Meghan has made amazing contributions to service and leadership at UNLV, serving on 19 university committees this year alone. She is likewise active in the university’s Graduate and Expert Student Association and simply completed her term as its president.

Inning accordance with one nominator, “As an undergraduate, she worked more as a graduate student; as a graduate, more as a post-doctoral fellow. I would not be at all shocked to one day discover Meghan functioning as president of a leading research study university.”

She appears well on her method. Meghan has published multiple research study short articles, taught classes at both UNLV and Nevada State College, and this fall will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

Naveen Veeramisti– Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.

As Nevada’s roads end up being a little much safer in the years to come, we can thank Naveen Veeramisti. Naveen, who graduates with a Ph.D. and an outstanding 3.58 GPA in Civil Engineering, currently performs traffic and operational studies throughout Nevada with CA Group, Inc.

For more than Ten Years at UNLV– where he earned a master’s degree and now a Ph.D. in engineering while working as a research study partner– Naveen has actually been associated with traffic safety research study that can be used by transport firms to assist facilities improvements and policy choices.

He has actually developed a system that can anticipate crash patterns, assisting decision makers anticipate security performance and make our roadways much safer before accidents occur.

” Traffic safety is a location where we can add to community as well as house,” stated Veeramisti. “There are profound problems to resolve, and by identifying road sections and passages with capacity for engineering safety improvements, we can decrease casualties and severe injuries which is extremely motivating.”

Naveen has published six peer-reviewed journal short articles and 9 peer-reviewed conference papers, and he is dealing with a possible patent submission. His plans include teaching transport engineering courses at UNLV.

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